New York Life

My Ultimate List of New York Favourites

June 10, 2016

Without a doubt, one of the things I get asked for most living in New York are my recommendations for things to do and places to eat and drink. I’ve been replying individually for the longest time, but like with any question I’m asked – I always think if one person wants to know something, someone else may be interested in it too.

I’ve done a few of my favourite posts in the past (my favourite things to do for free in New York, favourite coffee spots, favourite secret bars, favourite places for brunch), but I think the time has come to create one all inclusive post that covers everything! I also have some new places to add to those lists too.

There are so many things to do in New York, places to eat and drink but when you’re not from here, it can be hard to know where to go. So I hope this list will provide some inspiration and tips for some of you who plan on visiting in the future.

Here is a list of my absolute fav places and some places that are on my need to try list too. Let’s kick off with food…

My favourite food spots:

Brunch – FYI, there’ll probably be a wait!

The Smith – I absolutely love The Smith for brunch because they have a huge menu. Sometimes brunch menus can be kinda small, so I find this amazing. I find super handy when I have visitors in town, because you’re guaranteed that they’ll have something to keep everyone happy. In fact, I’ve brought most of my recent visitors to one of their locations (there’s 4 in Manhattan – Midtown East, Lincoln Center, Nomad and The East Village). It won’t disappoint.

Cafe Mogador – Williamsburg (where you’ll find this place – there’s also one in St. Mark’s place in Manhattan) has the best brunch spots! The food is amazing and the brunch at Cafe Magador is honestly one of the best brunches I’ve had. The views of Manhattan from Williamsburg are pretty unreal too.
Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn at 133 Wythe Avenue between N 8th and N 7th streets.

Juliette – also in Williamsburg! Is another one of the best brunches I have ever had! i don’t know what it is, but they do a mean brunch over there. The food is amazing! Like an AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING! I think this place and Cafe Magador are the best brunches I have had in NY to date!
Location: 135 N 5th St just off Bedford Avenue.
Le Barricou – Another Williamsburg haunt, I’d 1000% recommend (I don’t know how many times I can say amazing in this post but you got it… It’s amazing!
Location: 533 Grand Street, between Lorimer Street and Union Avenue.
Tip: You can get the L train from Manhattan to Williamsburg.
Freeman’s – This place is a real hidden gem in the Lower East Side. It’s tucked away at the end of alley (you may recognise the famous blue doors from Instagram), but don’t let that fool you, it’s still super popular with New Yorker’s and you’re guaranteed there’ll be a wait. It’s worth it tho, trust me! The decor is really quirky too. It’s an all round great experience and a definite NYC must.
Location: End of Freeman’s Alley, off Rivington St between Chrystie and the Bowery in the Lower East Side.
Rosemary’s – One of my favourite West Village brunch spots (and the place I saw the actress who played Eleanor Waldorf in Gossip Girl). I can still taste the steak and eggs I had there the first time I went… SO GOOD! I can’t describe how pretty the decor is and they always have fun seasonal props both inside and outside the building.
Location: 18 Greenwich Ave, West Village.
Penelope  This is a super cute spot in Murray Hill. It’s very NYC cute! The food is great but hands down, the best thing about this place is the Nutella French Toast… Sweet mother it is out of this world!!!!
Location: 159 Lexington Avenue, between 29th and 30th St.
Bluestone Lane Cafe – AHMAZING avocado smash!!!! There is a few of these around the city, but most are more of a coffee (and delicious avo smash/snack on the go kinda place). The ones in the West Village and the Upper East Side are the places to go for brunch. It’s an Oz Cafe so their coffee is amazing in any location, but their food is great too. The Upper East Side one is in a church, so it’s a really unique/fun place. You can sit outside too and overlook Central Park.
Location: The cafe is on Greenwich Avenue on the corner of Perry Street. My fav coffee one is on 43rd and 6th Avenue. See all locations here.
Jack’s Wife FredaI love this place because their food is super clean and just good! It’s also the ultimate Instagram worthy spot and it has lots of cute props.
Location: 224 Lafayette St, in Soho and 50 Carmine St in the West Village.
The Egg Shop – In NoLita/Soho and as I’m sure you can guess from the name, every dish has eggs in it! It’s so so nice but it is kinda small. Definitely worth the wait though.
Location: 151 Elizabeth St between Kenmare St and Broome St.
The Upsider – This is a really cute, quirky little spot with pink tables that are totally Instagram worthy. Our food was amazing but we couldn’t help but have food envy everytime a different dish passed out table… I need to go back asap to try their pancakes!!
Location: 1004 2nd Avenue, on the corner of 53rd St.
On my brunch list – Norma’s (it’s pricey but worth it I’m sure!), Sarabeth’s (there’s a few in Manhattan) and The Boat House in Central Park.


For Boozy Brunch

Where you pay a set price and get endless drinks for 2 hours. Advance warning – you will not stop drink after the 2 hours!!

So I haven’t done many, but here are the one’s I’d recommend:

Ken and Cook – This is the place we went to for my birthday this year and there’s was great food, more than enough drink and a really fun atmosphere.
Location: 19 Kenmare St, Lower East Side.


Hotel Chantelle – I did this bottomless brunch for a friend birthday. It’s on a rooftop in the Lower East Side, has a live jazz band and a super fun vibe! When you do bottomless, the food comes in a sharing style, so you get to try out everything! I do have some dietary needs and the waitress could not have been more helpful, so it got a big thumbs up from me for sure! We did it in November, so the roof was closed but I can’t wait to go back now that summer is here.
Location: 92 Ludlow Street, Lower East Side.


Poco – One of the best bottomless brunches in Manhattan and it books up pretty quick. So if you want to go here, definitely book in advance.  The best one in NYC.
Location: Lower East Side/Alphabet city at 33 Avenue B on the corner of 3rd St.



Molé – Hands down the best Mexican I’ve ever had… And I’ve had A LOT of Mexican food! Take my advice – Get the nachos to start and go hungry – the main courses are HUGE! You can thank me for introducing this amazingness into your life later!
Locations: I’ve been to all 3 at 57 Jane St in the West Village, 1726 on 2nd Avenue in The Upper East Side and the one at 178 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg.
Banc CafeThis is an Irish owned bar, but you’d never really think it from the decor. It’s not really American either, it’s just a great place. It’s my fail safe and a place I keep going back to time and time again because it never disappoints, with the food or drinks! Definitely one of my top fav places!
Location: 431 3rd Avenue, on the corner of 30th St.
Delicatessen – A really chilled out minimalistic place is in Soho with great food and delicious drinks! It’s really good American style food. You need to get the truffle fries and the cheese burger spring rolls are also phenomenal. They have a class burger too, their Mac and Cheese dishes are class fab and the salmon is so so good (can you tell I’ve been here a few times?).
Location: 54 Prince St on the corner of Lafayette St.
Aria Wine Bar – In the West Village. It’s a small plates/tapas place with the best pinot grigio I have ever had! I’m still dreaming about the food from the last time I was there. If the steak special is on the menu… Get it! I want to be eating it everything time I think of it’s deliciousness.
Location: It’s at 117 Perry St between Hudson St and Perry St.
Macondo – I love tapas/small plates because you get to try out a lot of different food. What’s not to love? There’s a Macondo West and East, but I’ve only been to the one in The West Village. The food is unreal and gets better and better everytime I go back. It’s a great place for big groups too.
Location: 2 Bank Street, just off Greenwich Avenue.
Two Lizards – Another great Mexican in The Upper East Side! I can’t describe how good their guacamole is! They make it in front of you and it’s so good, we’ve been known to go there just to get it for take out!
Location: 1365 1st Avenue, between 73rd and 74th.
Up Thai – Another Upper East Side gem! This place has an almost perfect rating on yelp, so you know it’s going to be good! I love Thai food and nothing beats this place. Hands down the best Thai I’ve ever had outside Thailand!!
Location: 1411 2nd Avenue, between 73rd and 74th.
Shake Shack – The best fast food kinda place in NYC and maybe even the world. It’s like good fast food (if there is such a thing). There’s loads around the city, but Madison Square Park is the original and the one the decor of all others is inspired by. I’d definitely recommend checking out the original, especially in the summer, but be prepared to queue.
See all locations here.
The View at The Marriott – This is at The Marriott in Times Square. It’s a revolving restaurant/bar that rotates so you can see the whole of Manhattan. It’s so stunning! There is two options for food: The A La Carte restaurant where you pay a set rate or the buffet restaurant where you can just get drinks or you can just get dinner, dessert or both.
Location: 1535 West 45th St, between 7th and 8th Avenue.
Seraphina – A fab Italian in The Meatpacking District and a fav of the Kardashians (apparently they’re closed the restaurant down to shoot their show before). The food is so so good.
Location: 7 9th Ave on the corner of Little W 12th St. There’s more around the city too.
The Standard Grill – Ok so this hotel is amazing and the main restaurant – The Standard Grill is unreal! It is expensive but worth it! Such a nice place, so classy and as a bonus fact -it’s the hotel where Solange bet up Jay – not so classy.
Location: The Standard (obvs) between West 13th St and Little West 12 St.
5 Napkin Burger – For my favourite burgers… It has to be this place. There’s a few of these in the city and the burgers are just the best!! A place that specials in burgers should be in fairness.
Location: I’ve been to the one on near Union Square (on 3rd Ave) and the one in The Upper East Side. See all the locations here.
Fig and Olive – One of my absolute fav restaurants in the city. If you want to go for one amazing meal while you’re here and this is the place to go. Words cannot describe how good the food is, so I’m just going to leave it there.
Location: 420 West 13th Street.
On my list: The River Cafe.



FYI – All the dinner and brunch places above are good for lunch too.

The Grey Dog – This is such a cool spot and food is class! Amazing sandwiches and well everything really. It’s such a cool place, with really fun Americany decor.
Location: I’ve been to the one on Mulberry St in NoLita/Soho between Prince St and Spring St. Other locations here.
The Ear Inn – NYC’s oldest bar that has continuously served alcohol. It’s an Irish bar but again so not like an Irish bar. It’s a really cool spot and you could even go her for dinner and drinks too. It’s a real NYC treasure, a bit of a celeb hangout (there was some more celeb spotting done here) and you can doodle on the tables while you wait for your food.
Location: 326 Spring Street, between Washington St and Greenwich St.
Tompkins Square Bagels – Just off Tompkins Sq Park. NY bagels are THE BEST in the world and the bagels at this place are unbelievable. You can get savory or sweet fillings – they have birthday cake cream cheese and so much more!!! If you love bagels, you gotta try here.
Location: 165 Avenue A between 10th and 11th Sts.
Gansevoort Market – A cool food market in the Meatpacking district. The food is really good. You can pick and choose what you want and then eat it right there.
Location: 52 Ganesvoort St between Washington St and Greenwich St.
Chelsea Market – This place is bigger than Gansevoort Market and it’s the same idea. I’d recommend this over Gansevoort Market just for the choice available, but it does get really busy.
Location: It’s in Chelsea (obvs) and is at 75 9th Avenue between 15th and 16th St.
Bluebell Cafe – Also great for brunch, their shrimp salad is my fav! SOOOO GOOD, but honestly everything here is fab and as a bonus, it’s owners are from Donegal.
Location: 293 3rd Avenue, between 22nd and 23rd St.

Le Pain Quotidien – A place you will probably see a lot throughout the city. The food is fab. I’d recommend it for like breakfast or lunch and they have great options for every type of diet. If you are looking for something slightly sweeter, go with the breads and spreads! SO GOOD!
Locations: See here

On my list: By Chloe.

Sweet Treats

Maison Kaiser – Take my advice and go here for an almond croissant in the morning. You won’t regret it… You’re welcome!!
Locations: All over Manhattan, see here.
Levain Bakery – Their cookies are out of this world. They are almost more like a scone they are so big! I can’t describe how moist these beauties are and how the chocolate just oozes when you eat them (yes I am starting to drool as I type!!). There will be a queue but stick it out because like with anywhere in New York, that’s a really good sign!
Location: 167 West 74th St. They also have locations in Harlem and The Hamptons.
Glaser’s Bake Shop – I was only just introduced to this place and OH! MY! GOOOOD! There ‘Kitchen Sink’ cookie is out of this world! They are huge and yes I may have ate two in one day… Ooops!
Location: 1670 1st Avenue, The Upper East Side.
Lauderee – A really nice treat. There’s one on Madison Ave in The Upper East Side, but if you are going to go to any, go to the one in Soho. You can actually get proper dinner and stuff here too and it looks amazing, but I’ve only been for macarons (of course), hot chocolate (it’s super rich so get extra hot water on the side) and tea. Make sure you ask to be seated in the room at the back if there’s room.
Location: 398 West Broadway between Spring St and Broome St.
Buttercup Cupcakes – I’ve tried a lot of cupcake places (Georgetown Cupcakes, Magnolia Bakery, Sprinkles, Little Bakeshop) and Buttercup hands down have the best cupcakes in New York! A bold statement but I’ve taken one for the team and tried them all.
Sprinkles – Gets a separate shout out because of there ice cream and cupcake concoctions. Sweet mother… It’s amazingness in a tub!!!
Location: Bloomingdales at 780 Lexington Avenue.
Dough – AHMAZING donuts. The only place you need to go for doughnuts. I’m not usually a doughnut fan, but this place converted me. The dough is so soft and perfectly formed!!
Locations: 19th St between 5th and 6th Avenues and UrbanSpace 45th St and Vanderbilt Ave (in a food market).
Insomnia Cookies – Get the s’mores cookie… OMG!!!! That is all!
Location: There’s loads these around the city. See all the locations here.
16 Handles for Froyo – No sweet treat NYC list would be complete without Froyo. And the best place without a doubt is 16 Handles. Of all the locations (I’ve tried most of them), I think the one on 29th St and 3rd Avenue is the best for flavours and toppings.
Locations: See them all here.
Snowdays – Shaved ice cream! Sounds weird, tastes delicious! I got the yeti, which is basically cookies and cream. You get to add you selection of toppings too.
Location: There’s 2 Manhattan and 1 in Queens. See here.
On my list: 10 Below (just check out their Instagram)!


For Drinks

Happy Hour and Drinks

Who doesn’t love a good happy hour?

Ten Degrees – In St Mark’s Place in the East Village, which is a really fun area! This is a great happy hour (2 for the price of one) and it’s a really cool spot too. As you can imagine, the 2 for 1 can be dangerous…
Location: 121 St. Marks Place between 1st Ave and Avenue A.
Poco – I think this is my favorite happy hour ever. $5 drinks (they are sooooo nice) and they have happy hour food too! It’s so cheap. It’s the same place I mentioned in the bottomless brunch section and it’s a really great deal! The LES tends to be a little cheaper for stuff. It’s really up and coming and a little grittier than other parts of NY!
Location: This place is in the Lower East Side/Alphabet city at 33 Avenue B on the corner of 3rd St.
Art Bar – A West Village spot. It’s a really cool unexpected hidden gem. It’s one of the only first come first served places in the area and it has this secret/hidden back area. Definitely try to get a seat down there, especially if you’re going in winter. It’s also so reasonably priced for anywhere in New York and especially the West Village.
Location: 52 8th Avenue between Horatio St and Jane St.
The View Bar at The Marriott – Same as above… It’s a really fab experience but be warned, there’s an $8 cover charge per person if you’re just getting drinks. Getting food and making a night out of it may be a better option.
Location: 1535 West 45th St, between 7th and 8th Avenue.
Macondo – Great happy hour! Like $5 drinks! Food is amazing – I mentioned it above too for tapas.
Location: 2 Bank Street in the West Village.
Bua – Irish bar (hence the name) in St. Mark’s Place but it’s so not an Irish bar. It’s a really cool spot. Not your typical over playing the Irish bar thing. Only for the name you wouldn’t know it’s Irish at all. Great but very dangerous cocktails…
Location: 122 St Marks Place right across from Ten Degrees.
The Brass Monkey – Irish owned but a so not an Irish bar! This is a great Saturday night spot! It’s guaranteed to have a great crowd. Always a great crowd on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s more of going out out place rather than just drinks. It’s on Little West 12th St.
Troy – This bar in the Meatpacking is so cool! It has loads of different themed little rooms – Think foosball room, quirky library, etc.
Location: 675 Hudson St on West 13th St.
The Jane Hotel – New York’s answer to Copper’s. Well kinda, if there is such a thing but definitely a classier setting. It’s such a fun place, with class tunes in this amazingly beautiful building! There is no way you won’t have a fun night here. Fun fact… This is where the survivors of The Titanic were brought when they arrived in New York!
The Penrose – One of Upper East Side favs. A great bar that always has a great crowd. It’s Irish owned too, but again… It’s not your typical Irish bar that over plays being Irish to the extent that it’s tacky. It’s cool, classy and always lots of fun.


Rooftop Drinks

Word of warning – Rooftop bars are not cheap! Don’t expect much change out of $20 for one drink. But they are definitely worth it for the experience.

230 Fifth – Rooftop/Penthouse bar with AMAZING views of my fav – The Empire State. Definitely worth a visit for the views. You can see downtown to One World Trade too.
Location: 230 on 5th Ave (between 26th and 27th Streets).
The Standard Rooftops There’s one in the Meatpacking district and the East Village. The view is amazing from both of these but I think probably the best views of New York can be seen from the one in the Meatpacking.
Locations: Meatpacking – Little West 12th St and West 13th St | East Village – 25 Cooper Sq.
The Kimberley – This one is a little different, as the view is of The Chrysler Building (definitely one of the prettiest buildings in NYC!) and I must try if you are in Midtown.
Location: 145 E 50th St.
The Met Museum Rooftop – Yes, you read this right. There’s a bar on the rooftop of The Met during the summer. The views are so beautiful. You get to look out over Central Park and it’s extra beautiful if you’re there for sunset. It closes early (I think around 9) so make sure you don’t plan on going too late.
Location: The Met, 1000 5th Avenue at 82nd St.
PHD Lounge – The penthouse at the Dream Hotel. A fun spot for a Saturday night with a view.
Location: 355 W 16th St, Chelsea.
On my to try list – Refinery Hotel Rooftop.

Secret Bar Drinks

You can check out my favourite secret bars here. These are the ones I’ve tried to date!
All the secret bars in the city are FAB!!! I actually have a post on my favs so far – here.



I’ve become somewhat of a coffee snob which is hilarious considering I didn’t drink coffee before I moved here. I have do have a list from last year (see it here) but my absolute go favs are…
Bluestone Lane Coffee – Like I said before, Oz coffee. SOOOO GOOD! My usual one is by Bryant Park but there is a few around the city (and there’s new one’s popping up all the time.
Locations: See them all here.
Cafe La Cerra – This place is an Instagram dream and the coffee is really good!!! One of my favs! I’m guaranteed to go here every weekend.
Location: On 3rd and 33rd.
Two Hands –  Another Oz place! Such good coffee and really good food too. Another Avocado smash spot. Good for breakfast or light bites.
Location: 164 Mott St, between Broome St and Grand St.
Nespresso Boutique Bar – I love Nespresso coffee and their cafe on Madison avenue is such a treat. Feel like a luxury coffee experience because the place is so nice.
Location: 761 Madison Avenue.
West Elm – If your in Dumbo, this is the place for coffee. It’s at the back of a furniture store and it’s the best coffee in the area.
Location: 50 Washington St, Brooklyn.



Madison Avenue is the ultimate shopping haven, but you may need to rob a bank first!
Soho (my fav) – from Canal St to Houston St and 6th Ave to Broadway.
34th Street from 5th Avenue to 7th/8th Ave.
Columbus Circle
The Upper West Side along Broadway around 60th Street is good too.
If you are feeling flush 5th Ave between 42nd and 59th Street. There some high street stores here too.
The Upper East Side has some fun boutiques sprinkled around the place.

Favourite Things to Do For Free

When it comes to things to do, I have a post of the best free things to do in New York. You can add Roosevelt Island to this list too. You can get there for free (by cable car or subway) with your subway card. I’d recommend getting the cables cards just for the novelty of it.
I also definitely recommend doing a viewing point too like Top of The Rock. I’ve done the Empire State and Top of The Rock and I’d probably recommend TOTR over the Empire because you get to see the Empire from TOTR, but you can’t see the Empire when you’re on it.
I’m always trying out new places and doing different things, so I’m sure this list will expand in the next few months. Until then, be sure to keep up with what I get up to on Snapchat (lcscloset) and Instagram.
Hope you enjoyed this super long post,
Lorna x
Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Snapchat – lcscloset

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  • Reply hellothedecordujourcom June 13, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    I absolutely love this! Whenever I visit a new place I like to avoid all things touristy and experience the city like a local would. Wish I had this list during my last trip to NY. Guess I’ll have to go back!

  • Reply NYC To Do List – Where to next darling..? October 18, 2016 at 1:17 pm

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