I love food almost as much as I love clothes. You know that old saying about how there are two kinds of people, those who live to eat and those who eat to live? People who eat to live are so much more boring, in my opinion. One of the things I was most excited about in moving to the city was the endless number of restaurants that I could try. With about a year and a half of city-living under my belt, I have a list of favorite spots a mile long. I’ve decided to shave it down to a top 10. If you’re in town, the restaurants below are all worth a visit! If you live here, I suggest you give there places a try! What’s your favorite NYC restaurant? I am dying to know! And now…in no particular order…
1. Via Tribunali: 122 Ludlow St, Manhattan, NY 10002
With one wood burning pizza oven and only one chef who cooks for the whole joint, this tiny Lower East Side spot has arguably the best pizza in the city. You can tell this is true, because every time you go there will be a table of Italians next to you talking about how authentic the pizza is. Don’t skip the bruschetta here, you’ll be missing out. Reasonably priced and romantic, this is a great date spot!
2. The Meatball Shop: Multiple Locations (I frequent the Upper East Side one)
Industrial, loud and fun, The Meatball Shop is a great way to get a pretty cheap meal with friends in a super trendy atmosphere. Their veggie meatballs are the bomb! So are their daily rotating specials, and their pesto sauce, and their sangria. It’s great for groups of friends, but there is usually a wait so make a reservation if you can!
3. Vero: 1004 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022
This is probably the restaurant that I frequent most often, and they have arguably the best happy hour specials in the city. On Mondays, if you buy a glass of wine, you get a free panini (usually $14). On Sundays, everything (including pitchers of their awesome flavored sangrias) are half off. They have great late night and early bird happy hours too. The food is fresh, the paninis are awesome, and you can get a wine flight and a cheese plate for $20. See you there?
4. Jack’s Wife Freda: 224 Lafayette St, Manhattan, NY 10012
Probably my favorite lunch spot, this SoHo staple is one of the trendiest places in the city. It is also a great place to people watch; a favorite of style bloggers, its always on the Instagrams of Manhattan’s most fashionable ladies. Get the grilled halloumi, thank me later. Also good: avocado toast, malva pudding, spaghetti squash and tofu. The place is an interesting mix of Mediterranean and Jewish food, a welcome combo in my book.
5. The Cellar at Beecher’s: 900 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
Another great happy hour spot, The Cellar is in the basement of a famous cheese shop. From 5-7 on weekdays you can get $7 boats of amazing mac and cheese and $5 cocktails. The marinated cheese curds are amazing! Also, every time I go here, I see someone famous.
6. Talde: 369 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215
My only Brooklyn spot, and I’ve only been here for brunch, but this place is amazing! They have Asian fusion brunch with sriracha ketchup and ramen bowls where the broth is made out of buttered toast. It is owned by a former Top Chef contestent and boasts a truly unique menu! Get some butternut squash samosas!
7. Alice’s Tea Cup: Multiple locations
This place is so popular, and for good reason. Afternoon tea is my favorite meal of the day, but no matter when you come here the food will be great. There is always a wait, no reservations, and sometimes less than great service, but its always awesome and adorable. They have the best scones on earth. Honest. And I had an Irish grandma make me scones. Go early in the a.m. to avoid a wait because they don’t take reservations for less than six people. Bring home a bag of their homemade tea infused granola and thank me later.
8. Beauty and Essex: 146 Essex St, New York, NY 10002
A truly trendy dinner spot, this small plates place is really fun for dates or with friends. The food is amazing, as are the cocktails, atmosphere and people watching. Located on the Lower East Side, the front entrance is a pawn shop. When you go, order a few different things, everything I have tried has been impressive. Also, wear heels.
9. Calle Ocho: Inside the Excelsior Hotel, 45 W 81st StNew York, NY 10024
This is the kind of place where you need to plan to go and make reservations weeks in advance. They have a wildly popular bottomless brunch. With six kinds of sangria, unlimited and for free while you are eating, its impossible to get in without a reservation. The sangrias are all really tasty, and strong! Be careful! Once I went with Nick and we each had an entree and four glasses of sangria. Our final bill was $30. Can’t beat it. Plus the food is still really good!
10. Candle Cafe: Multiple locations
This is one of my favorite vegan spots in the city. I forced Nick to go here once–even though he wanted to eat meat–and Anthony Bourdain was at the table next to us. (After which I yelled in Nick’s face”Obviously this is where we should be eating!”) They have the most amazing sweet potato tempeh sandwich. There are also great salads and smoothies. It is healthy, but still a fancy little spot if you want a nice dinner.
Hope you guys enjoy! I can add to the list if you are looking for more recommendations!