New York City has long been the cultural hub of the US—a melting pot of art, theater, and music. The New York City food scene is no different!
No matter who you are, how adventurous your palate, or what your budget is, you’ll always find great eats in NYC. With over eight million people, the choice of where to dine in New York can be daunting! You could always just pop into the closest restaurant you see, but chances are you’d be missing out on some seriously great eats.
Don’t leave your gastronomic adventures up to chance— chow down at these must-eat spots.
1.) If You Want the Essential New York Breakfast
You haven’t had a bagel until you’ve had a New York bagel. Whether you want to keep your breakfast cheap and simple with a buttered one, or you want to slather on cream cheese, onions, and lox, Ess-a-Bagel has you covered with their certified kosher bagels. Plain bagels are a mere $1.25 and come in 15 different, mouth-watering flavors. If you’re looking for a heartier meal, sandwiches can range anywhere from $5-$12. If you have a sweet tooth, Ess-a-Bagel won’t disappoint. Try the fresh baked goods like the classic black and white cookie or the traditional rugelach.
By New York standards, Ess-a-Bagel is a great choice for anyone who wants to eat great on a tight budget. The lines may be long at their Midtown East location, but the service is fast and the people-watching is half the fun.
2.) If You Want Classic New York Pizza with a View
While Grimaldi’s has several locations throughout the New York area, the only one in our hearts is the original under the Brooklyn Bridge at 1 Front Street. No true Grimaldi’s experience is complete without the traditional walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and along the Brooklyn waterfront. What could be better than a slice of authentic New York pizza and a breath-taking view of Downtown Manhattan?
Unlike other New York pizzerias, Grimaldi’s doesn’t sell pizza by the slice— it’s a whole pie or fuhgeddaboudit! Pro-tip: Get your pie to-go and eat at one of the picnic tables found in nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park. A small regular pie starts at $13.00 and can easily feed two people. Additional toppings are an extra $2-$4 a pop. At less than $10 a head, this cheesy, saucy pizza is worth every penny.
3.) If You’re Up for an Adventure
New York is more than just Manhattan. Many tourists visit Brooklyn these days, but if you really want to experience New York like a local, and are game for a little adventure, you need to check out Queens.
Queens is home to many of New York’s most authentic ethnic eateries, and boasts some of the most diverse and flavorful food that the city has to offer. Hop on the 7 train and take it to the end of the line to experience Flushing’s Golden Shopping Mall’s food court, located on the first and basement levels of the shopping center. Feast like a king on authentic Chinese food, as well as dishes inspired by other Asian traditions, for a fraction of the price you’d pay in Manhattan. Come with an open mind and an empty stomach and you’ll be well rewarded.
4.) If You Worship Italian Food
If you consider yourself a foodie or a Food Network fanatic, then a stop at Mario Batali’s hybrid farmers market and food court is a must. Eataly is the mecca for anyone who worships at the altar of Italian food. Not only can you buy the freshest ingredients for any of your at-home culinary adventures, but you can also chow down at a slew of stalls that specialize in something for everyone including, pizza, pasta, fish, meats, cheeses, and vegetarian dishes. For an extra treat, grab a drink at Eataly’s rooftop beer garden to enjoy breathtaking views of the iconic Flatiron building!
This place is a genuine playground for anyone who appreciates a nice meal, and although this spot is a splurge compared to our other picks— entrees coming in at about $20 a pop— if you’re planning on treating yourself, then Eataly is the place for you!
5.) If You’re Traveling with Kids or Want To Act Like One
If your favorite part of a meal is dessert and you’ve always wished that Willy Wonka was real, then you need to hightail it to Max Brenner’s Union Square location. This chocolate-themed restaurant is a sweet tooth’s dream come true with actual pipes of molten chocolate crisscrossing the ceiling! Although this restaurant does serve entrees, the reason to come is the imaginative and experimental desserts that can range in price from $6-$25. For you budget conscious travelers, don’t worry, the portions are large and the desserts are meant to be shared. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but the dessert pizzas are a crowd favorite.
Have any of you eaten at these spots? If so, what’s your favorite thing to order? What are your other must-eat spots in NYC? Let us know in the comments! Happy eating!