Here’s the thing about New York City – there are endless places to eat in NYC and options at every budget level, and most of them are very, very, good.
It’s impossible to eat at every restaurant in New York, and it’s a constantly changing task to confidently say what the “best” restaurants are.
This is simply a list of my favorite places to eat the quintessential New York City classics. These are the places I always bring out-of-towners because I love them, and I hope you do too.
Places to Eat in NYC
Bagels at Absolute
You can find bagels anywhere in NYC, of varying prices and standards – but Absolute Bagels on Broadway. Oh, Absolute. The bagels are warm and chewy and doughy – the perfect New York City bagel.
The toppings are traditional but varied. The prices are cheap. The line is out the door on the weekends, but the wait is well worth it.
Breakfast at Buvette
This French-inspired bistro in West Village is cozy and chic, complete with excellent espresso and an exceptional wine list.
I especially love Buvette for breakfast on weekdays, since it can get quite crowded for weekend brunch: the multi-grain toast with smashed avocado and the yogurt with muesli, fresh berries and honey are both favorites.
Brunch at Freeman’s
New York City loves brunch and tucked away in a hidden graffiti-lined alley in the Lower East Side of New York City is fan favorite, Freeman’s
The clandestine restaurant features a horseshoe bar with tasteful taxidermy, complete with homespun American favorites and artisan cocktails.
Spicy chicken sandwiches at The Commodore
Don’t be fooled from the outside, or even the inside. This windowless dive bar in Brooklyn is dark and crowded and loud, and the back courtyard is filled with cigarette smoke and cheap patio furniture.
The service at The Commodore isn’t fantastic. But the spicy chicken sandwiches (and the adult grilled cheese, and the nachos) make up for everything – the food is out-of-this-world delicious making it one of those don’t miss places to eat in NYC! And the ambiance might even grow on you after a while.
I still have friends from California who text me out of the blue reminiscing over the “hot breast” chicken sandwich.
Ruebens at Katz’s Deli
The home of “I’ll have what she’s having,” Katz’s is definitely a touristy spot but for good reason. The hand-carved hot pastrami sandwich is as good as it gets.
Ruebens, latkes, pickles, even egg creams: the traditional deli favorites are some of the best that you’ll find.
High Tea at Bergdorf Goodman
It’s not cheap, but holy moly high tea at Bergdorf Goodman is such a lovely splurge.
With sweeping views over Central Park – best in the heart of changing foliage in fall or right after a heavy snowfall in winter – and pastel-colored fixings, the Bergdorf Goodman restaurant is a fun place to people watch the city’s fabulous.
I especially love high tea on Sunday afternoons, complete with a glass of Veuve Cliquot!
Pizza at Artichoke Basille’s
You can get a $1 slice of pizza almost anywhere in the city, of varying standards. But Artichoke Basille’s is one of my favorite street joints: it’s open late, and there’s nowhere to sit, but the slices are huge and homemade and tasty.
The special twist is the Artichoke slice: artichoke hearts, spinach, cream sauce, mozzarella and pecorino. Mamma mia!
Cheeseburgers (and beer) at Burger Joint
I’m a sucker for speakeasies, especially when they involve cheap beer and juicy cheeseburgers.
Located down a dark unmarked hallway off the luxurious Le Parker-Meridien lobby, the unassuming dive bar vibe of Burger Joint feels ages away from the skyscrapers outside. And most importantly, the burgers are cooked to perfection.
Cookies at Levain Bakery
A cross between a brownie, muffin, and traditional cookie, each Levain Bakery cookie is six ounces of pure, gooey deliciousness.
The chocolate chip walnut is especially appealing when it’s still warm out of the oven, although I can never finish it while it’s still hot. I like to slowly munch on it on a long walk through nearby Central Park.
Ice Cream at OddFellows
The flavors at this hipster favorite ice cream joint in Brooklyn are exactly what you’d expect: artisanal and small-batch, the 14 original flavors change daily and range from burnt marshmallow to Thai iced (tea) cream to black pepper fig.
The best part of Oddfellows is the fresh-baked waffle cones: you can smell them as soon as you walk in the door.
More NYC Tips
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- How to Save Money on NYC Attractions: New York Sightseeing Pass
- 3 Day NYC Itinerary to Experience the Best New York Attractions
Top Attractions in NYC
Pre-book your tickets online to New York’s most popular attractions:
- One World Observatory (skip the line ticket) – Journey to the top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Pre-book tickets and skip the ticket line.
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum Admission (skip the line tickets) – Pre-book tickets for convenient skip the ticket line privileges.
- Statue of Liberty (skip the line ticket with optional pedestal) – Get priority access to the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Ferry. Includes free multilingual audio guides and GetYourGuide concierge service for a hassle-free experience.
- Empire State Building (skip the line ticket) – Buy this ticket and skip the line to ascend to the 86th floor for incredible panoramic views over New York!
- Top of the Rock Observation Deck (flexible date ticket) – Flexible date ticket allows you to plan your visit around the weather and take in 360-degree panoramic views of the Big Apple.
- Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) skip the line ticket – Enjoy skip-the-line access to some of the world’s best art.
Tours of NYC
- 5 hour Sightseeing tour of NYC – Short on time? Make the most of your stay with this comprehensive 5 hr tour exploring the main attractions with comfortable bus transportation and guide!
- THE RIDE – a unique tour that is part theatrical show and immersive tour. See classic New York City sights from the comfort of a technologically-advanced moving theater motor coach.
- Best of New York Circle Line Cruise – 2.5 hour narrated cruise, and the only sightseeing cruise to circumnavigate the island of Manhattan to see the 7 major bridges, 5 boroughs and 101 unforgettable New York sights.
- Helicopter Tour – Enjoy stunning views of Manhattan Island on a deluxe sightseeing helicopter flight offering 180 degree views from the sky.
- Harlem Gospel Tour – 4-hour tour of a historic Harlem to experience the thrills of gospel singing, Columbia University and the Apollo Theater before joining a gospel choir for Mass.
Planning a Trip to NYC
Accommodation in New York
- Booking.com has 625 hotels, apartments and hostels in NYC. You get free cancellation on most rooms and a best price guarantee.
- y Travel adore the INNSIDE New York Nomad and stay almost every visit to NYC
- 5 best places to stay in NYC – budget to luxury
- Find your perfect Airbnb rental in New York here
Flights to New York
- Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best deal, book directly through the airline (no extra fees).
NYC Tours & Sightseeing
Find your perfect NYC tours with our preferred partner, Get Your Guide: