To experience all a city offers, you must use all of your senses. Sure, using your sense of sight to see the city and take in the landscapes can be fun, but tasting the food from a city can help you connect with and experience a part of a city’s culture and history.
New York City is one of the best cities to experience with your sense of taste. However, you don’t want to go to just any restaurant in the Big Apple.
Today, we share ten of the best restaurants locals love to frequent. Contrary to Michael Scott’s opinion, Sbarro will not make our list. So which local favorites should you add to your NYC travel plans? Let’s dig in.
What Foods Are a Must in NYC?
To get a real taste of NYC, you must try a few food items before leaving. The most important food that everyone needs to try when visiting NYC is a slice of pizza. It’s arguably the best-tasting pizza creation in the country (take that, Chicago). You’ll find an army of pizza joints all over the city that never sleeps.
Another popular food item in NYC is the bagel. Unlike standard bagels, New York bagels are boiled and baked with a shiny finish. They’re much chewier, and bakers will typically use malt or honey to sweeten them. Some of the bakers in NYC make some serious dough in more ways than one.
While you have to try many others, cheesecake is the last item we suggest. A delicious slice of cheesecake is the perfect way to end a day of exploring. New York stepped it up using cream cheese, invented in 1872 in the nearby town of Chester, New York. This results in a denser and creamier cheesecake that you simply can’t beat.
What’s the Oldest Restaurant in New York City?
The title of the oldest restaurant in New York City goes to Fraunces Tavern, which is over 300 years old. It’s not every day that you can visit a bar or restaurant that’s also a National Landmark.
The building was once a popular watering hole for the founding fathers and where George Washington gathered his officers to celebrate the last British troops leaving. Fraunces Tavern Museum can provide you with a small history lesson in addition to delicious food and drinks.
Is Eating Out Expensive in New York City?
New York City has a reputation for being an incredibly expensive city, especially when it comes to dining. You may unknowingly walk through the doors of a restaurant that will bust your travel budget in a single meal.
It isn’t hard to spend over $100 for dinner in this city. You also don’t have to spend too long searching for a restaurant where you can drop over $500 on a romantic dinner. If you have a tighter budget, do your research to scout out when and where you plan to fill your belly.
Traveling in an RV or Van? Find out if you can stealth camp in NYC.
10 NYC Restaurants Locals Love
If you want to experience New York City’s food like a local, check out these restaurants you should consider. Let’s look at some joints loved by locals.
Hawksmoor NYC Restaurant
Address: 109 E 22nd St, New York, NY 10010
About: If you love oysters, steak, seafood, desserts, and a variety of cocktails, Hawksmoor NYC Restaurant is for you. For those who enjoy a delicious steak, this is the place to order it.
Its goal is to “find the best possible beef; master the simple-seeming art of cooking the perfect steak; and create an environment where everyone, guests and staff, could relax and enjoy themselves.”
Let’s just say they’ve knocked it out of the park. If you can save room for dessert, the Toffee pudding is out-of-this-world.
Curry in a Hurry
Address: 119 Lexington Ave Frnt 1, New York, NY 10016
About: New York City, like most massive cities, moves at a different pace. Everyone is on the go and in a hurry. Luckily, Curry in a Hurry provides patrons with inexpensive and delicious tasting Indian food. As its name implies, you won’t have to wait long when ordering from here.
The restaurant in the Murray Hill neighborhood showcases the diversity and various cultures found in New York City. If you’re new to Indian food, the restaurant is set up so you can see everything before ordering. However, you likely won’t be disappointed if you order the Chicken Tikka Masala or Saag Paneer.
Address: 37 Bruckner Blvd, The Bronx, NY 10454
About: The South Bronx has become a popular location for restaurants, and Hudson Smokehouse doesn’t disappoint those who crave barbecue. Whether you want to experience pork belly burnt ends, brisket, or pulled pork, you’ll find something that pleases your tastebuds.
You can’t go wrong with any restaurant with deep-fried candy products on its menu. Locals love this low-key barbecue joint for its inviting staff, seasoned to perfection meats, and the smells that fill the air.
Address: 2287 1st Ave., New York, NY 10035
About: You can’t visit NYC without experiencing an authentic New York pizzeria. Patsy’s Pizzeria has baked deliciousness since 1933 and has a reputation for getting it right. They’re still using the original coal oven to make their pies, and you can taste every bit of their history in every slice.
We won’t hold it against you if you order something non-pizza related, like any of their salad or pasta options. They know how to make deliciousness in all their dishes.
Saigon Grill and Bar
Address: 4521 Avenue N, Brooklyn, NY 11234
About: The Saigon Grill and Bar combines Vietnamese and Asian ingredients and serves it in an inviting atmosphere. Locals love grilled items like grilled chicken and pork, but many rave about the steak. If you want a more relaxed environment, grab a cocktail and enjoy the big game on its big-screen TVs.
One White Street
Address: 1 White St, New York, NY 10013
About: Have you ever experienced a restaurant with an upstairs and downstairs menu? Now you can! One White Street’s downstairs menu features snow pea salad, tartare tartine, and a grilled monk chop.
Head upstairs to try glazed steelhead trout, stuffed chicken, or the mouthwatering ratatouille. You can experience Michelin-level food and service but without the price.
Address: 23 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10010
About: Comodo Restaurant has a menu for every time or day. Start your day by grabbing a bite to eat off the savory breakfast menu during the week, or sleep in a bit on the weekend and order off the brunch menu.
Its lunch and dinner menus don’t disappoint either. Some local favorites include the Carnitas Tacos, Wild Mushroom al Ajillo Tacos, and the Quinoa bowl. If you want to taste some of the best-tasting Latin American food in all of New York, come to Comodo Restaurant.
Jack & Charlie
Address: 118 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011
About: You’ll have to head to the West Village to enjoy Jack & Charlie’s, but it’s worth the trip. This restaurant is a prime example of the elegance in aesthetics supporting the delicious food from the kitchen.
The prime rib and Tomahawk rib steak top the list of the best items on the menu. Many locals find the service equal to the exceptional food it serves.
Edith’s Eatery & Grocery
Address: 312 Leonard St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
About: Edith’s Eatery & Grocery aims to create the next generation of comfort food. It’s easy to see why they’re constantly selling out and have lines that wrap around the block. They provide comfort and relief to those in the community during a difficult time.
Locals love the BEC&L (bacon, egg, and cheese) and the Ice Cafe Slushie. In addition to its large portions, you’ll enjoy the tastes of its Turkish breakfast options.
Address: 50 Commerce St, New York, NY 10014
About: The Commerce Inn serves an eclectic offering of vegetables and American cuisine. The servers help guests understand the menu and select a meal that will please their taste buds. No matter your food preferences or dietary requirements, Commerce Inn has options.
The atmosphere is as fun as the menu, and locals love the roast chicken and the variety of cocktails. Keep an eye on the bill total, especially when ordering drinks. You can easily spend $150 to $200 on a meal for two here.
Taste the Big Apple at These Local NYC Restaurants
With an almost innumerable amount of restaurants, we’ve likely missed one or two of your favorites. However, the great thing about the Big Apple is that you can come again and again and have an entirely new experience and try new restaurants.
Many local NYC joints constantly innovate and create delicious dishes that challenge guests to expand their pallets. So do yourself a favor and taste New York City like a local.
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