Great Places to Eat in NYC

By Nomadic Matt | Published September 10th, 2010

New York has a million delicious places to eat, and I was excited to eat at some of the best restaurants in the world. Originally, when I moved to NYC, I had hoped to cook instead of eating out since I don’t get to cook a lot on the road. But then all the great eating possibilities in New York City got to me, and I found myself unable to resist. I ate out. A lot. Now I know the city is filled with countless places to eat and any list I write is going to be incomplete. After all, how many places could I really eat at in the two months I was there? Nevertheless, here are my favorite eateries in NYC:

Prosperity Dumplings (46 Eldridge St)
Prosperity Dumplings is a great place to eat in NYC
Located in Chinatown, this place has amazing dumplings at an even better price. The restaurant serves five dumplings for a dollar. You can’t go wrong with prices like that. The pork dumplings come fried or steamed, and there’s a nearby park where you can sit down to eat if this tiny place is full. And if you want more for later? You can buy 50 frozen dumplings for $8!

Mizu Sushi (29 E 20th St)
Mizu Sushi is a great place to eat in NYC
As a sushi lover, many of the places I ate at this summer were sushi restaurants. One of my favorites was Mizu. The sushi is excellent, and their prices are reasonable for sushi in NYC. There’s a large selection of fish, the quality is great, and they have a wide combination of rolls. Make sure you try the Botan Shrimp, King Salmon, and Naruto Roll. A large dinner for two with sake will cost about $130. The only downside is that the restaurant can get very loud when full.

John’s of Bleecker Street (278 Bleecker St)
John's of Bleeker Street is a great place to eat in NYC
Pizza in New York is an institution, and I admit I’m no pizza guru. To me, it’s bad, good, or really good. I can’t make those fine pizza distinctions like some New Yorkers can. I qualify John’s as really good. The thin-style pizza comes in huge portions big enough to serve three. Service is quick, but expect to wait during dinner for a table. The only downside is that they don’t sell slices. You need to get a whole pie. The upshot, though, is that the leftovers are just as delicious and probably won’t last long in your fridge.

5 Napkin Burger (630 9th Ave)
5 Napkin Burger is a great place to eat in NYC
Looking for a huge sloppy burger and French fries? Try this place. Their burgers are thick and juicy, and you can get them covered in cheese and bacon. The restaurant’s name is misleading, though, as you’ll need more than five napkins with one of these burgers. They come in buckle-busting portions. Beyond the burgers, they have great sandwiches and salads, and the fried pickle and pastrami appetizer is really good. (Tasty but not filling.) When you’re finished, wash it all down with a thick milkshake.

Nobu New York (105 Hudson St)
Nobu New York is a great place to eat in NYC
Another sushi restaurant, Nobu is one of the most popular sushi restaurants in the world. They have over 12 locations around the world, but the New York City and LA restaurants are the most famous. This isn’t a place to come to on a budget. Dinner will set you back a few hundred dollars, so you might be better off coming for lunch if you want to save money. Nobu is a mecca for sushi lovers, and if you come to NYC and can afford it, eat here. It’s worth every penny. Beyond the sushi, I recommend the rock shrimp tempura. It melts in your mouth.

Chelsea Market (75 9th Ave)
The Chelsea Market is a great place to eat in NYC
Chelsea Market is more a collection of food places than a single restaurant. It’s extremely popular and a great place to pop into when you need some groceries, a meal, or snacks. You’ll find good Thai food here, and Amy’s Bread has amazing French loaves. The Lobster Place has decent sushi but I really enjoy their clam chowder and, as a New Englander, I know clam chowder. If you want a meal with local and organic food, try the Green Table. The food there is excellent, everything is well portioned, and they do very good drinks. It’s my favorite place to eat in Chelsea Market. It’s not cheap, but it makes for a nice date place.

Locanda Verde (377 Greenwich St)
Locanda Verde is a great place to eat in NYC
You’ll find great Italian food in Tribeca. Their brunch is really great, with plenty of unique dishes to sample. Come for dinner for a more traditional Italian meal. The food is very flavorful, the portions large, and you might even spot a celebrity or two. You can’t fail to be impressed with their wine list, which is longer than their menu. During the summer, Locanda Verde is especially popular with people who want to dine outside.

Shake Shack (SE corner of Madison Square Park)
Shake Shack is a great place to eat in NYC
The original restaurant is located in Madison Square Park, and their newest branch is in Times Square. Expect long lines at both locations, especially at lunchtime. Guests have been known to wait up to an hour for a chance to eat here. I waited 45 minutes for my burger. The burgers don’t always live up to the hype, but going there is an experience. Standing in line for an hour with everyone else is pretty social and a good way to spend a warm afternoon. And in a place called the Shake Shack, the shakes must be good. (They are.)

Hill Country BBQ (30 W 26th St)
Hill Country BBQ is a great place to eat in NYC
This is Texas BBQ at its finest. Located on West 26th, Hill Country is a great place to get messy with some ribs. The menu draws its inspiration from the grand old meat-markets-turned-barbecue-joints of central Texas. With their distinctive, dry-rub style, Hill Country’s brisket, sausage, ribs, and other meats are smoked low and slow. And like any good rib joint, Hill Country has a large selection of beer and tequila.

Blue Water Grill (31 Union Square W)
Blue Water Grill is a great place to eat in NYC
Located in a former bank, this three-floor, heavily marbled space is usually filled with business diners, couples, and tourists. The seafood menu has delicacies from all over the world. I highly recommend the King Crab legs. They have a good wine selection too. Blue Water is located right in Union Square, so after dinner, it’s easy to go out on the town or catch a movie at a nearby theater.

You could eat out for every meal and never get to all the amazing places to eat in New York City. I never got to Todd English’s restaurant or Mario Batali’s many places. I never got to sample the ethnic food in Brooklyn or even Little Italy. I hear there’s a lot of great Cajun food down in Staten Island. There are just too many places in NYC. But I can promise you that if you come here and try any of these places, you’re in for an excellent meal.

For more information on New York City, check out my city guide to NYC for more in depth travel information.

comments 32 Comments

Napkin Burger & Hill whatever it was look deviously delicious filled with decadent delectable enjoyed by gentlemen and deranged derelicts alike.

I basically grew up at John’s. It’s the best. The actual best of the best. That whole street is like a culinary wet dream, actually. Cones! Risotteria!

Fine, I might miss NYC a little bit.

Great list. We always say a perfect night in NYC looks like (in this order):

1. 5 Napkin Burger. Share the ‘Burger for Two.’
2. Walk two blocks to see one of the best plays to ever hit broadway, Next to Normal.
3. Finish the night of with a stiff drink in order deal with #2.

We are also extremely fond of the Shake Shack. The ‘shroom burger is a vegetarian’s dream come true.

Glad you included Hill Country BBQ. It’s the only worthy Texas-style BBQ in NYC.

Albert

very surprised that you did not add 53rd and 6th aka the halal cart aka chicken and rice on this list.

Jen

I would move into Chelsea Market if I could. I used to live a couple blocks away, on 10th Avenue, and swung in nearly every night after work for “groceries,” if you can call Manhattan Fruit Exchange a grocery store and $15 Italian cheese dinner. Love that place; and if you DO decide to cook in NYC, it’s a lovely indulgent starting point. Great post, Matt.

Patricia Nolthenius

Yes I absolutely call a $15 cheese dinner. Just had some smoked brie from France on Sunday with orange/cranberry bread. I live in Philadelphia and we have the Reading Terminal Market.

At the top of my list is Momofuko but you can’t take photos there :)

Last time I was at Chelsea Market, Green Table looked like it had closed for good, which made me really sad!!

And speaking of Chelsea Market, I highly, highly recommend Fatwitch Brownies!

NomadicMatt

They were closed for 2 weeks in August for renovations! I was worried too but they said they were going to re-open.

Awesome! My first trip to NYC is coming up in a few months and I can’t wait to try out some of the great places to eat that I have heard about.

Yum. Here’s our favorite place, The Counter http://www.counternyc.com/ . It has amazing vegetarian food and feels so swanky. (With a name like The Counter we thought it was going to be a diner – what an amazing surprise!) Every time we go to New York, we go here – even if it means we have to leave friends behind.

Yum! I am absolutely obsessed with dumplings–they are one of my most favorite foods on earth–so I was really excited to see a dumpling place on here! I’ve never heard of Prosperity, but I will definitely check it out next time I go to NYC.

Ah! Some old favorites and some new places to try. I must admit I have waited in that 45 minute line for Shake Shack. haha

Sofia

I love how those french fries look, so real and different from the usual soggy Mc Donald’s ones.
Will keep this blog in mind for next time I visit.

I loved the breakfasts they served on the restaurants in NYC :)

NomadicMatt

They were delicious.

My favorite place to eat in NYC….

http://mezzogiorno.com/

Every time I go it is always fantastic!

NomadicMatt

Bon Appetit!

killereats

NYC’s 21 club is offering its first group buying discount wth Zagat and dealon – http://www.dealon.com – choose NYC (we bought 4!)

Tasty looking food man! I’m craving everyone of those dishes right now. Have you ever had Ethiopian food? I went to a pretty good Ethiopian restaurant last time I was in NYC.

Great list of NYC eats…though, I’m partial to Lombardi’s Pizza

I believe all the great things are in NYC. Food is no exception to to this. I love dining out when I was there. Thanks for the list I’ll take note and pay a visit on our next trip there.

kalyn

I just went on the Foods of NY tour in Greenwich village and we stopped at Johns! I highly recommend taking a food tour- you get to try a lot of different places for the price of a nice meal.

NomadicMatt

Food tour of NYC? I know what I’m doing the next time I am there.

jan

Hi Matt, I don’t have my website up and running yet but have started a facebook page just to get started. New York has so many fantastic places to eat. I have not eaten at any of the places you have mentioned. When we stayed in New York in St. Mark’s Place, East Village, we loved eating at Mogador which was just across the street from us.

michelle

Love that you included the Chelsea Market, but Shake Shack? Really?

NomadicMatt

Yeah, I love the Shake Shack!

Jen

+1 for any good cheap dumpling place. My favorite is Vanessa’s Dumplings on the lower east side. Not only can you get 5 dumplings for $1, but they have great sandwiches for $2 and soup for $1.

NomadicMatt

I’m going to try it out the next time I’m in town! Thanks for the recommendation.

Chris

Queens is dirt cheap. its not as nice due to its working class immigant history, but you cant find diversity like it anywhere. I recently went there for a night and had a beer in an Irish bar, shopped in a moroccan grocery, ate at a southern egyptian restaurant and then went to a middle-eastern hookah bar! the NY times recently did a bang up 36 hour weekend there

Samantha

If you haven’t been — take the Metro North (or the D) up to Fordham and head to Arthur Ave in the Bronx. It’s amazing for Italian food. Most say even better (and less expensive) than most of the places in Little Italy. Try out Tino’s Deli (inexpensive lunch; best eggplant parm I’ve ever had) and other restaurants like Domenick’s (has no menu, they verbally tell you what they have for the day; great antipasto salad) and Gerbasi. SO GOOD. For pizza, check out Full Moon (Joe Girardi has been spotted here a number of times). The Arthur Ave Market is worth visiting, too, even if you just walk around. Don’t forget the bakeries (pastries @ De Lillo’s; BEST olive bread @ Madonia bakery). True authentic Italian!

I go to Fordham University (2 blocks away from Arthur) and have been lucky to chow down on this food for years. I’ll be having withdrawal after graduation!

FYI – The market is closed Sundays and most of the restaurants are closed Monday’s.

Louise Hassey

Hi Matt,
I’ll be travelling to NYC in a few weeks with my two children, 10 & 7 years old. Do you have any suggestions for child friendly dining..not too expensive. They love sushi, Italian, Thai, burgers…??

Thanks,
Louise

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