Where to Eat in New York City in 2023
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Where to eat in New York, when you’re traveling and the temptations, from whichever way you look, arrive at any time of the day? How to avoid falling into tourist traps and ending up in squalid, dirty and inadequate places? I want to be honest: New York is not the easiest city for those who love to eat well. The offer is overwhelming but the city is so big that often, to avoid complicating your life, you end up in the first place you find and eating very bad food.
As for all cities, it is necessary to know how to get completely organized and how to find the best places to eat in New York: in this guide I recommend the places where I go and where I keep coming back every time I’m in New York. The list includes pizzerias, ethnic restaurants, burger places, places where you only eat sweets and so on.
The guide on where to eat in New York is not written taking into account the quality / price ratio but taking into account the quality and, obviously, my personal taste. The choices are in fact subjective and not linked to any kind of relationship with any of the premises mentioned here.
An institution in the Lower East Side, an old suburban area that has now been redeveloped and has become one of the most fashionable places in New York. Katz is famous for his pastrami sandwich: big, rich, full of meat, cheese and fat. It is here that the most famous scene of When Harry Met Sally has been filmed and although the place is always full, the quality is guaranteed and also the prices are much lower than the average New Yorker, especially considering the quantities. Queue at all hours of the day, but it’s definitely worth it. Check the website.
Momofuku Noodle Bar
Japanese noodles served in various ways, that is with or without stock, cold or hot: we are in East Village and David Chang’s restaurant is worth at least one visit, preferably at lunch time. Choose the sit at the counter to interact with waiters and locals and get ready for one of the most exciting experiences of your life, if you love noodles! Expensive but the quality is very high and the ingredients are unbeatable! Check the website.
A slice of pizza for a dollar: not bad right? The pizza is not Italian but American, the sauce is sweet but overall the pizza of Joe’s Pizza is good. The queue outside, at all hours but especially in the evening and night, and the adherence to the same recipe for years and years make Joe’s Pizza a true institution in New York. Not recommended for a meal, but for a quick and cheap snack. Check the website.
Hector’s Café & Diner
The experience of a diner, a typical American restaurant, is mandatory when you are in New York. These types of restaurants are slowly disappearing but Hector’s Café & Diner in the stylish Meatpacking District is truly unique. There is nothing trendy in this place but the food is delicious and hearty, classic and even old style (pancakes, burger, etc) and the cup with coffee is continuously filled. Truly an unmissable place in New York!
Nathan’s Hot Dog
A ride to Coney Island in the morning and a hot dog at Nathan’s: how to spend a day as a real NewYorker. Nathan’s hot dog is classic and can be enriched with various types of sauces: if the sandwich does not leave you speechless, I’m sure the location will. They organize an eating contest every year. Check the website.
The best brunch in Harlem and beyond: Sylvia’s Restaurant is really an unmissable stop, which is worth the trip to Harlem (an incredible area!). Founded in the 1960s by Sylvia Woods, it is now a mecca for lovers of South American cuisine, as well as being a meeting point for the local community. Try the classic Chicken & Waffle. Check the website.
A must for breakfast in Union Square, loved by the local people and by those passing in the area in the morning. A fairly small space where they serve what many believe are the best New York bagels and traditional American dishes prepared using top quality ingredients. Try the Kouign-Amann, a puff pastry cake, and the classic Egg Sandwich. Check the website.
The best donuts in New York are from Doughnut Plant, which has several locations, although the best is in Chelsea. The donuts are large and the fry is not felt even after a few bites; they range from the classic to the more experimental, with tastes that change daily and even seasonally. Check the website.
Xi-an Famous Foods
A chain of Chinese restaurants scattered throughout New York, all characterized by small size, long queue outside, extremely low prices and great food. We eat Xi-an cuisine, quite spicy and spicy and the main dish is definitely dumplings. Try the one in Chinatown for a truly unforgettable experience. Check the website.
Sugarfish by Sushi Nozawa
In the Flatiron area, Sugarfish by Sushi Nozawa is famous for its tasty sushi sold at a much lower price than you’d expect from a sushi restaurant in the area. The queue is always very long, so I recommend going outside peak times. Check the website.
Two locations, one in Brooklyn and one in the West Village, for this restaurant that offers various dishes inspired by Italian cuisine but has its highlight in the burger, one of the best in New York and beyond. High prices, but the burger is really great and worth the money. Check the website.
A classic among New York restaurants, serving its patrons for years by offering a hybrid menu with innovative and delicious dishes. The prices are high and you have to book to find a place. The Taverna menu is more informal while Dining Room is more formal and more expensive. Check the website.
A Parisian-style bistro in the Village where brunch is really a serious thing at the weekend: the dishes are all from the French tradition, revisited in an American version and with local ingredients. Try the Croque Monsieur and the waffles. Check the website.
Most probably, the largest and most delicious cookies (American cookies) you can eat. Fragrant, stuffed, 100% enjoyable: fresh from the oven they are a delight, but they are no less so when they are cold.Check the website.
Russ & Daughters
Bagels and salmon lovers, this is the place for you. Russ & Daughters is a deli and has been open since the early 1900s; sells bagels with smoked and fresh salmon, but also many other high quality fast dishes. Despite being a deli, the prices are not really low and the morning queue is long. Check the website.
In Brooklyn, a healthy corner where you can stop to eat natural and well-combined foods. They range from products without refined sugars to those without lactose and so on. Absolutely try the homemade coconut yoghurt served with buckwheat grains. Check the website.
A classic in Brooklyn, Peter Luger serves what has been considered by many to be the best steak in New York. The prices are not low but the portions are very abundant and the quality is very high, to try absolutely if you love excellent quality meat. Check the website.
Murray’s Cheese in Greenwich Village is perfect for those who love cheese and want to try one of the most incredible (and only apparently simple) specialties: the grilled cheese sandwich, the so-called “melt”. Do not miss the Murray’s Melt: a mix of 5 different cheeses dissolved in two slices of bread cut high.Check the website.
Little Cupcake Bakeshop
If you love cupcakes, this is the perfect place to eat excellent, fresh, delicate (even in a gluten-free version!) cupcakes. They are prepared on site and decorated in front of the customers and different ones are proposed every day. The highlight of the house is the Brooklyn Blackout Cake, an incredible chocolate cake that has been awarded as best in the United States.Check the website.
Eat by Chloe
The vegan paradise in New York: Eat by Chloe offers classic dishes revisited in a vegan and vegetarian version, also excellent for those who are not vegan or vegetarian. Noteworthy is the burger prepared with legumes and various seeds. Expensive, always crowded. Check the website.
Japan Village Brooklyn
2000 square meters all dedicated to Japan and its culinary specialties: from takoyaki to yakitori through soba and udon. Inside not only restaurants but also typical Japanese supermarkets and shops. Check the website.
A market full of stalls where you can stop and eat in the Chelsea neighborhood. From burgers to salads, to places to eat vegan or vegetarian: there’s really everything at Chelsea Market and the prices are interesting, even considering the location. Try the tacos of Los Tacos No. 1. Check the website.
Where NOT to eat in New York
After giving you advice on where to eat in New York, I’ll leave you some on where not to eat. The city is in fact known for being extremely touristy, so it is good to keep your eyes open to avoid cheating.
Vendors on the street (NOT FOOD TRUCKS)
Attention: this is not about the food trucks which are actually amazing in NY but the shacks where hot dogs and pretzels are sold that are found at all corners of the most famous streets. Besides the poor quality of the food, these shacks are also not very clean and the food is constantly exposed to city smog. To be avoided absolutely!
Fascinating to see, with many things to do, a true symbol of New York: Times Square is this but it is also an endless series of restaurants and places of dubious taste and quality, designed specifically to feed tourists. If you really want to eat in the Time Square area because you are visiting, choose one of the many fast food and chains: the quality will not be very high but at least the products are controlled. Above all, I recommend Shake Shack.
Eating in New York: essential advice to find the best restaurants
If it is true that language can sometimes be an obstacle when looking for a good restaurant, here are my suggestions to find good restaurants in New York attended mainly by locals:
- Check the queues: the places where there is a queue and where most of the people are Americans, are the places to try;
- Use the maps with tips from locals: open Google Maps, search for “restaurants” or any type of food you want to eat and, once you’ve opened the list of suggested places, look for the ones with the highest reviews;
- Ask the locals: ask the locals to recommend a place. Sometimes they may recommend you a place they wanna advertise (receptionists at the hotel use to do this) but you mostly will end up being recommended places they attend with family and friends.
What to eat in New York
There is no typical New York dish but there are dishes that have now entered the tradition. A must try:
- Hot dog
- New York Cheesecake
Eating in New York: the rules to follow
Every country has its own rules when it comes to food. Here is a guide with the rules of good manners to be respected when eating at a restaurant in New York.
- Mandatory tip: even if it seems strange to you, tipping in New York is mandatory. In fact, a tip is a necessary subsidy for waiters who receive a very low salary and round off just with tips left by customers. The rule says to leave at least 18% of the total;
- Credit card: paying by credit card is considered normal and if you decide to pay by card you must ensure that the card you have available is valid internationally;
- Bill at the table: once asked, the waiter will bring it and you can pay directly at the table and not at the cash desk, leaving the tip directly on the final sum.