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 can I really eat at in the two months I was there? Nevertheless, here are my favorite eateries 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!
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 on Bleecker
Pizza in New York is an institution and I admit I’m no pizza guru. To me, it’s either 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 there’re no slices for sale. 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
Looking for a huge sloppy burger and french fries? Try this place. Their burgers are quite thick and juicy. You can get them covered in cheese and bacon. The name is misleading though as you’ll need more than 5 napkins with this burger. It comes in a buckle busting portion too. Beyond the burger, 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.
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 is not 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 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 and everything is well portioned. I would say it is my favorite place in Chelsea Market to eat. They do very good drinks too. It’s not cheap but it makes for a nice date place.
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.
The original restaurant is located in Madison Square Park, and their newest branch is in Times Square. Expect long lines at both locations especially during lunch time. 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
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
Located in a former bank, the three-floor, heavily marbled space is usually filled with business diners, couples, and tourists. The seafood menu has delicacies from all over the world. They have a good wine selection too. I highly recommend the King Crab legs. 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 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 is 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 are 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.