New York City offers some of the most diverse food choices in the world. A melting pot of cultures that have come to call NYC home over the last 200 years. You can find your traditional New York burgers or Hot Dogs to some of the best Asian and South American cuisine, in different parts of this vibrant city.
As you may know we travelled with our little boy, Prince, who was only 10months old at the time, we are lucky parents because Prince loves to try anything and he loved pretty much all of the food, that he was allowed to eat. We did keep deep fried and food with lots of sugar away from him.
This was our first visit to the BIG APPLE, we had spoken to a few food bloggers and locals, to come with our favourite hangouts (so far!). For us it was about getting away from the hustle and bustle of Times Square (where we stayed) to explore neighbourhoods such as Harlem and Brooklyn, which was the real highlight. We found the further you go away from these tourist driven areas, the cheaper the everythng became.
The list below doesn’t include any fine dining places, most of the places below have share dishes, which could be eaten on the fly or a short stop on your adventures around New York.
$ – 0-20 per person
$$ – 20-50 per person
$$$ – 50+ per person
Our Top 10 Favorite Places To Eat In New York City
1. Chelsea Markets – Meatpacking District –
Price guide – $ -$$$ depending on the eatery
What an electric atmosphere this place is. We went on an early morning walk through The High Line starting from 34th Street, and ending just 200m away from the famous Chelsea Markets. This place is full of shops and eateries and a perfect short stop to recharge your batteries.
TIP: To Avoid long queues and lots of crowd go in the morning for breakfast or early lunch.
Chelsea Market in the Meatpacking District
It is an Old Nabisco factory turned into an office building with a massive food market on the first floor, offering high-quality food.
Most popular vendor: Rows of oysters, sea urchins, and line-caught fish chill behind the Lobster Place’s counter at this OG food hall (which has been around since well before food halls were a “thing”), but it’s the massive whole lobsters that draw the most attention. Price guide – $$
Most underrated vendor: Very Fresh Noodles specializes in Xi’an hand-pulled biangbiang noodles, an essential element of central Chinese cuisine. The Tingly Cumin Lamb Soup is the bowl to get — the rich meat is soaked in Shaoxing wine and seasoned with Chinese five-spice, star anise, ginger, and soy, and the noodles are topped with cumin, Sichuan peppercorns, and chili oil. Price guide – $
Fish market and restaurant inside Chelsea Market
Overall best vendor: Out of the 35 vendors housed inside Chelsea Market, Los Tacos No. 1 is the winner for us, proving that New York can do Mexican food well. Order from a handful of different tacos, including carne asada, adobada marinated pork, nopal (grilled cactus), all of which come wrapped in homemade tortillas. Once you’ve made your way through the regular menu, come back for the secret-menu taco, with a shell made entirely of cheese. Price guide – $
Los Tacos No 1 inside Chelsea Market.
2. Urbanspace Vanderbuilt – Food Hall – Grand Central Station
East 45th (at Vanderbilt Avenue), Midtown East
Price guide – $ to $$ depending on the vendor
One of our favourite food halls in whole of New York. its vibrant and has something for everyone. You will not be disappointed. Get in early for lunch for later in the afternoon when the office crowds have disappeared.
Most popular vendor: Popular Bushwick pizza joint Roberta’s created major hype when it launched its first brick-and-mortar outpost across the East River. But don’t worry, it didn’t leave its beloved pies in Brooklyn. You can still order the famous flaky garlic knots and soppressata, chili, and honey-topped Bee Sting pizza. Price guide – $$
Our favourite vendor: Hai Street Kitchen & Co, hands down was our favourite. Sushi Burrito with atlantic salmon was a hit with everyone, including little Prince. It was crunchy, delicious and healthy. Price guide – $
Salmon Salmon Sushi Burrito from Hai Street Kitchen & Co
3. Red Rooster – Harlem
Price guide – $$$
We caught the subway north of central park to see the vibrant neighbourhood, Harlem. Red Rooster was in 3 of our recommendations for “must visit” restaurants. So we decided to try it out. You cant miss this local icon, from the moment you walk in you will just want to groove to the reggae music and totally fall in love with the vibe.
We had the corn bread as a starter, and we both fell in love with it. For mains we ordered the slow cooked lamb (on the menu as Shabba Shank) and the Jamaican style steak (on the menu as Uptown Rib Eye). Both got 5 out 5 from both of us.
Red Rooster, Harlem
Slow cooked lamb, Red Rooster – Harlem
4. Magnolia Bakery
Price guide – $
Magnolia Bakery on Bleecker Street, Manhattan.
Kylie wanted to go on a Sex and the City tour, but we couldn’t find any that were rated well. So we decided to do our own, at our pace. Around the corner from Carrie’s house in Perry Street is the world famous Magnolia Bakery. There are multiple locations of the bakery now in New York and around the world.
But even if you are not Sex and the City fan, this place has some of the most delicious desserts. They are famous for their banana pudding but pretty much anything from the shop will satisfy your sweet cravings.
5. Juliana’s Pizza Parlour – Brooklyn
Price guide – $$
After long walk around Brooklyn Bridge Park, we stopped over for an early lunch at Juliana’s Pizza Parlour. Perfect New York style pizza, served with a little bit of Brooklyn love.
You can get the usual pizza favourites, but the special pizzas is where are eyes locked into. Anything looked and sounded delicious. Do yourself a favour and try Juliana’s when you go to Brooklyn.
6. Shake Shack – Madison Square Park
Price guide – $
If you want to experience something that is authentically Yankee, then nothing beats burger and a milkshake. now there are heaps of Burger joints around manhattan but one of the best in our eyes was Shake Shack. It’s grown in the last 5years to have multiple locations but we were at the original location Madison Square Park (20min walk from Times Square) on a Sunday afternoon.
The lines can be long at times, but they move quickly and the food comes out as fast as possible. they have wide variety of burgers to suit all taste buds.
7. Canal Street Market – Food Hall – Chinatown
Price guide – $ to $$
If you are like us, and more restaurants planned out than what you could eat in a few hours that you had in one place, well the answer to that is going to food hall and trying out small share portion, so you can try more from this culinary heaven.
Our second favourite food hall on this top 10 list was the Canal St Market, this newly renovated space has some great small vendors that have pushed the boundaries in food. If you want to grab a quick bite to eat, well then the market is perfect place.
Most popular vendor: Bubble tea-specialists Boba Guys draw in lines of people waiting to taste the strawberry matcha latte or the sea salt chocochata (horchata with chocolate). Price guide – $
Most underrated vendor: The brainchild of the East Village’s Izakaya and Japanese chain Samurice, Izakaya Samurice serves an inventive menu of miso soups, bento boxes, and Japanese curry rice. But your attention should be directed to the ochazuke — made like drip coffee, the dish involves hot dashi soup broth poured over a filter of bonito flakes into cups filled with cooked rice balls. Price guide – $
Overall best vendor: Nom Wah Kuai, a spin-off of the 1920 dim sum favorite Nom Wah Tea Parlor, takes the prize for its diverse lineup of dumplings and rice bowls. The spicy tofu rice bowl and the shrimp and snow pea leaf dumplings are both top picks. Price guide – $
8. Ess-a-Bagel – 831 3rd Ave, New York
Price guide – $
If you are in New York you have to try a freshly baked bagel, and they dont come any better than Ess-a-bagel. The lunch time lines sometimes can be long but you know you are going to get the freshest bagel in town.
We shared the salmon bagel, which was delicious.
9. Luke’s Lobster Roll – Under the Brooklyn Bridge
Price guide – $
This unexpected find which is located under the Brooklyn Bridge near the Carousel was a great treat. It wasn’t cheap for USD $18 but it was very delicious and fresh. We purchased the roll and walked around the corner to the carousel where we could and watch the children playing. Also it has one of the best views Brooklyn Bridge looking towards Manhattan financial district with One World Trade Centre.
10. Gray’s Papaya – Hot Dogs
Price guide – $
The institution of New York City has been standing for more than 40 Years. Gray’s at Broadway and 72nd is the only one left standing but its Recession Special — aka hot dogs and a drink — remains intact. (As with all things New York, there have been some price increases throughout the years, but the meal still costs under $5). Best Pina Colada in NYC.
*Sex and The City Fans would remember this from one of the scenes.
Gray’s Papaya Hot Doggery
Thank-you for taking time to read our blog, i hope it helps you plan out your next visit to NYC that little easier. If you do have any favourites from this list please comment below and feel free to share with your friends.
Safe travels, Kyrosh Family.