Heading to New York and looking for the best places to eat? I’ve got you covered. From donuts to pizza, and everything in between, here are my favourite places to eat in New York. Last updated in 2019.
I’m back, baby. I’ve returned home after six glorious days (actually, it was rather hot and humid 🥵) eating my way through New York. This was my third time visiting this grand city and each time, I add yet another restaurant or bakery to my must-eat list. So to ensure your next trip to New York is undeniably delicious, I’ve put together a BIG list of where to eat in New York – from one foodie to another.
You can’t go to New York without visiting Milk Bar. You’ve probably already heard of the famous bakery, created by mastermind Christina Tosi, but it’s not your average bakery. This is where you can taste buttery cereal milk soft serve (one of my favourite things in life), cake truffles, Milk Bar pie and cookies. My fave is the Blueberries and Cream Cookie 💙 You can also do cooking classes at the HQ in Brooklyn.
My husband and I go to Balthazar every time we visit New York. It’s a bit of a splurge meal, but 100% worth it. Think delicious French fare in a stylish bistro. Crowds flock to this restaurant day and night, so you’ll want to book in advance to ensure you get a table. I can recommend everything. Not really, but honestly, every dish I’ve had here was beautiful. From the roast chicken to the lamb, to the dreamy mashed potato – and don’t forget to treat yourself to a little dessert!
Root & Bone
It was around 4 years ago that we went to Root & Bone on a friend’s recommendation, and I still crave their fried chicken and one of Grandma Daisy’s Angel Biscuits. This is the place to go for sumptuous Southern fare.
Momofuku Noodle Bar
We’re big fans of David Chang so Momofuku Noodle Bar was at the top of our list this trip. We visited the restaurant in East Village and loved it. The ramen was excellent – deliciously chewy noodles with a truly flavourful broth – and the pork buns were finger-lickin’ good! Highly recommend.
Daily Provisions calls itself a coffee shop, bakery and sandwich shop, which means it’s perfect for breakfast, lunch or tea. At lunchtime, a line of hungry people spills out the door of this tiny cafe, but their loaded sandwiches are worth the wait.
For more French fare, try Buvette. This quaint bistro is famed for its food and old world charm. I’ve only been there for breakfast, but it was just lovely. It’s ideal for a lazy brunch or lunch with friends.
Thanks to Instagram, I first heard about Supermoon Bakehouse late last year. I was enamoured by the artistry of their baked goods, and after seeing their creations firsthand, I’m an even bigger fan. Their sweet eats are even more beautiful in person! I tried one of their award-winning strawberry, basil and rhubarb doughnuts. It was dee-licious ❤️
Owned by chef Thomas Keller, Bouchon Bakery is the perfect place to stop for a sweet treat or light lunch. Serving up French-inspired fare, you’ll find an array of pastries, breads and sandwiches. But I love to pop in and grab a few of their macarons for the road 😉
I know what you’re thinking. Why is there fast food on this list? Well, Shake Shack is amazing and I don’t discriminate. Give me a ShakeBurger and a hand-spun vanilla shake any day of the week and I’m on cloud nine.
You may have seen Lucali and the man behind the legend, Mark Iacono, on David Chang’s Netflix show, Ugly Delicious. Watch it and you’ll see just how passionate he is about pizza. Make no mistake – this place is p-o-p-u-l-a-r. Like line up for HOURS kinda of popular. So here’s how it works.
The restaurant opens at 5.45pm. You need to get there early, to put your name on a list. When you get to the front of the line, they will then tell you what time your seating is (most likely, a few hours later AND you only have the table for one hour).
We got there at 5pm (45 minutes before it opened) and the line was already halfway down the block. By the time we got to the front of the line to put our name on the list, we could only get a table at 10.30pm. This is what I mean – popular with a capital P. So if you are keen on eating here, I recommend lining up around 4 or 4.30pm.
(The face of someone who is very excited to get their pizza)
Alternatively, you can get take-away. But you still need to line up to put in your order and get your ‘time’. We opted for this and were told our pizza would be ready at 7.45pm. Yes we waited almost 3 hours for a takeaway pizza. Was it worth it? A hundred times yes.
My husband said it was one of the best things he’s ever eaten. Also we saw Maggie Gyllenhaal here. She didn’t have to wait in the line 😂
Dominique Ansel Bakery
Made famous in 2013 by his unique croissant-like creation, the Cronut, Dominique Ansel has not stopped churning out spectacular eats at his popular patisserie. The display of colourful confections at his bakery in Soho is enough to make any sweet-tooth weak at the knees. In addition to his Cronuts, one of my faves is his also famous cookie shots.
If you’re anything like me, you would have seen or heard about the cookies from Levain’s FOR YEARS. So I’m super grateful that I finally had the chance to visit. The bakery itself is fairly nondescript – pretty much a hole in the wall – but the line out the door means you’re onto something suspiciously good. The cookies are the biggest, fattest, thickest cookies I’ve ever had.
Apparently they’re 6 ounce each so be warned – you won’t need lunch. They were undeniably delicious. We tried three different flavours, and surprisingly, our favourite was the Oatmal Raisin Cookie.
Inside the Chelsea Markets (more on that below), you’ll find the bustling Mediterranean street food restaurant called, Miznon. They’re well-known for their stuffed pitas, and even have a cheeseburger pita on the menu. I tried their lamb pita and love love loved it.
Ice and Vice
The award for the most creative ice cream definitely goes to Ice and Vice. This cute ice creamery serves up the most intoxicating flavour combinations, like cheesy peach and cheddar or Vietnamese coffee and donut truffles. But our fave was actually the Basic B – Mexican vanilla and black lava sea salt. So good.
Of course, what’s New York without a few donuts throw in for good measure? Dough is a top-notch doughnut shop producing artisan donuts in an array of flavours. While it’s hard to take your eyes off their vivid (and definitely the most instagram-worthy) hibiscus donut, I opted for the chocolate-cocoa nib, because, ya know, chocolate ❤️
Big Gay Ice Cream
If you love soft serve, then head straight to this popular ice cream shop. You can create almost any kind of magical ice cream soft serve, whether it’s choc-dipped, covered in sprinkles or rolled in Oreo cookies – or all three. They have a laundry list of super exciting mash-up’s to try, but what’s not love about vanilla soft serve covered in sprinkles?!
X’ian Famous Foods
We had long heard about X’ian Famous Foods and their legendary ‘ripped’ noodles. I love noodle dishes so was super keen to try this casual Asian eatery. Needless to say, I was super impressed. We ordered their famous Spicy Cumin Lamb Hand-Ripped Noodles (number 1 on the menu) and LOVED them. They were soft and chewy, and the spicy sauce had just the right amount of hum. Generous portions too!
You can’t go to New York without going to Magnolia Bakery. They’re known for their gorgeous cupcakes that boast their signature swirl (surprisingly hard to do), but you CANNOT leave without trying their banana pudding 👌🏻 Perfect midnight snack.
And if you can squeeze in another donut, check out Doughnut Plant. They make everything fresh every day – even their fillings – and they have an enticing menu of flavours. They offer both cake and yeast depending on your preference – for me, it’s yeast erryday.
Prince Street Pizza
Because you’re in New York, you gotta eat all the pizza you can. So add Prince Street Pizza to the list. This is another hole-in-the-wall with lines streaming out the door. While you are waiting, you can gawk at all the celebrity photos on the wall so you know you are in good company. I recommend the thickly sliced pepperoni pizza. I’ve never had a pizza with so many pieces of pepperoni on it – oily but oh-so-tasty!
Markets in New York
The Chelsea Markets are awesome – you gotta go! You’ll find all kinds of mouthwatering eats (including Miznon and Amy’s Bread), as well as a few quirky stores, including a kitchen shop and gourmet market. Take a walk along the High Line and you’ll either find yourself finishing right near the Chelsea Markets or starting there – so it’s the perfect place to grab a bite.
Mercado Little Spain
We stumbled upon this vibrant Spanish food market when we were at Hudson Yards. It’s filled with food vendors selling all kinds of eats, from crispy bravas to cinnamon-covered churros. It’s a great place to stop for a quick and easy lunch.
Every Saturday, you can find the Smorgasburg Markets in the East River State Park in Brooklyn. It’s an open air foodie market boasting over 100 vendors that consistently draws big crowds. Worth checking out if you’re in the area on a Saturday.
Coffee in New York
Full disclosure: I don’t drink coffee. I wish I did but I think it tastes like dirt. On the other hand, my husband LOVES coffee and needs his coffee fix regularly, so we did search for a few good places while we were in New York. If you need a cup of joe to keep you going in the Big Apple, he recommends Stumpton Coffee, Blue Bottle Coffee and Delicon Coffee.
On my list for next time
Jack’s Wife Freda
Peter Pan Donuts
Tompkin’s Square Bagels
Please add your favourite New York recommendations in the comments below!