Hamilton says it true, "History is happening in Manhattan and we just happen to be in the greatest city in the world!" The only part that Lin Manuel-Miranda left out is: for food. 

A couple of weeks ago I took a little trip to New York City and after reading several other Spoon NYC articles, digging through Yelp and getting recommendations from my New York-based chefs, I basically took the subway all over the place for the purpose of eating as much as I could in the little time I had. 

Here are some of the NYC tourist attractions that totally lived up to the hype, aka what you should really be eating in NYC:

Katz Deli

When Harry Met Sally fans know this place all too well. More important than the iconic rom-com is the best pastrami you will ever have in your life. The place runs itself cash only with a carnival-like ticket stub system. You pay at the door, and the experience is complete with 10 different intersecting confusing lines. It is absolutely inefficient in every way and refuses to change, but that's okay because it is a place that is well-loved. 

Russ & Daughters Cafe

bread, vegetable
Annika Altura

NYC is known for their bagel and lox, but this Jewish cafe takes it to the next level. Order any smoked fish and you're in for a brunch treat. The sturgeon and the smoked sable with goat cream cheese blew my mind. 

Taiyaki NYC

chocolate, coffee
Annika Altura

The world is all about Asian ice creams, and this one does not disappoint. The matcha-black sesame swirl combination is both good for your Instagram and your stomach. The creaminess of the ice cream is perfect for a nice summer day. 


I have a mentor and sous chef at one of my internships to thank for this recommendation; it had to be one of my favorites. If you're looking for a seasonal Italian dinner with great ambiance, head to Barbuto. Make sure you order the JW chicken with salsa verde and the cherry crostata for dessert--you'll be in for a real treat. 

#SpoonTip: Bring beers to nice restaurants and they're likely to give you free food. 

Peter Luger's Steakhouse

I am definitely a steak kind of girl, and Peter Luger's set the bar high. It's no wonder that it's so renowned. Right off the Brooklyn Bridge, this restaurant serves some of the best, buttery meat you could ever have. 

Joe's Pizza

On a Friday night, this place was clad with NYU students taking summer classes (shout out to @Spoon NYU!). There was a long wait in a short space in the rain, but it was definitely worth it. My personal favorite was the white pizza, and my parents had to fight me to stop getting on the train for seconds.

Halal Guys 

At 2 in the morning, everything tastes better. Luckily, it doesn't take very much for this Halal street food to taste good. The Halal Guys on 53rd and 6th has to be the most comforting food truck on the island. 

Shake Shack 

The funny thing is the first time I had Shake Shack was at the Dubai airport, but it was even better when I didn't have to fly 8 hours to get it. I hope the West Coast doesn't exile me for saying I'd take a smoke shack with fresh strawberry lemonade over a double double and a fountain drink any day. 

Levain Bakery

Thickest, most chewy, doughy under-baked cookies of my life. There are no other words necessary. 

Momofuku Noodle Bar

Last but not the least is the beloved Momofuku Noodle Bar. The Char-Siu buns and fried chicken wings are indeed amazing, and so are both the hot and cold noodle options. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, order the chilled spicy noodles with Sichuan sausage--it's probably one of the hottest things I've ever tasted. 

All this food, a trip to the Met, a walk through Central Park and two hours of Hamilton composed what was probably the most memorable trip of my life. I've made a promise to myself to move to New York City after graduation, and all of this food just gives me all the more incentive to keep it.