During my first two years at NYU, I didn’t explore the eating and drinking scene in NYC much. I had a meal plan so I mostly ate food in the NYU dining halls. However, I started a food Instagram account last year, and that’s when I started to really explore the culinary scene in the Big Apple. And there is no going back.
While there is an abundance of good spots around NYU, there is also no shortage of places that will leave you, not-so-satisfied. Hopefully, this list will prevent you from waiting in line for half an hour for some mediocre vegan burger the next time you’re out in the village.
1. When you are heading for brunch or grabbing coffee before class: Bluestone Lane
The Aussie coffee invasion is undeniable. The beans used here are freshly roasted and flown in from Melbourne weekly. With four locations near campus, there’s no shortage of quality coffee to get you through even the most hectic day of study. Bluestone Lane also offers fantastic brunch options, from the ubiquitous avocado toast (but here they do a serious job) to another Aussie classic, toasted banana bread.
What to order: Avocado toast and a flat white. If you’re vegan, leave out the feta cheese and opt for almond milk and you will have a meal that’s much better than at some overhyped vegan burger place.
Locations: 51 Astor Pl, New York, NY 10003 or 30 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014 or 55 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10014 or 770 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
2. When you are trying to be healthy, or trendy, or both: Sweetgreen
This is not your ordinary salad bar. You’ve probably seen photos of their salads all over Instagram. Fresh, organic and locally sourced, this trendy chain offers food that is nutritious, delicious, and photogenic for the Insta. The best part? Their new Astor place location is merely a few minutes walk.
What to order: Guacamole Greens (did someone say avocado?).
Location: 10 Astor Pl, New York, NY 10003
3. When you want to treat yourself to something sweet: I-CE-NY
You can’t be an Instagram user without having seen or posted about the rolled ice cream that has taken Manhattan by storm. Skilled ice cream makers pour a liquid ice cream base with your choice of mix-in ingredients on a cold metal plate. The ingredients are then chopped and smashed before being spread into a thin layer and scraped into rolls. You can choose toppings and drizzles. And yes, they even have Pocky sticks.
What to order: Aside from the monthly specials, you should try the taro rolled ice cream. You can’t find that flavor in other rolled ice cream joints.
Location: 101 MacDougal St New York NY 10012
4. When you are tired of fast meals and want to sit down and enjoy your lunch: Nanoosh
This Mediterranean joint boasts a large menu with offerings from vegetarian falafel salads and wraps, to mouth-watering dips and fluffy pita. The portion is generous, the food comes out fast and the lines are not too bad which means you will make it to your next lecture in no rush. They do takeout too if you prefer your meals to-go.
What to order: Falafel salad or wrap with hummus and tahini. Nanoosh is known for their baked falafels, which have quinoa, chickpeas, parsley and spices. These are fluffy inside with a light crunch on the outside. Not greasy like their traditional cousin, it’s difficult to stop at 1, or 3.
Location: 111 University Pl, New York, NY 10003
5. When you are headed out for tapas and drinks after class on Friday: Las Ramblas
Located in the charming West Village, this Spanish joint offers some delicious tapas and sangria. The owner Natalie is an NYU alumnus and has Spanish roots. The decor is lovely and reminds you of the streets in Spain. It’s a great place for Friday night drinks and tapas or a casual date night.
What to order: Shrimp in garlic, white wine, and lemon. This classic tapas dish is very well-executed here. Oh, and a white pomegranate berry sangria.
Location: 170 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014
6. When you are on the hunt for a great burger: Burgers by Honest Chops
Burgers by Honest Chops is the latest venture of the famous East Village butcher Honest Chops. The menu is simple, but the burgers are top notch. I mean, it is owned by a butcher shop. One bite into the juicy, succulent patty and you will fall in love.
What to order: Lamb merguez with housemade lemon aioli, and truffle fries. Burger lesson #1: a good burger is not complete without truffle fries.
Location: 99 Macdougal St New York, NY 10012
7. When you want to people watch and drink cocktails: Bar Virage
Bar Virage is conveniently located in the bustling East Village. It has great outdoor seating on the sidewalk which is perfect for the warmer months. The drink menu is fantastic, and they have some fabulous happy hour deals.
What to order: Ariel’s Kiss, a cocktail made of Prosecco, berries, mint and orange blossom rose water. If you’re staying for dinner, order the beef short rib risotto. It’s rich and flavorful. The generous chunks of beef melt in your mouth and the risotto rice is cooked to perfection.
Location: 118 2nd Ave New York NY 10003
8. When you are celebrating Taco Tuesday: The Taco Shop
Did someone say tacos? The taco shop is situated a few blocks west of campus. It serves authentic Mexican tacos with delicious margaritas and ice cold Coronas.
What to order: the fish taco. These have a crunchy batter and come with chipotle slaw. If you cannot decide, order the chef’s platter so you get to try everything.
Location: 166 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10014
9. When you have a date to impress: Mamo Restaurant
Mamo Restaurant in SoHo is the first US venture of the famous restaurant Mamo Le Michelangelo in France. Mamo serves iconic Provençal/Italian cuisine crafted by a Michelin-starred chef. If Jay Z and Beyonce spent their date night at Mamo, perhaps it’s time you bring your next date there too.
What to order: Penne with lobster sauce, you’ll love the silky pasta cooked al dente alongside such a flavorful tomato-based sauce with chunks of lobster. Order a glass of vino to wash it down and you’ll be one very happy diner.
Location: 323 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013
10. When your sweet tooth attacks: Amorino Gelato
A Parisian import, Amorino serves gourmet gelato in an array of flavors including more traditional ones like chocolate, vanilla and pistachio to less common ones like passionfruit, speculoos and lemongrass. It also serves a decadent gelato-filled brioche. Order an espresso with it and you’ll have yourself a nice breakfast…I mean afternoon treat.
What to order: Pistachio gelato. Or if you’re feeling really fancy, get the cone with a gelato flower and a gelato-filled macaron. Yes, it exists.
Location: 60 University Pl, New York, NY 10003
11. When you want good Asian food between classes: Uncle Ted’s
Their under $10 lunch specials are the savior of many students in our first year at NYU. Conveniently located on Bleecker St. within a few minutes walk from campus, this place offers very decent Chinese food, especially considering that they are not located in Chinatown.
What to order: Their dim sum is very well done. If you like seafood, get the crystal shrimp dumplings.
Location: 163 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012
12. When you want good Asian food and are willing to walk 15 minutes for it: H K Wonton Garden
This hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant tucked away on Mulberry St. is not-to-be-missed when you’re in the area. They cook the noodles and wontons fresh after taking your order. The noodles are never soggy and the wontons are plump, juicy and seasoned to perfection. The Hawaiian shirt-wearing waiters are very friendly, and your order always arrives fast.
What to order: Wonton noodle soup with beef brisket. Do it.
Location: 79 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013
13. When you are tired of Chipotle: Korilla BBQ
This place is like a Korean fusion Chipotle. They offer bowls, tacos and burritos, with of course Asian twists like sticky rice, purple rice, bulgogi, kimchi and more.
What to order: Bulgogi burrito with sticky rice, kimchi, cheese and korilla sauce.
Location: 23 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10003
14. When you just need a slice of pizza: Artichoke Pizza
If you’ve spent sometime in NYC, you’ve probably been to Artichoke Pizza, likely when you were drunk, or hungover. Artichoke is known for their, well, artichoke pizza. It’s big, greasy and delicious.
What to order: Artichoke pizza slice. It is a cholesterol overload and you’re probably going to need to spend the next 12 hours at the gym. But you should do it nonetheless because it’s damn delicious.
Location: 111 MacDougal Street New York, NY 10012
15. When you need late night fuel: Mamoun’s Falafel
If you’ve been at NYU for more than one semester and haven’t heard or been to Mamoun’s, then you haven’t really arrived at NYU. A Greenwich village institution, Mamoun’s has been serving cheap, delicious falafel in pita to NYU students since the 1970s. Yes, the price has gone up, but at $3.50 for a pita sandwich stuffed with crunchy falafels, it is still a steal. It’s open till 2 am or later on weekdays and till 1am on Sundays.
What to order: Falafel pita sandwich, add baba ganouj if you have an extra 50 cents to spare. If you really feel like splurging, fork out an extra $2 for a piece of sticky, sweet baklava.
Location: 119 MacDougal St New York NY 10012