Every once in a while, a family member or friend that lives outside of New York City asks me to recommend a good place to eat while they are in town. As a major Foodie, and lover of all things NYC, I am always honored and then spend countless hours deciding on the best places to recommend. While writing a list of places I needed my family to try when in the city this summer, I decided I should share my favorite food spots of NYC for other foodies.
5. Shake Shack
While Shake Shack is much cheaper and faster food service, there is no beating a great burger, fries, and milkshake for under $15 in NYC! The Madison Square Park Shake Shack recently reopened and has great string lights with outdoor seating, perfect for a fun night eating burgers and witnessing the NYC lifestyle without emptying your wallet.
*The line in Madison Square Park can be extremely long, but definitely worth the wait!
4. Molly’s Cupcakes
Everyone needs a little sweet snack every so often and why not fulfill that craving with a cupcake? These cupcakes are on the expensive side (not surprising for NYC), but definitely worth it. They not only taste incredible but are also a sizable portion as to fill you up. Molly’s Cupcakes have been called the best cupcakes in NYC, which is quite an accomplishment due to the fact that numerous delicious cupcake spots are open all over the city.
3. Beauty & Essex
After entering through a door in a Pawn Shop, one enters the swanky and beautifully decorated restaurant. I went here to celebrate my birthday with my cousins who share my love of food, and therefore we tried a little bit of everything from the menu, which was a great decision. Every menu item looked good and tasted even better. The food tasted fresh and everything had a lot of flavor. It can be on the more expensive side, but the tapas-style brunch or dinner can be easily split among friends or family. For the more adventurous, club-loving diners I suggest trying the upstairs section where they have a DJ playing great music and people dancing in glow-stick necklaces as they drink champagne and somehow eat brunch.
*Recommend: Try everything
2. Clinton Street Baking Company
When I was first asked by a friend to go to Clinton Street Baking Company for pancakes, I almost refused because I’m not a huge fan of pancakes nor breakfast in general. After eating here, I changed my mind; if every pancake was like the one I had here, I would eat them for every meal. Each day of the week, the Clinton Street Baking Company has a new special pancake that they make, posted on their monthly calendar on the website. It was a cute diner, and the pancakes (and other food) were even better.
*No reservations, so be ready to wait for at least an hour; there’s a small Moroccan café across the street where you can order tea or coffee while you wait.
*Only takes cash, but there is an ATM across the street
For those who don’t know, Mud is my favorite food spot in NYC. As if the food wasn’t good enough, the hip atmosphere makes eating there a great East Village experience. The restaurant is known best for its cheap weekend brunch for $15 including tea/coffee, mimosa, orange juice, and water along with a delicious entree (but has also been known for having one of the Sprouse twins as the maître-d’). Everything tastes fresh and the portions are a perfect size so you leave happy and full, but not struggling to fit through the tiny front door.
*Mud does not take reservations, so be ready to wait a while due to limited seating. There is also a small drink bar in the front where one can order to-go drinks if you are in a hurry, or visit the Mud truck in Astor Place.
*Only takes cash, but there is an ATM around the corner
Other notable places:
Nai Tapas Bar
Jack’s Wife Freida
*Great for weekend brunch, but no reservations under 8 people
Spot Dessert Bar
Tao Downtown (or Uptown)
*Recommend: Tempura Avocado
Le Pain Quotidien
Sundaes & Cones
*Recommend: Lavender ice cream