Your parents haven’t seen you in what seems like ages. In a blink of an eye, you’ve transformed from the toddler playing in the sandbox to the experimenting and independent adult walking alone at night in the New York City streets. Cue the sobs.
No matter how embarrassing they may be at times, parents are the best. They’re the ones raising you, tolerating you, and loving you like no other — not to mention, they’re also picking up the tab for you. Get out of the dining hall and have some quality family-time bonding at the restaurant guide listed below (real food at last!).
If you want to show your parents a place that isn’t totally obvious to tourists, then SRO Pizza on Bowery between 2nd and 3rd Streets is the place to take them. SRO Pizza is a petite pizzeria speakeasy that you reach by entering through a “hidden,” “invisible,” and “secret” door in the wall at Espoleta Tapas & Wine Bar. SRO Pizza, which stands for Single Room Occupancy, is an intimate room with about 10 tables and a pizza oven at one end. With a pre-fixed $38 menu, it is a bit pricey to go on your own, so this is an opportunity to have your parents chip in.
Gato serves fusion Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine along with some pizzas fresh out of the oven. Treat your parents to some delicious tapa-style dishes and elegant house cheesecake for dessert afterwards at this restaurant with a comforting rustic-industrial vibe. You’ll be saying see you later, alliGator to Gato as you’ll want to come back another time.
A photo posted by Mijune Pak (@followmefoodie) on Nov 15, 2015 at 10:39am PST
Minetta Tavern is a historical relic in Greenwich Village where literary greats like Ernest Hemingway went to wine and dine. Not being your average steakhouse, your parents will be super impressed at the sheer ambiance and intimacy this steakhouse provides. The Black Label burger is especially juicy and tasty and has even been dubbed the best burger in all of New York City. Once you sit down in the cozy red booths, you’ll realize that it’s not rare to have a dinner here spent well.
Sardi’s is a super iconic restaurant in Times Square that offers classic Italian food. Opened in 1921, pictures of show-biz celebrities can be seen plastered all over the walls in caricature form! This time-capsulely place is perfect for when your parents come visit because it’s in the Theater District, which means you can even see a Broadway show (NYU Ticket Central is bae) beforehand. Customers rave about the anti-pasto, so be sure to keep your eye out for it.
There are three words to describe Cacio e Pepe: pasta, pasta, and pasta. Nothing like a hearty meal of authentic Italian cuisine to warm you and your family up! Sit outside in the well-lit garden when the weather is nice to cozy up with the rents. They’ll feel like they’re taking a vacation!
Welcome to the quintessential sit-down Jewish Diner. It would be incredibly cruel of you to have your parents come to New York and not introduce them to a New York bagel, especially bagels with lox. Get the blintzes and halvah ice cream, too, while you’re at this delicatessen with a retro vibe. Not only will your inner Seinfeld be unleashed, but you and your parents can explore the Houston Street area that is full of shops afterwards.
Lafayette is a contemporary French restaurant that has a je ne sais quoi quality of pure amazingness. If your parents are stressed out by the constant honking of cars in New York, they’ll feel super calm inside this natural lighting space. Lafayette is probably best to go to if you want to brunch, so make sure you get your croissants and eggs Benedict and whatnot. The best part about brunching here is that you can make reservations ahead of time, so your parents won’t have to wait!
A photo posted by Vic’s (@vicsnewyork) on Jun 27, 2015 at 8:24am PDT
New York Magazine gave Vic’s a rating of four stars and called the food “Big, Bold, and Batali-esque.” Not only are the flavorful Italian-Mediterranean dishes food locally sourced and farm-to-table, but Vic’s is super quiet and located in a fun area. You won’t regret ordering the crispy sweet onions which are fire!
A photo posted by official zuma new york (@zumanewyork) on Oct 30, 2015 at 3:29pm PDT
They see me rolling…they hating. Zuma is a super trendy and glam Japanese restaurant in Midtown serving fresh sushi that is truly love at first bite. Beyond taste, their mouth-wateringly delicious meals are also super Instagram-worthy. There’s also a sizable bar if your parents (or you) want to get crunk.
A photo posted by Ippudo NY (@ippudony) on Nov 2, 2015 at 12:13pm PST
You can’t get authentic Japanese food in the city like you can here. The tonkotsu broth, the richest type of noodles is Ippudo’s most famous dish and is a must-try. The character of the dining area is unique in its own right, with an open kitchen and mirrors all over the walls. The only issue with Ippudo is the ridiculous wait time, so it’s perfect if your parents are down with waiting before indulging.
A photo posted by Bill’s Bar and Burger (@billsbarandburger) on Dec 2, 2014 at 12:40pm PST
I know, I know. You’re obsessed with the show Bob’s Burgers.
I can’t guarantee that Bill’s Burgers is as good as the show but it’s definitely up there on the ranks. Perfect for a casual lunch, the place is a haven for all burger-lovers. Plus, it’s near Rockefeller Center, which means ice skating with your parents in the winter!
A photo posted by ABC Kitchen (@abckitchen) on Apr 8, 2015 at 2:29pm PDT
ABC…It’s easy as 123 in the Flatiron district. From composting its leftovers to having recyclable menus and the freshest ingredients, ABC Kitchen’s emphasis on sustainability makes it have a personality on its own. It’s inside of a department store, so it’s perfect if your parents want to do a little gift shopping for the home beforehand! From garden salads to organic chicken to fish, this rustic-chic American Nouveau restaurant will have you in for a high quality and healthy meal. Take your parents in the middle of the day, as it can get pretty noisy at night.