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Best Places to Eat and Drink in NYC

You are spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants and cafe options in NYC. The possibilities are endless and everywhere you turn you will find the most aesthetically pleasing spots with amazing food! I have listed my favourite places to eat and drink that I have personally tried by neighborhood so it’s easier to plan your days. As well, a bunch of them are affordable and a few are a little pricier, however most are definitely worth a try!

If you are visiting New York City for the first time my 2 day guide will cover the must see attractions and a few hidden gems by neighborhoods!

Related posts: Guide to visiting the Vessel and photo journal of fall in NYC

Nolita

This is by far my favorite neighborhood in NY for delicious eats. I frequently found myself gravitating back to this area for food.

I have had many falafels the past few years since I recently became vegetarian and the one from Taïm is the best I have ever had! They pack the pita full of traditional toppings and you have a choice between a green falafel or red falafel which is a spicy version. They have locations around the city!

Cha Cha Matcha is a very sought-after cafe for all things matcha! I tried matcha for the first time here and I absolutely loved it! If you want your order a little sweeter ask for macadamia nut milk.

19 Cleveland is a popular Telavivian Restaurant set in a bright and airy atmosphere. They serve a variety of Mediterranean dishes with lots of veggie and vegan options. Reservations are needed on the weekend or else you will have to wait for a seat at the bar.

Van Leeuwen’s has a few locations around the city serving artisan ice cream with simple ingredients. They offer a rotating selection of flavours and also have a few vegan options which are delicious! I had the pumpkin pie cheese cake which was amazing.

Lower East Side

Katz’s delicatessen is a world renowned Jewish deli for classic eats. One of their most popular items is the pastrami sandwich, piled high with thin slices of meat and mustard in between rye bread. Definitely arrive at an odd time or be prepared to wait, this restaurant is almost always packed!

I had high expectations from Russ and Daughters, since it came highly recommended. I went to their bagel shop which also sells lots of imported foods and a variety of meats and fish. My order was the everything bagel with cream cheese and lox. It was alright, I have definitely had better. However, what I did like is that you could pick the type of salmon you wanted.

Williamsburg

This neighborhood in Brooklyn is full of vintage shops, funky coffee shops and an abundance of thought provoking street art. I love this area to escape the crowds of Manhattan and really get a feel for what living in NYC must be like.

Sweetgreen is my favorite salad shop, selling primarily healthy and innovative salads! I first discovered this place in D.C. where it originated and now they have shops all over the USA. The location in Williamsburg has by far the sweetest staff I have ever encountered. They really go above and beyond to make sure you have everything you need!

I stumbled upon Dépanneur, a rustic shop featuring artisanal products, home goods, plus coffee, pastries and to go sandwiches. The chai latte was great and the almond croissant was perfectly flaky and had a delicious almond paste in the middle!

Devocion serves Colombian coffee as well as a variety of pastries in an unassuming building. Inside the building you will find a brick and concrete interior, cozy leather couches and massive plant wall. It’s a great space to come get work done or socialize.

Greenwich Village

Mamoun’s Falafel is the best spot for a cheap eat in the city. For less than 5$ you can get a great falafel sandwich and for a couple dollars more you can get a full falafel plate. The one thing I didn’t love is that the toppings are very generic and not traditional falafel toppings like Taïm offered.

Tacombi is a Mexican eatery in the heart of the West Village serving tacos and other traditional dishes. The funky interior really makes you feel like you’re back in Mexico and it’s a fun spot for an Instagram photo!

Ess-a-bagel came highly recommend by many and it didn’t disappoint! Although the line was very long, the wait for the delicious everything bagel with cream cheese and lox. They have a wide variety of bagels and spreads to choose from.

My first time having ramen was at Ippudo 5th Avenue. A few bloggers recommended it and a friend and I came here, we had an amazing experience. They don’t take reservations, it’s on a first come first serve basis, therefore there is almost an hour wait most nights. When you are taken to your table the staff announce in Japanese out loud to the restaurant “welcome and how many people are being seated.” The noodles are hand made, the food came out super quick and the staff was great at answering questions! They offer 2-3 vegetarian stock based ramens and meat options and both were amazing!

Joe’s pizza is a great place for a cheap bite to eat by Times square. They have a variety of pizza flavours that you can buy by the slice for a few dollars or order a large pizza for families.

Upper West Side

This bakery is probably on every New York foodie guide and for good reason, Levain bakery sells amazing cookies! The shop in the Upper West Side is super small and we actually missed it a few times. They have a limited variety of cookies and other treats to pick from therefore, it’s tough if you don’t like the flavours they have that day. I tried the chocolate chip and walnut and the dark chocolate chip with peanut butter. All the cookies are massive, super fresh, decadent and definitely one of the best I’ve had!

I hope you have an amazing time exploring New York trying all these amazing places, the options are endless! Let me know your favourites in the comments!

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12 Comments

  • Hannah

    What a hard city to pick your favourite foodie spots! I love Sweetgreen – salads with everything in! And Katz’s is obviously a classic – my husband and I went had to share because the pastrami sandwich was so big!

  • Josy A

    These all sound soooo good! I think I might have similar taste to you, as all of these options are making my mouth water.

    p.s. It’s interesting to hear that Ippudo still sometimes has hour waits! They opened a branch in London, and the queues were crazy when they first arrived, but then after a couple of years it calmed down. Now you don’t normally need to wait.

    • Tiana

      ahah it made me so hungry writing this. Ippudo was so popular, the first night we went at 9pm and it was a half an hour wait so we came back the next night and the wait time was about an hour but so worth it! Very interesting, I had no idea they also had one in London!

  • Nicole

    No matter how many times I’ve been to NYC, there’s always so many more places to try! I really need more bagels in my life, so I’m adding Russ and Daughters to my list. Thanks for these amazing recommendations.

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