New York Life

My Ultimate List of NYC Favourites Take II

September 23, 2018
Best food & drink in New York

Hey guys,

As promised on Insta Stories last weekend, here is a list of all my current favourite food/drink spots in NYC.

No exaggeration, I get asked for recommendations a minimum of twice a week, so it’s time for an updated post (I have an old list of New York Favourites here).

This is by no means a list of the absolute best places to go in NYC. They’re some of favourites from places I’ve been. Truth be told, NYC has SO MANY amazing restaurants that you’ll never get through them all and I’m constantly discovering new places.

I totally get why this is such a popular question too. Like I said, New York has SO MANY restaurants and waayyyy too many tourist traps, so it can be hard to know where to go. Hopefully this will make things easier and provide some inspo if you have an upcoming trip.

Here goes… Apologies in advance for how many times I say amazing in this post.

Brunch/Breakfast 🍳

Two Hands – SoHo/Nolita and Tribeca. This is always a must when I have visitors in town and any time really. It’s an Aussie spot and the food is just SO GOOD! The Tribeca location does dinner too.

Bluestone Lane – Another Aussie spot because they just do brunch right! They have lots of locations around the city but I love the Upper East Side or either of the West Village locations. This is where I really go obsessed with avo toast and tbh I should really have shares in this place at this stage.

The Smith – There’s a few around the city and they’re all SO GOOD! They have a huge menu, which is why I love it, especially when I have visitors because I know there’s gonna be something for everyone! Great food! Good for brunch or dinner.

Citizens of Chelsea – An Aussie spot (of course) in Chelsea (duh!). They have an AMAZING brunch! Dare I say, one of the best brunches. I’ve actually only been once but I need to get my ass back there ASAP.

Wattle Cafe – A more casual spot where I get my coffee every single day!! Also an Aussie spot but they now do waffles, not because they are an Australian thing but because so many people kept thinking Wattle was actually Waffle (I kid you not) and when the people ask, you give!! Seriously though, you haven’t LIVED until you’ve had their Cocoa Waffle Avo Smash (see pic below for evidence!). It sounds weird but my god it is insanely delicious! If you follow me on Insta, you’ll have seen a lot of this place on my Stories.

The Butchers Daughter – A vegan place with 3 locations and any location is good! I’ve been to the Nolita and West Village ones. The food is so good! It never disappoints.

Balthazar – In Soho! If it’s good enough for VB and the Beckham’s after her NYC fashion week shows, then it’s good enough for me. Ah no seriously, this is kind of a famous spot but they have a great brunch menu and the food is fab. Could be v nice for a special occasion.

Juliette – Moving over to Brooklyn. This place in Williamsburg is one of my absolute favourite brunch spots in NYC. Everything is just so good.

Cafe Mogador – Also in Williamsburg – There’s one in the East Village too. It’s Mediterranean and  is my fave. Again, one of my all time NYC favs!

The Boat House in Central Park – Great for brunch or dinner. It’s just amazing for a special occasion. The location is pretty spectacular. You can go to just grab a drink at the bar too.

Tavern on the Green – Also in Central Park! I’ve been for brunch (when it was snowing and it was magical) and drinks outside in summer. I’ve heard it’s also fab for dinner. Another good special occasion spot.

Epistrophy – In Nolita/Soho area. Went here recently for brunch after it had been on my to-do list for the longest time and it instantly got added to be ultimate list. YUM!!!!!

Best food & drink in New York: Wattle Cafe

Dinner 🍽

Mole – The West Village location! A MUST IMO!!! One of my absolute favs, if not my fave, place for dinner! I just love it – probs too much but it’s SO GOOD!! Get the nachos with guac to start and go hungry – The portions are HUGE!

Banc Cafe – Love this place in Murray Hill! It’s Irish owned and set in a 1920’s bank hence the name Banc (bank as gaelige). Great American style food with a few Irish things thrown in for good measure and great drinks. Like I said, it’s Irish owned but not a typical Irish bar! They do half price bottles of wine on Sunday’s and Happy Hour until 10pm on Thursdays.

Ruby’s Cafe – In Midtown or Nolita. It’s an Aussie spot that has brunch and dinner but I prefer it for dinner! I go here too often and spend way to much $$$$, but it’s SO DAMN GOOD!

Up Thai for Thai (obvs) in the Upper East Side! This place is amazing (droooool)!! I was there last night and it just never disappoints. It’s always busy too (which is a good sign), so if you can make a reservation.

Uncle Boons – Another Thai spot downtown in the Nolita/Soho area. This place has a Michelin star but it’s so reasonably priced! It’s so different to Up Thai that I couldn’t even compare them. But this place is also amazing.

Boqueria – There’s a few locations and any are good tbh – It’s a Spanish tapas restaurant and it’s SOOOO goooooood!

Aria Wine Bar – Another tapas spot. There’s two locations but I’ve only been to the one in the West Village! If the steak special is on the menu (and you eat meat) get it! You won’t regret it (drooling over here)!

Baracca – Tapas again, in The West Village. This place is known for their Sangria but the food is 💯💯.

Macondo West – Next door to Baracca – another tapas (I LOVE tapas). It’s just good (I don’t even know what more to say)

Marta – Italian in Midtown. This place always pops up when people at work are looking for new restaurant recommendations. That’s when you know it’s good.

Upland – Also close to Midtown (near Madison Sq Park). Serves food with Californian and Italian influences.

Vatan Indian in Murray Hill – For authentic Gujarati-style Indian food (Veggie!). Go hungry! It has an all-you-can-eat fixed-price menu and it’s SO FREAKIN GOOD!!! So reasonably priced for what you get and bottles of wine are also super cheap! Especially by NYC standards.

Moti Mahal Delux – Another Indian, this time in the Upper East Side. This place is renowned for it’s Mughlai food, so tandoor dishes are a specialty.

Street Taco – Great for a cheaper dinner! Get the blackened fish taco… It’s unreal! The fried chicken and shrimp are also amazing!!!

Emily in the West Village – Delicious pizza and burgers! Hubba hubba!

The Rag Trader in Midtown for food and downstairs after to Bo Peep for drinks – There’s a piano man! I love this place! The food is really good and the bar upstairs is a great bar, but it’s the downstairs (kinda secret piano bar) that just makes it. It’s a 1920’s style bar and so much fun. Really unique too.

Fig & Olive in the Meatpacking. Mediterranean style food and definitely more upscale all round but fab for a special occasion

ABC Kitchen – This place really is a place to go for a treat. It’s almost impossible to get a table, so you’re gonna have to book in advance.

Rosie’s in the East Village – Another Mexican! A recent discovery! Mole is my number one for sure, but if you’re in the East Village and don’t fancy trekking across the city, this is a pretty good second best!

Mission Chinese – I guess this place is in Chinatown? Not sure, but it’s downtown and it really is a treat for the taste buds. I haven’t been in a while, but the food was family style and while the meat was tasty, the veggie option was SO FREAKIN GOOD.

If you’re willing to travel to Brooklyn Heights, Colonie on Atlantic Avenue is amazing – So many of my past and current colleagues name this as their top restaurant in NYC. They have some staples on the menu, but other parts rotate daily – Always the sign of a good restaurant IMO.

Also, Cecconi’s in Dumbo – FAB Italian. Try to eat outside if it’s warm enough and you’re lucky enough to get a table. The view is the incredible Dumbo view.

Pizza 🍕

Best food & drink in New York: Best Pizza in New York | Bleeker St Pizza

Bleeker Street Pizza – Meant to be the best Pizza in the city and it is bloody delicious. That’s me tucking in the pic above.

Speedy Romeo in the Lower East Side – More of a sit down pizza situ!

Vezzo – In Murray Hill. Another sit down situ but more casual. Such a great menu and you can customize you pizza in whatever way. I love it because it’s thin crust, so I can eat and know I’m not gonna suffer the next day (because technically I shouldn’t eat pizza but IT’S SO GOOD!).

Pizza Suprema – Beside Penn Station. Direct quote from a native New Yorker – “THE best sliced pizza in New York”.

Juilana’s – In Dumbo. There’s always a queue out the door for this place, but it’s worth it.

Roberta’s – In Bushwick. A bit of a trek from Manhattan but also worth it.

DiFara’s – This is meant to be THE ACTUAL best place of the 5 boroughs. It’s just one man making pizza til the cows come home but it is meant to be worth the extremely long wait. I haven’t been, so I can’t confirm but thought I’d include anyway.

Joe’s Pizza – There’s loads around the city.

Drinks 🍸

Best food & drink in New York: The Plaza Champagne Bar

The Dead Rabbit – Has been named the best bar in the world! When you tell someone you’re bringing them to the best bar in the world you better believe their expectations are pretty high! I have yet to bring someone that wasn’t like… WOAH! It never disappoints! You can get food here too. I have (twice) and the food is great (they have this curry mayo for fries and its is heaven!), but the drinks are the real star of the show. There’s a few different levels – Downstairs is drinks and some food. The 2 upstairs levels have more and it’s more of the experience I guess. Drinks are in a story book. It’s really cool. They have trad music on a Sunday evening.  Oh, it’s Irish owned (well guys from Belfast, so Northern Irish) hence the trad music and there’s lots of Irish touches around the place too.

The Plaza Champagne Bar to be fancy for champagne (obvs!). Really nice treat to chill out after a day in Central Park.

The Boat House in Central Park – Mentioned above but worth a second mention. They have an outside bar that’s fab in summer and autumn to sit by the lake with a drink and watch the boats go by.

Wilfie & Nell – In the West Village. The drinks are STRONG. You have been warned (Irish owned).

The Penrose – In the Upper East Side. Owned by the same people as Wilfie & Nell I believe. Great for drinks but now that I’m thinking, they change their menu and it’s great for food too – brunch or dinner.

The Brass Monkey – For Saturday night! Another Irish owned spot! For some reason I feel like Brian O’Driscoll is involved somehow? Or maybe it’s that his friend owns it. Anywho… Randomly saw Keith Duffy in here one night – LOL!!

Ted’s Corner Tavern – In Murray Hill. Just a great bar for a few drinks and if you’re lucky you’ll get a window seat and watch the NYC world go by.

Bubo – Right beside Ted’s in Murray Hill. It’s a new spot with great cocktails and good food. Super cheap avo toast for brunch and you know I love me some avo toast!

Employees Only – Secret Bar in the West Village! The drinks are SO GOOD!!!!!! There’s a menu but you can ask for whatever you want (like in all secret bars). Apparently bartenders (or should I say the mixologists) need to have 10 years experience to work here. If you go to Mole or Aria Wine Bar this will be perfect for drinks after. It’s close by.

Bo Peep – Mentioned above too. GO HERE!!!!

Please Don’t Tell – In the East Village. Another secret bar. Most of these bars have a really fun entrance or look like they are derelict buildings. This one has the fun entrance!

Death & Co. – Another secret bar in the East Village. This is more of the derelict building vibes.

Little Branch – Another secret bar in The West Village. This is total derelict building vibes. They have music too.

Bathtub Gin – In Chelsea. Another, you got it, secret bar (or I should really say speakeasy) and yes, it has a bathtub.

There are SO MANY great bars. This is really just a snippet!!


Rooftops/Views 🍹

Best food & drink in New York: One Hotel Dumbo View

The Standard Rooftop – In Meatpacking. Probably the best view of all the rooftops.

The Met Rooftop – Yep, there’s a bar on the Met Rooftop. It closes early but the view over the park is FAB, especially at sunset. This place is underrated IMO.

1 Rooftop at The One Hotel in DUMBO – The rooftop is amazing and view is one of the best in city IMO (as you will see above). I tried to go back recently and there was a $20 cover charge to go up. It might just be a summer thing but as amazing as the view is, it is not worth $20 to go up and then another basically $20 for a drink. If there’s no cover charge, DO IT!

Birreria on Eataly rooftop – In Flatiron! This is great for an Aperol Spritz or mimosa on a Saturday. Actually, if you like like Italian, absolutely go to Eataly and eat at one of the restaurants. It’s a little crazy and I always get confused but the food is fab. The rooftop changes seasonally (the ski chalet is about to come back). Great for drinks at the bar or you can eat on the rooftop too.

Refinery Rooftop – Near Bryant Park with a pretty impressive view of the Empire. If prefer this to 230 5th. 230 5th used to be a great rooftop but it’s really change and not what it used to be.

The William Vale – In Williamsburg. It has a pretty ridiculous view of the Manhattan skyline. Sunset is fab.

The View at The Marriott – Rotating restaurant with 360 views of the city but there is a cover charge to get in. It’s a good option for when it’s freezing in winter and you still want a view.

More grab and go 🥗

Best food & drink in New York: Sweetgreen

Sweetgreen (salads – lots of locations) –  I go here at least 2 times a week for lunch (see evidence pictured above) because it’s so good and there’s one in Dumbo where we have limited options

Local Leaf in Murray Hill – The have amazing açai bowls and they also salads and sandwiches.

Chelsea Market – Lots to choose from.

Smorgasburg – I guess you’d call it a food market?! It’s in Williamsburg (on Saturday) and Prospect Park (on Sunday). It finishes up for winter at the end of October.

Dig Inn or Mulberry & Vine (lots of locations) – I go to Mulberry & Vine once a week for lunch because again – it’s good and we have limited options in Dumbo. But it’s so good. The vegan mash with salmon is 🤤

Shake Shack – The one in Madison Sq Park is the original and the true experience.

That’s all I’ve got for now!! Here is my most recent favourite things to do post too.

Hope this helps you really explore all the amazing places NYC has to offer,

Lorna x

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