New York City Food Guide
To me personally, travel has always been multi-dimensional. It is not simply a beautiful beach, a welcoming hotel or an agenda filled with sightseeing that makes a trip worthwhile. It is the culture. And that includes food. Luckily, Mike is the exact same way when it comes to traveling (actually, even more so than me) – vacation means planning our days around our meals. The only problem is that there is usually not enough time to work through everything on my foodie-list. That is why, during our most recent trip to New York, my goal was to only try new places. While we didn’t succeed 100% (always find myself going back to a few favorites), we did well in trying new places to eat in New York City and working our way through the many recommendations we had received from friends.
Since this was my 6th visit to NYC, I have been keeping tabs on all the places I love, jotting down notes and keeping a file of the best places to eat in New York City – I like to consider it my very own personal little New York City Food Guide, which I want to share with you today.
Brunch / Breakfast
- Juice Generation: By now, acai bowls have (luckily) made their way to Vienna, but still, I always have to have one when visiting NYC. At Juice Generation, I always order the Almond Butter Bliss or PB Acai. Also worth a try are their smoothies, especially the XO Coco or Protein Buzz.
- Juice Press: Staying on the topic of Acai Bowls, the Almond Butter Acai Bowl with toasted coconut as a topping at Juice Press was my favorite for the past 2 years. Unfortunately, I feel like it is sort of a hit or miss thing depending on which location you go to. The staff is rarely friendly but if they get the acai bowl right, it is amazing! If you are not in the mood for an acai bowl, try their fireball shots. Best!!!!
- Sunday in Brooklyn: As the name suggests, this place is perfect for a Sunday (or any other day for that matter) spent in Brooklyn. Go there for breakfast or a light lunch. If you can, grab a seat outside, soak up some sun and sip on their homemade lemonades.
- Le CouCou: This restaurant is part of the 11 Howard Hotel in Soho and aside from the fact that their interior is beautiful (also suitable for a fancier breakfast meeting or date), the french press coffee is really good and “Le Californien” a must.
- Two Hands Café: For Aussie-style breakfast in the heart of NYC, go to Two Hands Café in Nolita. I am in love with the neighborhood (right around the corner of Cha Cha Matcha, by the way) and the staff is super friendly (what else would you expect from lovely Australians). It doesn’t really matter what you order, everything on the menu is amazing – just be aware of the fact that the banana bread with whipped ricotta is more of a birthday cake dish than a healthy breakfast.
- Bluestone Lane Coffee: Again, Australians know their coffee (almond flat white, please!) and breakfast! There are lots of Bluestone Lane Coffee Locations all around the city, I love the new spot in the West Village (Greenwich Ave 55)
- Butcher’s Daughter: A plant-based restaurant, cafe & juice bar that has 3 different locations (including L.A.) serving breakfast, lunch, dinner & weekend brunch. All dishes are vegetarian, most even vegan and/or gluten-free with a focus on seasonal produce. The day we went, I was craving oatmeal and Mike opted for their breakfast bagel. Don’t miss their fresh juices.
- Westbourne: This all-day café in Soho (open 8am until 10pm daily) is actually still on my list, one of the few things I haven’t tried myself yet. Still, looks incredibly promising and the next time I travel to New York, I will be sure to give it a go so I can update this post.
Snacks / Sweets / Coffee
- Dr. Smood: “smart food for a good mood” This place opens at 7am (except for the Soho location) and is perfect for an early bowl of oatmeal to go along with that jetlag, a bag of nutmix for on the go, coffee or a healthy salad to bring on the plane with you.
- Cha Cha Matcha: I don’t like matcha. Seriously, not a fan. But Cha Cha Matcha has converted me thanks to their iced ginger turmeric matcha latte. It is worth a visit, not just for the super insta-friendly branding.
- Ludlow Coffee Supply: The Lower East Side is a place I just recently discovered and seems to be quite the foodie scene. The coffee at Ludlow Coffee Supply is great, it is a good place to sit and work off a few emails or to grab a slice of banana bread or a muffin in the morning.
- Devocion: If you find yourself over in Wiliamsburg, head to Devocion for a coffee. The café is big and the wifi almost as strong as the coffee. Loved the interior.
- Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream: Got a sweet tooth? Then how about some pre- or post-dinner ice cream at Morgenstern’s, a new American ice cream parlor focused on serving texture-driven small-batch ice creams with a renewed attention to flavor and palate.
- Dough Donuts: We stumbled into Dough Donuts on accident after a very healthy lunch. I am not much of a donut person, but Mike is a big fan and his eyes instantly lit up after the first bite of a classic glazed donut at Dough Donuts. Later we found out that it is ranked amongst the best donuts in the city – no wonder and highly recommendable!
Lunch / Dinner
- abcV: No meat, no problem! abcV serves the best vegetarian meals in town – at least from what I have tried so far. The interior is stunning (as is abc kitchen, both born out of a carpet & home store) and the food delicious. The cocktails beautiful and the flavors diverse. Vegetarian food at it’s finest – even Mike was impressed!
- Carbone: Apparently this is Kendall Jenner’s and many other celebs favorite Italian restaurant in New York City. Recommended by a foodie friend of ours (he knows his stuff), this Italian-American restaurant is simultaneously elegant, comfortable and unpretentious. The menu includes dishes like a Seafood Salad, Linguini Vongole, Lobster Fra Diavola, Chicken Scarpariello and Veal Parmesan…
- Catch: Girls night, date night, an evening with friends – I love Catch NY for special occasions. The restaurant is always buzzing and the food is good, especially if you like fish and seafood! Or truffle fries, which are a must when dining at Catch.
- Lilia: “Lilia brings the best of Italy to Williamsburg where wood fired seafood, hand crafted pastas, classic Italian cocktails and warm hospitality come together to create a casual dining experience.” Unfortunately, this place is so popular that I haven’t made it there yet – however, it is at the very top of my list. Both for the food and interior. And the fact that we’ve received this recommendation not only from one but two different friends. Plus, I really fell in love with Brooklyn recently and want to spend more (culinary) time there.
- BoCaPhe: Looking for a hot bowl of pho in a casual atmosphere? This is the place for you! This Vietnamese restaurant (with a French twist) in Soho is perfect for a quick, easy dinner if you are craving the comfort of Vietnamese food. Fun fact: They also serve breakfast all day long.
- The Standard Grill: I am not sure what it is about The Standard Grill, but it has such a special atmosphere to me. Their Standard Burger is crazy delicious, but you definitely shouldn’t miss the brussel sprouts or their fish entrées either! Always worth a visit!
- Tacombi: Think tacos and micheladas! With a side of extra guacamole, of course. A super easy-going Mexican place for great food without the hefty (NYC-style) bill.
- La Esquina: While we are at it… more Mexican food. With four different locations around the city, La Esquina is a good place to keep in mind when you don’t know where to go for dinner. Because let’s face it, Mexican food is always a good idea!
- Cosme: And just because that wasn’t enough viva la Mexico, Cosme is a restaurant in New York City’s Flatiron District serving contemporary Mexican-inspired cuisine. Their dishes are rooted in Mexican flavors and traditions, while also celebrating local and seasonal ingredients.
- Barbuto: For our last lunch in NYC, we were craving Italian within walking distance from our hotel in Meatpacking District. Google gave us Barbuto and we are so glad it did. Famous for their chicken on the spit, kale salad and homemade pastas, “the restaurant occupies an airy garage space on the ground floor of Industria Superstudios on Washington Street, between Jane and West 12th Streets. With garage doors that can be opened and closed, guests can enjoy a sidewalk table in the warm months. The simple décor and open kitchen add to the restaurant’s warm and inviting feel.”
- Contra: For a special date night, we opted to dine at Contra in the heart of Lower East Side on Orchard Street. The restaurant serves an ambitious set menu (6 courses, fixed price), featuring interesting local and seasonal ingredients. We shared a wine pairing, which was plenty for both and loved the dining experience. The food was great and the price of 78$ for the 6-course menu more than fair!
- Marlow & Sons: We heard about this place via a food documentary we watched and instantly put it on our list of things to do in New York City (it is actually located in Brooklyn). I love their approach with a “no gratuity” policy in an effort to make the industry more sustainable. Their menu prices include service and there is no need to tip extra. The food was good and restaurant really cozy – I just think we should have gone for dinner & drinks instead of a lunch on a super sunny day. This is the perfect place to enjoy a couple of oysters, olives, wine and other good things with friends!
- Katz Delicatessen – since 1888: On our first night in the city, we decided to give the famous Katz Delicatessen a try. I have never really been a fan of the idea of over-priced sandwiches (22$) with nothing but white bread and tons of meat, but I have to admit, the meal was epic. I am not sure if the long flight + jetlag, super authentic atmosphere, hunger or hormones were to blame, but the pastrami sandwich was simply beyond anything I had imagined. In a very good way. The portions are huge (!!) so I would recommend sharing a sandwich and taking things from there. We ordered the classic Katz’s pastrami hot sandwich and rueben hot sandwich – both are highly recommendable but we had to leave way too much food behind.