Best Restaurants in NYC That I Love

basta pasta grilled fish nyc best food what to eat

New York City is a city for the dreamers.

In my earlier post about how you can find witness the melting pot of culture in NYC just by roaming the streets, it doesn’t stop there. The cosmopolitan metropolis has so much to offer, you can draw inspiration from anywhere. Whether it is street art, the ebullience of the salespeople bobbing to music at midnight, or the natter from your neighbour’s dining table, the cacophony of voices and traffic all around will leave you feeling more energetic than ever.

This post focuses on drawing inspiration from NYC’s food. The assortment of food in NYC, the interior design of every food joint I entered when I was there in Dec 2014 (yes that’s how much I’ve been missing NYC), and the innovation behind some of the business concepts of these food outlets that I’d visited left me wondering just how much more the world offers that is unbeknown to me.

It is true to say that I get inspired every time I walk into a coffee shop, or a cafe. They make me want to pick up a pen and note down all the home interior decoration to embellish my future home.

On top of listing the food joints I personally visited and love, this post also includes recommendations from other travellers who vouch for the food here, because well, NYC has too much to offer!

What to eat in NYC

1. LIC Market

Experience a true New York City cafe style when you dine at LIC Market. LIC Market is sandwiched between two flights of stairs on the ground floor of an apartment, so you might miss it if you’re not observant enough. We sat at the back-room, an open-air but sheltered little space, filled with wooden benches and walls lined with little plants. The morning light that filled the room made for a cosy ambience.

New York Food

New York Food

The look of the eggs done by LIC Market is enough for you to know that when it comes to food pairing and fresh produce, you can count on LIC Market!

New York Food

Look at that glossy burger with jus!

New York Food

New York Food

Menu
Location

2. Big Daddy’s

Step into this old-school, hip 80’s-styled American diner where massive burgers, crispy tots, and thick milkshakes lord over. It was one of my most memorable diners I’ve visited because of how much fun and vibrance the diner exuded!

Thank you, Stranger, for introducing this favourite local hangout to us!

New York Food
Deep fried mozzarella cheese sticks
New York Food
Junior’s Sliders – perfect for sharing these little buns!

New York Food

New York FoodNew York Food

Menu
Park Avenue South location, Upper West Side location

3. The Meatball Shop

Apart from the pretty exterior, you know they know their balls when all they serve are meatballs. Recommended dishes include Buffalo MeatballPork Meatball with mushroom gravy and mashed potato, and Meatball Hero on Wheat with Mozzarella.

New York Food

Menu
Location

4. Chipotle

By far another of my favourite meals in NYC, because it’s Mexican! Come on, find me one soul who doesn’t love Mexican food? Obviously, you can’t miss trying their guacamole. They have over 20 outlets in Manhatten alone, so it wouldn’t be difficult to locate one!

New York Food

Menu
Location

5. Shake Shack

While New York City can be famous for Shake Shack (my friends were squealing when they finally found their outlet), and yes, queues are expected in this fast food restaurant, I found it way overrated.

The burgers were mass produced and I was served with a semi-flattened burger. Aren’t they but another fast food joint selling burgers and fries?

New York Food

New York Food

Location

6. Roast Kitchen

This was a diner we popped in on a whim because it was cold outside and we were feeling hungry after our shopping spree. We were glad to have chanced upon their roast bowls. The interesting twist that sets them apart from a regular salad bar is that you begin your choice by either selecting a hot or cold bowl. They also have preselected mixes for you to select in case you’re overwhelmed by their ingredient choice.

roast kitchen nyc

New York FoodNew York Food

Menu
Location

7. Basta Pasta

Basta Pasta is Alaine‘s my favourite restaurant in the city. Italian food with a Japanese twist. Her go-to place for celebrations, date nights, and the changing of seasons, she frequents this lovely restaurant every few months. Begin your meal with a Caesar salad, followed by Homemade Fettuccine bolognese, Spaghetti con Prosciutto e Parmigiano or grilled Bronzino fish (usually a special). Finally, finish off with their beautiful Tiramisu.

basta pasta grilled fish nyc best food what to eat

Menu
Location

8. Eleven Madison Park

If you’re looking for a fine dining location in NYC, Eleven Madison Park’s got you covered. Foie gras is served in a couple different ways throughout the multi course degustation, one of which includes an indulgent, melt-in-your-mouth foie gras in a multi layer jelly, a favourite for Alaine.  This restaurant has gained notoriety around the world for being a premiere dining destination.

eleven madison park tete de cochon with pickled vegetables nyc best food what to eat

Menu
Location

9. Pocha 32

Koreatown is Tendelle‘s go-to destination for late night dining in NYC. And of all the choices in Koreatown, Pocha 32 is one of her favorites. Not only do they have an amazingly satisfying budae jjigae (Army Stew), they serve watermelon soju, the shop’s bestseller!

A watermelon soju is made of half a watermelon hollowed out, then filled with soju (Korean liquor), watermelon juice and pulp, making it so refreshingly delicious! Like most restaurants in Koreatown, Pocha 32 is open late – at least until 4am, to feed all the hungry party animals in the city.

Pocha32 nyc favourite food eat

Menu
Location

10. Junior’s Cheesecake

After a month of Manhattan living, the best tip Alison can give you is to head to Junior’s Cheesecake for – you guessed it – the cheesecake. Although the restaurant serves a variety of hearty dinnertime meals, it’s best to save stomach space and dive into this divine dessert.

Each creamy spoonful of Junior’s cheesecake is really indulgent.. Their cheesecake is the delicious antithesis to the light, delicately whipped desserts of many European countries. There are fruity cheesecake flavours, chocolatey concoctions, combinations of cheesecake and regular cake. Or you can try a plain, classic “New York” style slice.

junior's cheesecake best food what to eat nycSource
Location

11. Umami Burger

There are plenty of restaurants in New York City that claim to have the best burgers in town. I’m sure they all have a pretty good claim but for Rosie, the best burger lives in Umami Burger. There are three branches in NYC – Greenwich Village, Brookfield Place and Williamsburg.

umami burger meal nyc best food what to eat

Umami Burger takes Premium steak, grind it themselves and then serves the party medium rare in a series of inventive recipes. Her absolute favourite is the Truffle Burger which has truffle everything – truffle cheese, truffle aioli and truffle glaze. The truffle flavours give this burger the most satisfying, earthy and savoury hit. Pair this with the sweet potato fries that comes on the side, and you’re in heaven.

umami burger fries nyc best food what to eat

Their signature sweet potato fries come covered in cinnamon powder, but there’s another version that is even better. These are no ordinary fries – they are covered in maple glaze and bacon!

Finally, order one of their Asian-inspired cocktails or an Asahi beer to complete your evening.

Menu
Location

12. Serendipity Cafe

This cafe didn’t become a household name by chance. Not only has it attracted thousands of guests yearly on its own merit since 1954, fans of the blockbuster film of the same name, Serendipity, flock to this little eatery for the famous frozen hot chocolate enjoyed by Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack by the fireplace.

Serendipity tiffany lamps best food what to eat nyc

With a decadent menu of entrees, mains, and signature drinks, guests do their best to leave room for one of their signature desserts – the ultimate creme sundae…

This restaurant’s menu has something for everyone, even for the posh. If you are thinking of splurging for a special occasion, be sure to check out the “Golden Opulence Sundae.” This ice cream concoction boasts flakes of edible gold within the dish and as such, earned accolades such as a Guinness World Record and massive media praise. Gold speckled ice cream? Yes. You read that correctly. Should you wish to enjoy this indulgent dessert, or need an excuse to spend $1000 on a decadent dessert, reserve your sundae 48 hours in advance. If you do splurge on this once in a lifetime dessert experience, we would love to hear about your experience and whether it was worth the G-note!

Serendipity Chicken Sandwich best food what to eat nyc

Janine highly recommends trying Serendipity at least once on your New York City trip. To avoid disappointment, reservations are essential as tables fill up very quickly. If you are lucky, you just may get to sit at the fireplace booth that was featured in the film!

Menu
Location

And of course, how can you miss the little pushcarts selling hotdog, churros and other finger food all over NYC? You won’t miss them. They are cleverly placed outside every iconic tourist spot, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to Central Park and the American Museum of Natural History.

New York Food

 

What’s your favourite diner in New York? Get me wanderlusting all over again!

4 Comment

  1. Luqman says: Reply

    Woah that’s pretty informative! Might just have to check this out when I head there in August! 🙂 Thanks!

  2. Trying to find a good restaurant can be so difficult in a new city! The way you’ve lain all these out is great. I’ve eaten at a few of these places–like Shake Shack–and I agree with your comments on them!

    -Lyndsay

  3. Aaron says: Reply

    You must be a true foodie!!! These pictures are amazing! Makes me real hungry right now!

  4. Great information about all this food!It makes me hungry by looking at it. The pushcarts are really amazing,I did try some kebabs too!It is great.

Talk to me!