16 Amazing Places to Eat and Drink in NYC
I cannot definitively say that these are the best places in New York (with the exception of Di Fara - just get there), but I ate at loads of places throughout my week there and I didn't include anything that was subpar. So how's that for an endorsement?
Seriously though, I want to go back and just eat. And eat. And eat.
I've divided these 16 amazing places to eat and drink in NYC by type of establishment, to make it very simple to find what you're looking for!
Quick and Easy
Di Fara Pizza
Ok, so it’s only quick in theory (place gets lined UP), but certainly easy and BY FAR the best pizza you’ll ever eat. So good I’m writing about it twice. Honestly. I dream of it.
The whole experience of the place was great and definitely helped set it apart in a sea of other great pizza. The now very old gentleman who opened the joint still works alongside his sons making the best slices going. It's really a charming spot and worth the wait, to be sure.
I know this might be a given or something, but it was my first time going and I truly enjoyed the huge variety of (vegetarian) options for a fast food restaurant! I had a cheese-stuffed and fried portobello mushroom burger soooo...!!!
Maybe this one’s a bit of an odd inclusion to some of you, but can I just say that the eating experience at Yankees Stadium is INSANE. It’s worth going just for the food situation. And the largest beers I’ve ever laid eyes on. And the food. And the beer. Like, they have an entire section on their website for the food options. I MEAN.
Oh and ya, the baseball was cool, too.
Not the original home of the Rainbow Bagel, but that famed place is inconveniently located for most tourists. Solution: Bagel Factory!
Actually, ALL of their bagels are amazing and other than the rainbow ones, they’re made in house. Plus, they make WHIPPED cream cheese in every flavour you can think of, the bagels are the size of your head, and the staff (at least where we went) are delightful.
It’s the perfect meal, snack, and souvenir (take ‘em home and freeze ‘em!).
The Flour Shop
I dragged Andy here for no other reason than to get a personalized unicorn exploding cake - their trademark creation. Unfortunately, my sleuthing sent me astray and the personal size was still quite large and $30 USD...which is, just to be frank, more than I could bring myself to spend on what comes down to a blog/Instagram photo.
No disrespect to Ben Affleck.
Instead, we got these rainbow cake pops! And they were a delight! As was the entire, bright shop. Worth it for a treat and a quick photo opp, to be sure.
Mister Softee Truck
In terms of the best places to eat in NYC...this one miiiiight be a stretch. BUT these trucks are everywhere and they have more ice cream options than I ever thought conceivable.
Strawberry dipped? Double sided cones? All sorts of parfaits? Ya. All from a truck on the street and reasonably priced.
Stuffed Ice Cream
THE PICTURES SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.
They also do crazy cool donut ice cream sandwich concoctions and you’d be wrong if you thought we didn’t consider getting those too…
Diners & Restaurants
Tom’s Diner on Coney Island
This is the definitive greasy spoon. Perfect for a hangover. Fun anytime.
Food not necessarily great, but it’ll fill ya up. And I’m not even kind of ashamed to admit that sometimes that’s all I’m looking for in a diner meal ;-)
This place was pure accident - we thought we were going into a better-rated restaurant in DUMBO. However it turned into quite the happy accident. We had a huge, tasty pizza and a few diet cokes for only $20 here and enjoyed the authentic Italian diner feel, as well as getting to watch the pizzas be made. That never gets old!
The New York Luncheonette
This place was another happy accident and one of my personal faves of the trip because it was Puerto Rican and the menu had two sides: Spanish and English. I take that dose of Latin America wherever and however I can get it, friends!
Also, their sandwiches were dope, the servers were friendly, and they were not cheap on the french fries!
THEY DON'T EVEN HAVE A WEBSITE. Bosses. You can google their directions. They're near the Empire State and Rockefeller so plan to get them when you're in that part of town.
We found this little gem of a spot (in fact, it’s a chain and they’re all over New York), by bent of me stopping two police officers on the sidewalk and asking them where we should eat. And then a nice man who lived in the area overhearing and offering up this great suggestion as “one of my favourite places - my wife and I eat there at least once a week”.
So. There you have it. An official suggestion from a real New Yorker.
Some locations don’t have pizza, which we found out the hard way. Some are too small for a big coal-oven. But you know what small means? Ambiance, coming out the wazoo. And delicious pasta and a huge wine list, so it's still a win win.
The Mermaid Oyster Bar
This was our fanciest and most expensive meal of our time in New York. We had oysters (well, I didn’t, but you know…), and martinis and sat and ate in a very cool, beautiful setting. All of the food was good, if not noteworthy, but the martinis and ambiance more than made up for that.
It’s worth the stop if you’re in the area.
Ellen’s Stardust Diner
This tops a lot of peoples’ lists but I would be remiss not to include it. It’s a truly unique experience and even worth having to line up (though it pains me to say that because I loathe lining up).
Dancing and singing servers gunning for their spot on Broadway (this diner sees almost all of their servers eventually go on to perform on Broadway for reals), plus decent diner fare. And everyone is DAMNED perky (so avoid it first thing if that's not your bag) and very nice.
Granted, this isn’t a restaurant. But it’s a market and the main floor is filled with dining options! There’s a great bustle about the place and you can do a little post-meal shopping at a few select shops.
But in terms of food, there are options from breakfast to snacks to dinner and cocktails, so really if you’re heading to the Highline, there’s no reason not to pop down to Chelsea Market and grab a snack.
The Campbell Bar
One of our trip highlights, this is the original bar of Grand Central Station. We got no pictures here because it was SUPER dark...a little sexy, even ;-) Which is definitely what they were going for. They did an excellent job in preserving overall the style and ambiance of the era...with the exception of the 90s and 2000s hit-list music. An odd choice, to be sure.
But this is a wonderful place to head if you’re feeling like dressing up. No jeans here, folks. Even if they let you in, you’ll feel wildly out of place.
This is a super cool spot! Reasonably close to Broadway, you would not be remiss to pop over here after a show. That said, it’s relatively casual despite the overall vibe, and you wouldn’t need to feel uncomfortable in jeans (as long as those jeans aren’t accompanied by sneakers and a sweaty tee, you know?).
They have an excellent variety of cocktails for every palate and a decent wine list, too. Plus the food seemed yummy, though we didn't try it ourselves.
There you have it, friends! All of the amazing spots I would highly recommend hitting up if you head to NYC. I'm already planning my return...do you have any additions to this list for next time I go??