In a city with over 23,000 eateries, it’s easy to lose your cool head. In New York, you can try virtually any cuisine in the world, because of what a cultural melting pot New York is. If you do not know where to eat in New York and you are afraid of misfortunes, we have some proven suggestions for you. Hints what to try in New York you can find here.
The restaurant rating system has been in force since 2010 expressed in order of alphabet letters. Grade A is awarded to the highest rated places, and C is the lowest. The assessment concerns compliance with sanitary rules and health and safety rules. Restaurants are required to display the rating card in a place visible to the customer. Thanks to this, you can quickly and easily assess whether you want to eat in a given place. We are, admittedly, one of those who would eat in a pub rated ‘D’, but we’re letting you know as for some it is of great importance.
In the United States, paying for the bill is slightly different and for us Europeans, it may be a bit of a culture shock. To start with, prices are excluding tax which is 8.875% and is added to the bill at checkout. Tips in the States are mandatory, in New York the suggested tip is currently 18-25%, which is charged to the card after the bill has been settled or also paid in cash.
When paying the bill, we get it to sign and that’s where the tip amount is decided and the whole bill is added up. Where did such a system come from? In the US, the most popular form of payment is by credit card, you pay the bill first, and the restaurant itself charges the tip amount from the card.
An additional shock is a fact that the waiter does not bring the payment terminal to the table, but takes the card to the cash register, pulls it through the terminal and without having to enter the pin, the cash is withdrawn from the card. This practice shocked us a bit and at the beginning, we went to the cash register with the waiters, then we gave up because we used Revolut. The card, although a debit card, worked in our case just like a loan. Apparently many Americans open an account and leave their card for the whole evening.
In New York, water is provided by the staff before the meal, which is free of charge. However, it is worth knowing that practically into everything ice is being added – if you want without, you will have to ask the staff.
Katz Delicatessen – New York Food Guide
Katz Delicatessen, the famous Jewish delicatessen on the Lower East Side, is worth every minute of queuing! They gained additional popularity thanks to the movie ‘When Harry Met Sally’, which features a scene with Meg Ryan eating a sandwich in Katz and faking an orgasm. You can get an orgasm from eating sandwiches in Katz without a doubt. The Katz speciality is a sandwich thickly filled with pastrami, which is prepared in front of our eyes, and as part of the wait, you get a piece of meat to try. As in a classic deli, you go in, order and wait for an order at the counter, look for a table and pay at the exit (in a smaller deli you pay immediately). Katz is a MUST if you eat meat, of course.
Ivan Ramen – New York Food Guide
Ivan Ramen is a Ramen bar on the Lower East Side opened by Ivan Orkin, the chef portrayed in an episode of Chef’s Table. Ivan has cooked ramen in the past in Tokyo, where he had a popular pub, so he really knows his stuff. We decided on a light Tokio Shio, i.e. delicate ramen on chicken stock, the tare of which (the essence of the flavour) is made of a mixture of salt. The second choice was the outstanding, fatty and heavy tonkotsu in the broth of pork. We recommend it to all fans of Japanese noodles.
Momofuku – New York Food Guide
Celebrity chef David Chang’s tavern happened to be nearby by accident, and so we managed to try more than one ramen in New York. We opted for smoked pork ramen with a pleasantly smoked flavour. The noodles themselves were as tasty as Ivan’s, although of a slightly different type. The broth was clear and the meat inside was very tasty. Overall, ramen is very good, but it lacks the complexity and depth of an outstanding one.
Gottlieb’s – New York Food Guide
If you land in South Williamsburg looking for a tasty and cheap place to eat, go to the Jewish Gottlieb’s. You will try matzo ball soup there, i.e. a delicious broth with a strange matzo ball, we recommend trying their pickles as an additional dish.
Joe’s Pizza – New York Food Guide
There are several locations in the city, but the original one is in Greenwich Village on Carmine Street. Joe’s Pizza is famous thanks to the movie Spider-Man and amazingly good pizza. If someone tells you that the New York pizza is bland, go there, it won’t cost you a dollar, and you will pay as much as 4.5 $ for a slice, but it’s really worth it! We recommend Margherita rather than pepperoni.
Leo’s Bagels – New York Food Guide
A place found on Google Maps that took us by surprise … with a very long queue on Sunday morning. Biting into the bagel, however, we understood what the queue was doing there. THIS QUALITY! Both the cream cheese and salmon were of the highest quality and melted in your mouth. It was not cheap, but it’s good. We also had a little slip-up there, in the chatter of the crowd the saleswoman heard ‘cinnamon’ instead of ‘sesame’ and so we ended up with a cinnamon bagel full of beef … Surprisingly it was a tasty combination because the bagel was neither overly sweet nor very cinnamon.
Junior’s Bakery – New York Food Guide
They say it’s the best New York cheesecake in town and we don’t argue, because that cheesecake is mind-blowing. A slice costs almost $ 9, but it’s so sweet and big that it’s hard to eat it all at once. We were also tempted by the version with carrot cake and it was real heaven, the savoury cake perfectly broke the sweetness of the cheesecake. Junior’s has several locations, but the most atmospheric diner interior can be found in the original Brooklyn location on Flatbush Ave.
Fred’s Jack’s Wife – New York Food Guide
Wandering around NoLiTa, our legs carried us to Fred’s Jack’s Wife, a restaurant that also serves breakfast, which is strongly inspired by Paris. The Croque Madame with duck prosciutto was really nice, but at the exorbitant prices, the portion was not that big. The restaurant is bright, spacious and really well decorated. If you have a larger budget, it is worth going.
SoHo Diner – New York Food Guide
A place stylized as a typical American diner, but rather “high gloss”. We ordered a salmon platter which, apart from salmon, also contained a brilliant lemon herb cream cheese, capers, onion, tomatoes, radish and cucumber, and a toasted bagel on its side. We were surprised by the amount of vegetables that were really tasty, the whole thing was of very high quality!
Berry Park – New York Food Guide
Berry Park is a rooftop in Williamsburg, with a view that would have been pretty ok if it weren’t for the roofs in the foreground, which spoil the impression a bit. If you’re looking for a more budget option, this is one of the cheapest rooftops we’ve been to.
230th Rooftop Bar – New York Food Guide
The rooftop bar is located just off Madison Square Park, which is in the heart of the city. It is quite a touristic place, so you do not have to worry so much about the dress code (it is not required during the day, in the evening you should dress nicer), but our observations show that it is also liked by locals. 230th is a year-round rooftop, in winter an “igloo tent ” is placed there to protect against the cold. The view from the 230th Rooftop Bar is divine as we can see the majestic Empire State Building!
The Oyster Bar – New York Food Guide
Located in Grand Central Terminal, next to the Whisper Gallery, The Oyster Bar is a New York classic. However, it is not as expensive or inflated as it might seem, there is no dress code and the atmosphere is rather relaxed. As you can guess, the restaurant is famous for its oysters, unfortunately, you won’t eat New York ones there, because the bay was used up a long time ago, but you can try oysters from other parts of the United States. In addition, they really serve a lot of other seafood, and we recommend paying attention to the Manhattan Clam Chowder, which is the Manhattan version of fish and seafood soup, which is spiced up with tomato.
Van Leeuwen Ice Cream – New York Food Guide
If you are a fan of more crazy ice cream flavours then go to Van Leeuwen. The seasonal rhubarb-flavoured option was really delicious and the portions are gigantic, so take one scoop each! Van Leeuwen also has a nice selection of vegan ice cream. The only thing we do not recommend is the waffle – it got soaked very quickly and started to fall apart …
Milk Bar – New York Food Guide
Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar is an ice cream shop that appeared in an episode of Chef’s Table. In our opinion, it’s not that outstanding to deserve a spot at Chef’s Table, but we decided to check it out. We chose a classic – a cereal-flavoured ice cream sprinkled with flakes. They’re not cheap, but the serving size is really honest. The ice cream was delicious and the taste of the flakes is superb! Creamy, “Italian ice cream” style, really tasty, and the flakes added a crispy texture. However, it must be admitted that American corn flakes have a ton of sugar in them …
Motorino – New York Food Guide
If the New York pizza doesn’t float your boat, then it’s not completely lost, just go to Williamsburg to Motorino. They serve really great quality Neapolitana, which Italians would not be ashamed of!
Dog & Bone – New York Food Guide
A bar where Aneta sat every evening because it was literally 10 meters from the entrance to her dingy hotel. A great place to meet New Yorkers! Nice service, the place is dog-friendly, so many pet owners come. When it comes to food, I only tried hummus with vegetables, which was tasty, but it’s a rather undemanding dish. Recommended for a drink!
Levain Bakery – New York Food Guide
Levain Bakery is famous for New York cookies. The place has grown to the size of a small chain store, the original location on the Upper West Side (167 W 74th St) is small and does not impress with a large selection of cookies, but the choice does not matter. These cookies are really delicious! I do not recommend it to people who do not like very sweet desserts, because these cookies are sugar driven. Chocolate and peanut butter are a brilliant combination, you would have to have a few days to try more …
Mila Cafe – New York Food Guide
Tiny old-school deli on the Upper West Side serving genuine “honest” sandwiches. The prices are low for the area and the sandwiches are huge! In addition, the choice is quite large. After such breakfast, you will be full for long hours!
Bagels and Schmear – New York Food Guide
Another old-school breakfast room, open from 6 am! They serve bagels there, but we went for pancakes which were huge, fluffy and cheap. However, we recommend the sweet version with fruit rather than bacon, which was tasty but pancake’s definitely needed a strong, fruity twist!
Sojourn – New York Food Guide
Pretty wallet-friendly eatery on the Upper East Side. Great place for brunch – they have bottomless drinks option, typical brunch cocktails are really reasonably priced and food in huge portions. We decided on light starters because the heat was hard to bear. Both the croissants and the burrata were very tasty.
Tipsy Scoop – New York Food Guide
Ice cream imitates alcoholic cocktails, supposedly containing alcohol, so show ID. In our opinion, the alcohol was practically imperceptible, but the ice cream was very tasty – greasy and creamy. The chocolate version (we don’t remember what cocktail it was supposed to imitate) with vodka was really good, closer to rich dark chocolate rather than a smooth milky one. Mega ice cream shop if you’re in the area!
Bill’s Burger – New York Food Guide
We really wanted to go to a diner with a typical interior and a white and red tablecloth to take pictures. Bill’s Burger near Rockefeller Centre is just such a place. The burgers were correct and tasty, but not to be remembered for weeks after.
Xi’an Famous Foods – New York Food Guide
Brilliant Chinese dumplings made on the spot. We took spicy and sour dumplings with pork and cabbage, as well as Zha Jiang noodles, sweet and salty with minced pork. Especially the latter option was a jackpot, intense, perfectly spiced, intriguing noodles! In addition, it is a very budget-friendly place.
Campbell Bar – New York Food Guide
Campbell Bar is located in Grand Central Terminal. The place takes its name from Mr Campbell, the financier who had his office there. This is one of the most beautiful, dark, atmospheric bars we have ever been to. Cocktails are really delicious, and in such an interior they taste twice as nice. It was not cheap, but it’s worth it! There is a dress code, men are not allowed in shorts.
Dickson’s Farmstand Meat – New York Food Guide
One of the two Chelsea Market places we visited. If you are looking for a location for a nice hot dog, go there. A sausage is not some poor sausage, but a really decent one! We recommend taking the large version as they are not particularly impressive in size.
Lobster Place – New York Food Guide
Lobster Place is the second place we visited at the market. It consists of three stations – an oyster bar, a sushi counter and part serving whole lobster and lobster rolls. We were tempted by oysters, the choice of which was huge, and the differences in taste were perfectly explained on the board above the stand. Then we moved on to the last part for the lobster roll, which is a lobster roll. Delicious buttery brioche, filled with a melting lobster, that’s it! Unfortunately, it is a rather expensive place and portions are small.
Juliana’s – New York Food Guide
Juliana’s owner, Patsy Grimaldi, studied at Lombardi’s oldest pizzeria in New York. He opened his Grimaldi’s pizzeria in Brooklyn in order to sell it years later and open a new one … right next door. This is also how Juliana’s was created, a pizzeria with a really excellent New York pizza, which is not greasy at all, and the mozzarella on top is the highest quality! Juliana’s doesn’t sell pizzas by the slice, and whole pizzas are huge! It is not cheap, but really tasty, and a large pizza easily suffices for two people.
The Back Room – New York Food Guide
The Back Room on the Lower East Side is one of two original speakeasy bars that have survived in New York City since Prohibition! You enter it through a “gap” between the buildings to which you have to go down the stairs, after several dozen meters we finally come to the door. In The Back Room, cocktails are served in coffee cups, just like originally in Prohibition. The cocktails are tasty and relatively cheap for New York. On Mondays, there are jazz concerts to which admission is free. From the dress code – they do not tolerate faux fur! The entrance to the bar is also free.
Absolute Bagels – Where to eat in New York?
Every place we searched for information on where to eat on the Upper West Side pointed to Absolute Bagels as the best place for bagels. It’s one of those slightly old-school places with soul that haven’t been touched by gentrification yet, and where prices won’t break the bank. The bagels are very tasty and fresh, and they feel like a journey back in time. Expect lines because the locals love this place!
Liberty Bagels – Where to eat in New York?
Liberty Bagels is the complete opposite of Absolute Bagels. It’s more modern, chain-like place where you can get fancy rainbow bagels. That’s why we decided to go there (let’s not kid ourselves, they look very Instagram-worthy!), but we didn’t realize that the rainbow version would be sweet with vanilla undertones, and we definitely prefer savory bagels. We ended up trying the jalapeno bagel with an omelet – it was tasty, although out of all the bagels we tried, it was the weakest. If you’ve had enough cream cheese and salmon, be sure to try the breakfast version with eggs (there are plenty of variations).
Russ & Daughters – Where to eat in New York?
Russ & Daughters is a New York institution, just as famous as Katz’s and also located on the Lower East Side. Russ & Daughters is a Jewish deli with a history dating back to 1904, and interestingly, it was founded by a Polish Jew who arrived in New York from Strzyżów. It all started with a food cart selling herring and eventually evolved into a shop. At Russ & Daughters, you’ll find caviar, smoked fish, and various delicacies, but the most important thing is the bagels! They have fluffy interiors and crispy exteriors, topped with mouth-watering lox. It’s not a cheap place, and you’ll have to pay $20 or more for a bagel, but next to Leo Bagel’s, it was the tastiest bagel we had in New York! Expect lines because, as we mentioned before, this place is considered iconic!
Nathan’s – Where to eat in New York?
Iconic New York hot dogs that you’ll see on almost every corner! Nathan’s is also a story that started with a Polish-Jewish immigrant. The first restaurant that sold Nathan’s hot dogs is located on Coney Island. If you want to try an original New York hot dog, this is the place to go, but keep in mind that it’s a simple, inexpensive hot dog, not a heavenly delicacy – it’s tasty, but nothing extraordinary. Nathan’s hot dogs are also famous for… causing diarrhea. It’s worth keeping that in mind and not overindulging! We’re not sure if it was the hot dogs themselves, but Aneta also experienced it firsthand (after eating just one!). Hugh Grant shared similar experiences, and you can find the video here.
Gray’s Papaya – Where to eat in New York?
Gray’s Papaya is a cult spot on the Upper West Side that looks like it’s frozen in time. You can get super cheap hot dogs there, starting from $3, and the price increases depending on the toppings you choose. They offer classic toppings like sauerkraut. Just like with Nathan’s, don’t expect miracles, but if you’re in the area or simply craving a legendary NY hot dog, it’s worth checking out this place!
Everdene – Where to eat in New York?
A rooftop located in the Virgin Hotel with a great view of the Empire State Building. The place opened in 2023, and a few months after its opening, it wasn’t yet crowded, but sooner or later it will be! The view is amazing, the interior design is brilliant (the restaurant is indoors, but there’s also an outdoor terrace where you can enjoy a drink), and the prices are quite reasonable for a rooftop in NYC. The food was delicious, and the portions were quite generous. If you’re looking for a rooftop with a nice view, without the tourist crowds, and one that won’t break the bank, this is the perfect place for you!
Vanguard Wine Bar (Upper West Side) – Where to eat in New York?
Good wines, great atmosphere, and prices that won’t break the bank. Vanguard has at least two locations in New York, and we visited the one on the Upper West Side. It’s a great place for wine lovers!
Cousin John’s Cafe & Bakery – Where to eat in New York?
As you can probably tell, we love places that have stood the test of time! And there’s no shortage of such places in New York, although gentrification is eliminating them one by one… Cousin John’s Cafe & Bakery is one of those places in Brooklyn where you can have a huge breakfast for a small price and enjoy a terrible, New York-style pour-over coffee with free refills. It’s not a place you necessarily have to rush to, but if you happen to be in the area, it’s worth a visit. The portions were enormous, and before the main breakfast, we were served freshly baked dark, sweet bread with cherry jam. Oh my! It was delicious! The bread surpassed the entire breakfast, and although it was hard to resist, we had to skip it because there wouldn’t have been enough room for the actual breakfast.
Ippudo Westside – Where to eat in New York?
Excellent ramen! Although we didn’t fully appreciate the style of New York ramen noodles style (it’s a common feature of most ramen shops), the broth at Ippudo was mind-blowing. Perfectly creamy, rich, and full of flavor! And the minced meat was excellent too. The downside is that the egg is not included as a standard topping, and you have to pay extra for it in the already pricey ramen itself.
Shake Shack – Where to eat in New York?
Shake Shack is a beloved burger chain by New Yorkers. When we went there, we thought it would be a slightly more expensive and slightly better McDonald’s. However, it turned out that the burgers at Shake Shack are really, really decent! It’s still a chain, but one with really good quality. We paid around $20 for a burger combo with cheese fries and a lemonade. The burgers themselves are not huge, but when combined with the fries, you can have a satisfying meal. If you come across a pomegranate and basil lemonade on the menu, we highly recommend trying it because it’s fantastic!
Caffe Reggio – Where to eat in New York?
A historic café in the heart of Greenwich Village, where the first Italian cappuccino in America was served in 1927. The café has appeared in many movies, including The Godfather, and it’s worth a visit for its beautiful, old interior. The prices are quite reasonable for New York!
PJ Clarke – Where to eat in New York?
If you’re based around Lincoln Centre and want to have seafood without breaking the bank, it’s worth stopping by PJ Clarke (they have several other locations in NY as well). It was definitely the most affordable restaurant in the area, and its interior resembles an old, dark pub. The seafood was fresh and tasty – we tried oysters and tuna tartare.
Blue Marble – Where to eat in New York?
Discovered by chance while returning late at night from Grey’s Papaya, it’s a place for natural ice cream! Their salted caramel flavor was really, really delicious, and overall, it was probably one of the best ice creams we had in NY!
Chama Mama – Where to eat in New York?
A Georgian chain with a modern, slightly Scandinavian interior. The prices won’t blow you away, but don’t expect it to be a super cheap Georgian eatery. The khachapuri was delicious, but it’s worth getting it to share (if you’re a party of two) and combining it with other dishes because it’s very rich and salty.
Rosa’s Pizza – Where to eat in New York?
There’s nothing more satisfying than finding hidden gems like Rosa’s Pizza in Williamsburg. We needed something quick on the go, and our craving for pizza led us to Rosa’s, a very unassuming place serving classic New York pizza. And what can we say, besides Artichoke Basil, it was the best slice of pizza we had in NYC! Crispy crust, delicious tomato sauce, and gooey cheese. Seriously, it had everything we wanted!
Artichoke Basil – Where to eat in New York?
As we mentioned before, we had one of the best New York pizzas at Artichoke. One slice is so huge that we guarantee you’ll be satisfied with just one, and if you’re very hungry, two slices will defeat you! Artichoke is a chain known for their artichoke pizza. We tried the margherita, and the quality of the ingredients was truly admirable!
The Water Tower Bar – Where to eat in New York?
The Water Tower Bar, along with the pool, located on the rooftop of The Williamsburg Hotel, is a unique place! The hotel itself has an incredible design and atmosphere, and on its rooftop, there’s a rooftop bar and a converted water tower restaurant. Water towers are an iconic part of the New York skyline and a symbol of the city, so using a decommissioned water tower as a restaurant is a brilliant idea! The rooftop offers a great view of Manhattan, and that’s the main reason to visit such a place!
Rudy’s Pastry Shop – Where to eat in New York?
Rudy’s Pastry Shop in Brooklyn’s Ridgewood is a pastry shop with soul, one of those places where you feel like travelling back in time. Their New York cheesecake is delicious, although in our opinion, Junior’s is the undisputed king. However, Rudy’s is much cheaper! A slice of that delight costs $5.50.
Shanghai You Garden – Where to eat in New York?
Flushing is the largest Chinatown in New York, and since it’s located deep in Queens, we don’t think you’ll end up there by chance. However, if you happen to be in the area (nearby are Queens Botanic Garden, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and Queens Museum), it’s worth checking out Shanghai You Garden for dim sum. Just think about the quantity you want to order because we received complimentary dishes and ended up with an impossible amount of various dim sum dumplings. The food was tasty, and the prices were reasonable.
Bahari Estiatorio – Where to eat in New York?
Queens is known for being home to every nationality you can find in New York. So, it’s no surprise that in the Astoria neighborhood, there’s a Greek community and, consequently, Greek restaurants! Bahari Estiatorio is one of them. We had delicious melitzanosalata (eggplant dip) and fried calamari there.
Los Tacos No. 1 – Where to eat in New York?
Los Tacos No. 1 is a fast-food taco chain. We were a bit worried that the quality might be poor, but we were mistaken! While it may not be the most authentic Mexican place, we didn’t expect that from this kind of establishment. The tacos were really tasty, and we paid around $15 for three pieces.
IHOP – Where to eat in New York?
There’s no shortage of diners in New York, but more and more of these nice, Instagrammable places are popping up, pushing the not-so-pretty ones out. IHOP is a chain, but it falls into the category of authentic, “brutal” diners. It’s not fancy; it’s fast and cheap, and the menu offers typical American options. IHOP is particularly known for its pancakes, but we opted for waffles with maple syrup and fried chicken. It was tasty, although the quality was diner-chain-like. And it’s worth checking the calorie count (you’ll find that information in American chains); we still don’t know how they managed to pack 1,200 calories into that breakfast…
Le Grainne Cafe – Where to eat in New York?
A French bistro in the heart of Chelsea. If you have a craving for croissants or croque madame and want to feast your eyes on an interior that evokes Paris, we recommend checking out this place.