Overrated New York City Foods

Do yourself a favor and just say no to flavorless mush!

Come on, who doesn’t love to pay top dollar for an assortment of overrated New York City foods (insert sarcasm here)? I know you do! It just makes my day when I spend a ton of money on something that I didn’t even enjoy eating. Okay, I’m totally kidding. I actually hate that feeling and that’s why I made this list. It’s the worst feeling in the world when you spend a ton of money, and calories, on food that isn’t even that great.

That’s why I have created this list for you. Chances are, you’ re a human being (Unless you’re a comment bot that leaves comments on my blog in gibberish. But if they’re nice comments then it’s totally cool) who probably enjoys the amazing taste sensation that food gives you.

Okay, well even if you don’t LIKE food, you still HAVE to eat to stay alive. So why not make that experience as enjoyable as possible by dinning at some of the best restaurants that New York City has to offer? Only problem is, when you’re from out of town, you hear a lot of restaurants are great, but are they? This list exposes some of the most overrated restaurants in the city. Restaurants that charge too much and pass off flavorless mush as gourmet food (a dish Oliver would kill for! Please sir, I want some more!). Don’t become victimized by this plight of restaurant mush and check out these 14 overrated New York City foods and restaurants (do it now! Save yourself!).

1. Tao

Tasty Hand Pulled Noodle. Just do yourself a favor and go now!

I honestly think that most people dine here just to be a part of the New York City “scene”, whatever that
means. Me, I’m all about taste and that’s why Tao’s just doesn’t do it for me. The bold food flavors that I want just aren’t there. On top of that, it’s extremely overpriced, a word that doesn’t belong anywhere near Chinese food.

Instead, head on over to Chinatown. Anywhere you go in this neighborhood, you can find several restaurants serving amazing Chinese food, at a fraction of the cost of Tao. Some of my personal favorites include Tasty Hand Pulled Noodle, Prosperity Dumpling,  Hao Noodle and Tea by Madam Zhu’s Kitchen, and Mission Chinese. The names may not dazzle you, but the food sure will.

2. Serendipity

Serendipity has a reputation for being the quintessential, dessert destination in all of New York City. Romantically set amongst the sprawling avenues of New York, people from all over the world flock here for their legendary, Frozen Hot Chocolate. Only problem is, it’s not that great. It’s basically a giant chocolate milk with whipped cream that has been renamed and packaged as some innovative, frozen dessert creation. But I’m not going for it (Plus, grownups tend to order a Frappuchino from Starbucks instead).

Why settle for a frozen hot chocolate when you can have a Moly’s cupcake instead? Yum!

On top of that, the place is overrun with tourists and long lines. And don’t even get me started on the fact that you can barely walk through the restaurant because it is overrun by people snapping selfies and tagging themselves at Serendipity on Instagram. Totally not worth the price, wait, or general aggravation since there are so many other amazing New York dessert spots to that you can try (If you need a list of desserts to try in New York City, click here.

3. High Tea at the Plaza

It’s not that high tea at the Plaza is bad, it’s just that it’s expensive and super popular, so if you want to have tea here, you need to book a reservation like maybe, oh I don’t know, six months in advance. I mean, who knows where they’re gonna be in 6 months. I could be living in a foreign country or knocked up or both! (hopefully not the later). Save yourself the hassle and try Lady Mendl’s, Bosie Tea Parlor, and Alice’s Tea Cup (this place is really cool because they make the Mad Hatter’s tea party come alive) instead.

4. Dos Caminos

Look, we all know that Mexican food in the city sucks in general, but this place is probably the number one offender.I suggest that you only go here if you like under flavored,  overpriced Mexican food, that is topped off with a generous helping of heinously bad service. And to add insult to injury, this place is located in the ever popular meatpacking district, so expect insane crowds of party goers who have no idea where else to go. I would just stay away and go to Rosa Mexicana instead.

5. Carnegie Deli

Words fall to describe how light, smooth, and creamy this spinach ravioli with pistachios was. So good. And don;t even get me started on the pizza.

Let’s be honest here. What is the draw of this deli, because that’s all it is, a deli. Sure, they’re sandwiches are huge, but who could possibly eat all the meat in one sitting (and why would you even want to)? And it’s not like this place has $5 sandwiches either. No, here you wait an hour in line just to get a $20 pastrami sandwich that you could never possibly finish. On top of that, this sandwich place is actually just a knock off of Katz’s Deli. So if you’re gonna wait in line and pay too much for a sandwich, wouldn’t you want to do it at the original location? #justsayin’

6. Babbo’s

There is really nothing about this Mario Batali restaurant that justifies a several month wait for a reservation.  This proclaimed
mecca of Italian food, in New York City, just falls short. The pasta here is okay, but there is nothing about these noodles that really sets them apart, except the outrageous price. Plus, the restaurant only allocates two-hour time slots to diners, which makes the experience feel more like an assembly line than a fine dining experience. If you’re a fan of Mario Batali (and I am), try Eataly. The food is great and reasonably priced, at least for New York City anyway.

7. Shake Shack

I’ll stick with the shake and you can keep the shack.

You know your restaurant is iconic when you have a location in Grand Central Terminal, and Shake Shack is no exception. Everyone has heard of this gourmet burger chain that opened in 2004. Ever since then, each and every location has been riddled with lines since the chain uses high quality ingredients in fast food products.

Now, while I do love the shakes and veggie burger here, I have heard that Shake Shake meat burgers are often under seasoned and over salted, resulting in a less than desirable burger experience. Plus the fries just really are not that special. They remind me of the frozen crinkle fires that you can get at the grocery store. Seriously, where’s the crunch? Try Burger Joint or B and B instead.

8. Any Pizzeria with the name Ray’s

Honestly, these places are all just second rate knock offs of the original Ray’s, which stood at Prince Street Plaza. This Ray’s closed back in 2011 but the new restaurant here serves tasty, authentic pizza that is worth a try. The rest of them are just trying to capitalize on the Ray’s name by selling mediocre,second rate pizza.

And since New York City has an assortment of awesome pizza destinations, you don’t want to waste the time at any of these places. Try Grimaldi’s, Luzon’s, or Artichoke’s for an authentic, New York style pizza experience (Don’t even talk about Chicago deep dish pizza because in New York, those are fighting words. LoL).

9. Cake Boss Cafe

Forget Cake Boss, give me a Levain Bakery cookies any day!

Oh wow, another reality star is trying to capitalize on their fame by opening their own restaurant. Awesome! Seriously though, there are so many amazing bakeries in New York that there is really no need to set foot into this glorified tourist trap that typically has lines out the door.

If you really NEED to visit Carlo’s Bakery, check out their original location in Hoboken. But you really didn’t come all the way to New York City just to go to New Jersey, did you? Especially since there are amazing bakeries here like Butter and Scotch, Momofuku Milk Bar, and Duane Park Patisserrie,

10. Peter Luger Steakhouse

I actually don’t know too many people who can actually afford to dine here. But from what I’ve heard,  for a Michelin Star rated restaurant, it’s really nothing special. I mean, I don’t want to pay $50 for a hunk of dry aged steak on a plate. The quality of the food here just doesn’t justify the price that you pay. That’s why I would only go here if you have a corporate expense account or a trust fund that is burning a hole in your pocket.

11. Any Times Square Chain Restaurant

Need I say more? These places are just like the chain restaurants that you have at home, only they’re way more expensive because the price of rent in New York City is ridiculous. Save yourself the time and money and just don’t do it. If you really need to go to Olive Garden, just wait until you get home.

12. Nathan’s Hot Dogs

This immortal hot dog rand is a piece of New York City history. Started over a hundred years ago along the boardwalks of Coney Island, this hot dog brand has become synonymous with an “authentic” New York hot dog experience.

Yeah, I’m not buying it. Today, Nathan’s lacks quality ingredients so the flavor profile of the hot dog just isn’t there. Plus, increasing innovation from competitors means that Nathan’s just doesn’t make the list of New York City’s best hot dogs.  Do yourself a favor and just check out Bark Hot Dogs or Crif Hot Dogs instead.

13. Little Italy

I have said this a thousand times but no matter what you do, just stay far away from Little Italy. And if you need any further proof of this, the latest census revealed that there’s not even a single, Italian born re
sident currently living in this entire neighborhood. No wonder the food is overpriced and mediocre at best, with a series of long lines that just don’t make any sense. The only place here that is acceptable is Ferrara’s, and that’s for a cannoli. But other than that, this neighborhood is devoid of decent Italian food. Any true New Yorker knows that Arthur Avenue is where
it’s at.

14. Halal Guys

This humble street vendor has been serving up chicken and rice for over 20 years. However, in recent years, this street cart has become mobbed with tourists. Therefore, this charming, reasonably priced, street food experience has become a distant memory. Now, a combination of long lines and hordes of tourists make this place feel like you’re being squished into Times Square, trying to watch the ball drop, on New Years Eve. Plus, many other street vendors have now tried to capitalize on this cart’s popularity and have created a series of innovative dishes with higher quality ingredients. That’s why I’d take my money and head over to Ilili Box, Zizi Lemona, or Taim for veggies and falafel.