New York City Restaurant Recommendations
High-level thoughts on the NYC food scene:
- NYC has many restaurants that specialize in one dish, rather than a cuisine. Try all of them, as they might be the best you've ever had. Examples: soba, udon (Raku), broth (Brodo)
- Japanese food of all kinds (especially ramen), Korean food in Ktown, Australian cafes, handpulled noodle shops, Italian pasta, Jewish food, and desserts (especially ice cream) are all top-notch in NYC.
- It's hard to find really good Thai and Vietnamese food around NYC, so if you're strapped for time, I'd say skip these cuisines. (I was spoiled by the plethora of authentic Thai/Viet spots in the Bay Area)
- For bars, check out the speakeasies and rooftop bars, then end your night in Ktown, which is open 24/7.
- You must get chicken & rice from the Halal Guys on 53rd at least once, best late at night.
- Raku - best udon ever, even if you don't like udon. If you eat nowhere else, eat here.
- Hi-collar - go for japanese vintage pub-style brunch or drinks at night
- Cocoron - my favorite soba place because it is very good but rarely has a wait
- Soba-ya - one of the best soba places, they make the soba in house, usually a wait
- Takashi - Japanese bbq meats
- Ise Restaurant - favorite all-around Japanese restaurant.
- EN Japanese Brasserie - fancy Japanese food, black miso cod is great. Fuji apple sorbet and their other homemade ice creams are top notch
- Ootoya (several locations: Chelsea, Times Square, Greenwich village) - authentic Japanese with dishes like soba, chicken katsu, chawamushi (egg custard)
- Zundo-ya - arguably the best ramen spot without the crazy waits of Totto and Ippudo
- Totto Ramen - known for their straight noodles. hole-in-the-wall, almost always a wait
- Ippudo - the most famous ramen shop, but wait times are ridic. Zundo-ya is around the corner and just as good.
- Takashi's midnight ramen, avail Fri + Sat nights starting at midnight. Email/call to reserve. Very different than your typical pork-broth ramens, worth it if the time works for you
- MEW MEN - another great ramen spot
- Lam Zhou - handpulled noodle soups & pan fried dumplings - cash only, hole in the wall spot
- Wah Fung No 1 Fast Food - the best cha siu fan. grab-and-go
- Shanghai Cafe - 8 xiao long bao's for $5, super juicy
- Char Sue - fried duck bao sandwich
- Kopitiam - hole-in-the-wall Malaysian breakfast and brunch, cash only
- Tung Woo Co - fresh soymilk and hot sweet tofu
- Shanghai Asian Manor - good xiao long baos, this enoki mushroom watercress dish, ja jiang mien
- Hot Kitchen - get the "assorted spicy wok" and share it among ~3 people
- Xi'an Famous Foods - fast casual xi'an style noodle soups, great value and tasty
- Tim Ho Wan - michelin starred dim sum spot, very inexpensive. Go during off-peak hours or expect a crazy wait
- Russ & Daughters - Jewish deli, amazing bagel sandwiches and other jewish comfort food
- Katz Pastrami - famous, good for if you're in the mood for a huge hunk of pastrami on rye
- Locanda Verde - a cozy, stylish Italian bistro in Tribeca. Great for brunch too. Get the sheep's milk ricotta with truffle honey for appetizer and their 8-hour tripe and shrimp & grits for entrees.
- Eataly Downtown's pasta restaurant - get the bucatini amatriciana - closest you'll get to Italy! Skip the appetizers.
- Malatesta - homemade Italian pasta - cozy, comfort food. Cash only
Casual breakfast cafe
- Merriweather Cafe - a delightful little Australian cafe with friendly baristas. You must try their Merriweather morning sandwich with homemade harissa on a buttery brioche bun. Their turmeric ginger oatmeal with poached pears is also divine.
- Hole in the Wall - and they said there weren't any cute places in FiDi for brunch. Hole in the Wall is changing the game! But people have caught on so there's usually a wait now. They're famous for their hanging bacon jerky - go early to make sure they don't run out!
- Jack's Wife Freda - American-mediterranean brunch. I always get the Nana mint tea and rosewater waffles. The green shakshuka and Eggs Benny are max comfort food, and the Grapefruit & Yogurt is a unique twist on yogurt.
- Maialino - the best, fluffiest pancakes in all of NYC!
- Midwinter Kitchen - farm-to-table brunch
- By Chloe - tasty vegan place for non-vegans - think vegan mac & cheese, avocado pesto pasta, vegan brunch items. Worth trying once!
- Sweetgreen - It's like chipotle for complex salads, a lot of New Yorkers' go-to for lunch / dinner. Just try it once!
- Lady M - green tea mille crepe cake
- Morgenstern's - best ice cream in the city
- Besfren - Green tea roll cake or salted caramel roll cake
- Greecologies - best traditional housemade yogurt - favorite toppings are rose petal preserves and figs
- Momofuku Milk Bar - cereal milk ice cream, very sweet but very unique
- Eileen's Cheesecakes - NY style cheesecake
- Dough - probably best donut shop in NYC
- Van Leeuwen - unique flavors, also has delicious vegan (!) ice cream
- Takahachi bakery - matcha roll cake
- Two Little Red Hens - huge cupcakes - key lime is my favorite
- Chobani - same brand as the store-bought yogurt, but their in-store yogurt combos taste way better. Greecologies is still better than Chobani though.
- Empire Bakery - all kinds of sweets
- Georgetown cupcake - cupcakes!
- River Coyote - nitro coffee, kombucha on tap, has wifi, my favorite spot in the city
- Stumptown Coffee Roasters - specifically the one in Greenwich Village. It's one of their flagship stores (and they spent $1m on it apparently), absolutely charming inside and out. Built-in bookshelves!
- Coffee Project - deconstructed latte
- La Colombe - an NYC coffee shop staple. I'm partial to coffee shops that serve their coffee in pretty mugs. Try their draft latte!
- City of Saints Coffee Roasters - they have unique holiday specials!
For coffee shops that are good to work from, I'm cataloguing SF and NYC ones at wfcoffeeshop.com!