Updated Feb 21, 2018
Table of Contents
- 1 Destination: New York City
- 2 Where to Eat in NYC according to a Local New Yorker.
- 2.1 “A” is for Alphabet City.
- 2.2 ABC Kitchen
- 2.3 “B” is for Bemelmans’ Bar.
- 2.4 “B” is also for Balthazar
- 2.5 “C” is for Chinatown.
- 2.6 “C” is for Curry-Ya
- 2.7 “C” is also for Corner Bistro
- 2.8 “C” is for Chelsea Market
- 2.9 “D” is for DiPalo.
- 2.10 “E” is for the Ear Inn
- 2.11 “E” is for Epicerie Boulud
- 2.12 “E” is also for Essex Street Market
- 2.13 “F” is for Fiorello’s
- 2.14 “F” is also for Fraunces Tavern
- 2.15 “G” is for Gotham West Market.
- 2.16 “G” is for Golden Unicorn
- 2.17 “H” is for Halal Guys.
- 2.18 “H’ is also for Hearth
- 2.19 “I” is for Ippudo.
- 2.20 “J” is for Jones Wood Foundry.
- 2.21 “K” is for Kyclades
- 2.22 “K” is for King Cole Bar
- 2.23 “K” is obviously for Katz’s Deli.
- 2.24 “L” is for Laduree.
- 2.25 “L” is for La Dinistia
- 2.26 “L” is for Le Relais Venise L’entrecote
- 2.27 “M” is for Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- 2.28 “M” is for Maialino
- 2.29 “M” is also for McSorley’s
- 2.30 “M” is for Momofuku Noodle Bar
- 2.31 “N” is for NoLita.
- 2.32 “O” is for Odessa.
- 2.33 “O” is also for One World Trade.
- 2.34 “P” is for Per Se.
- 2.35 “P” is for Pastrami Queen
- 2.36 “P” is for Peter Luger’s
- 2.37 “Q” is for Queens.
- 2.38 “R” is for Royal Seafood.
- 2.39 “R” is for Root and Bone
- 2.40 “S” is for Slice.
- 2.41 “T” is for Trapizzino
- 2.42 Walker’s
- 2.43 “U” is for Union Square.
- 2.44 “V” is for Village.
- 2.45 Tea and Sympathy
- 2.46 Shabu Tatsu
- 2.47 “W” is for Wollensky’s Grill.
- 2.48 “X’ is for Xian Famous Foods.
- 2.49 “Y” is Yorkville
- 2.50 “Y” is also for Yankee Stadium
- 2.51 “Z” is for Zadies
- 2.52 “Z” is for Zeppole.
- 3 Make sure to read Best Hotels in NYC
Destination: New York City
Where to Eat in NYC according to a Local New Yorker.
“A” is for Alphabet City.
Alphabet City Avenues A, B, C, and sometimes D stretches from North to South starting at 14th Street to Houston Street (pronounced, “house-ten”). During my childhood, this part of town was a no-fly zone.
Now, you can hover around most parts without having to look over your back. If you’re looking for places to eat in NYC with a bit of character, few neighborhoods offer more. Read all about > Alphabet City and the best places to eat here.
“A” is also for ABC Kitchen. Attached to the famous retail store for fine and exotic goods, is this American contemporary restaurant. Using locally sourced organic ingredients, the food served here has an earthy quality that makes one feel that they’re not only eating something delicious but good for them. Its rustically modern design is aesthetically pleasing and makes for a comfortable eating experience.
“B” is for Bemelmans’ Bar.
Ludwig Bemelmans, the author of the Madeline book series took residence at the Carlyle Hotel many years ago. As a gesture of gratitude to the hotel, Ludwig, who was also an artist, gifted the hotel a mural in its’ bar which very much resembles the artwork in the books.
The bar subsequently was named in his honor. Bemelmans may be one of the last great hotel bars in New York. Come any evening and enjoy a well prepared “old fashioned”, with fur-clad women, while some Gershwin is being played on the piano.
35 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021, USA
Café Carlyle Reservations: +1 800 405 1985
“B” is also for Balthazar
“B” is also for Balthazar. Yes, this shows up on a lot of lists, and for good reason. Eating at Balthazar always feels like an event. Servers, by the plenty, are part of a seamless dance that’s not only fun to watch but makes one’s experience great.
The stewards behind the bar make the best Bloody Marys, the kitchen doles out excellent steak frites, and the raw bar creates the most beautiful seafood towers. Balthazar is one of our first stops during the Christmas Season.
“C” is for Chinatown.
Big Wong & Shanghai Asian Manor
Gritty and smelly? Yes, but there’s nothing like it. Where else can you find, old Cantonese men dressed in traditional garb hanging out with old Italian guys wearing pinky rings? The sub-cuisines offered in New York’s Chinatown is as diverse as those found in China itself. There’s Canton, Hunan, Xian, Shanghainese, it’s definitely a neighborhood one must eat in NYC.
Walk along Mott Street and see glistening Roast Duck hung by the window (Big Wong, being the best, on Mott right below Canal). Continue to head south on Mott to Mosco Street and you’ll hit Shanghai Asian Manor. Order their famous Xiao Long Bao (Soup Dumplings) and appreciate the complexity in the preparation of what the Chinese consider to be “simple” food.
106 Mosco Street
For a real down-home, no-frills experience, go halfway down Mosco Street (address 106) and you’ll find a fried dumpling place, literally out of a hole in the wall. For $1.25 you get 5 delicious pork and chive dumplings. With a dash of their special sauce (which I believe is simply soy sauce and vinegar) and a touch of Siracha, your good to go.
Few snacks are more satisfying and more affordable than this. By now, you get the point, there are lots to choose from. Need a recommendation, ask the Italian guy with the pinky ring, I’m sure he’s got his favorites.
For more on food and snacks in Chinatown, Read this > Best Food and Snacks in NYC’s Chinatown
“C” is for Curry-Ya
“C” is for Curry-Ya, a small Japanese, counter only, restaurant. Akin to what you’ll find in Japan itself. No sushi, no ramen here. They serve Japanese curry and Japanese curry only. I like places that make one thing and make it well. This is one of those places. Order the Berkshire Pork Katsu Curry, spiced to your liking, and you’ll find yourself hooked.
214 East 10th St. NYC, 10003
(bet. 1st & 2nd Ave.)
12:00pm – 11:00pm
“C” is also for Corner Bistro
“C” is for Corner Bistro. This West Village tavern serves the best, and I mean the best, broiled burgers. There is a broiler behind the bar where you can witness the juices from all the burgers within dripping on each other, hence creating a rich finish to their superior product.
331 W 4th St,
New York, NY 10014
at the corner of
Jane and West 4TH
“C” is for Chelsea Market
If it happens to be a rainy day, and you’re looking for something to do, come to Chelsea Market. You can spend the whole day eating, drinking, and shopping here. Our favorite eateries include Lobster Place for unpretentious premium seafood and Dickson’s Farmstand for great beef product.
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 7am to 9pm, Sunday: 8am to 8pm
Address: 75 9th Avenue (Between 15th and 16 Streets), New York, NY 10011
“D” is for DiPalo.
When the rest of Italian-American food purveyors decided to become adequate, the DiPalo family kept a higher standard. They continue to represent their heritage with great pride. They single-handedly put the vowel back in Italian-American cuisine.
When everyone else is selling you “Muzzarell”, the DiPalos sell you “MozzarellA” made on the premises. You’ll also find multiple types of “ProscuittO” here, not “Proshoot”. There is real mortadella to be found, which is that strange, delicious cold cut, that ironically inspired, what we came to know as bologna. I can go on and on; but instead, I advise you to see, smell, and taste yourself. A visit here is one of the best things to do in New York.
200 Grand St, New York, NY 10013
“E” is for the Ear Inn
Many bars claim to be the Oldest in New York City. It’s probably one of the greatest debates for that matter. One that is often missed is the Ear Inn located west of SoHo toward the Hudson River. In the 1770s, the Hudson River was just 5 feet from its front door and was basically the first stop those shipping merchants made. It should be one of your stops as well.
“E” is for Epicerie Boulud
“E” is for Epicerie Boulud. Acclaimed chef Daniel Boulud brings to the masses an affordable way to enjoy his delights. There are a few locations in town, but the best is across Lincoln Center. Sit at the bar during Happy Hour and order a grilled sausage and a good Alsatian beer.
1900 Broadway at 64t St
New York, NY 10023
“E” is also for Essex Street Market
This Lower East Side Market is a historical center for food history in New York. It started with a few stalls from Jewish immigrants over 100 years ago. Now, it’s a hipster’s paradise. I use this word favorably as opposed to negative, which is the fashion.
Why? because without them, this place would not have developed as a hot spot to get good eats at a good price. Like many marketplaces, it’s part grocery and part hawker stalls with prepared foods. A great place to start your morning.
120 Essex Street
New York, NY 10002
“F” is for Fiorello’s
Lincoln Center is the home of the Metropolitan Opera House. Its interior is arguably the most beautiful in the New York. Before delving into some culture, grab some good upper west side Italian grub across the street at Fiorello’s.
They are known for their very thin crusted pizza, but it’s the dessert that everyone comes for, which includes a chocolate mousse topped with homemade whipped cream, best in the city. It’s also favored by the artists that perform at the Met. It’s not uncommon to be there at the same time as the likes of Placido Domingo.
“F” is also for Fraunces Tavern
“F” is for Fraunces Tavern. Located in one of the oldest neighborhoods in New York (Battery Park) this Tavern is where George Washington supposedly liked to have a drink. It’s not only historical, It’s also a great place to drink.
54 Pearl Street, New York, 10004
212 – 968 – 1776
“G” is for Gotham West Market.
After having experienced the likes of La Boqueria in Barcelona and Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid, we returned back home pining for anything that closely resembles the atmosphere found in those true food emporiums. We remained unsated until this place opened up in Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. Found under this one roof are Ivan Ramen, Genuine Roadside, and El Colmado, appropriately for some Spanish.
600 11th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
Sun – Thurs: 7:30am – 10pm
Fri & Sat: 7:30am – 11pm
“G” is for Golden Unicorn
“G” is for Golden Unicorn. If having Dim Sum is on your list as a must eat in NYC, this 3-floor establishment is the crowning jewel. Along with fan favorites such as Siomai dumplings are specialties such as individual carved to order Peking duck. It’s a large venue and full of energy. An excellent way to start a day.
18 EAST BROADWAY, NEW YORK, NY 10002 TEL: (212) 941-0911 • FREE WiFi
“H” is for Halal Guys.
A visit to New York is not complete without having something to eat from a street food cart. The “Halal Guys” is one of those carts. They dole out thousands of beef and chicken pita sandwiches to tourists and locals alike daily. You should be one of them during your visit. The original stand that sits at the corner of Sixth Avenue, West of the MoMA.
“H’ is also for Hearth
“H’ is also for Hearth. If you are looking for a “farm to table” setting in the middle of the busiest city in the world, this is the place. The vibe is casual, but the food is sophisticated. The service here is also as superb as the dishes. There are also tin boxes on the tables to be used to store your phone while eating. Bring the kids and show them what an evening out of just talking and eating feels like.
403 East 12th Street,
at 1st Avenue
Tel: 646 – 602 – 1300
“I” is for Ippudo.
Ramen is definitely having a moment and there are many ramen restaurants that are considered to be rated higher than Ippudo. But if you asked my daughter, Bailey, who has tasted the competition, she will tell you that Ippudo’s tonkatsu broth is unequaled.
Both Brenda and I agree. Lines can be long, and at times you may feel rushed through your meal, but it’s all worth it. There are 3 locations, but Bailey prefers the original location at 65 4th Avenue (between 9th and 10th St.)
“J” is for Jones Wood Foundry.
We spent 6 months in the UK, and if there is one thing we miss most, it would be the pub scene. Hard to find a true public house in New York. Those which call themselves as such are usually just like any other bar which have music blaring and multiple televisions showing multiple sporting events. Hard to talk, as one does in most pubs in the UK.
Good food is hard to find in most of these said places. Thankfully, there’s Jones Wood Foundry. Along with excellent service, comes the sensibility one would find in London, per se, and great British grub such as Scotch Eggs and Fish and Chips. Be sure not to leave without having their pudding. Find Britain in New York here.
“K” is for Kyclades
The mothership is located in Queens, but the satellite is now in the Lower East Side. We have been to Greece, and this destination brings as right back to those beautiful islands. Just one taste of the octopus, grilled just right, with a dash of lemon and olive oil, and all you need to do is close your eyes and I swear you’ll feel transported.
“K” is for King Cole Bar
“K” is for King Cole Bar. Situated within the revered St. Regis Hotel, this bar is pure New York. Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue fashion professionals use this as an after-work meeting place. Spend a little more and enjoy ‘High Society”.
2 East 55th Street, at Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10022
“K” is obviously for Katz’s Deli.
“K” is obviously for Katz’s Deli. Trips to New York are incomplete without a visit to this Lower East Side Jewish Deli. Pastrami, Corned Beef, Brisket all sliced in front of you on multiple carving stations by expert carvers.
Tip while they’re cutting, and you’ll find yourself with a larger sandwich than the cheap-o to your left. The diverse and animated crowd that frequents this place also adds to the ambiance. The only way I can describe it, and I’m Catholic, is that Katz’s is New York between two slices of bread.
“L” is for Laduree.
There are two locations in the city, but one on Madison Avenue captures the Parisian luxury bakery best. Come early before shopping or visiting museums and score one of the 4 small tables and order a coffee along with a croissant to start the day. Before leaving, be sure to purchase some of their world-famous macaroons to snack on throughout the day.
“L” is for La Dinistia
“L” is for La Dinistia. You want to eat like a local in NYC, go to this neighborhood West Side joint. Latino in name, but Asian in flavor. If you have never had Chino-Latino before, try it here. Order the “crackling chicken” with some rice and beans and taste Asian-Latin fusion.
145 W 72nd St
New York NY, 10023
“L” is for Le Relais Venise L’entrecote
Le Relais Venise L’entrecote, an offshoot of the one in Paris, is truly a fun place to eat in NYC. For a main, they serve one thing and one thing only, Steak Frites. You are given a choice of four temperatures: Purple, Rare, Medium and Well Done. Rare is medium-rare, which is the preferred. The steak is pre-sliced and portioned into two servings so that the second half of your steak doesn’t get cold.
The fries are crisp and plenty. What makes their steak so special is the Au Poivre type sauce it’s served with. You’ll be wanting extra. There’s a fair selection of wine but get the house, it’s a good table Bordeaux. They also have an extensive dessert menu, which is odd considering they don’t have much of a main meal offering. If you haven’t been here already, you must try it. It’s great with a large group and if you happen to like being served by women dressed in turn of the century maid outfits.
40 Thompson Street
(Corner Watts Street)
“M” is for Metropolitan Museum of Art.
What to do in New York? Well, there are a ton of museums. The grandest of all is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Perched up on the 5th Avenue and 82nd Street is New York’s answer to Paris’ Louvre, Florence ’s Uffizi, St. Petersburg’s Hermitage, Madrid’s Prado and London’s National Gallery.
Yes, I come here for the art, but really I’m here for the hot dogs. In front of the great stairs that lead to the museum, are what I believe to be the best hot dog vendors in the city. Most of the vendors are veterans and keep the prices low. Sitting on the steps and eating a hot dog is a quintessential New York City Break.
“M” is for Maialino
“M” is for Maialino. This Italian Trattoria is housed in the famed Gramercy Hotel. Come Happy Hour and enjoy some crispy pigs ears and some great wine by the glass. Oh, and there is no tipping allowed.
2 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10010
“M” is also for McSorley’s
“M” is also for McSorley’s. This Irish pub is a New York institution. A visit here is as important as visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral. No cocktails here, just beer; either light or dark. Food is damn good as well. Start with the cheese and onion platter. You’ll fall in love with “Saltines” all over again, I promise.
McSorley’s Old Ale House
15 East 7th Street
New York, NY 10003
“M” is for Momofuku Noodle Bar
This is Chef David Chang’s flagship location. Asian cuisine is elevated with the use of excellent product. He is Korean-American, and you can certainly taste this hybrid in his cuisine. The place is lively, and the staff welcoming and on top of its game. Everything on the menu is fantastic, but be on the lookout for the day’s special. It’s usually something seasonal and prepared a bit differently from the rest of the daily offerings.
171 1st Avenue
Between 10th + 11th Street
New York, NY 10003 | map
“N” is for NoLita.
The name of the neighborhood is an acronym for North of Little Italy, but it’s really just Old Little Italy and Northern Chinatown. I think it’s a cool name, and it seems that everyone else feels the same because everyone wants to live here now and the rents have skyrocketed. The vibe, however, hasn’t changed much. It’s still a nice hybrid of gritty and sophisticated.
Apropos, considering that the neighborhood sits between the Bowery and SoHo. If there was one personality that can best embody this neighborhood, I guess it would be Lou Reed. Like the neighborhood, he was polished and at the same time, didn’t give really give a shit.
There is no shortage of great eateries in this neighborhood, and topping the list is Peasant. Mind you, there’s bad Italian food to be found everywhere in this neighborhood, but his place is authentic, and I consider it simply the best restaurant in New York.
194 Elizabeth St.
New York NY, 10012
“O” is for Odessa.
There are diners and there are diners. Odessa is no ordinary diner. Yes, you can get your bacon and eggs any style here, but people come here for the Eastern European favorites, such as fried perogies and cabbage dishes. This place also comes in handy if you get hungry in the middle of the night, it’s open 24 hours; and some of the best times to dine here is after midnight.
“O” is also for One World Trade.
This building is the towering symbol of New York’s resolution. Attached to it is a wonderful architectural structure named, the Oculus, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. Within this structure is the Westfield Mall where Italian Food Specialists, EATALY is housed.
It’s the second location in New York but in our estimation the better of the two. Transport yourself abroad for a few hours by hanging out here.
Continue west within the structure and you’ll be led to the Brookfield Mall, where they have a fantastic food court with a diverse range of eateries to choose. Get a seat near the large windows and appreciate the Hudson River views.
“P” is for Per Se.
If you can afford to eat here, do it. This is a special occasion type of a place for most people. Hard to get a table, but if you can secure one, hang on to your seats because you are in for a ride. I recommend the Chef’s Tasting Menu which includes the most delectable dishes ranging from caviar to quail.
No single ingredient is repeated throughout the meal. It’s 4 hours long and you may need a nap after, but it’s worth every minute and every dollar. Truly one of the top restaurants in NYC and the world.
“P” is for Pastrami Queen
“P” is for Pastrami Queen. With the closing of Carnegie Deli, New York and it’s food culture landscape is forever changed. However, New York, of all places, will never be short of great Jewish Delis. One of the best and overlooked is the Pastrami Queen, located on Lexington Avenue and 78th.
This 6 table establishment serves up a big and excellent pastrami sandwich. If you are fortunate enough to get a seat, it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to be seated next to a Nobel Prize recipient, a comedian, or a fashion icon. At the end, who cares, they’ll all be looking as unrefined as you will be while devouring a great New York delicacy.
“P” is for Peter Luger’s
“P” is for Peter Luger’s. Read here for more on Peter Luger’s, the iconic steakhouse in Brooklyn.
“Q” is for Queens.
There’s that scene at the end of Breakfast at Tiffany’s when Holly Golightly, gets into a cab and tells the driver to take her to Idlewild Airport (located in Queens). No offense to the late and great John. F. Kennedy, but every time I fly out of J.F.K., I am always tempted to call it by its former name when I get into a yellow cab.
Shortly after the release of the movie, New York played host to the World’s Fair in 1964/65 (the grounds were in Flushing Meadow Park, in Queens). Appropriate that it would be in Queens because if you pay attention to the drive to the airport, you’ll recognize the fact that New York’s largest borough is also home to the most ethnically diverse community.
They have a Chinatown in the Flushing neighborhood that rivals Manhattan’s. In fact, the Chinese consider it more authentic. You’ll find Greeks in Astoria, Colombians in Jackson Heights, Argentines in Corona, and the list goes on. In short, if you want authentic food or need a taste of home while away, you may think about getting on the internet and find where to have it in Queens.
“R” is for Royal Seafood.
When asked where the best Dim Sum in the city would be, most New Yorkers will recommend the perennial favorite, Golden Unicorn. As real locals and having lived in the neighborhood many years, the most authentic experience is found on Mott Street, between Hester and Canal, at a place adorned with a green awning named Royal Seafood.
You know you are in for an authentic experience when nobody has any space decorum and over the loudspeaker, they’re calling numbers out in Cantonese. Many who have been to China will tell you that Dim Sum feels very much like this place.
Amidst the craziness are some of the best food at the best prices found West of Hong Kong , pushed around in a cart by smiling Chinese women, no less.
“R” is for Root and Bone
“R” is for Root and Bone. The lower part of New York is starting to resemble the South. It seems that there are many farms to table restaurants opening every day, and the servers and owners, who are mostly one in the same, all have that humble attitude which has been missing for many years.
The establishments themselves also have that welcoming sensibility. Of these, one of our favored places to dine is a fried chicken joint named, Root and Bone. Order a Bourbon Bloody Mary with your perfectly seasoned fried chicken and I swear you’ll think you were in the backroads of Kentucky.
“S” is for Slice.
One of the best things to do in New York is to try multiple pizza places. When I say pizza places, we don’t mean restaurants; we mean simple brick and mortar joints that have a counter, a cash register, and a couple of ovens. We New Yorkers like ordering our pizza by the slice. We don’t need fork and knife, we just simply fold our slices and get at it.
We even like walking the streets with our slices in hand, chewing away; and it’s totally acceptable. There are plenty of places which serve great New York Style Pizza. To be mentioned, of course, is the Original Ray’s which is now named Prince Street Pizza. You must have a slice here, if nowhere else. The name may have changed, but the pizza hasn’t. Honorable mention, Baker’s on Avenue A – crisp crust with slightly sweet sauce.
“T” is for Trapizzino
“T” is for Trapizzino. Imagine the best pizza crust formed into a cone, and stuffed in it were your favorite stewed meats and vegetables. Trapizzino is exactly this. An imported franchise from Rome is this wonderful addition to the Lower East Side. If you’re feeling a bit peckish but don’t want anything too large, a trapizzino is perfect. At $6.50 each, it’s also light on the pocket.
Befitting that this offshoot location was erected in what we consider the historical center of American Immigration.
144 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Acronym for, Triangle Below Canal. This used to be a neighborhood filled with factories, but now it’s the 12th most expensive zip code in the United States. Mr. DeNiro had a lot to do with it, bringing cachet to the neighborhood with the Film Festival.
People who would never have been caught below 59th Street started to move down to the southern tip of Manhattan and have made it possibly the best neighborhood in the City to raise a family. You may have to navigate around the strollers and children running around everywhere, but it’s still worth crossing Canal Street to get to the likes of the Original Nobu and Bouley.
My favorite stop in TriBeCa is Walkers on North Moore Street. It’s an old style bar that have bartenders that make you feel welcomed. The food isn’t the best, but the atmosphere and the drinks even things out. Lawyers love this place, so there is always good jabbering to be heard. My lawyer uses this place as his second office. He charges me in Rolling Rock beers as a retainer fee. Good deal, I think.
“U” is for Union Square.
Farmer’s Market on Union Square
Considered to be one of the main intersections of Manhattan. We like to go to Union Square on a Saturday when the Farmers Market sets up. It’s a good time to fill up on some fresh fruit and baked goods. Bring your goodies to a bench and enjoy street entertainers and protesters while you snack. Feeling a little homesick, bring some fresh cut flowers back to your hotel room, there’s plenty to choose from here.
A short distance East of the main thoroughfare is Irving Place, a small street that runs along 14th Street to Gramercy Park (21st Street). On this small stretch, you’ll find eateries such as Casa Mono and Bar Jamon, a Mario Batali, and Joe Bastianich creation, casually paying homage to Spanish Food. Further up the block is Pete’s Tavern, one of the oldest establishments in New York City, where the ale is always well poured.
“V” is for Village.
One if by Land, Two if by Sea
East and West Villages to be exact. We love the West Village during the day, with its many brownstones and little shops and eateries. We go out of our way to get our steaks from the Ottomanelli and Sons Meat Market on Bleecker Street.
Their cowboy steaks are always well aged and cut to order. If you don’t have access to a kitchen, in lieu of making your own steaks, treat yourself to a sophisticated dining experience at One if by Land, Two if by Sea and order the Beef Wellington. It’s pricey, but every bit as good.
Tea and Sympathy
A great family option is high tea or a traditional English Breakfast at Tea and Sympathy. It’s a tight squeeze in here, and the waitstaff aren’t always the most hospitable, but there’s something about it and it’s hard to resist. I think it’s the scones and clotted cream. After a taste of that, everything is forgivable.
When the sun sets in the West, it’s naughty little sister, the East, comes out to play. The East Village is less charming and quite a bit more rambunctious than its counterpart. However, like its counterpart, there’s a lot of good food to be found. It’s easy to tell you to go to St. Mark’s Place, so I won’t. Try 9th and 10th Streets between 1st and 3rd Avenues where you’ll find amazing Japanese offerings.
One of these places is Shabu Tatsu. You want a communal experience, try having “hot pot” here. This Japanese restaurant offers the best cuts of meat and freshest caught seafood. A burner is at the center of the table and a cast iron pot is set on top.
The water is slightly seasoned with spring onions, but the rest of it is left to the eaters. Everyone dunks their meats or fish and vegetables into the boiling broth and create a more intense flavorful broth. Pull your protein out to our liking.
There are all sorts of sauces from which to dip and wonderful jasmine rice to round out the meal. When you get to the end, don’t forget to label out a bowl of that broth and taste what you were part of creating.
“W” is for Wollensky’s Grill.
There are a bunch of Smith and Wollensky restaurants dispersed throughout the nation, but the one in New York is the first. This steak and chops establishment has been grilling up some of the best ribeyes in the world since 1977. I like going to the Grill side of the restaurant, where the atmosphere is more casual. My friend Kevin, who feels a bit out of sorts when eating at fancy establishments, loves this place. The wait-staff with their white shirts, black bow ties, and aprons makes a working man feel at home.
201 E 49th Street
New York, NY 10022
11:30am – 2:00am, 7 Days a Week
“X’ is for Xian Famous Foods.
There are multiple locations now, and they’re all good, but if you’re going to have Xian food, you should have it in Chinatown. The old location under the Manhattan Bridge has been replaced by a much nicer space located on Bayard Street.
There are many noodle soup variations, most of them on the spicy side, but I go there for my Cumin Lamb Sandwiches and you should do the same, because there’s nothing else like it in the city.
“Y” is Yorkville
In the old days, it was called German Town. A staple to the neighborhood which still prides itself in Bavarian tradition is Schaller and Weber, an authentic German butcher shop. Technically, it’s a specialty shop, but without the pretense. It’s simply awesome.
You’d think you were in Munich with all those pork products everywhere. Here you will find everything you need to make a wonderful choucroute garnie or roast. If you don’t have a kitchen during your stay, they have plenty of prepared food for you to take along, or simply visit next door at Schaller’s Stube where you can sit and enjoy some of their lovely creations. They have great hot dogs here.
“Y” is also for Yankee Stadium
Speaking of hot dogs, “Y” is also for Yankee Stadium. I know, it’s not an eating destination, but I can’t help myself. Located in the Bronx, better-known to locals as “the Boogie Down”, is the home to one of the greatest sports franchises in the world. “Mickey Mantle, Mickey Mantle“, that’s all I heard out of my mother’s mouth when we argued about who the best in the game was.
My grandmother would literally stop cooking, to watch Reggie Jackson at bat. We have pinstripes in our blood. I have videos of my daughter at the age of four, playing baseball with me inside our little apartment, using rolled up toilet paper for a ball and a mini bat I purchased her at the ballpark, reciting the line-up as we went along pretending to play the World Series.
They erected a new Yankee Stadium a few years ago and along with it came great food. Imagine, you can get sushi and wine now at the ballpark. I’m a sentimental guy though, and still always opt for a grilled hot dog and a beer.
“Z” is for Zadies
“Z” is for Zadies. If you like oysters, you’ll love this place. This small oyster bar not only has an impressive range of this delectable mollusk, it also has a pretty deep wine offering. They also have one of the best Happy Hours in the City. A great place to start or end an evening.
413 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009
“Z” is for Zeppole.
I’ve been to Italy many many times but have yet to find a single zeppole there. In New York, however, this deep-fried dough, topped off with white powder sugar, is ubiquitous. Just about every pizza shop and there are plenty in the city, offer them.
If you happen to be in town during the last two weeks of September, come down to Little Italy and enjoy the famous Feast of San Gennaro. While there, order a half dozen zeppoles, with extra powdered sugar, served in a white paper bag and walk the streets made famous by the likes of Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese.
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