We literally could not wait to get to NYC and immersive ourselves in the wonderful food culture that is so famous and diverse. It’s one of those places that almost seems impossible to plan though – every time you try and search for best restaurants/breakfasts/lunches/dinners/desserts/pizza in New York, you get different answers. Who should you trust?
For that reason we didn’t go crazy with making foodie plans before our visit. Unlike our trip to Miami, we played it by ear but no matter where you end up in this magnificent city, you’re surely only around the corner from a world class meal. Here’s some of our favourites…
261 Moore St, Brooklyn, NY 11206, United States
It’s our first night in NYC after a long (very long) day of travelling we were happy to settle for a quick and easy meal before an early night. Our friends we were travelling with, Ashley & Hannah, suggested the nearby Roberta’s Pizza but what they forget to tell us is that it was going to be the longest wait but but with the reward of the best pizza we would have during our entire holiday.
Buried deep within the hipster haven of the Bushwick grid lies a takeaway style restaurant which looks pretty plain from the other side of the street, and to be told there was a wait of 90 minutes for a pizza when we ordered, well it’s fair to say the news didn’t go down too well. However we kept the faith, spent $30(!!) on a pitcher of beer and settled in their garden seating area with a keen eye on our watches.
Each of the four pizzas we shared packed outstanding punches of flavour and spice, both tomato and white bases too. The toppings are intriguingly unique and perfectly combined to make each bite as mouthwatering as the last. It’s an absolute must when in NYC – travel from any corner of the city and it will be worth it. Just make sure you show up at least an hour before you’re likely to be hungry… and be prepared to pay more than you’ve ever done for a pizza.
75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011, United States
Despite the common consensus that it’s impossible to eat out in New York on a budget, we found this gem that perfectly disproves that. One of Los Taco’s restaurants is nestled in bustling Chelsea Market, with each item on the short menu costing $3-$4… for that reason we ordered everything on the menu between 3 people and it came to under $50!
With a combination of chicken, beef, pork and vegetarian tacos and quesadillas, plus the opportunity to personalise each item with a variety of condiments and salsas, it is all absolutely outstanding. Chelsea Market is starting to get a bit of a bad rep for being over commercialised and touristy, but this is one that stands out to locals and continues to bring the queuing punters back for more and more.
It will all be freshly prepared right in front of you within a matter of minutes, and then you’ll just need to find somewhere to eat. There’s no tables but plenty of shared seating around the market.
366 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019, United States
Fulfilling a peculiar craving for ramen one night before a trip to the theatre, we sought out the very best. Totto Ramen have grown in size and popularity since opening their original location in Midtown West but it only seemed right to eat where it was all born.
In amongst the NYC concrete jungle is the tiny 20 seater restaurant that you’d easily completely miss. There’s no flashy lights, no one stood outside to drag you in and no focus on anything that isn’t making the food as good as it can be. They simply don’t need to. Both opting for the traditional Chicken Paitan – straight noodles in soup topped with scallions, onions, nori, char siu and kikurage, it was the ultimate heart warmer before taking a short drive to theatre land. The only slight inconvenience is that it’s cash only – a bit weird considering most of New York seems to be card only.
454 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231, United States
Back in Brooklyn now, and we were pointed in the direction of Red Hook for some of the finest BBQ that New York has to offer. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere is a street with this wonderful restaurant and next door bougie bar. It also lies next to a small park which directly faces the eyes of the Statue of Liberty. It’s apparently the only place you can view it face on from – when it’s sunset o clock it is really magical!
What isn’t so magical is that we rocked up completely not unexpecting another mega wait to be served. Believe it or not, this place took even longer than Roberta’s at just shy of two hours. The queue went around the perimeter of the huge building and as it’s counter service, they don’t offer table reservations. Not entirely sure why this seems to be a thing in New York, but there’s no denying the prize at the end of it all.
On the cusp of being served, we decided to go all out. We did not want to risk still being hungry when we’d finished! We ordered everything from a pound of brisket and pulled pork, vietnamese hot wings, mac n cheese and a rack of beef ribs, plus some slaw and cornbread for good measure. Perhaps in this moment we forgot about the bank and spent $100, but again, there was no point queuing for two hours and then only going in half heartedly…. no regrets!
All of the meat was tremendously tender, hot wings genuinely really hot and the sides topped it all of magnificently. First class food… and don’t a lot of people know about it!
346 Himrod St, Brooklyn, NY 11237, United States
Back where we began… Brooklyn pizza. After rocking up here one evening and not bearing the prospect of another long wait, we opted for Jamaican jerk chicken across the road at Sally Roots (also very good). We were back the next day bang on the moment they opened their doors at 12pm… and we had the place to ourselves! In a completely different style to Roberta’s, this was a more of a cool wine bar and pizza vibe but equally as good.
After spending $100 the night before at Hometown, it was tap waters all round! The special calzone pizza stole our hearts and the white-based carbonara was also outstanding.
You come to expect a week of winging it with restaurants to bring you a bang average meal at least once, but it just didn’t happen! We followed recommendations from our food tour guide, searched ‘near me’ on Google a lot and stayed away from anything you get at home in the UK. It worked!!
Give our Best NYC Coffee post a read and let us know down in the comments if you’ve got any NYC foodie recommendations! We’d love to follow your suggestions when we’re there next (we have to go back for more pizza!)