NYC is known as one of the most iconic places for top notch food and cocktails! People from all over the world come to New York and bring a taste of their culture. You could spend years eating out and never try all the amazing food and drinks NYC has to offer. However, if you want a taste of the food and cocktails that have helped to shape the current dining scene, here are a few of my recommendations. Some are old, some are sweet, while others were introduced in the last few years. Some are pricey, while others are more affordable, but all of them are worth trying once if you want a taste of what makes NYC such an amazing dining experience.
Beauty & Essex
Beauty & Essex is one of my favorite spots to dine and have cocktails in NYC. The whole experience is just so unique. This restaurant is owned by celebrity Chef Chris Santos and is located in the lower east side of Manhattan. You enter the restaurant through their pawn shop, which is open for business and sells anything from jewelry to guitars. Once inside you will find a vibrant and modern feel, where a huge beautiful chandelier hangs between their spiral staircase. Upstairs you will find their lounge where you can continue the party after dinner. I would suggest you try the grilled cheese and bacon dumplings over tomato soup. These are TO DIE FOR! On my last visit, I ordered the ribs, which were also delicious and fell right off the bone. To be quite honest, everything on the menu is delicious depending what you’re in the mood for. As far as cocktails, they have a great menu for specialty cocktails with plenty of variety for any palate. My favorite is the Emerald Gimlet.
A little secret for the ladies — if you want a complimentary glass of Champagne then head to the ladies room. You will find there is a Champagne Bar inside.
The Meatball Shop
I LOVE The Meatball Shop!!! It hits the spot every time! I think I have tried almost every type of meatball and sauce they offer and I haven’t been disappointed yet. They serve their balls almost any way you want — on buns, over pasta, with a side of risotto…you name it! You order on your own individual dry erase menu using a marker. All meatballs are served with a piece of their warm and soft foccacia bread. I recommend you try the Buffalo Chicken Balls – they’re the jam!
Make sure to call a head, as they don’t take reservations and get really busy, especially on the weekends.
Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar
If you’re visiting New York during Summer or Fall, I recommend checking out Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar located on top of the Conrad Hotel. This is solely a spot to come for a refreshing cocktail and beautiful view on a nice day. Cocktails are pricey at $25 each, however you get your choice of Prosecco or Champagne with a fresh specialty popsicle. Do it once for the experience.
The Stanton Social
The Stanton Social is located in the lower east side of Manhattan and provides a great ambiance and cool vibe. If you try one thing on the menu you MUST get the French Onion Soup Dumplings. You won’t ever stop thinking about this appetizer, I constantly crave it! As far as cocktails, I love the Strawberry Fields and the Boss Tweed Gimlet.
Crumbs Cupcakes come in all different sizes and flavors. These cupcakes are so moist and delicious. So hard to pick a favorite they are all so good, but I really love The Grasshopper – a chocolate cake filled with fudge in the center and topped with mint chocolate chip buttercream.
Katz’s Delicatessen is a NYC staple! This is definitely a touristy spot, but worth a visit. They are famous for their pastrami sandwich. Don’t forget to try the pickles if you’re a fan.
Eataly has got to be one of my favorite places and I stop here every time I go to NYC! It literally has EVERYTHING! Eataly is not only an Italian market, but it has restaurants and even its own rooftop microbrewery, La Birreria, which I recommend for brunch. Depending on what you want to eat will determine what area you go to within Eataly, as each place is separated according to the type of food being served. You will find a seafood section, pasta section, pizza section, sandwich section and even a charcuterie section. I love to visit the charcuterie section and have a glass of wine and indulge in their delicious selection of meats and cheeses. I typically prefer to hop around and share food with someone, as this allows you to visit each area and have a taste of different things versus sitting down at just one spot and having a big meal. Save room for dessert as they have gelato, crepes and a variety of Italian crafted chocolates.
If you’re a local, you can shop here for fresh produce and Italian ingredients.
Rosa Mexicano is one of my favorite Mexican Restaurants! It has a modern twist on the typical Mexican dishes, however is true to the authentic flavors and dishes of Mexico. I absolutely recommend the table side guacamole. You have a preference of mild, medium or spicy. I have LITERALLY tried every dish on the menu (I actually worked there for a short time) and I can’t say one bad thing about the food. Promise, I am not being biased! My favorite dishes are the Enchiladas Suizas and the Tablones. The quality of the ingredients in the food at Rosa Mexicano are ON POINT and you won’t be disappointed. The desserts are unique and delicious. As far as the cocktails go, their signature drink is the frozen pomegranate margarita. Personally, I am not a fan of frozen drinks, however it is strong. I prefer the Cadillac Margarita, which has a Gran Marnier floater.
All you need to know is that the banana bread pudding at Magnolia Bakery is
Shake Shack should be one of your stops in NYC. It is considered one of the best burger joints in NYC and many people travel to experience it’s deliciousness. I will say that it is worth the trip, however I have had better burgers. Prepare to wait in very long lines to get a taste!
Gallow Green is a rooftop restaurant and bar with a garden setting and beautiful ambiance located in the McKittrick Hotel. Your experience at Gallow Green begins with an elevator ride up to the rooftop with a bell hop. Great scene and signature cocktails! My favorite cocktail was the Forgotten Summer. This is a great brunch or dinner spot with a view.
Locanda Verde is located in Tribeca and the ultimate culinary experience. Upscale, but fantastic and executed perfectly. I suggest you start with the Sheep’s milk Ricotta as it is superb! I ordered the Spaghetti Bologonese and it was perfectly cooked and had such great flavor.
Lomardi’s is not a place to miss while in NYC if you are a pizza lover! The crust is thin, with the perfect balance between crispy and chewy, a little charred and smokey from the coal fire oven! The Margarita Pizza is a classic, however all the pizzas are delicious.
Buvette provides an authentic culinary experience influenced by European cuisine. Great atmosphere, food and a taste of Paris for brunch. I recommend the eggs and prosciutto, waffle sandwich and Croque Madame!
Buvette does not accept reservations so plan accordingly.
The Doughnut Planet…..WOW! Order the Creme Brulee Doughnut! That’s all you need to know. Get there early, order a dozen, and then drop them off at my house!
The creme brulee is loaded with flavor. The core is filled with an outstanding creme brulee creme, while the shell is fluffy and doughy. The top is crispy and caramelized, giving it that ultimate crunch and sweetness. I hope I’ve convinced you that you need to stop here while in NYC. The quality of the ingredients, taste and texture will exceed your expectations. All the doughnuts are amazing, your biggest mistake will be not ordering more!