There are so many places to eat in New York City that it can be hard to know where to eat. My recommendation is to do your research before you head out so you know where the good places to eat are located. During our planning stages, we researched where we wanted to eat and got a few suggestions from some locals. It was probably the best thing we could have done as it helped us figure out where we wanted to go when.
Places to Eat In New York
It is said that there are so many restaurants in New York City that a person could eat at a new restaurant for every meal of their entire life and they still would not eat at every restaurant in New York. It can be hard to know where to go, but checking out travel blogs and restaurant reviews can really help with this process.
For our trip, we did some research into where it was we wanted to eat and planned our days accordingly. If there was somewhere in a specific neighbourhood that we wanted to eat at, or an attraction to see, we would plan our day or half-day in that area to try and hit as much as possible to avoid backtracking to the same area again. That didn’t always work out, but we did the best we could.
Once we were settled in to our hotel, we headed out on the first night to Greenwich Village. Since Miss G is a huge Anthony Bourdain fan, we tried to hit a few of his favourites. Takashi was one of the restaurants featured on his show, The Layover. At the time of filming, it was his favourite restaurant in New York.
Takashi is a small Japanese yakiniku restaurant whose menu is all beef. Being unfamiliar with ordering at this type of restaurant, I trusted Jennifer with ordering for the table. I will apologize for the photographs ahead of time. They were taken with my cellphone and not in the greatest lighting conditions. I did what I could with them.
Our meal started with free starters of salads and kimchi. The dressing on the middle salad seemed to have a bit of a peanut taste to it, at least to my taste buds.
Once our order was in, the first item brought out was the testicargot.
If you are wondering what that is, yes, it is beef testicles with garlic shiso butter. I admit this was being a little adventurous for me, but I wanted to give it a try. It actually was pretty good, despite the initial “what am I doing eating this?” It had a bit of a spongy texture to it, with a mildly chewy ring around the outside. Would I try it again? Yes. Would I go out of my way to order it again? Probably not.
Pictured above was our next item. This was definitely my favourite dish that we had at this restaurant. This is the Grandmom’s Steamed Beef Shank Buns. It was just a bit of beef with lettuce and spicy mayo. It’s nothing fancy but it was delicious.
Photo credit: Jennifer Tammy
Finally, we ordered the beef belly and Horumon-Moriawase (chef’s selection) which included liver, sweetbreads, first stomach and fourth stomach (if memory serves me correct, but I might be mistaken). The one thing I do remember was that the sweetbreads and stomachs were very chewy and it took a long time to eat them. Everything tasted good though, so no complaints there.
Big Gay Ice Cream
One of Big Gay Ice Cream‘s locations is a short walk from Takashi. I was exhausted and full by this point, so I wasn’t too much in the mood for ice cream. Miss G was also very tired so we waited at a table while Jennifer ordered some ice cream for herself.
She ordered a salted caramel chocolate dip cone. I was able to have a bite and boy, did I miss out on a treat. Had I not been so full from dinner, I definitely would have gotten myself a cone. There wasn’t a lot of salt on this, and most bites would just be chocolate and caramel, but the odd bite, you’d suddenly get a taste of salt with it. Next time I am in New York again, this will be a place that will be a must stop so that I can get my own cone.
There are three locations in New York. One in East Village, one in West Village and one in Gansevoort Market in Chelsea.
The Bagel Store
When you get off the L train at Graham Avenue and Metropolitan Avenue in Brooklyn, after just a short walk down Metropolitan, you will find The Bagel Store. They are the creators of the original Rainbow Bagel.
Jennifer and I both ordered one with glitter. I ordered mine with the Birthday Cake (Funfetti) cream cheese, Jennifer ordered hers with cookie dough. These bagels are definitely more of a dessert than something you would have as a meal. The bagel itself has a bit of a vanilla flavouring to it. The cream cheese is what made it even more dessert-like. The funfetti cream cheese was almost like icing, but not quite as sweet.
I had a taste of Jennifer’s bagel as well. The cookie dough was just cookie dough, so it was not really all that special for me. It was good, but I felt that the funfetti cream cheese was better.
We headed over to the Shake Shack in Dumbo for lunch/dinner. Instead of the iconic Shack Burger, I decided to try something different and ordered the ‘Shroom Burger. It’s a portobello mushroom patty with muenster and cheddar cheeses, topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce. It was different from anything I’d tried before and I would definitely go back for another order.
There are a lot of options on the menu and it’s good to know that the vegetarian option is just as good as the other food. Next time, I might try the Shack Stack just to see what the two burgers taste like together.
Jennifer ordered some of the frozen custard and I had a taste of it as well. It was good and if I had the choice where we live, I would choose this over soft-serve ice cream any day. We just got the regular custard and it tastes exactly how you would expect. I think I’d like to try one of their options or a shake next time.
We ended up getting Shake Shack to take with us on the train as well. Admittedly, I wasn’t blown away by it, but it was still good. It reminded me a bit like Five Guys burgers, but the difference is the ShackSauce. I think that is the only thing that really made this burger stand out for me. I would still recommend this as one of the places to eat while in New York (or any other city that has a location).
Upper West Side
Alice’s Tea Cup, Chapter I
Another location on our list of places to eat in New York was Alice’s Tea Cup. There are three locations in Manhattan and we went to the original location on West 73rd Street. When you first walk in, you enter into a cute little shop that sells tea, cupcakes and other goodies. Before being led to the back where the restaurant is, the cashier let Miss G pick a pair of fairy wings to wear and sprinkled her with Fairy Dust. It was a cute thing that is perfect for kids.
For breakfast, I decided to do the create your own crepe. I selected asparagus, cheddar, Gruyere and bacon. It was served with a side of mixed greens. The crepe was delicious, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the ginger-soy dressing on the mixed greens.
Jennifer ordered the Scones Benedict, which was really just Eggs Benedict but on a scone instead of an English muffin. It’s paired with their potato-chicken hash. I didn’t try the Scones Benedict, but I had a taste of the potato-chicken hash. I didn’t love it. The chicken pieces were fairly dry and the potato was a little on the bland side.
Miss G had two scones and some herbal tea (I think she had the Mango Flip). Jennifer and I each ordered our own pots of tea. I think I probably should have written down what I ordered, because I can’t remember which one it was, but it was good. They have some of their own house blends which I would recommend trying.
While we were visiting the Children’s Museum on the Upper West Side, we headed across the street for some lunch at Cafe Lalo. For Nora Ephron fans, you will recognize this as the cafe in You’ve Got Mail.
I ordered the grilled salmon with heirloom carrots and grilled brussel sprouts. Both the fish and vegetables were cooked really well and it tasted great. I will admit that the food wasn’t anything to go out of your way for, but if you’re a movie buff that wants to visit the sites, this is a decent place to get some lunch.
Miss G had the macaroni and cheese which looked delicious and considering she ate all of it, I think it’s safe to say that it was good. Neither of these items appears on their online menus so I don’t know if these are items they always serve. Seeing as they are fairly basic dishes, I would imagine that these are regular items though.
Soho and Tribeca
l think this is one of my favourite places to eat from our trip, based solely on the one dish below. This restaurant is part of the Altamarea Group of restaurants and is one of the mid-price range options. We were originally looking at going to Marea instead, but decided on this place as a lower priced option, and I was not disappointed.
Basically because of lack of communication, Jennifer and I both ended up ordering the cappelletti, since we were trying to order different things so that each of us could try a little bit. This dish is made with truffled ricotta ravioli, prosciutto and butter. It has got to be one of, if not my top, favourites from this trip. I would not hesitate to head back to this restaurant for another taste.
Dominique Ansel Bakery
We headed over to the Dominique Ansel Bakery in Soho after a lot of walking around. They are famous for inventing the Cronut. I decided to try some of their other baked goods.
I got some of their madeleines, which are baked fresh when you order them. These were light, fluffy and warm, and well worth the wait.
I also tried one of their cotton soft cheesecakes. It was a good size, but I wasn’t all that impressed with it. It was not as sweet as regular cheesecake, which I think made it a bit of a disappointment for me. I think had their been some sort of fruit coulis or dressing, it might have been more satisfying.
Also, as a fan of macrons, I got one of their lemon macrons to try. I ended up eating this a couple days later, and though it was completely squished, it was still very good, though not much different from ones I’ve had from other bakeries.
Jennifer ordered a Cronut, and after having a taste, I wish I’d ordered one myself instead of the cheesecake (and I’d even trade the madeleines). This particular flavour was mirabelle plum and brown sugar. I thought it would be too sweet, but it really wasn’t and a thoroughly enjoyed it. If I ever get a chance to go back, I will order one of these for myself, regardless of flavour.
While over in the Tribeca area, we headed over to Maman. It is a sort of coffee shop/bakery/lunch place. They also make their own “oreo” cookies. As I am not really a fan of Oreos, I decided to try some of their ice cream.
I can’t say I was particularly impressed by their flavours (one was basil, which is about as gross as it sounds, despite the fact that the staff like it). I ended up choosing peanut butter and jam. There was no doubt that it was this flavour. I found the strawberry jam almost overpowering. I think I ended up eating about half of it and threw the rest of it away.
One late night after a long day, we headed to the Midtown location of Black Tap. They are famous for their Crazy Shakes. Sadly, I missed that section of the menu and ended up ordering a plain chocolate shake, which was still very good.
I ordered for dinner a bison burger. I’d had one previously at a local restaurant, so I knew I liked the meat. It was cooked perfectly and toppings, while nothing too crazy, were paired well. I think I’d like to try a different one next time, just to try something different. There’s not much to say about the french fries, as they were just regular french fries.
Sarabeth’s Central Park South
On Friday morning, we headed over to Central Park South location of Sarabeth’s. I really enjoyed this place, which would have been even better to sit in the patio area had it not been raining.
Curious, I decided to order some avocado toast for the table. This came with one slice with burrata and the second slice with a fried egg. Personally, as much as I love cheese, I preferred the slice with the fried egg. I don’t really understand the fascination with avocado toast though. This was just kind of okay for me. I could make it at home for much cheaper.
Jennifer and I also split our dishes a bit so that we could have a taste of different things. I order the Goldie Lox, which was just scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and cream cheese. I didn’t have much interest in the side, so I gave Jennifer my scone. The eggs were delicious, but I think I would have preferred actual lox as opposed to the regular smoked salmon.
Jennifer ordered the lemon ricotta pancakes for her and Miss G. These were also very good, but I think I would have preferred the blackberries as a coulis or sauce instead of just plain blackberries.
This is one of places to eat I would love to revisit as there were just too many delicious options on the menu. Breakfast also happens to be my favourite meal of the day.
Her Name Is Han
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure if this is considered Midtown, The Garment District or another area. It’s two blocks from the Empire State Building on 31st Street so I’m keeping it under the Midtown section. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. Her Name is Han is located on East 31st Street and looks like a little hole in the wall that could be easily missed. It didn’t help that there was also some construction near there.
Our first course consisted of Han’s Dumplings with one for each of us. They were the best dumplings I’ve ever had. I’d never had Korean food before so this was definitely a great first impression. I probably could have made a meal out of just these.
Our next plate was the Korean Fried Chicken. I had a bit of each type; one with sauce and one without. They were also very good and I wish I knew what type of sauce was on the chicken because it was very good.
Jennifer also ordered the Seafood Silken Tofu Stew hotpot. This was just okay for me, but I really enjoyed the beet potato salad (that bright pink stuff in the corner). I think it was possible I was just not in the mood for seafood at that moment. It all tasted very good and I would definitely go back. One thing to note is that if you plan on going here for lunch, make sure you bring cash with you.
Upper East Side
Thursday night, on my way back to the hotel from the Upper East Side, I made a pit stop at the Bloomingdale’s location of Magnolia Bakery. I had been looking forward to trying this place out for a long time. My order consisted of a banana caramel cupcake and their famous banana pudding.
I may have been so excited to try it that I forgot to take a picture of the banana pudding. It was delicious and I will be getting it again the first chance I get. It’s vanilla pudding with banana and bits of vanilla wafer in it. I wish I lived somewhere that I could have this delivered.
I wasn’t overly impressed with the banana caramel cupcake. It tasted more like a banana muffin with icing on it and I’ve had better elsewhere. Next time, I will probably check out one of their other cupcake flavours.
This is one of the places to eat that I was most looking forward to, entirely for their famous Frozzzen Hot Chocolate. Serendipity 3 is featured in the romantic comedy, Serendipity, so it ended up on my “must see” list.
The Frozzzen Hot Chocolate did not disappoint. I’m not sure there is much to say about it besides the fact that it was chocolate-y and cold. It was similar to a chocolate frappe. I think the quality of the chocolate is what made it worth the visit.
Miss G was hungry so she ordered a chocolate fondue plate. It wasn’t anything special but was a nice treat with the drinks.
Eataly is sort of a market/restaurant hybrid. There are several places to eat inside the building. We ate at the Flatiron location. There is another Eataly located on Liberty Street in the 4 World Trade Center building.
We ended up choosing to eat at the seafood restaurant, Il Pesce. We shared oysters and cockles. This was the first time I had tried either. I loved the oysters, but wasn’t overly impressed by the cockles. They were steamed in a white wine and served in a light tomato broth with fregola and peperoncino. I didn’t find it too spicy though.
We stopped at Il Gelato on the way out and I grabbed some tiramisu gelato. I think this was my favourite dessert of the trip. I really enjoy tiramisu so the tiramisu gelato was perfect for a hot summer day.
Becco is located on West 46th Street a couple blocks away from Times Square. The restaurant is owned by restaurateur Lidia Bastianich.
Jennifer ordered us appetizers. Pictured above is the burrata. It’s basically just cheese on toast, but it was good. Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese that has a soft consistency.
Jennifer also ordered us zucchini blossoms. These were stuffed with a cheese mixture that I can’t particularly remember. It really didn’t leave much of an impression with me and I think I probably would have been happier with something else.
As I was still fairly full from all the eating early that day, I ordered another appetizer for my meal. I had the mussels in a red sauce. Being new to this whole photographing everything, I did forget to take a photo, but again, this wasn’t something that was really all that spectacular. I’ve had similar dishes at other restaurants that I enjoyed far more.
In all of the above, you may have noticed that I talked more about the food and refrained from commenting on the service received. In most cases, we received great service, with the exception of one of the restaurants, Becco. I don’t know if it was the usual or if it was just an off night for the staff, so I’m willing to give them a pass on that. I’m not too likely to head back there mainly due to the food so I won’t be able to say for sure what the service is usually like. If you’re looking to check it out, I suggest heading over to Yelp to see what others have to say.
For the other places to eat, we had great service all around, even when they were busy, which I think is fabulous. It can be hard to judge from one experience, but it’s obvious these places are used to serving high volume crowds.
Most of the places we chose to eat were found via blog articles and other research, but we did have the odd suggestion from resident New Yorkers. If you ever want a suggestion for great places to eat, ask a New Yorker because they will likely know some great places that may not be super popular yet.