When it comes to deciding where to eat in New York City, the options can be downright overwhelming.
Whether you’re craving an old-school slice of pizza, a soul-warming bowl of ramen, or a gourmet doughnut that takes the humble treat to new heights, NYC has something for every palate. The city offers a smorgasbord of flavors from around the globe.
From iconic institutions that have stood the test of time to trendy spots that have captured the hearts of foodies to fine dining options for date nights, here are some of the best food in New York.
Where to Eat in New York City for Iconic Food
If you’re wondering where to eat in New York City for the best bagels, look no further than Ess-A-Bagel.
This is more than just a bagel shop; Ess-A-Bagel is a New York institution, first opened in 1976.
Chewy, yet soft with just the right amount of crust, these bagels are everything a bagel should be. From classics like poppy seed and sesame to more inventive flavors, they’ve got the variety to keep you coming back.
And let’s not forget the cream cheese options! Whether you’re a purist who swears by a simple bagel with plain cream cheese or someone who likes to mix it up with scallion or lox spread, Ess-A-Bagel has got you covered.
Order their Signature Favorite for a delightful treat.
John’s of Bleecker Street
Pizza is always a good idea when considering where to eat in New York City, and John’s of Bleecker Street is legendary.
Open since 1929, they serve up coal-fired pizzas that have a uniquely crisp, slightly charred crust. The pies are so good, they don’t even need to offer slices. It’s whole pizzas or nothing here, and trust me, you’ll want the whole thing.
The tomato sauce is zesty, the toppings are fresh, and the ambiance is pure, old-school New York. It’s a no-frills kind of place, focusing on what matters most—delivering heavenly pizza that leaves an impression.
This is absolutely my favorite food in New York. Even writing this makes me drool.
Another quintessential spot when pondering where to eat in New York City for pizza is Joe’s in Greenwich Village. Open since 1975, this Greenwich Village staple is—some locals say—the embodiment of New York-style pizza.
Thin crust, the perfect ratio of cheese to sauce, and just the right amount of grease—you bite into a slice, and it’s like you’ve been transported straight to pizza nirvana.
Shake Shack Madison
Sure, Shake Shack is now a global chain, but the Madison Square Park location is where it all began. The atmosphere here is part of the magic: outdoor seating, strings of lights, and the buzz of the city all around you.
Their ShackBurger is an instant mood-lifter, and the crinkle-cut fries are a blast from the past in the best possible way. Chicken bites with BBQ sauce are a must, too.
Don’t even get me started on the shakes—they’re thick, creamy, and the perfect sweet note to end your meal.
Nathan’s Famous, Coney Island
When it comes to hot dogs, Nathan’s Famous on Coney Island is iconic. Opened in 1916, it’s the epitome of classic American fast food. The hot dogs have a signature snap when you bite into them, and the fries are deliciously crinkle-cut.
Being at Nathan’s may feel like stepping back in time, especially when you consider it’s just a stone’s throw from the historic Coney Island boardwalk and amusement park.
Veniero’s Pastry is an Italian bakery and dessert haven located in the East Village. Established in 1894, this family-owned institution has been delighting New Yorkers with its decadent pastries, cakes, and Italian specialties for over a century.
Stepping into Veniero’s feels like traveling back in time, with its vintage charm and display cases filled with an array of delectable treats.
Veniero’s offers almost any sweets you can think of, from cheesecake to biscotti.
Some of my favorites include carrot cake, chocolate cannoli, tiramisu, and custard creampuff. They also have gelato—pistachio, for sure.
Casual & Budget-Friendly Food in New York
This Aussie-inspired café is a haven for coffee lovers and brunch enthusiasts alike.
Named after a street in Melbourne, Little Collins serves up exceptional espresso drinks and a menu that’s as inventive as it is delicious.
While their pancakes and french toast are tempting, their chicken sandwich with truffle fries and breakfast burrito are some you won’t want to miss. Friendly staff, cozy atmosphere, and great food—what more could you ask for?
It’s definitely one of my favorite brunch spots in New York.
Frying Pan NYC is a unique waterfront restaurant and bar featuring a nautical-themed escape. It’s located aboard a historic lightship docked at Pier 66 Maritime in Hudson River Park, open only from May to October.
This one-of-a-kind dining experience allows you to enjoy delicious food and drinks while taking in breathtaking views of the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline. They serve a menu of casual American fare, including burgers, seafood, and craft beers.
The rustic, maritime ambiance, complete with salvaged ship artifacts, adds to the charm of this floating eatery. It’s a popular destination during the warmer months for a laid-back dining experience on the water.
The Doughnut Project
If you think doughnuts are just sugar and fluff, The Doughnut Project will make you think again. Located in the West Village, this shop experiments with flavors and textures to offer doughnuts that are simply unforgettable.
From their Everything Doughnut, which somehow marries the everything bagel concept with a doughnut, to classics like their old-fashioned, each bite is a little piece of heaven.
If you’re there in the fall, their Pumpkin Spice donut is heavenly.
If you’re asking yourself where to eat in New York City for genuine, soul-satisfying ramen, your answer is Nishida Sho-ten in Midtown East.
The broth is rich and flavorful, paired with perfectly chewy noodles and a generous amount of toppings.
Whether you go for a classic Tonkotsu or venture into Spicy Miso territory, you’re in for a treat. It’s a small, unassuming place, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in flavor and quality.
Plus, they’re open until 3 AM—it’s a real plus for when you’re craving late-night ramen.
Lido Harlem Restaurant
Lido Harlem Restaurant is a beloved gem in the heart of Harlem, offering a delightful fusion of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.
With a menu highlighting fresh, seasonal ingredients, their dishes—such as the house-made pasta and flavorful seafood options—showcase a commitment to culinary excellence that is a testament to the rich cultural tapestry of Harlem.
Known for its warm, inviting atmosphere, Lido exudes a neighborhood charm that keeps both locals and visitors returning for more. Plus, they offer bottomless mimosa brunch.
Pokeworks is a popular fast-casual restaurant in New York City specializing in customizable poke bowls.
You can choose from a variety of fresh seafood or tofu as a protein base and then customize your bowl with a selection of toppings, sauces, and mix-ins. The result is a flavorful meal that caters to a range of dietary preferences.
Pokeworks’ modern atmosphere makes it a go-to spot for a quick yet satisfying meal.
Hop Kee Restaurant
Hop Kee Restaurant in Chinatown has been serving up classic Chinese-American cuisine for generations.
Tucked away on Mott Street, this no-frills eatery is known for its hearty dishes, including favorites like General Tso’s chicken, beef with broccoli, and shrimp lo mein.
The unassuming decor and bustling atmosphere add to the charm, making it a popular spot for an authentic Chinese dining experience. Surely a good spot for some warm Xiaolongbao.
Blank Street Coffee
Whether you’re in for a quick caffeine fix or seeking a tranquil spot to unwind, Blank Street Coffee provides a serene respite in the bustling cityscape.
With over 30 locations, it’s hard not to miss them in every corner of the city. This cozy and minimalist coffee shop takes its craft seriously, serving meticulously brewed coffee from carefully sourced beans, as well as some quick breakfast fixes.
Their Caramel Latte with almond milk is the best I’ve ever tasted, but don’t hesitate to try their famed Pistachio Latte.
Food & Market Halls to Visit
Nestled in the heart of the Meatpacking District, Chelsea Market is one of the best spots for food in New York. It is more than just a food hall; it’s a culinary adventure.
From the finest seafood at The Lobster Place to handcrafted tacos at Los Mariscos, the variety is endless.
But it’s not just the food that makes Chelsea Market special; the building itself is a part of New York’s rich industrial history. Once home to the Nabisco factory (where Oreo was invented), the market retains much of its rustic, old-world charm.
Visiting here is one of the best things to do in New York City for food, shopping, and soaking up some NYC culture.
Located in the Flatiron District, Eataly is a sprawling Italian food hall and marketplace that offers an immersive culinary experience.
Eataly houses a variety of restaurants and food counters, where you can savor authentic Italian cuisine, from wood-fired pizza to fresh seafood dishes.
Spanning over 50,000 square feet, you can also explore high-quality Italian products, including artisanal cheeses, fresh pasta, olive oil, and wines, all while enjoying a bustling atmosphere reminiscent of an Italian street market.
Time Out Market, Brooklyn
If you’re someone who likes options, Time Out Market in Brooklyn is a food lover’s paradise.
Housed in a renovated warehouse in DUMBO, this food hall offers a curated selection of eats from some of New York’s top chefs and restaurants.
You can start with oysters, move on to artisanal pizza, and finish with a gourmet doughnut—all without leaving the building. The communal seating and riverfront views make it a great spot for groups or a casual date night.
Oh, and the building has one of the best views of the Manhattan skyline—for free.
Grand Central Market
The Grand Central Market located in Grand Central Terminal—one of the most beautiful places in New York City—offers a diverse range of dining options and gourmet food.
The historic architecture of Grand Central Terminal provides a unique backdrop for this food hall. It’s a popular spot for commuters to grab a quick bite or indulge in a leisurely meal before or after their train ride, even for a picnic.
You can explore a treasure trove of culinary delights, including fresh oysters, artisanal cheeses, handcrafted pastries, and international cuisines.
Best Bars in Manhattan
This is not just another restaurant; it’s an experience. Situated on a rooftop, 230 Fifth offers unparalleled views of the Manhattan skyline, including a stunning vista of the Empire State Building.
As you sip on a craft cocktail or dig into their menu of upscale bar food, you’ll feel on top of the world. It’s a spot that truly captures the energy of New York City.
Housed in the iconic Grand Central Terminal, The Campbell is a stunning destination for those seeking timeless sophistication.
The venue, with its beautifully restored interiors, boasts a rich history and offers patrons a refined dining and cocktail experience. With a menu inspired by the glamorous era of the 1920s, this is an ideal spot for a stylish evening out in Manhattan.
McGee’s Pub, located in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, is famously known for its inspiration behind the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, as it served as the model for the show’s beloved MacLaren’s Pub.
Beyond its pop culture connection, McGee’s offers a traditional Irish pub experience with a selection of draft beers, hearty pub fare, and a convivial ambiance.
Whether you’re stopping by for a pint of Guinness or a plate of fish and chips (or their mouthwatering nachos), McGee’s Pub provides a cozy setting, a space to unwind and enjoy the spirit of Irish hospitality in the heart of New York City.
Fine Dining and Date Night Options
Daniel, the eponymous restaurant of celebrated chef Daniel Boulud, is a pinnacle of fine dining in New York City.
Located on the Upper East Side, this Michelin-starred restaurant crafts exquisite French cuisine with a contemporary twist.
The impeccably designed dining room and exceptional service create an ambiance that elevates every meal into a culinary masterpiece. Daniel is a destination for connoisseurs of haute cuisine, where each dish resonates with the artistry of its chef.
Gramercy Tavern is a cherished institution in the city’s culinary scene, offering a warm atmosphere combined with seasonal American cuisine.
Whether you’re dining in the casual Tavern or the elegant Dining Room, the commitment to quality shines through.
The menu highlights locally sourced ingredients, and the ever-evolving dishes celebrate the flavors of the seasons, making it a perennial favorite among New Yorkers and visitors alike.
Located in the heart of SoHo, this Michelin-starred restaurant, under the guidance of Chef Daniel Rose, offers a refined dining experience.
The artfully presented dishes inspired by French culinary traditions are complemented by a meticulously curated wine list.
Le Coucou’s elegant setting and exceptional cuisine make it a sought-after destination for those looking to indulge in the delights of French gastronomy.
Buddakan, situated in the heart of the Meatpacking District, is a strikingly theatrical restaurant that combines modern Asian flavors with opulent decor.
The restaurant’s grandeur, reminiscent of a Chinese palace, creates an unforgettable dining experience. Its menu features a fusion of Asian-inspired dishes showcasing a wide array of flavors.
With its rustic French charm, Boucherie brings the ambiance of a Parisian brasserie to the bustling streets of New York City. Located in various neighborhoods across Manhattan, Boucherie is known for its delectable selection of steaks, seafood, and classic French dishes.
The cozy yet elegant interiors, adorned with vintage accents, create a welcoming atmosphere for anyone seeking an authentic taste of France.
P.S. I’ll continue to update this post as I discover more restaurants in New York.
What other New York City restaurants would you recommend? I’d love to hear in the comments below!