Although quite a few are all about pizza...
The Big Apple. Home to the Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler Building, Central Park and some of the most delectable eating spots in the world.
Pizza is a must in this city, and you’ll find it by the slice at practically every corner. If you’d rather enjoy it sitting down, Little Italy is where it’s at.
Bagels from a streetside vendor is also a must-do. You’ll see carts being pushed out for business folk at dawn, laden with roll-with-a-hole deliciousness and coffee galore.
Head to Chinatown for authentic Asian eats, Little Italy for pizza and pasta fare and Greenwich Village for historical bohemian cafes. Visit Hell’s Kitchen for ethnic eats ranging from Caribbean and German to Thai and Afghan. If you’re finding it hard to choose, Restaurant Row, which is a renowned dining precinct on 46th street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, is chock-full of culinary opportunities.
The list of other places to dine is long, but we’ve managed to whittle it down to our 10 favourites.
Top 13 New York restaurants
There is heated debate as to whether Lombardi’s or Grimaldi’s serve the best pizza in town. Even our office is divided in opinion, so we’ve resolved to include both to make it fair. You should resolve to try both to make up your own mind. Just sayin’.
Lombardi’s claims to be “America’s First Pizzeria” and landed in New York City in 1905. Naturally, you’ll find it in Little Italy, serving smoky-coal baked pizza.
The dine-in pizza menu is limited to four options: margarita, white sauce, Buddy’s “cake boss” special and clam pie, with plenty of sides to fill up on.
32 Spring St, New York, NY 10012
Founded in 1990, Lombardi’s might not be the first pizzeria in America, but it’s undoubtedly one of the best.
After opening in a city steeped in 100 years of pizza making tradition, it quickly rose to become an institution. Its flagship restaurant is found under the Brooklyn Bridge in the Brooklyn suburb of Dumbo. It’s a short walk from the waterfront, so if you fancy dining out, order takeaway and take your box down for a meal with a view.
Under the Brooklyn Bridge, 1 Front Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Rated the number one fine dining eatery in the city on TripAdvisor, Daniel has been lauded for its fine detail, knowledgeable staff and exceptional food and wine pairings.
The menu reads like a foodie’s dream: order rabbit saddle porchetta with chorizo, tarragon mustard and macadamia nuts or choose to dine on vodka flambeed Hudson Valley foie gras with Frog Hollow Orchard peaches, wild rose marmalade and marigold salad. For high rollers, you can also order the USD$390 caviar. They’re just a few teasers to work with.
Reservations are recommended and the dress code is smart, so remember to take a jacket.
60 East 65th Street, New York, NY 10065
French and European-inspired cuisine is featured on the menu at Gabriel Kreuther. It’s another high-end fine-dining venture that astounds guests with its level of detail and theatrics.
Named after the Michelin-star chef who is also the mastermind behind the meals, the restaurant is located in the heart of Manhattan and has more awards to its name than you can shake a stick at.
It was listed as one of the nine best restaurants in the world by the Robb Report in 2016 - and it’s only been around since 2015.
41 W 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036
Lincoln Square Steak
Wipe the drool from your face; or at least mask it with another bite of what is arguably the most delectable steak in New York.
A spot in the “Top 5 eats in New York” on TripAdvisor, as well as a Diner’s Choice award from OpenTable, are clear signs that this is the spot for meat lovers.
The fitout in hues of red, black and gold is reminiscent of the 1960s, and the evening pianist helps set the mood.
208 W 70th Street, New York, NY 10023
For an all-American experience Gramercy Tavern has your back. It offers a relaxed and friendly environment with dishes that pair rustic charm with modern elegance.
Choose the Tavern for a more casual meal, or the Dining Room for something exceptional. On the Tavern menu you’ll find affordable everyday delights such as swordfish with red pepper sauce, and grilled lamb with garlic butter and market greens. On the Dining Room menu, expect chilled peach soup, pork loin and deckle, and black bass with mussels.
42 E 20th Street, New York, NY 10003
Enter the Rockerfeller Centre elevator and hit level 56. That’s where you’ll find this hot little bar, serving exceptional cocktails and offering an equally impressive view. It’s the highest outdoor terrace bar in the city.
It doesn’t come cheap; there’s a minimum spend of $65 per person to sit outside with the view, though no minimum if you choose an indoor seat. What you get either way is a bar steeped in prohibition history, and concoctions that have influenced the country’s cocktail culture. To wet your lips, the drinking menu includes choices such as Manhattan, Brooklyn, 1915 Gin and Tonic, Diablo and Spatini.
30 Rockefeller Plaza, 65th Floor, New York, NY 10112
Self-proclaimed as the home of the world’s best chocolate chip cookie, those with a sweet tooth will smell Levain Bakery a mile away. It’s the holy grail of desserts in NYC with a history that dates back to 1994.
Since then it’s expanded to four stores dotted throughout the city, making it oh-so-easy to tickle your taste buds, no matter where you’re staying. To get you salivating, the menu features a handful of variations of the choc chip cookie, including double chocolate peanut butter chip cookies, chocolate chip walnut cookies and dark chocolate chip cookies.
Various locations throughout New York City
Best Bagel & Coffee
Bagels. They’re a New York staple, and visitors to the Big Apple should not leave the city without tucking in to at least one.
Living up to its name, this bagel joint does do the best bagel and coffee in town, according to TripAdvisor users, who nominated it as the number one spot in the city for coffee and tea in the city. Try it for yourself if you want proof. All baking is done on the premises, and fresh salads, soups and sandwiches are also available.
225 W 35th Street, New York, NY 10001
Los Tacos No. 1
You don’t have to venture south of the border to get top-quality Mexican food with Los Tacos No. 1 available in two locations in New York.
Whatever your craving, be it tacos or tostadas, quesadillas or mulas, you can find it here. You can also find nopals on a plate and Mexican sodas. If you’re watching your wallet, you’ll also be happy to hear that nothing on the menu costs more than USD$6. Meal sorted.
Chelsea Market: 75 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011
Times Square: 229 W 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036
The owner of Seamore’s is a passionate fisherman, and it shows in this open and modern cafe, which features fish as its main fare. You can almost feel the sea breeze in your hair as you indulge in top-notch food with a hipster edge.
The menu carries daily specials which you can indulge in for brunch, lunch or dinner. Dishes include blackened fish burgers, breakfast burritos, shrimp toast, kale avocado salad and f**k Jerry fried chicken. As we said, it’s edgy.
390 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013
Exquisite and opulent, Babu Ji welcomes you like family and serves only the best from its kitchen. With its roots in Australia, the Indian chain entered New York, characterised by an image of Babu Ji, a charming and hospitable character who’s image is displayed on its storefront.
Lively, colourful and packed full of spices, Babu Ji is synonymous with Indian cuisine. This isn’t just a restaurant, it’s an experience; and a delicious one at that.
22 E 13th Street, New York, NY 10003
Union Square Cafe
After 30 years on the beat, Union Square Cafe is still at the top of its game. It’s in a delightful spot, ideally located two blocks from Union Square, where you can relax, unwind and catch up with friends over a brunch, lunch or dinner.
Menu offerings include pasta, omelettes, roast chicken, burgers and fish.
Union Square Cafe is also a non-tipping restaurant, so all gratuities are included in your final bill.
101 E 19th St, New York, NY 1003
We've discussed pizza and bagels but there are three other iconic eats you need to try in the city. Here's where you can find some of the top-rated cheesecakes, hotdogs and delis in NYC.
New York cheesecake
New York style cheesecakes are creamy, they're heavy and they are utterly delicious. Not doubt you'll find it available in every other cafe in the Big Apple but for a tried and true establishment, see out a Junior's. Its a chain that is world famous for its cheesecakes.
The brand was established in 1950 and through many a trail has perfected the art of the cheesecake.
The secret? Premium ingredients, heavy cream, only a dash of vanilla and no fillers.
Search it out, pronto.
New York deli
Oh my pastrami! Delis are a must for the novelty and the bragging rights. Perhaps the most famous in all of New York is Katz's Delicatessen.
Established in 1888, its an institution that is steeped in history. Founded by the Iceland brothers, it was seen as the place to hang by immigrants living in the area during the early 20th century.
Post-World War II it become the place to hang by the big stars of the entertainment world and now attracts thousands of visitors from far and wide to its doors to dine on its sumptuous 30-day cured corned beef and pastrami.
It's located at 205 East Houston Street and you'll know you're there by its glitzy diner lights.
New York hot dogs
Like pizza, you don't want to get the cheap and nasty stuff hot dog you find on the side of the road if you don't have to.
What you want is to hit up some of the more acclaimed hot dog joints in town. Our pick? Gray's Papaya. Odd name but great frankfurters. They're dirt cheap with a single dog going for a steal at $1.25 but they don't taste it.
Want to spoil yourself? Order up the recession special. At $3.50 it's a dip in the bank account (joking) but it's double the fun consisting of not one, but two dogs, plus a drink.
It's hard times, but someone's gotta eat it.
Grays can be found throughout the city though its flagship is at 2090 Broadway Ste 1.
Food tours and cooking classes
As with many cities, food is at the heart of New York, and there’s no better way of being introduced to the best of the best than with a food tour. Here are some to choose from.
Uptown and Harlem food tour
Greenwich Village food tour
NYC Chinatown food tour
Hell's Kitchen food tour
New York VIP dine card
Brooklyn food tour
Food and drink deals in New York City
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Feature image: Bar SixtyFive