NYC Cheat Sheet

Here's a list of some of my hometown dining favorites. Enjoy! 

The best view of the Empire State Building, 23rd and 5th. 

Breakfast and brunch:
Balthazar – 80 Spring Street, long lines all the time. Attracts a lot of tourists,but it's a go-to in SoHo. Try to go early on a weekday .
Café Orlin – 41 Saint Mark’s Place, solid breakfast food with a Middle Eastern twist. 
Coffee Shop – 29 Union Square West, this place is a lot cooler on the inside than it looks on the outside. They have really good omelets, and it’s a pretty popping bar at night with a creative modern fusion menu for dinner. 

Dovetail – 103 W 77th Street, this is my new favorite brunch place. It's classy, it's not too crowded, and it's complete affordable. Brunch is an entertaining three course meal, but you will be unable to stop yourself from devouring all the crispy white cheddar corn breads. 
Hop Shing Restaurant – 9 Chatham Square, come here if you're looking for dim sum in Chinatown before 9am. This place is popping with social seniors, and you will most likely be sharing a table with a few. Get the shrimp rice noodle rolls and a roasted pork bun (char siu bao). 
Landmarc  – 10 Columbus Circle, this is actually a great place for dinner, but I do not know why I always find my here for brunch. Perhaps because it's at a convenient location and has menu options to suffice your every late morning craving. 
Le Pain1131 Madison Avenue, They opened a bunch of new locations in the past few years, but I always go to this one before I head to the Met. If you go before noon, get the soft boiled egg and request five grain bread or baguette. Regardless of what you order, you should get a side order of five grain or baguette and don’t forget to ask for the jams. It comes with a five fruit, apricot, and their own Nutella. Also, their cafe au laits are magnifique!

Maison Kayser  1294 3rd Avenue, This is Le Pain's upper scale French bistro cousin. For a modern bistro setting, do not hesitate to head to Maison Kayser for a superb baguette or le pomme brioche. 
Peels – 325 Bowery Street, if you're looking for some Southern inspiration in your breakfast, go down to Peels and get the shrimp and grits or build your own breakfast biscuit. 
Penelope’s – 159 Lexington Avenue, another very popular brunch place. Try the Penny Sandwich, which is an omelet with cheese and pesto served on a croissant or English muffin. For lunch, have the curried chicken salad. 
Pick a Bagel  – 1475 2nd Avenue, Great bagels, great spreads, and great service. 
Ping's Seafood  – 22 Mott Street, this place is where I usually recommend people to go get dim sum. Their dim sum is high quality, as are the rest of their entrees (especially seafood!). My family goes here all the time for brunch and all our dinner reunions.  
Prosperity Dumpling  46 Eldridge Street, they recently raised their price to 4 dumplings for $1, but who cares because they taste so good! I also recommend getting the sesame bread and a steaming hot container of unsweetened soy milk. 
Russ & Daughters Cafe – 127 Orchard Street, about time they opened a sit down. Come here for sturgeon, white fish, salmon, and all your smoked fish needs. Most definitely have it with bagels, rye, and challah breads. Try their chocolate egg cream or other homemade fountain soda syrups. 
Sarabeth – 40 Central Park South, has long lines on weekends, so try to go during the week. Their scones are more like biscuits, but sometimes I like it that way. Their lunch menu is quite good as well. Avoid the Park Avenue location. 
The Smile – 26 Bond Street, this place never has a line, which is why I often come here with my high school friends for late weekend brunches. A refreshing modern Mediterranean/American menu.
Tal Bagels– 2446 Broadway, my grandma lives on the Upper West Side, and now every time I meet her for breakfast, we come here for their fresh plain bagels. Untoasted with just a smear of cream cheese is all you need. 

Artichoke Basille's Pizza & Brewery  – 328 E 14th Street, you must try their artichoke slice. It's like artichoke dip, on pizza. But their margherita slice is like a cracker and skip the stuffed artichoke and get the 32oz Stella on tap in a styrofoam cup.. to go with a straw. 
Joe’s Pizza – 7 Carmine Street, Spiderman 2 where Peter Parker worked was filmed in the original location on Bleeker Street, but they lost the corner stop. Now it’s a block away from where it used to be. How New York City pizza should taste like. (Avoid Sbarro’s and Famiglia at all costs, Bravo and Two Bro’s are passable).
Koronet Pizza – 2848 Broadway, this pizza joint is very uptown near Columbia, but it is delicious and larger than your face. Cheap gigantic pizza. Do not underestimate when I say larger than your face.  
Lombardi’s – 32 Spring Street, very touristy place that serves pizza by the pie, but very good all the same. 
Luzzo's – 211 First Avenue, best crust on the island. Pies with the fluffiest doughy crust you'll ever find. Great tangy tomato sauce and very fragrant truffle pizzas. 

11 Madison Park (1 Michelin Star)– 11 Madison Avenue, this place is usually quite pricey for dinner, but like most place in New York, they have a very affordable lunch menu. It’s Daniel Humm's modern French destination with very delicious food. A bit on the fancy side, and most diners are business people. 
2nd Ave Deli – 162 E 33rd Street, I love this place. The pastrami, corned beef, brisket, potato knishes, chocolate soda... everything is excellent.
Bouchon Bakery – 10 Columbus Circle, Owned by Thomas Keller, on the third floor of the Time Warner building next to Landmarc. They have a café opened for lunchtime and they also have a bakery with good macarons and other goodies, including foie gras dog biscuits.
Cha Chan Tang – 45 Mott Street, a Hong Kong style café that serves a lot of local dishes ranging from French toast to instant noodles. Their curry beef on rice is delicious.
Chicken and Rice – 53rd and 6th, so this really is a lunch place because traditionally these Halal stands are for people searching for some street meat during lunch time, but now it’s also a very popularized late night drunk munchies locale. The real chicken and rice people wear yellow vests. Get the mixed meat and pile on the white sauce, but be careful with the red sauce. It’s REALLY spicy. 

Copper Chimney – 126 E 28th Street, go during lunchtime for a very cheap and classy buffet. It’s about $10 for all you can eat Indian food.
Curry in a Hurry – 119 Lexington Avenue, this place is actually perfect for getting your curry in a hurry. Eat in or take out, definitely pile up on the freshly kneaded garlic naan. 
E.A.T.1064 Madison Avenue, if you're on the Upper East Side or finding a place to eat after the Met, definitely stop by here for some great bagels and quality gourmet Kosher deli choices.
Fred's – 660 Madison Avenue, Fred's is located inside Barneys, and is a great choice for lunch, catching up, plus people watching. 
Great NY Noodletown – 28 Bowery Street, so who doesn't like a very affordable lunch or late night meal? Stop by here for some Cantonese classics. They have an ample barbecue selection, quality wontons, and the service is quick and the food familiar and consistent.
Lahori Kabab  – 124 Lexington Avenue, my new favorite place to get Indian food. They do spices like no one else. Get the spinach and the chicken biryani.
Le Veau d'Or  129 E 60th Street, this is my new favorite lunch place with a $23 prix fixe menu that offers plenty a traditional French-faire. 
Shake Shack – Madison Square Park, you have to get the Shroom Burger (Shack Stack if you must have beef) and a milkshake (go simple- strawberry/ vanilla). Also check out their custard calendar. 
Taim – 222 Waverly Place, I love falafel, and I love this place. Get the green falafel sandwich with a cantaloupe ginger smoothie. 
Wonton Garden – 79 Mulberry Street, it must have been more than 10 years since I last ate at this place, but boy will I start coming here all the time now. Their slippery egg with beef on rice is on point as are their other rice plate choices. 

456 Restaurant – 69 Mott Street, solid authentic Shanghainese cuisine. Their xiao long baos are one of the better places in Chinatown.

Amy Ruth's 113 W 116th Street, chicken and waffles in a very safe-feeling neighborhood. You will not regret it. Kool-aid of the day available.
Basta Pasta – 37 W 17th Street, one of my favorite Italian places in New York, even though it’s owned by Japanese people. For appetizers you have to get the baby chicken, and you have to try to parmesan pasta, and the chocolate volcano for dessert. 
Blue Smoke – 116 E 27th Street, a great place for barbeque. It’s also quite a nice bar and has a jazz club downstairs. 
Bonchon – 325 Fifth Avenue, this is a new location that serves the infamous Korean soy garlic wings. A great place to get wings and watch a sports game. 
Cheung Wong Kitchen  – 38A Allen Street, this is my go-to place post tai chi classes for Cantonese rice plates. Everything they serve is steaming hot and freshly prepared. 
Fulton –  205 E 75th Street, if you're in the neighborhood, come here for a fresh seafood dinner. The restaurant is brought to you by the same people that run Citarella's, so their seafood is guaranteed fresh. 
Hill Country Barbecue Market  30 W 26th Street, get your beef ribs and brisket here by the pound. Then load your tray with classic comfort sides such as macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, and collard greens. Finally, head downstairs for the live roots music. 
J.G. Melon 1291 Third Avenue, if you grew up on the Upper East Side, you ate here. A Third Avenue staple, J.G. Melon serves the most classic no frills burger and other American favorites. I don't know how the best burger in New York is even a competition.
Katz’s Deli – 205 E Houston Street, this place has been there forever and it still runs with the old fashion ticketing system for your meal. It serves the best pastrami sandwiches you’ll ever eat in your life and you have to go because everyone does. 
Limani  – 45 Rockefeller Center, if you're looking for delicious Mediterranean style seafood, do visit Limani's where you can choose your seafood and the fish is served whole. I recommend the fish stew that's made with squash and tomatoes. 
Miss Korea10 W 32nd Street, one of the newer Korean barbeque place in K-town, so it’s a lot cleaner than most. Also, their samgyupsal is especially fatty. Their kalbi marinade is good as well.

Mishima 164 Lexington Avenue, this is one of the most unassuming and charming Japanese restaurants, but they always have very fresh and high grade sashimi, as well as delectable entrees. They were even opened during Hurricane Irene! 
Momofuku Noodle Bar – 171 First Avenue, there’s always a line. Their ramen isn’t that great, but their pork buns are.  
Ramen Setagaya – 34 Saint Mark’s Place, REALLY good ramen. I think the #5 with the chopped garlic is the best soup base. My brother always gets the shio ramen and curry rice combo. 
Totto Ramen 366 W 52nd Street, if you have a few hours to spare, go to Totto for some authentic ramen. 
Tout Va Bien 311 W 51st Street, now I know that whenever I happen to be in the theater district, I will be visiting this restaurant. It's so French you don't even feel like you're in Manhattan anymore. Down to earth, traditional, and delicious. Please go. 
Trattoria Belvedere – 165 Lexington Avenue, this place may look old school, but do not let that deter you form walking in. Their starters, pastas, and entrees are all deliciously Italian and will keep you coming back time and time again. Try their mixed mushroom salad, spaghetti with olive oil and broccoli rabe, and their sirloin. 
Oh! Taisho9 St. Mark’s Place, Japanese barbecue skewers. My favorite are chicken skin and gizzard, your favorites might not be those. 

Alice's Teacup – 102 W 73rd Street, I like this original location the most because it's not as overwhelmingly princess/fairy themed as the other ones. Come here for some scones, tea, and uptown flair. 
Baked by Melissa – 529 Broadway, but they have several other locations in the city. They have these tiny delicious cupcakes that are eye candy and delectable.

Butter Lane – 123 E 7th Street, their cupcakes are probably my favorite in the city right now. Simple, yet divine. You choose your own cakes with a variety of staple and seasonal frostings. It's also right next to Big Gay Ice Cream.
ChickaLicious – 203 E10th Street, a very small dessert store owned by a cute couple. The wife is the pastry chef and the husband is the waiter/manager. They offer a $16 three course dessert prix fixe. 
Dylan’s Candy Bar – 1011 Third Avenue, this place will make anyone’s inner kid come out. It is a multi-story candy store that is just so super happy and has everything ranging from penny candy to milkshakes. 
Eileen’s Special Cheescake – 17 Cleveland Place, really good mini cheesecakes. 
Forty Carrot – 1000 Third Avenue, located inside all Bloomingdale’s, Forty Carrot is probably the best frozen yogurt ever. It's hidden away behind the bedding section on the fourth floor. They have huge portions and offer season flavors. Definitely try the peanut butter with the original!
il laboratorio del gelato – 188 Ludlow Street, I spent a few weeks in Italy this summer, and I tend to stray away from gelato in America. However, this place makes great gelato with the perfect refreshing yet creamy texture and offers very creative flavors. My favorites: ricotta, olive oil, marscapone
Juicy Spot Cafe – 109 Ludlow Street, ice cream rolls! Black sesame, raspberry yogurt, green tea... get them all. 
Lady M – 41 E78th Street, tiny bakery with very expensive baked goods. But they’re well worth the price. Especially the original mille feuille.
Magnolia Bakery 401 Bleecker Street, everyone goes here for the cupcakes, but I personally prefer their cake, pies, and banana pudding. The pudding is surprisingly addictive and made with fresh banana, cake, and cream. 
Rice to Riches – 37 Spring Street, rice pudding isn't for everyone, but if it's for you, then definitely do not miss out. They have a LOT of flavors that come in a variety of sizes for eat-in or to-go. My favorites: marscapone, french toast.
Serendipity’s – 225 E60th Street, their frozen hot chocolate is worth the two hour wait. They have a minimum $8.50 charge per person, and I usually go walk around Dylan’s or all the shops and Bloomies on Lexington while I wait for my table.  
Veneiro’s – 342 E11th Street, great Italian pastries. Probably the best in the city and has been a lifelong favorite for desserts. Go for the fruit tarts, cannolis, chocolate éclairs, chocolate windmill cake and strawberry shortcake. 

Grocery Shopping: I really enjoy shopping at gourmet markets, so here are a few that are unique to NYC.
Eataly200 Fifth Avenue, this place is amazing. It’s a really new Italian supermarket that also has a few eateries inside (some are quite pricey). They have a great selection of breads, fresh pastas, fresh produce and hams.
Dean and Deluca –
various locations around the city. A lot of things are overpriced, but it’s always a very fresh shopping experience. Others like it include Citarella and Balducci’s.
Union Square Green Market
Union Square, this farmer’s market is only opened certain days of the week (M,W,F,Sat), but it’s super crowded when it’s there and you can get everything from fresh sausage to flowers to maple sugar candy.

Haute Cuisine: 
Bouley (1 Michelin Star) – 163 Duane Street, this place offers several tiers of chef tasting menus that you can choose from. It has quite a traditional French cuisine with an unforgettable bread selection. The restaurant is very comfortably and elegantly decorated with likes of arches and draperies that keeps you coming back. 
Le Bernardin (3 Michelin Stars)  155 W 51st Street, Eric Ripert does not disappoint at his seafood sanctuary in Midtown. His dishes are unique, exquisite, and memorable. His extensive knowledge of fish, foreign cuisines, and food preparation positively reflects in his menu. Trust me, you will still be excited for seafood after your tenth course. 
Per Se (3 Michelin Stars)– 10 Columbus Circle, Thomas Keller's New York restaurant is located in the Time Warner building in Columbus Circle and is the most expensive French restaurant in the entire city. Their tasting menu is a bit over $200 per person, but it is worth every dollar. The chef is very thoughtful and creative and you dine with an unbeatable view of Central Park.  
Philippe33 E60th Street, this is where David Lee and the Knicks frequented for Chinese food after games. This is also where Kobe raves about in an interview. This is probably my favorite Chinese place in New York now. A lot of their choices are quite Americanized, but they’re very unique and unrivaled. Must haves: chicken satay (3/$18)- this is the best chicken satay I have ever haved. It’s prepared in some carrot reduction so that chicken is orange, and it’s served with a slightly cheesy cream sauce. Simply amazing. Even more amazing? The Peking duck ($75, takes 45min to prepare, so order it the minute you sit down). I always talk about this duck because it is so good. They prepare it in a modernized old fashion way that doesn’t make the duck too oily when you bite into it (common problem in every other place), yet all the flavors are still perfectly preserved.
Sugiyama251 W55th Street, probably the best Japanese place for me in the city. They have a lot of different choices on their tasting menu, but  we usually go for the $165 Kaiseki with Wagyu (KOBE!). This place has an unbeatable staff that offers wonderful service (they also remember that you go to school in Boston even if you haven’t seen them in 2 years), and the head chef is also the owner. He works at the bar and places close supervision on everything that is served. The sashimi is always impeccably fresh and the beef is superb. Plus: it is served raw with heated volcanic rocks, in which you cook the beef on to your own liking by yourself. Also, dessert is a grapefruit wine jelly that I haven’t had anything like ever or after and it’s so good and the staff even knows that I love it and always gives me extra. 

1 comment:

  1. WOW THANK YOU!!!! That was very helpful.. I enjoyed attending all of these restaurants and your recommendations were right on spot!!