I miss the food in New York City. A lot. It's expensive as hell, but as I continue to travel and discover new places, I still haven't met its rival. The prices are warranted. So I got to thinking about which places I miss the most and where I would go right now if I could teleport there.
The thing is, there are so many restaurants in the city, with such a high rate of turnover, that you'd never have the opportunity to discover them all even if you went to two or three a day for the rest of your life. You just wouldn't be able to catch up! Discovering the best places to eat here is a true "word-of-mouth" experience. So, allow me to give you a head start...
Without further delay, here are My Top 10 Best Places to Eat in NYC, and why they are my favorite:
10. Artichoke Pizza
Address: 114 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011 (Chelsea)
I know a few people who would rate this even higher than #10 on their list. It's a New York City Staple. It's not the NYC pizza you're thinking about. The slices are giant, yes, but you won't find another slice like their signature Artichoke version. My friends from Australia were blown away.
It's a favorite late night spot after a show at The Webster or a night out downtown. Take out is available (and likely) as seating is limited. You haven't been to NY unless you've tried a slice of Artichoke Pizza.
9. Chelsea Thai
Address: Chelsea Market, 88 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011 (Chelsea)
In the mood for authentic Thai? Look no further than Chelsea Thai, which is located in another place you don't want to miss- Chelsea Market. I'm kind of a Thai food snob, having lived there for several months, and I always look for the homage to Buddha on the wall when I walk into a Thai restaurant, which is a good luck tradition in Thailand.
The staff is very friendly, very talented, and very Thai. They were even happy to make me some off-menu classics. I worked in this building for Major League Baseball for a while, so we got to know each other pretty well. I definitely filled up a loyalty card or two.
8. La Pulperia
Address: 1626 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028 (Upper East Side)
I discovered this place when I was hired to help out on a commercial film shoot all over the city. This is one of the places the commercial was highlighting in the city, and I soon discovered why. The owner, who I spoke with in length, is a creative Latino whose passion is to put a creative spin on latin american cuisine. Classics from south american countries like Mexico and Argentina are fuzed together with influences from Italy and Spain, and every dish is instagram-worthy. Also noteworthy is their cocktail menu- it's on point.
7. Drunken Monkey
Address: 338 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128 (Upper East Side)
Best Indian Food I've had outside of my Indian friend's mother making it for me in their home, ever. This is not your traditional Indian Food experience, which is often accompanied by buffet-style food and oddly decorated dining rooms.
This is a beautiful hole-in-the-wall restaurant with the perfect low-lit ambience, an extensive bar, and traditional Indian dishes that blow me away every time I eat there. Luckily, I lived walking distance from it! Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
6. Momo Sushi Shack
Address: 43 Bogart St, Brooklyn, NY 11206 (Bushwick)
This place was a favorite of my buddies in Brooklyn, who brought me there 50% of the time we went out to eat. They couldn't get enough of it, and I don't blame them. It's delicious.
Their ramen and sushi dishes always hit the spot and the cheerful chef never failed to impress or come out and say hello and have a chat with us. There's also some pretty amazing sake options there- and I don't even like sake. The lemon one, though- so good. Order it. And the pork belly ramen with the egg if they still have it. Go for lunch, and then go next door for dinner (see #1).
5. The Burger Joint
Address: Le Parker Meridien, 119 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019 (Midtown)
You'd never know this place was here unless you were fancy enough to be staying at Le Parker Meridian near Central Park; it's sneakily located in a hidden corner behind one of the customer service desks on the first floor. The only thing that gives it away are the intensely long lines circling out from the entrance.
Luckily, I've never had to wait long because I always tend to go there a little bit earlier than most people tend to be ready for lunch I suppose. I'd recommend you do the same! Be ready to order when you get to the window- shouldn't be hard since the menu is pretty simple (hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and fries), and keep an eye out for the various celebs that have inked their names on the wall amongst the thousands of others.
4. Russ & Daughters
Address: 127 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)
This Jewish restaurant is still somewhat new (opened in 2014) from a dine-in perspective, but the store has been around for over 100 years now and is a long-standing New York City favorite. The dining experience, which feels like an old-school diner, features a creative cocktail menu, and traditional Jewish fare with tastebud-tantelizing seafood, cream cheeses, and freshly baked breads. I've traditionally hated bagels with lox and such, but this place changed my perspective. Everything is super fresh.
Address: 30 W 24th St, New York, NY 10010 (Flatiron)
This traditional Mexican Food joint really impressed me. It's huge inside, darkly lit, with a bustling atmosphere of people who already know about how excellent the food and drinks are. As with Thai food, I'm a little hard to impress when it comes to Mexican food, having lived there for over a year, and coming from someone who lives with two Mexican chefs. The tacos are legit and it's a fun place to be with a small group of friends.
You'll get an order sheet similar to one you might get at an asian restaurant to lessen your ordering struggles and expedite delivery. You're going to want seconds, and probably thirds. I wish I knew about this place sooner into my stint in The Big Apple.
Address: 665 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025 (Upper West Side)
My roommate at the time somehow knew about this unsuspecting Italian restaurant out of the hundreds of them that exist in the city, and even after having visited Italy, I can still say that it's some of the best Italian food I've ever tasted. The pasta is cooked to al-dente perfection, the red sauce is heavenly and succulent, and they have my favorite red wine to accompany it- Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo by the bottle.
I've taken several people to this restaurant, including native New Yorkers, and they're all as impressed as I am. I order the same thing every time because it's so damn good that I can't get enough of it: Rigatoni con Melanzane (rigatoni with eggplant in a red sauce). Nom nom!
Address: 261 Moore St, Brooklyn, NY 11206 (Bushwick)
Wow. Wow. Wow! This might be the best restaurant in NYC. It is to me at least! And I think it's my second-favorite in the entire country, only being trumped by Rose's Luxury in Washington, DC. They remind me very much of each other actually, offering outstanding pasta dishes like none you've ever tasted, and creative pizzas whose ingredients are masterfully paired.
This is my favorite pizza in the world, and I'm from the Connecticut which is apparently home to the best pizza there is (sorry, Pepe's). The wine list is extensive as well, and a wonderful accompaniment to their food menu. A word of advice- just like Rose's, they do not take regular reservations unless you're coming with 10-16 people, so get there early to put your name on the rotating list.
I hope you have the opportunity to try at least one of these places; I'd recommend trying them all while you're alive and capable! Share the love, and tell me about your favorites below! Now that I'm about ready to pass out from hunger, I'm going to go look for something decent in my new home of Fort Collins, CO. Boy do they have some catching up to do...