Did I gain 10 pounds over the course of six days in New York City? You’ll never know. What I can say is that New York is FULL of options for every type of eater out there.
We can be honest and admit that we aren’t food critics and are really not that high maintenance when it comes to eating at fancy restaurants (we are on that “filter by two dollar signs” game right now). So if you’re a snobby eater (hey, you do you), take this with a grain of salt, and maybe check out Vogue’s NYC Directory for some more upscale options.
Here are our top food/drink/sweets picks.
Chelsea Market: Like I mentioned in our first post about New York City, Chelsea Market is an absolute must. This is an indoor “food court,” and I use that term VERY loosely here. So no, you won’t find Hot Dog on a Stick, and no one will be shoving toothpicks topped with cold teriyaki chicken at you. This market is full of cute shops and restaurants, and it can be a little overwhelming. We used this guide to help us narrow down the seemingly endless amount of options – but PLEASE just do yourself a favor and start your meal marathon off with a pork taco from Los Tacos No. 1.
Via Quadronno: This without question is one of our top recommendations. Via Quadronno is a tiny Italian spot on the Upper East Side that serves AMAZING paninis, salads, soups, and espresso. And I can’t even talk about the tiramisu. This little cafe was busy and intimate but didn’t feel touristy at all–perfect place to stop in-between museums or shopping.
Chuck and Blade: Some coworkers showed me this place one night for happy hour, and we loved it so much that it turned into happy hours (four). They have fun cocktails, an extensive beer list, and yummy appetizers (you better believe I swallowed that avocado toast whole).
Minetta Tavern: Fun and expensive French steakhouse in Greenwich Village. Make a reservation, and definitely order the Black Label Burger and the souffle for dessert. Look, I’m not trying to name drop or anything, but we sat two tables away from CONNIE BRITTON. Poor Ty was in shambles. Maybe I was, too. This restaurant is definitely more of a “go with your rich aunt” or “so sorry I worked all night on our anniversary” type of suggestion, but it’s worth mentioning because the food was pretty amazing.
CK 14, The Crooked Knife: We LOVED this spot for dinner in the West Village. This pub has a really great happy hour ($5 beers – unheard of in New York City), and the standard menu was pretty reasonable too. We loved the cozy, brick-lined atmosphere and extremely friendly staff. I’m still dreaming about the fried shrimp sliders.
Agave: We found out quickly that if you aren’t standing in line on the sidewalk in the West Village waiting for brunch, then you are not doing life right. Rain or shine, New Yorkers don’t mess around when it comes to brunch. Agave has a really good deal (by NYC standards) for a $32 entree and bottomless mimosa deal, and they take reservations. We both ordered the breakfast burrito and loved it.
Best Bagel & Coffee: Speaking of brunch, perhaps a bagel would be a better option for your morning nutrient needs if you are pressed for time (and cash!). I actually consider myself a (reluctant) bagel connoisseur after spending four years in college ringing up hungover freshmen at Einstein Bros. Bagels. Consequently, I haven’t touched a bagel since March of 2013, and it was going to take one heck of a piece of boiled dough to impress me. Tyler dragged me to Best Bagel & Coffee on a Saturday morning, and we stood in line for 30 minutes. But I have to say, I didn’t hate my egg, bacon, and cheddar on everything, and Tyler was practically hallucinating from happiness. As it turns out, New York City bagels are, in fact, much better than the frozen trays of cinnamon raisin that give me nightmares to this day.
Levain: We’ve all seen these ginormous cookies on Instagram, and I’m not one to pass up a cookie that’s often referred to as the best in the world (let’s be real–I’m not one to pass up any cookie ever). We just HAD to see for ourselves if these bowling ball sized treats were worth the hype. So we endured the cold and teasing scent of freshly-baked goodness and waited in line in the Upper West Side for 30 minutes. By the time the sweet cashier handed over our chocolate walnut and dark chocolate peanut butter chip bundles of heaven, I snatched that bag so fast out of her little hand that I think I scared the girl in line behind me. And, let me tell you, IT IS WORTH THE HYPE. THE HYPE IS REAL. These cookies are so good and so DARE I SAY MOIST. Definitely, definitely, definitely swing by on your way out of Central Park – it’s just a few blocks away, and the cookies are unbelievable.
Black Tap: So this is kind of a fun one. We decided to swing by Black Tap after we saw Wicked. They have burgers and fries that are allegedly really good, but we came for one reason and one reason only. The shakes. These things are like 18 inches high, and they hold nothing back. Each shake is topped with about 3 pounds of whipped cream, every sprinkle in all of America, full slices of cake, oreos, chocolate chip cookies, Jeep Grand Cherokees, you get it. I don’t say this often, but two people can EASILY split one.
Shake Shack at Madison Square Park: This is a win-win. Great burgers, fries, and shakes in the middle of a beautiful park with views of the Flat Iron Building. We loved taking in New York City and relaxing over some delicious shakes on our first night.
The Rum House: Having a panic attack from the crowds at Times Square? Duck into this vintage, candlelit piano bar just around the corner and order a classy cocktail from a bowtied bartender. We loved the vibes and the live music here. Very Chuck Bass.
If you choose to disregard this entire post and opt for the 2 slices and a soda for five bucks deal for every meal, we are more than okay with that. Let’s be honest: is there ANYTHING better than a quick slice of New York style pizza? I really don’t think so. Rumor has it that Joe’s makes the best slice in the city.
This is obviously just a very small list. For even more ideas about where to dine in New York City, we HIGHLY recommend checking out The Infatuation, a restaurant guide that will give you more information than you can possibly process about where to eat.