Updated: Jan 28, 2019
We lived in New York for 2 years. Below is our extensive list of the best places to eat and drink in the Big Apple. Whether you are looking for brunch, coffee, a quick bite or a cocktail, we've got a recommendation for you.
Breakfast or brunch
Egg Shop (Eizabeth St, Little Italy) - My absolute favourite breaky place. Bacon, scrambled eggs and avo on a gluten free muffin is one of the greatest things I have ever tasted.
Five Leaves (18 Bedford Ave, Greenpoint in Brooklyn) - My second fav place for breaky. Everything on the menu is awesome. I don't like sweet things for breakfast BUT the ricotta pancakes are out of this world. Again, get here early otherwise you will have to wait. Good way to start a day exploring Brooklyn!
Cookshop (156 10th Ave, Chelsea) - Another great breaky place. Everything on the menu is great. The scrambled eggs are awesome. The bloody mary is delicious. It does get pretty busy so get there early OR put your name down and grab a coffee nearby while you wait
The Butchers Daughter (19 Kenmare St, Little Italy) - Good sized queue for this very fresh looking urban cum farm style café joint. Just a cool hang out with great food and really beautiful interior design.
Friend of a Farmer, Gramercy - Cool, hip, busy queue to get in place for rustic brunch. The potatoes for breakfast are awesome.
The Elk (128 Charles St, West Village) - Cute neighbourhood café with yummy healthy food and great coffee
The Fat Radish (17 Orchard St, Lower East Side) - Beautiful restaurant. The interior is gorgeous and the food is equally as good. I really wanted to go to dinner here but never got around to it
Shopsins General Store (120 Essex St, Lower East Side) - Grungy, mis-match diner with bad services and a gigantic menu. There are a crazy number of pancake variations but our must try is the mac n cheese sliders. They are sliders but instead of the bun, uses mini mac & cheese pancakes. Need I say more?
Clinton St Bakery - Ok so all the tourist books will tell you to go here but I am listing it as a place you DON’T need to go to! The pancakes at Five Leaves are SOOOO much better. Plus unless you get here about 30 mins prior to it opening, you will be waiting at least 60 mins to get a table. Not worth it!!
Images (left to right): The Elk; Five Leaves; Cookshop
Sotto 13 (140 W 13th St, West Village) - Our fav little neighbourhood Italian place. Food is great, especially the pizza. Go for happy hour (5 – 7:30pm) to get 2 cocktails for $13 and special happy hour menu (I think the pizzas are $10).
Public (210 Elizabeth St, Little Italy) - Really nice restaurant if you wanting a bit of a fancier night out. Food is great, décor very cool and service is top notch. Went here for my 30th bday and it was ace.
Oficina 1M( 371 Broome St, Little Italy) - Our other fav Italian place. Décor is stunning and it is super reasonably priced. I have been for brunch and dinner and it is fantastic. Highly recommend!
La Esquina (114 Kenmare St, Soho) - Very cool hidden restaurant. I looks like a little taco take away but you go through the kitchen to hidden restaurant downstairs. Food is insanely good. Must book ahead of time though!
Contra (138 Orchard St, Lower East Side) - These guys do an amazing tasting menu. Super innovative and affordable (Around $65 USD pp). Some of the greatest food I have tasted.
Pig and Khao (68 Rivington St, Lower East Side) - Great Filipino restaurant. Food is super fresh and tasty. Can get super busy so make a booking.
The Boil (Chrystie St, Lower East Side) - Amazing seafood in a bag joint. You can’t book and have to reserve a table when you get there. Pop across the road for a delicious beer at One Mile House while you wait, they send you a text when ready. Forget the crab and crawfish, which is twice the price. Get shrimps and some sides. Put those rubber gloves on and tuck into a superbly juice, buttery, rich sauce and feel the stresses of New York life wash away. It is heaven.
Peacefood Café (11th St, Union Square) - Superb vegan/healthy dishes. They veggie burger will compare to many beef burgers. Massive portions, with no loss of quality. Try their raw coconut cheesecake, why not!
Buddakan (Outside Chelsea Market) - The ultimate upmarket restaurant where Carrie Bradshaw had her last meal as a singleton with all her wedding party. Great sharing food and a very enjoyable time had with their tasty cocktails and mouthwatering meats in dimly light surroundings.
Dudleys (Corner of Orchard and Broome St, Lower East Side) - Amazing food (the burger and truffle fries are to die for), amazing service and a perfectly managed ambience, for a cool, relaxed and upmarket feel. We love this place! They have scored the highest points overall, amongst all the places we have been to in the city.
Emily (919 Fulton St, Brooklyn) - Crazy good burger (get the Emily) and pizza. Search them on instagram!
Images (left to right): Public; Buddakan; The Boil
Katz Delicatessen (East Houston, Lower East Side) - Every guidebook will tell you to go here, and I agree. It is where they shot When Harry Met Sally (the orgasm scene). You get a ticket stub as you walk in (which you must keep!!), you queue behind lots of others as you watch the server ahead of your line slap pounds of slow cooked meat onto well constructed sandwiches. Always get the pickles when they ask and enjoy the madness around you. It may be $20 a sandwich, but it will be 100% be enough for two. If not, you are a massive pig.
Goa Taco (Delancey St, Lower East Side and also at Smorgasburg Market) - Knockout hole in the wall type takeaway place (with tiny benches) that serves a small range of modern tacos flavours. Please try here when passing nearby!
Wolfnights (Rivington St, Lower East Side) - Great takeaway wraps for a late night snack or filling lunch. They really are amazing wraps, I can’t stress it enough.
Tompkins Square Bagels (Avenue A in East Village) - An awesome, well famed, bagel place with a very large menu choice. Definitely worth a try if going past.
Images (left to right): Goa Taco; Katz Delicatessen
Ice & Vice (221 E Broadway, Lower East Side ) - Fantastic ice cream with innovative, different flavours. The young guys that own this shop are really lovely too.
Sugar Sweet Sunshine (126 Rivington St, Lower East Side) - Our go to dessert place. Has lots of cupcakes but you have to get their pudding. I was skeptical (I am a cupcake girl) but once I took the plunge into pudding, I haven’t looked back.
Magnolia Bakery (401 Bleecker St, West Village) - Popular and well known bakery in West Village. Cheesecake here is awesome.
Melt Bakery (132 Orchard St, Lower East Side) - Ice cream sandwiches!! Think red velvet with cream cheese or oat & bacon cookies with maple ice cream. Yuuuuuum.
Images (left to right): Melt; Sugar Sweet Sunshine; Magnolia Bakery
Gasoline Ally Coffee (325 Lafayette St, Nolita) - My absolute favourite coffee shop. Awesome coffee and the service is 5 star.
El rey cafe (100 Stanton St, Lower East Side) - Some of the best coffee in NYC and fantastic fresh food for late breakfast (11am start for food), brunch or light dinner.
La Colombe Coffee Roasters (270 Layfayette St, Nolita) - Second favourite coffee shop!
Ninth St Espresso (E 9th St, East Village) - very good coffee, if you happen to be walking nearby. Wouldn’t go out of my way for it though.
Two Hands (Mott St, Little Italy/Soho) - Very good coffee by Australians. Small cup but worth it if you fancy one and are nearby.
Bluebottle coffee (450 W 15th St, West Village or there are 2 in midtown) - Aussie coffee place with great coffee and good food
Extra Fancy (302 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn) - My fav cocktail bar. The drinks are knockout and the décor is very, very cool. I haven’t eaten here but hear the food is awesome.
The Commodore (Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn) - This is a dive bar but its cool. And the cocktails are awesome. Their pina coladas are huge and delicious.
The Standard (848 Washington St, Chelsea) - Rooftop bar which is super popular. Great views. Right near the Highline,
Gallow Green (542 W 27th St, Chelsea) - Rooftop bar which has beautiful garden at the top. Not sure how nice it will be in October as the flowers probably will have died.
The Wythe hotel (80 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn) - Rooftop bar in Brooklyn which has a nice view over Manhattan.