Over the course of 6 years living in New York, I was asked by numerous out-of-town friends for advice on what to do and most importantly where to eat to taste the real New York. NYC has a huge variety of ethnic groups and therefore a healthy combination of cuisines all over the city. Here are my Must-Eat insider information for my fellow visiting foodies.
1. Get a Shake Shack: Although it is expanding quite rapidly, Shake Shack is still a NYC Burger joint and it is famous among New Yorkers for its creamy shakes and utmost, juicy and freshly made burgers. Get the double cheese burger and black and white shake.
2. Try New York Pizza: That does not mean Sbarro or 2 Bros Pizza. There are a few probably mentioned on the Tour Guide books such as John’s Pizza, Grimaldi’s and or Lombardi’s pizza. I actually like them all but I would also recommend Artichoke Pizzeria as well. It is going to blow your mind and it will be nothing like any other pizza you ever have.
3. Pastrami Sandwiches at Katz Deli: This is very touristy but locals actually do love Katz too. When Henry Meets Sally was filmed here and their pastrami sandwich was so juicy and tender, you will immediately fall in love with it. It is quite expensive however. 1 sandwich will run you over $15. If you want a good alternative, I recommend going to This Little Piggy Has Roast Beef on 8th and 1st Ave. It is a new establishment but also very delicious.
4. Union Square: There are some shops around the Square and more importantly, there are farmer’s markets every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday till about 6PM. You can get fresh locally sourced produce and even artworks here while you enjoy people-watching.
5. Try Peter Lugers Steakhouse: This is not in Manhattan but it is one of the best steakhouse I have ever had. The steak is aged to perfection. You have to try the Porter House and their cream spinach. Service here is friendly and they make sure you are satisfied.
6. Chinatown Tour: If you come to New York, you will definitely have to go to Chinatown. There are a lot of great food at amazingly low prices. I recommend going to Shanghai Cafe for Shanghainese food, Golden Unicorn for dim sum, Banh Mi Saigon for the ultimate Vietnamese Sandwich for only $3.75.
7. Get cupcakes: If you have watched Sex and the City, you will know to go to Magnolia Bakery in West Village. However, I am more of a fan for Dessert Club, Chikalicious in East Village. It is small but very buttery and the cake is always moist even after a couple days. The frosting is just perfect. I would recommend the mocha, red velvet and triple chocolate.
8. Halal Food Cart: This doesn’t sound exactly appealing or but New York City is well known for its street food vendors and we are proud of it! Among all, there is a really famous Halal food vendor, called the Halal Guys near Rockefeller Center on W. 53st St and 6th Avenue.They have this amazing chicken and lamb over rice that is to die for. If you see a long line, that is it!
9. Get a Weiner: Everyone has heard of Nathan’s Hot Dogs but the hot dog isn’t really all that special. My favorite in the city is actually Crif Dogs on St. Marks and 1st Avenue. They have a great menu and every hot dog on the menu will rock your world. My favorite is their Chihuahua.
10. Eleven Madison Park: Ok this is not your average restaurant and most definitely not everyone wants to spend more than $100 per person on a meal. Nevertheless, you will not regret every dime you spend here. It might take weeks to get a reservation and cost you dearly but the food is perfectly prepared and the service is over the top. This is THE restaurant to celebrate, to propose and just to experience the New York high life.
You will not be disappointed if you complete my top 10 choices.