Food tourism is an ever expanding industry. What was once something you did to survive, eating is now somewhat a hobby for people of all budgets, ages and sizes.
With that in mind, many people are seeking out the top cheap eats as well as pricier, award winning restaurants when they travel.
I don’t think there has been one holiday I’ve had in the last 10 years which hasn’t been influenced by food in some way. From the fish and chip shop in Crantock to Clear Head in Prague, for me food makes memories!
It’ll be no surprise that when I found out I would be taking a trip to America for a friends wedding I thought A LOT about the food I would be eating.
Now don’t get me wrong, the first thought was obviously OH MY GOSH, DAN AND BETH ARE GETTING MARRIED. I really did scream it in my head like that because Dan is one of my oldest friends and him and Beth had a bit of a whirlwind romance. They are both charity workers in South Sudan and had only been seeing each other for a few months before they knew it was serious. A few months after that and Dan proposed.
Exciting isn’t it!
The wedding was in Delaware and whilst Delaware has its fair share of fab foodie finds (like Just Hooked in Fenwick Island for example http://justhookedfi.com/ ), but because we flew in and out of Newark airport and we stayed in New York for 3 nights, deciding where we would eat during our stay at the big apple became an obsession.
Pizza and hot dogs were high on the list, as were high end restaurants and craft beer bars. Somehow we managed to do the lot!
Now this isn’t meant to be a comprehensive guide of the Top 10 Restaurants in New York or the Top 5 Pizzas in Manhattan but instead I wanted to give you a couple of my recommendations for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as where you should go to drink.
So without further a-do here are my Manhattan-must-eats!
Cafés and Bakeries
Now I am gutted that I cannot actually take credit for this find… Fluffy’s Café is a must visit for their pancakes, French toast, sandwiches and pastries.
Jon took me to Fluffy’s on a very wet and windy day and the stack of pancakes was a very welcome site indeed. We also sampled the French toast, Avocado Alfalfa and Walnut Bread Sandwich, Cannolis and Recee’s Pieces Muffins during our stay.
It’s also in a great location close to Times Square and Broadway but can also be easily reached if you’re heading up to Central Park for the day.
You’ve spent the morning, walking, rowing and running around Central Park. Maybe you even had a game of Frisbee on the Sheep Meadow? What’s the best thing you could do now? Why buy a HUGE, dense, chocolatey cookie from the Levain Bakery of course!
The Spotted Pig – Greenwich Village
Set in the heart of my favourite part of Manhattan (Greenwich Village) is The Spotted Pig. Brunch comes in many forms here. It might be something you expect, like French toast with bananas and strawberries or something a little different, like Cubana Sandwich with Watercress Salad. Whatever form brunch takes for you, promise me one thing – order the Bloody Mary from the Brunch Cocktails list! You’ll thank me later.
Also known as Katz’s of New York, Katz’s Deli is famous for three reasons:
1.) It’s pastrami sandwiches;
2.) Meg Ryan’s fake orgasm scene in the film When Harry Met Sally; and
3.) It’s appearance on man v food
The deli has an awesome homely feel with neon signs and photo frames lining the walls. The ordering system can be a bit hectic with diners receiving a ticket and going up to the counter to order, so if there are tables free ask for the waitress service. You will be expected to tip but it takes the hassle out of it, especially on busy days.
I went for the Reuben with extra pastrami – in Emma v Food, food won!
DB Bistro Moderne
If 3 Michelin Starred “Daniel” is a little out of your price range, then the next best thing DB Bistro Moderne.
One of the many New York restaurants owned by Daniel Boulud, DB Bistro Moderne is in my opinion the best. The seasonal menu is packed with fantastic ingredients which have been showcased in simple yet beautifully crafted dishes.
What makes this restaurant stand out for me is the intimate venue, the fantastic use of fruit and vegetables (not just in the vegetarian dishes – note many of Daniel Boulud’s restaurants do not currently have a single vegetarian or vegan option), and the simplicity of each dish in construction and presentation.
The serving staff here are also not only incredibly knowledgeable about the food and drinks menu as you’d expect but they are also the perfect combination of warm, friendly and distant enough to let you enjoy your private dinner.
DB Bistro Moderne is (currently) my favourite restaurant in Manhattan.
John’s Pizza, Bleecker Street
There are so many Pizza places claiming to be “the original” and “the best pizza in NYC”. Now I don’t know if it is the best, or the original – but I know it made me incredibly happy!
John’s was founded back in 1929 by immigrant John Sasso. It wasn’t always on Bleecker Street but I’ll forgive it, the location is fab. The restaurant is lined with wood panels, where it has become tradition to carve your name – Jon left our mark with a cute JM 4 EW in a heart. Isn’t he sweet!
The restaurant itself is simple “No Slices. No Reservations. Cash Only. Dine In or Take Out.” and the pizza is too! But that’s the best thing about it. Thin crusts, delicious tomato sauce and molten cheese. I agree with Jack Black, the best way is to get it plain.
Hot Dogs and Burgers
I feel a little bit like a fraud putting Shake Shack on this list – especially now that there is a Shake Shack in Covent Garden, London.
BUT it remains one of the best hot dogs I’ve ever eaten. The beef dog is served “flat” with your choice of toppings – my favourite is the Shack-cago Dog.
Head to the branch on Upper West Side after a walk through Central Park and you won’t regret it.
Dirt Candy is a must if you are looking for a seriously good vegetarian restaurant in New York City. Now I have a confession to make…we didn’t actually eat here as it is currently moving location but I have it on recommendation from some local relatives so do give it a try!
Dinner and Jazz
Cornelia Street Café
If you fancy sitting down to dinner with a more up tempo beat, why not head to Cornelia Street Café (again in Greenwich Village!)
Opened in 1977 the café soon became a hot spot for creative types as it perfectly blended good food with art and culture!
Expect bistro style dishes that are simple and elegant. I particularly enjoyed the Merguez Meatballs – spicy lamb meatballs on mashed sweet potatoes, with sautéed spinach and a lemon and yogurt sauce.
There are over 700 performances a year so there is sure to be something for you. Watching a performance does incur a charge so do bare this in mind, but the restaurant alone is well worth a visit.
Blind Tiger is a fantastic bar that has no less than 28 craft beers on tap (and many more in bottles!) You really will be spoilt for choice.
The bar staff are incredibly warm and welcoming and will help you pick the right beer for you.
If you’re not a beer drinker, have no fear because there’s plenty of wine, hard cider and spirits too.
So there we have it – the next time you visit New York you will have no problem deciding where to eat in the huge city!
If you have any recommendations I would LOVE to hear them so add them in the comments below. I have no doubt we will be heading back to New York at some point so I should probably start researching now….
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