If you live in NYC, you know how important that classic slice of original New York pizza is. You’re perfectly aware of which bakery has the freshest, softest bagels with the crust baked to perfection. And you definitely know where to find the most delicious (and most inventive) desserts.
But for those of you who aren’t as familiar with the famous food scene here, the following is a list of the most classic and creative places to eat when visiting good old New York, New York (what a wonderful town).
In no particular order…
1. Murray’s Bagels: Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Bagel
The bagel is a New York icon. New Yorkers are very picky about their bagels, but Murray’s is a long time name you can trust. The BEC at Murray’s might even help that hangover after a long night out on the town.
2. Madison Square Park Shake Shack: Shack Stack
Madison Square Park is the original home of these amazing burgers. The Shack Stack is a beef burger patty stacked on top of the ‘Shroom patty. If you haven’t had the delicious ‘Shroom patty (breaded mushroom stuffed with melted cheese), you clearly have not lived life to the fullest.
3. Momofuku Milk Bar: Cereal Soft Serve
Take the flavorful milk from your morning cereal, blend it into a soft serve, top it off with toasted corn flakes, and you’ll get the Momofuku cereal soft serve AKA a dream come true. You’ll never have an excuse to skip breakfast again.
4. Cafe Habana: Elote (Grilled Corn)
Friday, Saturday, Monday no matter what day of the week is, you can always enjoy our damn awesome #corn at any time of the day! Come get dirty with us!?? #cafehabana #nyc #friday #brunch #dinner #hungry #eat #foodie #foodpics #foodporn #elote #tasty #spicy #cheese #mexican #streetfood #elote #eeeeeats #food #snack #regram @aaaaaaallison ????
Grilled corn is a popular Cuban street food that you can now get in the heart of Nolita. So when your stomach starts growling while shopping, you know where to go.
5. L&B Spumoni Gardens: Sicilian Slice & Spumoni Combo
Together, these two are a twist on the classic pizza and ice cream combo. The Sicilian slice and the spumoni are the “twin legends” at Spumoni Gardens. Pizza is served Grandma style, meaning cheese is under the tomato sauce instead of the norm. Spumoni ices — ice cream with a foamy texture — are absolutely amazing.
6. Nathan’s Famous Original Location: Original Hot Dog
The original home of the world famous Nathan’s hot dogs. Head to Coney Island every July 4 to watch (or participate in) the world’s largest hot dog eating contest. You know you want to.
7. Ralph’s Ices: Original Italian Ices (Any Flavor)
New Yorkers love their Italian ices because A) they’re cheap and B) any delicious flavor your heart desires is bound to be on the menu. Want Mai Tai ice? How about the classic lemon ice on a hot day? Ralph’s got you covered with 150+ flavors to choose from.
8. Dominique Ansel Bakery: Cronut
The cronut is one of the greatest dessert mashups of all time, and every month a new flavor is announced. Due to its popularity, you’d have to get up earlier than your 8 AM lecture to even get on that cronut line. Now that’s dedication.
9. Mister Softee Ice Cream Truck: Vanilla Soft Serve with Sprinkles
There’s a Mister Softee truck at nearly every corner in NYC. If you can’t see it, you’ll most definitely hear it. The annoying but catchy Mister Softee jingle will be on repeat in your head for days (but the icy treat is worth it).
10. Amy Ruth’s: The Reverend Al Sharpton
The Rev. Al Sharpton fried chicken and waffle dish was yesterday's last meal in NYC before heading back to Sin City ??? ?#LVtoNYC #amyruths #harlem #nyceats #eatingNewYork #iloveny #foodbeast #forkfeed #brunchboys #chicken #foodporn #foodstagram #grubfiend #tryitordiet #gainz #friedchicken #waffles #instafood #dailyfoodfeed #soulfood #southern #yahoofood #breakfast #protein
A chicken & waffle dish named after the great Baptist minister and MSNBC talk show host, Al Sharpton. This Harlem soul food staple is the perfect balance between salty and sweet.
11. City Bakery: Hot Chocolate with Homemade Marshmallows
Hot chocolate fanatics unite: the entire month of February is the hot chocolate festival at City Bakery, during which they offer a different flavor of this hot and comforting beverage every day.
12. Big Gay Ice Cream: Salty Pimp Cone
Smooth, creamy vanilla soft serve pimped out with dulce de leche, dipped in chocolate, and then sprinkled with sea salt. What dreams are made of.
13. Balthazar Bakery: Pain De Siegle (Sourdough Rye)
If Balthazar Bakery isn’t already your go-to shop for freshly baked bread, it should be. They’re committed to baking their breads from scratch and have an entire menu dedicated to this precious baked good. If you buy their signature bread, it will come marked with a “B” so you know you got the best of the best.
14. Lombardi’s Coal Oven Pizza: Margherita Pizza
Pizza lovers across the nation should know that Lombardi’s was the first pizzeria in the US of A. Their website is even firstpizza.com, so go here the next time you need a taste of the original.
15. Ippudo: Akamaru Modern Ramen
Now an international ramen chain, Ippudo was first founded in the East Village. The Akamaru Modern has all that umami taste you crave and the fragrant garlic oil makes it practically irresistible.
16. Levain Bakery: Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie
17. Russ & Daughters: The Classic
If you didn’t get a cream cheese bagel with lox, did you even go to New York? The Classic at Russ & Daughters is the most drool-worthy one you can get. It’s made with the finest and freshest ingredients for over a century.
18. Magnolia Bakery: Banana Pudding
Magnolia Bakery is one of those places you’ll hear about from anyone who visits good old NYC. From their festive holiday dessert spreads to their famous banana pudding, you can’t go wrong with a trip to this beloved dessert bakery. Can’t get to NYC? Make Magnolia Banana Pudding at home.
19. Grand Central Oyster: Manhattan Clam Chowder
Move over New England, the Manhattan clam chowder is clearly the better choice. Rich red broth with fresh oysters will help to warm you up during those rough New York winters.
20. Eddie’s Sweet Shop: Banana Royal Sundae
Eddie’s Sweet Shop has been an ice cream institution for over a century. They make their own ice cream on site as well so you’ll always get the freshest scoop when you order a ginormous sundae.
21. Delmonico’s: Baked Alaska
A restaurant that survived the Civil War, the Great Depression, the Prohibition, and two World Wars, has got to be great. Opened in 1837, Delmonico’s is the first fine dining restaurant in America. Many dishes were claimed to be invented here such as the Lobster Newburg, NY Steak, and the Baked Alaska. We recommend the Baked Alaska.
22. Yonah Shimmel’s Knishery: Potato Knish
The first knishery in New York. A knish is a baked or fried ball of dough, usually stuffed with potatoes. Nosh on your knish with some spicy mustard on the side and you’ll immediately be transported to foodie heaven.
23. Sal, Kris, and Charlie’s Deli: The Bomb
Have you ever seen such a rainbow of coldcuts? This mile-high hero can probably feed you plus most of your extended family. There are a lot of great delis in NYC, but “The Bomb” is truly an experience in itself.
24. Junior’s: Signature NY Cheesecake
The NY cheesecake is one of the best and most classic desserts. What better place to try a slice than the original one at Junior’s?
25. Smorgasburg: Original Ramen Burger
You’re probably tired of seeing the Ramen Burger on your Instagram. However, it’s a perfect representation of the melting pot of cultures in NYC. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, Smorgasburg is a huge seasonal food festival held every year from April to November. Check it out.
26. Glaser’s Bake Shop: Black & White Cookies
The black & white cookie: a cherished and classic dessert that everyone can agree on (chocoholics and vanilla-lovers alike). Glaser’s Bakeshop was the original black & white cookie creator so be sure to make a pit stop there when you can. While you’re at it, snap a photo of the shop’s vintage exterior; it’s perfect for your Insta.
27. The Spotted Pig: The Spotted Pig Burger
This famous gastropub is known for its long lines. But when you bite into a shiny grilled bun with a half pound patty, salty Roquefort cheese and a side of rosemary garlic shoestring fries, you’ll forget you even waited.
28. Gray’s Papaya: Recession Special
For just $3.50, you can get not one but two hot dogs all to yourself. ‘Nuff said.
29. Serendipity 3: Frozen Hot Chocolate
Who says hot chocolate is only for cold weather? With Serendipity’s frozen hot chocolate, you can enjoy this beloved beverage all throughout the sweltering hot summer months as a refreshing treat. Heck, you can even stop in for a cup in the dead of winter. We won’t judge.
30. NY Dosas: Pondicherry Dosa
Dosas are savory Indian style crêpes that you have to try. This tiny vegan dosa cart in Washington Square park is decorated with lots of awards for good reason, so make sure to stop by on your next lunch break.
31. Joe’s Shanghai: Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao)
The only thing you’ll forward to in the brutal NYC winter.
32. Roberta’s: Beesting Pizza
This pizza has soppressata and honey toppings, a very unlikely but very delicious combo. Roberta’s is clearly “beesting” in the pizza game.
33. Clinton Street Baking Company: Maine Blueberry Pancakes with Warm Maple Butter
This is exactly what we want to see every Sunday morning. New York brunch game on point (as per usual).
34. Breads Bakery: Chocolate Babka
When Elaine from Seinfeld said, “You can’t beat a babka,” she was right. Nothing could ever beat this chocolate babka from Breads Bakery.
35. Momofuku Noodle Bar: Pork Belly Buns
The soft and fluffy bun is what makes this beloved dish a favorite among New Yorkers.
36. Rao’s: Meatballs
New York is filled with Italian restaurants, but Rao’s is a legendary classic. It is one of the hardest restaurant to get into in America. Long time customers rave about the large, super tender meatballs in a delicious marinara sauce.
37. Any Sabrett Hot Dog Cart: NY Soft Pretzel
It’s a known fact that New Yorkers love their soft pretzels, and for good reason: there’s a hot dog cart at just about every corner of this fine city, each one with warm, oscillating pretzels just waiting for you to sink your teeth into.
38. Katz’s Delicatessen: Pastrami Sandwich on Rye
If you’re the kind of person who takes their meat seriously, this sandwich is for you. Piled high with pastrami, your meat cravings should be covered with this fella.
39. Woorijip Korean Restaurant: Kimchi Fried Rice
Located in the heart of K-town, Woorijip is a perfect grab-and-go meal before you join your friends for karaoke.
40. Waldorf Astoria: Eggs Benedict
41. B&H Dairy: Matzo Ball Soup
This should be the standard for all matzo ball soups. Make sure to get yours with a side of challah.
42. Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop: Egg Cream
This drink is a long time New York classic that ironically contains no eggs. The right proportions of Seltzer water, milk, and chocolate syrup make the perfect egg cream.
43. Dough: Dulce de Leche Doughnut
Doughnuts from Dough are like eating edible soft, fluffy pillows. While the hibiscus donut might crowd your Insta feed, the dulce de leche is where it’s really at.
44. Kossar’s: Bialys
Bialys are New York’s best kept secret. They’re like the sneaky older cousin of the bagel. Each bialy is flatter with a center depression instead of a hole. You can fill it with things like onion, garlic, or even hummus to satisfy those savory cravings. How amazing does that sound?
45. Peter Luger: Porterhouse Steak
This has been one of the most iconic steakhouses in the country for over a century. The steak will cost you an arm and a leg but hey, treat yo’self, you won’t get a perfect steak anywhere else. As a plus, the dining room is gorgeous which makes it the perfect place to majorly impress a date.
46. Xi’an Famous Foods: Spicy Cumin Lamb Hand-Ripped Noodles
Xi’an is a famous NYC Chinese food chain that was founded in the basement of a mall in Flushing, Queens. This dish is made with biang biang noodles. The word “biang” has no meaning in Chinese, but this dish means business.
47. The Halal Guys: Chicken/Gyro Combo Platter
From a tiny food cart on 53rd St. & 6th Ave. to America’s first halal food chain, it’s no surprise that Halal Guys is expanding rapidly. You get a great deal for a huge delicious portion, especially when it’s smothered in their notorious white sauce.
48. Veselka: Pierogies
Open 24/7 so you know what that means: drunk noms.
49. Arepa Lady: Arepa de Chocolo
Though Arepa Lady opened a brick & mortar store in 2014, you can still catch the legendary Colombian food cart on the weekends after 9 PM in Jackson Heights.
50. Percy’s Pizza: $1 Slice
We love all the good food NYC has to offer, yet most of us (ahem, college students) are pretty much broke. Every 20-something New Yorker understands the struggle (it’s real). That’s why Percy’s highly rated $1 slice is there to get you through those tough times.
This list may be overwhelming, but fear not; simply visiting New York will introduce many a new restaurant to your wandering eye as there is always something new, trendy, and delicious to try. May the odds be ever in your favor.