Where should we eat in New York?

My daughter Bird and I are headed to New York in a few days for a fun weekend of girl time with some of our best friends (who are also from California).

Needless to say, we’re super excited. We’re especially looking forward to discovering some new and different New York restaurants…but I’m having a really hard time choosing! I’m overwhelmed by possibility.

So, I figured I would ask the experts: what spots do you recommend?

Because my daughter and her friend are eleven, their top choice is Serendipity, and my girlfriend and I have been eyeing La Sirene…but I’d love some advice from those of you “in the know.” Where should we go? And what should we order once we get there? We’re adventurous eaters, and we adults love great cocktails as well.

We’re staying in Midtown, but really we’ll be all over the city.

Thanks so much for your suggestions. You guys always have great ideas.

Comments

  1. Christine says:

    My husband and I ate at db moderne which is a Daniel Boulud restaurant back in August during restaurant week. I’m not sure if 11 year old girls would like it but we really liked the bartender because she fixed us a “specialty” drink based on what we told her we liked but wanted something a little different. Dinner was excellent and our server was just attentive enough. I did take my 16 year old daughter to Daniel’s several years ago and she is still talking about what a fabulous restaurant it was but it was very expensive. Evidently it was worth it since she is still talking about it.

    Then again, we’ve also just ducked into places that looked interesting and haven’t been disappointed with that approach either.

  2. McDonalds. It is very close to your hotel. 🙂

  3. The Boathouse at Central Park! Great atmosphere and the location is perfect, next to Bethesda Fountain!

  4. Im not sure DB restaurants are the best idea unless you’d like to drop around 1k for the 3 of you.Boathouse is touristy so skip that…
    For fine-ish dining still local try Aldea on 17th and stop by at the Rye House for cocktail. il Buco Alimentari & Vineria on Great Jones for great italian food with some modern twist.
    For new american cuisine i’d recommend Perilla in the west village by Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle.
    If you don’t mind going out of the way one of my favorite restaurants is Roberta’s off the Morgan L train stop in Brooklyn.
    ohhh and for next time, if you want amazing cocktails and oysters: Maison Premiere in Williamsburg,best place ever!
    And if you’d like to have the best pancake ever made: Blueberry ones at Clinton street bakery…go there put your name down,go for a walk and they’ll text you in an hour when your table is ready.but honestly in NY that’s the usual wait anyways 😉

  5. A visit to Katz’s Deli is a must. You also have to try some top NYC pizza. (I prefer Brooklyn but I am a little biased.) There are so many to choose from but if I could pick just one I’d probably recommend Rubirosa. You should also visit Shake Shack although they are rapidly spreading around the country. AND definitely hit up the Doughtnut Plant.

    If you are here over the weekend, Smorgasburg in Brooklyn is an awesome food event.

    This question is so hard to answer…

    BTW- If you go to Serendipity, expect a ridiculously long wait.

    • I second everything MIchael said! It is currently Shacktoberfest here this week until the 12th so if you’re here then, definitely try to go!

      Katz’s deli is amazing. Do you watch improveverywhere on youtube? They did a stunt there because a scene from the movie “When Harry Met Sally” was filmed there. 😉

      Since I know you love your pastries as well, definitely try the one and only original CRONUT at Dominique Ansel bakery. I go every month to try each and every flavor and have enjoyed the experience (and food!) 🙂

      I’ve never been but American Girl Place is very popular for girls & families.

      Pick a country you think is very very exotic (think RapidTravelChai countries.) Chances are, there is a restaurant in NYC that offers that country’s cuisine. Go there! 🙂

    • Points Pixie says:

      Michael – Thanks for the Smorgasburg tip!

      And yeah…Serendipity…we skipped it last time but the girls are insisting this time…what are ya gonna do? 😉

    • Let me put it this way, Kendra:

      I am stopping off in New York on my unintentional trip around the world specifically to pick up extra-lean pastrami sandwiches on rye bread to take home with me. That can be at Katz’s Deli — which is Kosher-style but not truly Kosher — or it could be the 2nd Avenue Deli.

      Just get deli. You must get deli. Deli.

      Now that Kosher deli or Kosher-style deli is burned into your mind, you must grab a bialy while in New York. They are available at most bagel places. I would tell you the best place to get them truly fresh and hot; but that location is too far out of your way in Brooklyn.

      I personally would avoid the chain restaurants.

      Sure — eating in a fancy restaurant is a good idea in New York; but it is the the food which defined New York that is your best bet…

      …and like Michael, I would vote on pizza in Brooklyn.

  6. Patrick Griswold says:

    Love the Musket Room in lower east side

  7. The Mystery Traveler says:

    I loved ABC Kitchen. Great food and well priced. Can’t go wrong with Jean Georges. Think the grilled lobster was ~$40 super affordable.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Mystery Traveler – You’re right, looks delicious. The crispy pork confit, smoked bacon-plum marmaladeand braised turnips would be my pick!

  8. Yay!!! Welcome to my hometown!!! So excited you are coming to visit! Romsdeals had posted a similar question so I’m just going to copy and paste what I wrote. Re: Serendipity, be prepared for a long line. I feel horrible for saying this, but Serendipity is a little over rated.=( There’s better food out there. The frozen hot chocolate is good though, but I haven’t gone in ages.

    ————————————-

    Here are some of my favorite eats (all located around the city aka what we refer to as Manhattan) – Hide Chan Ramen, Katz Deli, Taisho in St Marks, Xi’an Foods, Pomme Frites, Shanghai Asian Manor, Lobster Joint for some amazing HH, The Boil, Flor de Mayo, Otafuku, Kung Fu Tea, Shake Shack for their shroom burger (although I kinda feel Shake Shack is a little over rated). If you want a good burger, try Korzo Haus in alphabet city.

    As for places to check out – shop along 5th ave, walk around Soho, go visit the WTC memorial (which is in FiDi and you can see the Stock Exchange, the bull, take the ferry over to the Statue of Liberty and also relax in battery park), Central Park, walk around Greenwich Village, go for some delicious asian/Japanese snacks in and around St. Marks/ East Village, Chelsea Market (which is also around the highline), go bar hopping in LES, Eataly, Chinatown, Ktown, museum mile, Times Square (you should see it at least once).

    I think highline is a bit over rated and definitely way too many hipsters and tourists so I avoid that like the plague. It’s good to see, but not really relaxing in my opinion. You’ll find more non-new yorkers if anything.

    walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and head into Brooklyn for Grimaldi’s pizza (the Brooklyn/SI locations below are better in my opinion) and Smorgasburg.

    This is probably too far for you, but for some amazing pizza, you can head into Brooklyn for L&B Spumoni Gardens or Di Fara Pizza.

    Also some amazing pizza if you want to venture into SI – Goodffellas on Hylan Blvd. (don’t get confused with the other Goodfellas that’s a chain), DeNinos, Brother’s Pizzeria.

    My favorite bbq place is Mable’s Smokehouse in Williamsburg (the area is very hipster ish) and Dinosaur BBQ is great too! There’s also Hill Country and Mighty Quinn’s in the city, but they are a hit or miss for me. Fette Sau in Williamsburg is popular too, but it was a hit or miss for me.

    Best burgers – Bare Burger, Korzo and believe it or not, I actually like Five Guys even though it’s a fast food joint.

    Crave Fishbar has amazing oyster HH with different kinds of oysters for $1. Best variety you’ll find in the city. Red Hook Lobster Pound for lobster rolls too!

    Lady M – amazing green tea crepe cake (also a location in LA, but this is the original).

    Cafe Habana – amazing cuban and you must go for their amazingggggggggggggg corn!!! Sophie’s and Tina’s are good fast food cuban alternatives.

    Pio Pio – for some amazing Peruvian chicken. The original is in Jackson Heights Queens, but I like the location on 10th avenue too since it’s more expansive.

    Chinatown – Big Wong’s, New York Noodletown. My favorite dim sum spot is in Brooklyn East Harbor and New Spring Garden.

    I have a ton more, but if you want something specific, email me! Enjoy your time in NYC!

  9. Cannibal’s NYC

  10. I’d go to Carmine’s, Italian restaurant on 44th and between 7th and 8th Ave. Go early or late dinner otherwise, it’s a long queue. Reservation is recommended

  11. Not great for recommendations per se, but there is a series on Gawker called The Best Restaurant in New York is… which is hilarious and well worth a read. My favorite is the piece on the American Girl’s Cafe.

  12. 53rd & 6th

    We are heading to NYC in December and this food cart is definitely on the list!

  13. Peter Lugers steak house! Bring cash that’s all they take!

  14. l’artusi for Italian,
    bohemian or tanoshi (omakase only) for japanese
    though the bohemian the phone number can be hard to find…

  15. Momofuku -Noodle Bar, Milk Bar, Ko, & WD~50

  16. Bare Burger is great, and Alice’s Tea Cup is another -vsomewhat touristy but very fun – place to take girls.

  17. Smorgasburg in williamsburg on Saturday its a bunch of “food truck” type foods
    Momofuku Milk Bar get the cereal ice cream
    Lady M green tea crepe cake slice
    Shake shack burger
    Clinton street bakery min 2 hour wait on weekends tiny place but great food
    56th Halal cart there’s a famous one in midtown find the original there’s lots of knock offs check yelp
    I want to get a Dominique Ansel cronut one day but lines are ridiculous I’ve gotten there too late and ended up with runner up DKA(?) so good
    Dig Inn for healthy food

  18. So I’ve got a few recommendations, some for nightlife and others for kid stuff:

    Snowdays Shavery- East Village, right on 10th and 1st. It opened up just a couple months ago and features shaved snow–not shaved ice–the consistency is much more soft, mellow, and milky and makes for a delicious treat for youngsters and adults alike. Their extra large bowl size is called the “Yeti Cup” and they’ve got cold-activated spoons that turn blue when they touch the snow ice. Flavors are generally speaking Asian (condensed milk, lychee, green tea flavor, etc, but there plenty of other flavors).

    Chinatown Ice Cream- Chinatown, right on Bayard. Lots and lots of flavors, some of them quite unique/eccentric. You’ve got Durian, Pandan, and Sesame just to name a few. Once again, a great choice for kids and adults.

    Jing Fong Dim Sum- Chinatown. Located in a massive-auditorium sized room, this place is great for a peek into dim sum in NYC Chinatown. The wait may seem long, but given the number of tables you move up through the line quite quickly. Cheap and delicious. Along the same lines, I would recommend Congee Village if you’re in the mood for Chinese food while you’re here. Other than that I’d shy away from most Chinese restaurants in NYC as there aren’t many good ones (or at least authentic ones).

    II Corallo Trattoria- Soho. Good, hearty, and most importantly CHEAP Italian food. There are tons and tons of Italian restaurants in the city, but this place really takes the cake. It’s still by far the best bang for your buck. It’s absolutely delicious, and costs no more than $15 for a plate of out-of-this-world pasta.

    Dead Rabbit- Financial District. The wait here can be tricky but go during off times and you’ll have a blast. Listen, I’m sure you’ll get plenty of cocktail bar and speakeasy recommendations in these comments, but Dead Rabbit is the place to go. It’s styled after an old-school Irish-American pub and has saw dust covered floors and servers with heavy Irish accents. The food here is hearty as heck and surprisingly delicious. Ask them for the secret menu items. The drinks are absolutely fantastic and much more creative than other mixologist drinks found throughout the city.

    Apotheke- Chinatown. If Financial District is too far for you to venture but you still want to see what a NYC speakeasy is all about, check out this place that’s quietly tucked away on Pell st towards the southern end of Chinatown. On Sunday nights, and maybe other nights, they’ve got a live band. Both Dead Rabbit and Apotheke are much better than the other cocktail bars/speakeasies in the city (like Angel’s Share, PDT, Raines Law Room, Dear Irving, the list just goes on and on).

    Sticky Rice- LES. For good, simple, and soulful Thai food, check out this nice little spot south of Delancey. The menu is simple and it’s BYOB. The staff is incredibly friendly and it’s definitely my favorite Thai place in the city.

    Maharlika- East Village. Great if you’re in the mood for Filipino food. Much better than its sister restaurant Jeepney. It’s got loads of shareable plates and lots of greasy fried apps and mains paired with ketchup of all things…meaning kids would probably love it.

    Just gonna throw out two bars that I love and would recommend if you don’t want to go the speakeasy route– Pony Bar and Ginger Man. Both on opposite sides of Manhattan, but you can pick which one to go to depending on where you are.

    Bar Sake Hagi & Mew Izakaya- Japanese pub style restaurants, one located in Midtown on 49th and the other in Ktown on ~35th st I believe. Small plates. Think of it as a tapas restaurants but much, much better.

    Ah, forgot to mention- if you want a night out with the girls or just no kids, the absolute BEST restaurant in NYC right now is called Box Kite. It’s a coffee shop by day and a tasting menu by night. It’s priced at a relatively steep $85 per person but the food is Per se and Le Bernardin-level, meaning it’s easily worth $180 per person. If you want something fancy but also incredibly intimate, make a reservation ASAP and enjoy what is in my opinion the best tasting menu NYC has to offer. There are 13-14 courses in all and they’re all locally foraged and extremely filling. There are 6 spots only per night and you see the 3 chefs make the dishes right in front of you. Definitely a hush-hush kind of restaurant. But I guess the secret’s out now.

    Also, right across the street is a sushi omakase restaurant called Kura. Best omakase in the city. Hands down. And at an affordable $85 a person.

    Let me know if you have any questions. I have no idea what your preferences are so I just rec’d some of my favorite spots in the city.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Henry – Wow, thanks. I really appreciate this comprehensive and clearly well-researched list. Most of these spots are definitely places that we would love. Can’t wait to try them!!! It’s so cool and thoughtful that you wrote in…thanks again.

      • I second the Snowdays Shavery! I recently tried this place myself and it is AMAZING!!! You have to get the yeti tracks! I think your daughter will love this! It’s a great spot for kids and you’ll get to explore LES/Village. It’s mostly locals around so you won’t find much tourists which is a plus in my book. Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is also a great suggestion! The lychee and black sesame ice cream are my faves! Bar Sake Hagi is another great suggestion. It sounds like Henry has an awesome list! I’ve been to most of the places he’s suggested and they’re good!

      • No problem. Happy to help– I’ve been reading a few of your Japan posts and they’ve been tremendously helpful, so I figured the least I could do was return the favor.

        Quick question regarding Japan tho (and perhaps this is better accomplished through email), if I am arriving in Tokyo on Day 1 and then taking the train down to Kyoto, staying 2 days there, then 3 days in Osaka, with perhaps Nara and Kobe sprinkled in, and then finally returning to Tokyo for 3 days, would you recommend that I get the JR Pass? I’ve read that that’s only useful if you plan to do extensive rail travel in Japan. I have heard that the Kansai region pass can be helpful for Kyoto/Osaka/Nara though….anywho if you knew anything about this, I’d greatly appreciate your feedback. Thanks!

        • Points Pixie says:

          Henry – I would do the math and price out each ticket individually, then compare to the cost of a JR pass. Sounds like a pass would save you some money, but without knowing exact costs it’s hard to say for sure.

          We found the passes to be very convenient. Might be “worth” a little more because of the convenience factor.

          Glad my Japan posts have been helpful. I’m still working on writing more, slowly but surely.

          Email for sure if I can help any more!

  19. Some of my favourite places to eat in NYC are:
    – S’mac for mac and cheese of every variety
    – Rice to Riches for whatever flavour of rice pudding you can think of
    – Indigo Indian Bistro for yummy curry.

  20. Frelling! This was posted while I was in NYC myself. I am so saving this post for my next NYC trip. Also, now hungry. (P.S. Don’t knock Mcdonalds. ‘Cause, you know, bathrooms. We all need one!)
    “Just get deli. You must get deli. Deli” Love it, Brian. BTW, I did go to Katz’s Deli. Again. I don’t think my mom likes it much, but I love their tuna fish salad sandwich. And their cheesecake. So yes, deli. Totally agree.
    This is my 2nd favorite post (Just in case, Kendra, you’re keeping score 🙂 Must be saved!).

    • Points Pixie says:

      icicle – All of the comments and suggestions from this post were incredibly helpful. So glad it will help you, too! And yes – NOW I am keeping score 🙂

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