Restaurants – NYC. Need I say more? I plan nearly every trip around restaurants I want to try, and NYC has been at the heart of my foodie adventures for more than two decades. From my first visit at 24 years old, I was hooked. I didn’t take pictures of my food back then, of course, but I’ve been cataloguing my favourites all along.
Some of these may be obvious and predictable (hello, Shake Shack) while others will be hidden gems (here’s looking at you and your bottomless brunch, North Fork); some are one-off independents while others sport multiple locations across New York City. Either way, you can trust if they made this list, it’s with good reason. That said, you’ll definitely find a few caveats noted here and there, too.
I’ve mapped out the alphabetical list below to help you find great New York City restaurants even if you don’t have the time or interest to plan ahead, so be sure to keep this post handy during your next visit to The Big Apple.
My Restaurants – NYC post includes:
- A restaurants – NYC map featuring location tags for every restaurant listed here
- Information about New York City restaurants week
- Our favourite spots for coffee, breakfast and brunch in NYC
- Where to eat in NYC for lunch and dinner
- NYC cocktail bars I love
- Yummy NYC snacks
- NYC street food that’s a must
Restaurants – NYC: from snacks to steaks (and so much more)
It’ll come as no surprise that this is very, very far from a complete NYC restaurant guide. I’ve been to New York City at least 10 times and have only barely scratched the surface of the thousands upon thousands of options you have there. With each new stay, I’ll update this list and its complementary map, adding a new date at the top of the post when I do. (It’s always a good idea to clear your cache and refresh this post if you bookmarked it when I first hit “publish,” since your computer may just keep taking you back to the first iteration.)
Want some help planning your NYC vacation? My 4-day New York itinerary is the perfect place to start.
Restaurants – NYC: NYC restaurant map
No matter where you are in New York City, you’re going to find great food. But it can be just as easy to stumble into foodie nightmares if you don’t do a bit of research. Sometimes, I’ll stand in a neighbourhood and do a “great restaurants near me” Google search — then fall down a review rabbit hole that takes 15 minutes from which to emerge. That’s precious time on a vacation, especially one like NYC where you probably only have a few days.
That’s why this NYC restaurant map will come in handy. I’ve already personally vetted each of these restaurants for you — sometimes in multiple locations. Instead of starting from scratch during your next trip to New York City, open my Restaurants – NYC map and see if there’s something nearby that comes with my stamp of approval.
Travelling to New York City with tweens or teens? My “Things to do in NYC with Teens” post is a comprehensive guide that will help you plan where to eat, sleep and play in The City That Never Sleeps. If you’re visiting between May and September, this lively and sophisticated yet family-friendly rooftop pool in New York City is a must.
Restaurants – NYC: Coffee, breakfast + brunch
There’s almost no better place to do brunch than New York City. The people watching alone is second to none, and if you dine somewhere upscale like Sarabeth’s, celebrity sightings are a real possibility, if that’s your thing.
Bagel Express | Manhattan | website
If you’re looking for bagels stuffed with all kinds of breakfast-y goodness, and you like the idea of not needing to eat again until dinner time, Bagel Express will be right up your alley. The coffee is reasonably good, too, if you’re looking for a one-stop-shop.
Best Bagel & Coffee | Manhattan | website
Best bagels? They’re definitely up there. Best coffee? Absolutely not. Skip the java here if you’re grabbing one of its hearty breakfast bagels.
Clinton St. Baking Company & Restaurant | Manhattan | website
The pancakes — OMG. The B.E.L.T. Sandwich — double OMG. This is where generous portion sizes are alive and well, so unless you plan to walk around with doggy bags all day, consider sharing food and only order more if necessary. If you find yourself in Brooklyn, you can still get a taste of Clinton St. Baking Company — at the Time Out Market in DUMBO!
In Common NYC | Manhattan | website
One of my favourite NYC breakfast joints, this Aussie-owned restaurant serves up excellent espresso-based bevvies and beautifully plated breakfast and brunch dishes that are almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
Jacob’s Pickles | Manhattan | website
One of the best meals you’ll have in New York City, the hype is real for Jacob’s Pickles. Portions are absolutely enormous, so order conservatively and trust your server when she side eyes how much you’re ordering and suggestions taking ‘er easy.
Kopifella’s | Manhattan | website
The first time I tried a Nanyang Kopi (Singaporean coffee), I was so hooked that I ordered a second one immediately and went out of my way to return twice more during the same visit in a four-day span. I also dragged my family all the way to Urban HAWKER, where it lives, this summer just so I could try an iced version. All in the name of research, of course. And, let me tell you, hot or cold — it doesn’t matter — this stuff is the shiz.
La Parisienne | Manhattan | website
You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Paris, especially if you dine on the tiny patio where you can sip your coffee and watch commuters and tourists rush past. The croque monsieur is nice, but pass on the extra truffle béchamel sauce — it’s not $2 worth nor is it remotely truffle-y.
Liberty Bagels | Manhattan | website
Based on all of the bagels I’ve eaten over the years, I’m going to confidently say these are the best bagels in NYC. Home of the rainbow bagel (don’t bother paying extra unless you’re hellbent on getting a photo), Liberty Bagels has multiple locations and they all have the freshest, doughiest, best-tasting New York-style bagels I’ve had to date.
Le Pain Quotidien | Manhattan | website
This international chain has multiple locations in NYC. We’ve only been to the one at the corner of 58th St & 7th Ave, but I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that if it’s in 17 countries, they’re probably pretty consistent across the board.
Martha’s Country Bakery | Brooklyn | website
Martha’s Country Bakery has been around since 1972, and although I sent my cinnamon bun back, everything else we had (including a frappuccino, muffins and an almond-dusted cheese danish) were amazing.
North Fork Restaurant | Manhattan | website
Two words: Bottomless brunch. Before never-ending mimosas were a normal brunch offering in major cities, this Greenwich Village restaurant spot was doing it — and doing it well. Paired with elevated comfort food like fried chicken and waffles, your bottomless brunch is just a $30 add-on with any brunch entree; that gives you your choice of bellinis, mimosas, margaritas, bloody maries or sangrias — and you can stick with one or sample them all. Now, you only get 90 minutes, but service is fast so you won’t be left dry for long.
Sarabeth’s | Manhattan | website
I first went to Sarabeth’s Central Park location after hearing about it from Oprah. (Not personally, to be very clear; I don’t know Oprah.) That was back before there were multiple locations and before it had its own line of preserves. This is a fancy shmancy brunch spot in terms of price and food quality, but you could certainly show up in a matching tracksuit and not feel out of place.
The Bar Room | Manhattan | website
This space at The Beekman sits under a centrepiece atrium and has really rich character. If you’re looking for an old-school New York City vibe for breakfast or brunch, this is it. Weekend brunch comes with a side of jazz; The Kate Quartet plays on Saturdays and the Temple Court Quartet on Sundays. The avocado toast is to die for.
Restaurants – NYC: Lunch + dinner
If I’d written this Restaurants – NYC post before COVID, I wouldn’t have included this disclaimer: be sure you carefully check the times and days of the week each restaurant is open. What used to be closed just on Mondays now might be closed three days a week. What used to be open for lunch and dinner service may now offer just dinner. Staff retention is still an issue everywhere and New York City isn’t immune, so do your due diligence before just showing up.
And, on that note, there will be some restaurants — like Michelin-star COTE Steakhouse — where you can’t just show up. You’ll need a reservation. NYC restaurant reservations can also be quirky, depending on the establishment. I remember trying to book one years ago and you had to call exactly 30 days ahead of time; not 29 days, not 31 days. And if you didn’t? No reservation for you.
Capizzi | Manhattan | website
I absolutely LOVE this tiny little Italian restaurant in Midtown West. It’s a family-owned place with a brick pizza oven and everything I’ve ever tried there is so good — even something as simple as a fennel and orange salad. The truffle mushroom pizza is my fave.
COTE Korean Steakhouse | Manhattan | website
You want Michelin stars in your NYC foodie journal but you don’t have $500 to spare? No problem. Enter COTE Korean Steakhouse, where you can enjoy Michelin-star dining for less than $100. Oh, sure, it also has a $740 caviar menu entry, but you can just slowly step away and scroll down to the part of the menu that features its Butcher’s Feast. For $68 per person, your table will get four different cuts of meat and a variety of traditional Korean accompaniments, such as ban-chan — and it even includes dessert! Just one glass of wine or a cocktail is going to push you closer to $88-90 and then there’s tax and tip, of course. But if you don’t drink, you can definitely stay under that C-note mark.
EATALY | Manhattan | website
With EATALY, you always know that every single person in your party is going to find something to eat — even the absolute pickiest ones. Plus, it’s a joy to just wander around and soak in the dangling prosciutto, various mini-markets and beautiful housewares.
Ed’s Lobster Bar | Manhattan | website
This is for serious seafood suitors ONLY. For real — do not go here unless every single person you’re with is all about the seafood. We took our kids here and they hated it (but we wanted to go and we’re the grownups with the money so sometimes you just have to sacrifice your children’s happiness). We dined here when it was still on Lafayette, so note that it’s moved to Grand. Get the lobster roll; unless you’re a Maritimer…in which case, this place will not impress you at all.
Ellen’s Stardust Diner | Manhattan | website
Calling all Broadway lovers! Whether you’re someone who sees two shows a day during your stays in NYC or you’re someone who has already splurged enough and adding on the price of a Broadway ticket just isn’t in the cards, you NEED to go to Ellen’s Stardust Diner. Yes, the line is long. No, the food isn’t the best you’ll eat in New York City (it’s pretty good all things considered, though). But you can’t beat the experience — because you’re about to bear witness to some phenomenal talent. These are up-and-coming Broadway wannabes who are servers between auditions. And they’re good. Really good. Stay as long as you like and bring cash for tips (you’ll understand why when you go).
Il Forno | Manhattan | website
Is it the best Italian restaurant in NYC? No. But considering it’s in the heart of Broadway’s theatre district, which is often rip-off central when it comes to restaurants, Il Forno is a great choice. The dishes are served piping hot — quickly; our pasta entrees were really good. And it’s not expensive.
Jack’s Wife Freda | Manhattan | website
Jack’s Wife Freda has multiple locations but I’ve only been to the one in SoHo. That said, I included additional locations in my Restaurants – NYC map above since it is a chain. It made the list…with a caveat. I had one stellar meal here a few years ago and brought my family during our recent visit and was less impressed overall. It wasn’t bad or anything, but in a city where you’re spoiled for choice, restaurants need to nail it every time for guests. So, proceed with caution.
Katz’s Delicatessen | Manhattan | website
When Carnegie Deli closed its famous doors in 2016, I had to find a new NYC delicatessen to take its place. Considering Katz’s has been around since 1888, it probably should have been the reigning champ anyway. Nearly 35,000 Google reviews later and I think it’s clear you need to work this into your NYC itinerary. NYC’s oldest deli piles so much meat on its sandwiches that you’re definitely going to want to share.
Kellogg’s Diner | Brooklyn | website
When my kids wanted nothing on the food menu at this rooftop pool in New York City on afternoon, Big B went to the closest place he could find to get them some food — while I continued to order pina coladas and enjoy the sunshine. He came back with some burgers, chicken fingers and fries from Kellogg’s Diner, right beside Hotel Indigo Williamsburg, and it got four enthusiastic thumbs up from my fairly discerning teenagers.
Mercado Little Spain | Manhattan | website
Does the name José Andrés mean anything to you? He’s one of the most inventive chefs out there and you can experience his food when you’re near Hudson Yards. I’ve been obsessed with Andrés since we ate at Bazaar Meat in Vegas (which I wrote about in my “Things to do in Las Vegas for Couples” post), but the price tag that came along with that dinner still makes me twitch a little. So, it was refreshing to see things for as little as $8 at Mercado Little Spain, which is set up like EATALY, but on a smaller scale and focused on a different cuisine.
Nougatine by Jean-Georges | Manhattan | website
Nougatine by Jean-Georges should be on everyone’s must-go-to-restaurants-in-NYC list! The prix fixe lunch is a great way to eat here without blowing your budget on a fancy meal in New York City, but be sure you make a reservation well ahead of time.
Peacefood | Manhattan | website
My vegans — I haven’t forgotten you. There are probably more NYC vegan restaurants but I’ve only been to Peacefood. There’s not a drop of alcohol on the menu either so if you arrive after a long day of wandering the city and you’re aching for a glass of wine…this ain’t it. I arrived one night, child-free, looking forward to enjoying a quiet glass of vino and ended up with tea. Not that there’s anything wrong with tea. Anyway, all of the dishes I tried here were fantastic (and I’m the farthest thing from vegan).
Raising Cane’s | Manhattan | website
Got a hankerin’ for chicken fingers and fries with a DJ in Times Square? Then get yourself to Raising Cane’s, stat. My kids begged to go after seeing it on Tik Tok sensation that opened mere weeks before our visit that my kids begged me to add to our 4-day New York itinerary.
Shake Shack | Manhattan | website
I mean, you know Shake Shack. There are multiple locations. It’s probably the best-tasting fast food going. BUT… You need to know that Shake Shack is embroiled in some bun controversy; it sources its delicious potato buns through a company that is known to contribute to right-wing politicians in the USA. You get to decide how that affects your decision to eat there and whether it remains on your own Restaurants – NYC list.
Smorgasburg | Manhattan + Brooklyn | website
This weekly foodie affair is held at The Oculus in Manhattan (near Ground Zero) on Fridays, and then it heads to Brooklyn for the rest of the weekend, popping up in Williamsburg on Saturdays and Prospect Park on Sundays from May through October. It is the biggest open-air food market on a weekly basis in the USA. There are too many local vendors to try during a single visit, so don’t expect to make much of a dent your first time. The food is great and the vibe is electric.
Suram Sushi & Ramen | Manhattan | website
Can you even have a Restaurants – NYC roundup without ramen? Suram has AH-mazing sushi and even better ramen; this place is a must if you love real ramen — not that pantry-staple crap with a mister in its name. This is some of the freshest sushi I’ve ever had and it’s the first place I ever tried iced green tea.
Tacombi | Manhattan + Brooklyn | website
Great drinks. Authentic flavours. Small, reasonably priced portions (which means you can try lots of things). You can’t go wrong with Tacombi. I’ve visited the Nolita locations many times over the years and recently took my family to its Brooklyn location and they were all just as WOWed as I’ve always been. Don’t miss the corn esquites, beef birria tostadas and tasty palomas.
Tavern on the Green | Manhattan | website
Look, it’s basically a New York City rite of passage. Is it going to make you do a foodie dance? Unlikely. Because it’s really not that special in the way we should be judging restaurants — by their food — but, FFS, it’s Tavern on the Green. It’s a NYC legend. An institution. It’s in the middle of Central Park. Grace Kelly has dined here. It’s in Ghostbusters. Just don’t get overly excited about the food.
Time Out Market New York | Brooklyn | website
I wrote more extensively about Brooklyn’s Time Out Market in my “Weekend in Brooklyn” post, but suffice it to say if you’re looking for some of the city’s best haunts, you’ll find many of them housed here. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner but not all of the restaurants serve breakfast so it’s a bit dead until the lunch crowd starts pouring in.
Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse | Manhattan | website
Here’s the thing: for people who love a classic, old-skool New York City steakhouse, you’ve gotta know what you’re getting into. Menus are a la carte (meaning, if you want more than just a slab of beef on your plate, you have to order it separately) and you’re going to pay through the nose for subpar wine if you’re drinking by the glass. Such is the case at Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse, which we had several people suggest over Keens, telling us it’s the best steakhouse in NYC. Seeing as it’s the only steakhouse I’ve been to there, it’s hard for me to confirm or deny. What I will tell you is this: if you need to do a steakhouse because that’s a thing you do, this will be a fine choice. However, if I could claw back my USD$500 meal for two (gulp), I would take it elsewhere. The food was very good, but not $500 good. Plus, it’s not well lit and the place doesn’t look like it’s had help from an interior designer in the last few decades.
Urbanspace Vanderbilt | Manhattan | website
It’s another food hall! I love them because no matter who you’re travelling with, there’s always going to be foodstuffs for every preference. At Urbanspace Vanderbilt, you’ll find food offerings rotate, so there’s always something new to try.
Victor’s Cafe | Manhattan | website
If you’re seeing a theatre production anywhere near 52nd and Broadway from Tuesday through Friday, Victor’s Cafe has great Cuban tasting menus that are easy on the wallet ($30/45 for lunch/dinner, respectively; includes three courses each). It has a sort of speakeasy energy and feels much more sophisticated than its prices might have you expect.
Make sure you explore more than just Manhattan when you visit NYC! Consider a hotel with a rooftop pool in New York City’s Brooklyn borough, surrounding by one of the coolest neighbourhoods — Williamsburg.
Restaurants – NYC: NYC cocktail bars
Considering how many cocktails I’ve enjoyed in New York City, I was surprised when I started compiling this list and it turned out to be so short! This is either because (a) I don’t have photographic evidence to jog my memory or (b) I had too many cocktails and simply forget where I had them.
If this was pre-2008 crash, I’d have featured both The Oak Room and the Rainbow Room. They were bar-setters for all NYC cocktail bars that followed. Let’s have a moment of silence in particular for the Rainbow Room, which still sits on the 65th floor at Rockefeller Center, but is now used solely for private events. When my girlfriends and I went 18 years ago, it seemed crazy to fork over $21 for a cocktail. Ah, those were the days…
In any case, here are two NYC cocktail bars to get you started:
230 Fifth Rooftop | Manhattan | website
If there’s one thing you have to do even just once in New York City, it’s have drinks on a rooftop bar. And 230 Fifth is a good choice if you’re in the area. Though I’ve been there with my kids (and kids are allowed most days of the week until a certain time), it’s definitely a bar and there are very few kid-friendly drinks available. I’ve been told you can be turned away here based on your clothing and shoe choice, but I have come both dressed up and dressed down and never had an issue. To be on the safe side, though, avoid flip flops and running shoes.
Barbuto | Manhattan | website
It’s not strictly a cocktail bar, but I’ve been here just for cocktails, so this is where it’s staying. On the edge of New York City’s trendy Meatpacking District, Barbuto reopened in 2021 at its new location and it’s elegantly casual, so you and your girlfriends can dress up but also cackle over glasses of wine.
Restaurants – NYC: Snacks + dessert
Once upon a time, I created a Greenwich Village sweets tour for my kids; unfortunately, it’s woefully outdated now thanks to the problem so many restaurant posts face — closures. It’s really, really hard to keep restaurant listings up-to-date, especially in big cities like New York. So I moved all of the still-open dessert spots to this post instead, which means you don’t even have to go looking for NYC desserts elsewhere on my site. Unless, of course, you’re looking for the Friends apartment, which I do happen to have mapped in my Greenwich Village post, since I built the entire dessert tour around that building!
Angelina Bakery | Manhattan | website
It’s a chain, but a really, really great one. Everything on the menu is phenomenal — and I know this because I’ve tried a lot of it. It’s certainly got some sticker shock but you’ll walk away very happy.
Black Fox Coffee Co. | Manhattan | website
I went for the housemade nut milk, only to find they no longer make it, and came out with an espresso tonic — which is going to sound weird, but stay with me: Fever-Tree tonic over ice with a shot of espresso and two dashes of lemon bitters, topped with a slice of lemon. Ta-dahhhh! Not gonna lie, I ordered it *because* of how unique it sounded and, though it took me a minute or two to get all those flavours to make sense in my brain, I ultimately liked it quite a lot. If soda-pop met iced coffee and lemon water, this would be its baby.
Boba Guys | Manhattan | website
Miss Q looooooves boba and is a harsh judge. With that as context, I’ll tell you that I’ve never seen her swoon like she did after her first few sips of her strawberry boba from Boba Guys.
Flour Shop | Manhattan | website
Amirah Kassem’s clever play on words is the happiest spot on the block and is staged with all your most curated Instagram feeds in mind. Even her website is fun. The cake balls (cake pops) are awesome and just $3.50.
La Newyorkina | Brooklyn | website
When you can’t find a La Newyorkina pop-up, know that there’s a permanent location in Brooklyn’s Red Hook hood. We first tried these Mexican ice-pops when there was a storefront in Greenwich Village, and they are EVERYTHING a popsicle should be. Actually, more.
Madman Espresso | Manhattan | website
There are six locations of this busy-but-friendly coffee shop chain, and I have to throw out mad props for its matcha latte. When I order one from Starbucks, I have to ask for it to be made half-sweet with six scoops of matcha to properly customize it, but Madman Espresso nailed it right out of the gate. I asked the barista before ordering how sweet and how grassy it would be and she assured me it wouldn’t be sweet at all and that it would be heavily grassy — just the way I like it!
Magnolia Bakery | Manhattan | website
If you find another Restaurants – NYC list out there and it doesn’t include Magnolia Bakery, delete it from your history. You have to eat the Magnolia banana pudding. You just have to. The end.
Milk Bar | Manhattan + Brooklyn | website
Chef’s Table‘s Christina Tosi now has Milk Bar locations all over NYC — but don’t go asking for Crack Pie. They don’t call it that anymore, even if this sweet concoction is still available by a new, very boring name. Instead, opt for the cereal milk-flavoured ice cream.
Rice to Riches | Manhattan | website
Where are my rice pudding enthusiasts? I need you to find a way to work Rice to Riches into your New York City itinerary — even if you have no other reason to be in SoHo (though I can happily give you many reasons to be in SoHo). It’s like Baskin-Robbins for rice pudding and until the day I die, I will dream of the mascarpone and dark cherry rice pudding I snacked on.
the West coffeehouse & bar | Brooklyn | website
Is it a coffee shop? Is it a bar? It’s BOTH! This great Brooklyn cafe-cum-bar had both hot and cold bevvies that made every member of my family happy.
Varsano’s Chocolate | Manhattan | website
What would a Restaurants – NYC roundup be without chocolate?! This Greenwich Village chocolate shop is unassuming and you’ll probably have to go looking for it to find it, but it’ll be worth seeking it out. All of its chocolates are handmade and they are absolutely wonderful. I’m a total choco-holic but I won’t bother wasting calories on subpar chocolate. I assure you: I will happily eat my weight in chocolate from Varsano’s.
Restaurants – NYC: NYC street food
NYC street food. It’s a must. Not only because you can save a lot of money by grabbing a bagel here and a pretzel there from one of the many, many vendors you can find LITERALLY EVERYWHERE, but also because NYC street food is basically part one of your New York City initiation.
Are street bagels as good as the ones you can get from, say, Liberty Bagels? No, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find fancy cream cheese flavours to go with it, but at $1-1.50, I’m confident telling you they’re still better than the bagels your grocery store sells.
And there ain’t nothin’ more New York than grabbing a warm pretzel from some dude on a street corner and covering it in packaged mustard. Mmm-mmmm good.
Urban HAWKER | Manhattan | website
I love a good food hall, and Urban HAWKER is an interesting one because it’s devoted solely to Singaporean street food. A first-of-its-kind curated space in the United States, it features 17 vendor stalls from Singapore’s UNESCO hawker centres. Dim Sum Darling is soooo good, and my favourite coffee in NYC is housed here, too, which I’ve included in the coffee, breakfast and brunch section above. Is it technically on the street like the hot dog vendors? No, but it’s absolutely street food-style.
Readers! If you have some tried-and-true street food stops that you want to share, please leave them in the comments of this Restaurants – NYC post!
Restaurants – NYC: New York City restaurants week
Hold on just one second before you take off and start planning — because you need to know about NYC Restaurant Week. Held twice a year — in July/August and January/February for about four weeks each season — restaurants can opt in to New York City restaurants week, offering multi-course meals as a flat-rate prix fixe offering. The idea, of course, is to help see them through slower periods and to encourage restaurant-goers to try new places. But it’s also a great way to enjoy restaurants that are often more expensive since these two- and three-course lunches and dinners are usually set at $30-45 per person.
Restaurants may not participate for the entire four weeks, but the website does a great job of breaking down what’s happening, where and filtering even deeper if you’re after a certain cuisine or even neighbourhood. Be sure to keep this in mind and pair it with this Restaurants – NYC post and the food map above if you know you’ll be visiting during New York City restaurants week in the winter or summer months.
DISCLAIMER: I don’t think I’ve ever had a single comped meal in New York City, making this Restaurants – NYC post probably one of the biggest investments in both time and money that I have ever written for you. I hope it helps!