One of the best things about living in New York is having so many friends and family come visit. I love being able to give recommendations on where to eat and drink. After a year of living in the city, I’ve collected quite the list. These are the must-try spots I’ve vetted in Manhattan and would gladly take anyone who comes to visit. I I hope this list inspired you when you’re visiting the city!
Brooklyn Bagel (Located in Chelsea)
I’ve had some good bagels in the city, but the hands-down winner is Brooklyn Bagel in Chelsea. They coat their bagels with seasoning (sesame seeds below!) on BOTH sides for extra texture and they pile the inside high with cream cheese.
Buvette (West Village)
This cozy French spot in the West Village has the most incredible steamed (yes!! steamed!!) eggs served with a big slice of bread, prosciutto and freshly grated cheese. There is usually quite a wait, so either sneak into a seat at the bar if you can, or put down your name and stroll around the neighborhood while you’re waiting. Cappuccino and almond croissants are a must for an appetizer!
Jack’s Wife Freda (SOHO)
I love this spot for it’s American Mediterranean-style food and beautiful aesthetic (just see their Instagram). The rosewater waffle is amazing and I’ve always wanted to try their green shakshuka!
Los Tacos No. 1 (Chelsea Market)
I’m not trying to be overly dramatic here, but the adobada taco from Los Tacos No.1 is undoubtedly the best taco I’ve ever had in my life. Is it a blessing or a curse that I work upstairs and could hypothetically have them everyday? Shaved pork, pineapple, creamy avocado sauce is honestly life changing.
Nom Wah Tea Parlor (Chinatown)
This Dim Sum spot is one of the original in Chinatown and is one of my favorite spots to visit. That fluffy dumpling below tasted like a sweet pillow of heaven! After Alex Guarnaschelli visited it on her Food Network show, Fix Me a Plate, I loved it even more.
Barbutto (West Village)
Promise me when I say that you will have the most-memorable Carbonara and Kale Caesar of your life. The restaurant has big windows that come up when it’s nice out and you can people watch. Everything on Chef Jonathan Waxman’s menu will be a highlight of your trip.
Corner Bistro (West Village)
This dive-bar like spot has incredible burgers. It’s super casual and cash-only place with inexpensive beer and cozy neighborhood vibe. Cozy in the window sill spot to people watch on a chilly night.
My friends and I got lucky on a weeknight with a minimal wait, but this ramen spot usually has a two hour wait! Ipuddo had the best pork buns of my life. The fluffy pillows of clouds were slightly sweet to contrast the spicy sauce, tender pork and crisp lettuce. The ramen was also amazing!
Joe’s Pizza (Greenwich Village)
If you’re looking for a great late night (drunk pizza) slice, you have to check out Joe’s Pizza in Greenwich Village. It is an absolute institution and I truly think the pizza tastes better after midnight!
Empire Cakes (Chelsea)
When my co-workers said Empire Cakes had the best black and white cookies and blueberry scones, I was sold. The black and white cookie was the first I had in the city and I’ve compared the others to this ever since. It’s shaped more like a short and fat mini cake than a traditional cookie, which was optimal for icing even on the sides. The scones were just moist enough while having a crumbly texture of scones. I loved the soft blue tint the scones had from the berries making them feel especially homemade.
Levain Bakery (Upper West Side)
These are the best cookies in all of New York City. End of story. They are massive, still gooey and melty in the middle when you break them in half. They are so solid that they even last for a few days wrapped tightly with plastic – aka, perfect for you to take a few home with you!
Van Leeuwen Ice Cream (Several locations)
Fantastic ice cream (regular and vegan options!) started in Brooklyn. I love that it’s super creamy and not too sweet. An ideal balance! You can find locations in the West Village, Upper East Side, Brooklyn and more.
Dante (Little Italy and West Village)
There are two locations of Dante and I love them both! I was immediately pleased seeing they had Aperol Spritz on tap, but their negroni selection and overall cocktail menus are incredible. The spritz was served in a massive glass with huge square chunks of ice and topped with a lemon and green olive. My dream!
Raoul’s (West Village)
If you’re looking for a vintage-feeling NYC spot, this is where to go! You feel transported back to a classic New York atmosphere and can pop around to other restaurants and bars in the area. If you get there before 5pm, snag a spot at the bar so you can order one of their burgers. They only make 12 a night and they run out fast! The burgers are served with duck fat fries and they’re incredible to say the least.
What’s on your list of favorite spots to visit in New York City? Comment below and I’ll keep updating this list with favorites as they come along. Happy travels!
Love food. Love self. Love life.