I lived in NYC for 7 years which ended in late 2016. Those 7 years where full of trials and tribulations in work and life. The Big Apple takes a lot from you on a daily basis but it also gives back and tenfold in the amount of amazing food you have access to. The best examples of so many cuisines of the world are just a subway ride away. I ate very well in my time in the city and in my returns as well, and I plan on continuing my delicious journey of exploring the NYC food scene on every return I make.
This list is by no means exhaustive to all the amazing food that NYC has to offer but this is a collection of my (and friends) favorite places for eating and drinking at. I have eaten at many places in the city and these are a collection of the best spots i’ve been and returned to time and time again. When you check out the google map you will see my bias is toward Lower Manhattan/ Brooklyn which of course makes sense as these are the areas that I spent most of my time!
You might also notice this list is HEAVY in various Asian food recommendations and those are some of my favorite foods. There is so much complexity and diversity in Asian cuisine each with so much more depth than the average american might associate with each cuisine. When it comes to my Asian food recommendations these come from many meals spent with friends and coworkers who grew up on these different cuisines and have taught me what is good and for that I am forever grateful.
One final word, this post is a bit photo light due to me only having a bunch of low quality photos from the past 7 years of most of these places but I have detailed descriptions to make up for it!
You Also Might Like: NYC through a Local’s Eyes – A Photo Essay
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a some money if you make a purchase using these links at no cost to you.
WHERE TO EAT IN NYC FROM A LOCAL FOODIE’S PERSPECTIVE
(click below to jump to a section!)
INTERACTIVE GOOGLE MAP
AMERICAN/ AUSTRALIAN/ EUROPEAN RESTAURANTS IN NYC
Murray’s Bagels | 2 Manhattan Locations |
New Yorker’s have a lot of opinions on a lot of things bagels being one of them. Murray’s is my favorite spot for the bagels are delicious and the locations are convenient. If you want to get it as they were truly intended don’t have them toast it.
Black Seed | 170 Elizabeth Street, Manhattan |
A newer addition to the NYC bagel scene, Black Seed specializes in Montreal style bagels which are different than the New York kind but still delicious. They have a lot of unique sandwiches which are worth a try.
Russ and Daughters | 3 Manhattan Locations |
If you want delicious smoked fish one of the Russ and Daughters locations are the place to go. They have been owned by the same family since 1914 and are an NYC classic. You can get fish to go at the original deli or check out one of the 2 cafe’s if you want a full menu at a sit down restaurant.
Ruby’s Cafe | 219 Mulberry Street A, Manhattan |
An Australian style cafe Ruby’s has a great and varied menu of fresh and quality food. Their burger is a highlight with it’s sweet chili sauce that takes it to the next level.
Five Leaves | 18 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn |
Another Australian style cafe that has been a Brooklyn institution. The food is consistently good and the brunch is fresh and flavorful. You can expect a wait almost any time of day but there is plenty to do nearby so its not terrible.
Roberta’s | 261 Moore Street, Manhattan |
The pizza here is legendary for its quality and taste. While pizza is the star the rest of the menu is nothing to write off as it is all quality and amazing. Unless you go for a 10am brunch on the weekend (highly suggested) there is almost always a wait. Pro tip is to get a pie to take out from the take out stand and eat it in the back garden patio with beers!
Superiority Burger | 430 E 9th Street, Manhattan |
The hole in the wall vegetarian/ Vegan restaurant of the former Del Posto Pastry Chef this place has a limited but market fresh menu and a superb veggie burger that is worth a taste even if you eat meat. The actual area for seating is small so take it out and enjoy at the nearby Tompkins Square Park.
Fuku | 5 Manhattan Locations |
Kind of Asian kind of not this fried chicken restaurant is another spot from the mind of David Chang. The menu is limited with the chicken sandwich being the star. It is everything you could ever want in a chicken sandwich and worth a stop.
Pies ‘n’ Thighs | 166 S 4th Street, Brooklyn |
A neighborhood stable for brunch the shinning star here is the chicken biscuit. It is a perfectly fried piece of chicken served in a perfectly made biscuit. It is simply delicious.
Fish | 280 Bleecker Street, Manhattan |
If you want to start your night with some oysters and a drink this is a great spot to go. The “Red, White, and Blue” is the dish to order it is 6 oysters or clams + wine or a PBR. When your night is likely to add up this is a great price to start it with.
Pepe Giallo | 195 10th Ave, Manhattan |
Well priced and quality Italian food in an area with out too many great food options. It is the perfect meal after a day of gallery hopping in Chelsea.
Edi & The Wolf | 102 Avenue C, Manhattan |
If you are craving a quality schnitzel and other Austrian specialties this is the place to go. While not on the menu if you ask they often have the traditional Veal Schnitzel available otherwise the version on the menu is a delicious Heritage Pig.
Fette Sau | 354 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn |
While many BBQ spots have popped up over the years Fette Sau is a delicious classic. The meat is ordered by the 1/4 pound and is top notch. The Craft Beer and Whiskey selection are also top notch.
Krolewskie Jadlo | 694 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn |
If you are looking for traditional polish food this is the spot for you. You will know you have reached it when you see the knight statues sitting out side.
Want to learn more about NYC food? Check out these tours!
MEXICAN/ SOUTH AMERICAN RESTAURANTS IN NYC
La Esquina | 2 Locations (1 Manhattan, 1 Brooklyn) |
While there are many facets to this restaurant I consider the take out window of the Manhattan location the best part. They are open late so its a great spot to stop for a quesadilla or taco in the middle of your night out and enjoy it at the small park across the street. The Brooklyn location boasts a large yard and great drinks which is great for summer hangouts!
La Superior | 295 Berry Street, Brooklyn |
A small but great Mexican place in Willamsburg Brooklyn that also has a great margarita. Cash Only
Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos | 271 Starr Street, Brooklyn |
Located in the now hip center of Bushwick, this restaurant is a tortilla factory by day and taqueria by night. The food is authentic and delicious and the whole experience is one you have to see for your self. BYOB & Cash Only
Caracas Arepa Bar | 3 locations ( 1 in Manhattan, 1 in Brooklyn, 1 in Queens @ the Rockaways) |
If you have never had a Venezuelan Arepa you are missing out. Everything is amazing here and the Micheladas are next level amazing. Bonus they have a location at the Rockaways so your summer beach day can end with an Arepa and Michelada!
Tortillería Nixtamal | 104-05 47th Ave, Queens |
The claim to fame here are the fresh made tortillas from masa they make in house. The tortillas and the food is all delicious and if you are so inclined you can buy masa for your own tortilla and tamale making needs!
ASIAN RESTAURANTS IN NYC
Vanessa’s Dumplings | 3 locations (2 in Manhattan, 1 in Brooklyn) |
Delicious dumplings at a great price and the Sesame Peking Duck Sandwich is an absolute must. Card minimum, bring cash.
Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot | 105 Bowery, Manhattan |
The Chinatown offshoot of this Chinese Hot Pot chain is great for groups. The interactive nature of Hot Pot coupled with cheap (for NYC) pitchers of beer makes for a great and delicious evening out with friends.
Ping’s Seafood | 22 Mott Street, Manhattan |
If you want a traditional and delicious dim sum experience this spot in Chinatown is for you. They also can throw you a traditional Chinese New Year dinner during the holiday if you book space in advance.
Joe’s Shanghai | 3 locations (2 in Manhattan, 1 in Queens) |
The specialty here is Xiao Long Bao otherwise known as soup dumplings. They are a specialty of Shanghai and the ones here are top notch. I have had them at plenty places in NYC, CA, and even Hong Kong and these continue to rank as some of the best in my mind. The Scallion Pancakes here are also awesome; Cash Only
Win Son | 159 Graham Ave, Brooklyn |
A newer addition to the Brooklyn food scene off an unassuming street in a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood (hello my old home!) specializes in Taiwanese cuisine and it is fantastic. The food is delicious and complex and they have a great cocktail menu as well!
Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles | 1 Doyers Street, Manhattan|
An unassuming store front in Chinatown that serves delicious hand pulled noodles in soups and other dishes; Cash Only
Tim Ho Wan | 85 4th Ave, Manhattan |
This recent addition to the NYC food landscape comes from Hong Kong where it has a Michelin Star. The food is high quality and delicious dim sum dishes at reasonable prices with the star being their unique pork bun which differs from the traditional Char Siu Bao as it is baked and has a deliciously crispy coating. I dream’t of those buns from the time I had them in Hong Kong until I was reunited in NYC.
Xi’an Famous Foods | (12 Locations , 9 in Manhattan, 2 in Queens, 1 in Brooklyn)
This chain specializes in hand pulled noodles and dishes of the Xi’an Providence of China. The Spicy Cumin Lamb Burger is a stand out though literally everything here is delicious.
Want to learn more about Chinatown & the food it offers? Check out these tours!
Bassanova Ramen | 76 Mott Street, Manhattan |
American off shoot of a Japanese Ramen restaurant with interesting ramen flavor combos that are all delicious. The Green Curry Ramen is a speciality; Cash Only
Momofuku Noodle Bar | 171 1st Avenue, Manhattan |
Kind of Japanese kind of not, this is the restaurant that started David Chang’s restaurant empire and made pork buns popular the world over. The ramen here never dissapoints. To avoid a wait go early or late, or accept your wait and get a drink down the street.
Totto Ramen | (3 locations, all in Manhattan) |
Of all the ramen places I’ve been in NYC this is the most like being in Japan. Everything is executed perfectly and you are almost guaranteed a wait but its worth it for the delicious noodles.
Yakuniku West | 218 E 9th Street, Manhattan |
Yakuniku is Japanese barbecue where you cook it at your own table and it is amazing. This restaurant not only has great meat but a cool atmosphere. It follows the traditional Japanese custom where you remove your shoes before entering the main restaurant area and you sit at tables that are low down (but with room for your legs) like in a traditional restaurant. It is great for groups if you reserve a table in advance!
Okonomi | 150 Ainslie Street, Brooklyn |
If you have never had a traditional Japanese breakfast you are missing out. Okonomi is a small restaurant that specializes in Japanese breakfasts, the food is always amazing and there is generally a wait. In the evening the restaurant is home of Yuji Ramen which I have never tried but has to be good.
Village Yochoko | 8 Stuyvesant Street, 2nd Floor |
Specializing in Japanese bar food this restaurant has a great selection of traditional Japanese foods in a chill atmosphere. It is one of my favorites for when I don’t want noodles.
Kenka | 25 St Marks Place, Manhattan |
This restaurant serves a pretty large and traditional menu of Japanese Izakaya and bar foods in an energetic atmosphere. It feels like you are in an eccentric Japanese place and it is great. To finish your meal you get sugar to make your own cotton candy outside (don’t take it as a shot like my sister and I did the first time we went!!).
Shabu-Tatsu | 216 E 10th St #1, Manhattan |
Shabu Shabu is Japanese style hot pot. Like it’s Chinese counter part it is an interactive meal where you cook your food in the broth provided. It is a bit lighter in flavor than the Chinese version but still delicious and this spot does it right.
Raku | 342 E 6th Street, Manhattan |
Personally Udon is a hit or miss kind of dish for me. Many places do not do it right which makes it a very sad dish, at Raku they specialize in Udon and it is amazing. The restaurant is small which means you are likely to wait but there are plenty of places to kill time at in the area and your wait will be rewarded.
Spring Shabu-Shabu | 136-20 38th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Queens |
If you like Shabu Shabu and like to eat a lot this is the place for you. You pick your soup and buy your meat and the rest of the veggies, fish cakes, noodles, sauces, etc. are all you can eat! You are guaranteed to leave stuffed.
OTHER ASIAN CUISINES
Soju Haus | 315 5th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Manhattan |
Specializing in flavored Soju drinks (the Korean rice based alcohol) this spot is great for Korean eats and tasty drinks. The food is classic and always delicious.
Miss Korea | 10 W 32nd Street, Manhattan |
A staple of K-Town for Korean BBQ each of the 3 floors offers a different but great dining experience.
Jongro BBQ | 22 W 32nd Street, 2nd Floor, Manhattan |
There is never not a wait here but it is the best Korean BBQ I have had and I have gone to quite a few places. My friends all agree. The meats are perfectly marinaded and all the sides are delicious.
Bunker Vietnamese | 99 Scott Ave, Brooklyn |
I have had a lot of Pho at a lot of places and the bowl here continually reigns among the best. That will probably change once I make it to Vietnam but this bowl I am sure will stand solid. All the food is great and the bánh xèo here is out of this world. The location can be quite the trek but is always worth it in my opinion.
Pig and Khao | 68 Clinton Street, Manhattan |
This restaurant is a mix of many different SE Asian cuisines through a Filipino & Thai lens. The food and the atmosphere are both great and well worth a visit for the unique and quality dishes.
Num Pang Kitchen | 7 Manhattan Locations |
A Cambodian style sandwich shop with delicious sandwiches. If you are familiar with the Vietnamese Bahn Mi these
Pok Pok NY | 117 Columbia Street, Brooklyn |
The Brooklyn offshoot of the popular Portland restaurant features Northern Thai food that you do not see on many other menus. The food is delicious and is of a high quality. If you are exploring the Brooklyn waterfront it is a great place to stop for food!
SriPraPhai | 64-13 39th Avenue, Queens |
Authentic and delicious Thai food at a cozy location in Queens. Full of flavor and texture the food here is worth a trip if you are in the area.
Dosa Royal | 258 Dekalb Avenue, Brooklyn & Smorgasburg |
My New York days unfortunately did not consist of too much Indian food but a spot that I did stop by and was awesome was this spot. Their Dosa’s are cooked perfectly and all the chutneys to go with them are great.
Cafe Mogador | 2 Locations (1 in Manhattan, 1 in Brooklyn)|
A NYC classic the original East Village location has been open since 1983. The food is Moroccan inspired and always good.
Oasis | 2 Locations, both in Brooklyn|
If you need a quick lunch or late night nosh and are craving falafel Oasis is your answer in Williamsburg Brooklyn. The falafel is always fresh and delicious and the service quick.
Bunna Cafe | 1084 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn |
A fantastic Plant Based Ethiopian place that is as hip as it is delicious. The atmosphere feels like you are in a cool spot in Ethiopia and the cultural traditions are embraced here. They even do a traditional coffee ceremony 4 times a week. Cash Only
COFFEE SHOPS/ BAKERIES
Devoción | 69 Grand Street, Brooklyn |
A super popular spot especially on the weekends Devoción roasts their own beans from Colombia and make a stellar cup of coffee. The cafe atmosphere and the staff both make you want to return and it doesn’t hurt the croissants are also amazing.
City of Saints Coffee Roasters | 2 Locations (1 in Manhattan, 1 in Brooklyn)|
Both locations of this roastery are small but they make a good cup of coffee and have some unique coffee based drinks. The Brooklyn location is the roastery as well.
Ninth Street Espresso | 2 Manhattan Locations |
The cup of Espresso here is solid and the Chelsea Market location is convenient when you are pursuing all the food the market contains!
Culture Espresso | 2 Manhattan Locations |
While I have already made a case for Culture Espresso in my NYC Garment District Guide I will make the same point here. You are hard pressed to find a better coffee in midtown and the AMAZING chocolate chip cookies are an added bonus.
Granddaisy Bakery | 250 W Broadway, Manhattan |
When I worked around the corner this bakery was breakfast/ lunch more times than not but for good reason. The bread is fresh baked and delicious and the flat bread pizza was amazing. Extra bonus there is a small park to enjoy your food at across the street!
Fortunado Brothers Cafe | 289 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn |
If you want delicious Italian pastries and special holiday treats this is the place to go. The Tiramisu cake was a favorite for birthday’s amongst my friends.
Peter Pan Doughnut & Pastry Shop | 727 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn |
A neighborhood classic, the doughnuts here are classic and perfect. There is nothing fancy or new about them and that is what makes them perfect.
Sweet & Vicious | 5 Spring Street, Manhattan |
I have been going here since my first month in NYC and it has remained a favorite. The claim to fame amongst my friends and I are the Frozen Margaritas from the machine they have at the bar. While I am usually an on the rocks kinda person the one here is strong and delicious and served in a jar/ mug thing. The back patio is a great place to enjoy a “jar-garita” as my sister called them
Beauty Bar | 231 E 14th Street, Manhattan |
Too many late saturday nights ended with my friend and I dancing in the back room of Beauty Bar. They have a great mix of music on and an interesting mix of mostly locals. They have other events and things during the week if you are into that as well.
Sake Bar Decibel | 240 E 9th Street, Manhattan |
My favorite bar in NYC is this underground Japanese joint. It is literally in the basement level of a building and feels like you are in a cool bar in Tokyo. The sake selection is on point and amazing. Skip the food and eat nearby first.
Lake Street Bar | 706 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn |
A chill spot in the popular Greenpoint neighborhood right of the G train Lake Street is a great spot to grab a drink and chill with friends. They have frozen Negronis and Margaritas in the summer as well!
Spritzenhaus33 | 33 Nassau Avenue, Brooklyn |
A popular neighborhood spot for group gatherings due to the large space and tables. Spritzenhaus is a fun place to enjoy some beers with friends.
Ramona | 113 Franklin Street, Brooklyn |
A cute cocktail bar with great drinks. Its a great place to grab a cocktail before dinner or go on a date
Featherweight | 135 Graham Avenue, Brooklyn |
This cocktail bar is tucked away behind the related bar Sweet Science through a door and a small walkway. The vibe is very speakeasy feeling and they make great cocktails. It is usually a pretty chill place as it is off the beaten path.
Pine Box Rock Shop | 12 Grattan Street, Brooklyn |
This Bushwick bar boasts a large selection of beer on tap and a large seating area making it a popular neighborhood hang out. They also have shows in the back room, calendar is on their website.