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Honestly, I don’t know why I haven’t created this post on all of the places you must eat in NYC sooner!

After all, I am a 30+ year local who knows exactly where to go to save some cold, hard cash and eat like a real New Yorker. 

In truth though, the delay is probably due to the fact that New York City is basically like the unofficial foodie capital of the world. 

As a result, there are just so many beyond amazing places to eat in NYC that it can difficult to narrow the list down to something manageable and that you might actually want to read. 

Thankfully though, you have a super handy, incredibly knowledgeable local like me to help you figure out exactly what the best food in New York is; foods that you absolutely need to eat during your 4 days in NYC

This way, you can quickly and easily get your foodie to swerve on as you eat ALL the feels up in NYC. Yessiree, no lame food chain restaurants for you my friend!

Because on this list, you’ll find nothing but the best places to eat in NYC. That’s why, in this post, I’ll answer all of your most pressing questions about:

  • Where you must eat in NYC
  • What is the most famous food in New York?
  • What food should I try in New York?
  • Where do local New Yorkers eat?

And so much more! So, buckle up my foodie-minded friend because we’re about to swan dive right into this post about all of the places you must eat in NYC!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

Where You Must Eat in NYC

People eating brunch together.

Here is a shortlist of all the amazing places you must eat in NYC. These are total foodie meccas that you absolutely must stop by while you’re experiencing the eternal glory that is New York City. 

  • Katz Delicatessen – Order a pastrami sandwich that lives up to ALL the hype
  • Gray Papaya – You can’t leave without trying one of our signature dirty water dogs…I mean hot dogs. 
  • The Halal Guys – Cheap and delicious street food. I’d opt for the gyro or falafel myself. 
  • J.G, Melon – Get the cheeseburger. It will, no joke, change your life. 
  • Los Tacos No. 1 – Order an Al Pastor taco for me. It’s cheap and delish. 
  • Nom Wah Tea Parlor – Best dim sum in the city and you can find them in Chinatown. 
  • White Bear – This place is in Flushing, Queens (since all the best Chinese food is) and you 100% should get the Chinese-style dumplings. 
  • Sunny and Annie Deli – You can’t leave the city without ordering an iconic bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. 
  • Veselka – Get the pierogies but pretty much everything is good. 
  • LeVain Bakery – Get the chocolate chip cookies and thank me later. 
  • Magnolia Bakery – Get the Banana Bread Pudding for the win.
  • Supermoon Bakery – Order a cruffin (a croissant muffin) so that you can die and go to foodie heaven. 
  • Milk Bar – Get the Crack Pie. It’s seriously good. Seriously. A lot of people also love the cereal and milk soft serve but I wasn’t a fan. 
  • Dough – Get the dulce de leche doughnut. 
  • Artichoke Basille’s Pizza – Their spinach artichoke pizza is basically like spinach artichoke dip on a slice of pizza. So absurdly good. 
  • Joe’s Pizza – THE place to go for an iconic slice of NYC-style pizza. They’re also huge and just $4 each. 
  • Lucali’s – If you feel like making the trek to Brooklyn then this is THE place to go for pizza. Just get a regular pie. 
  • Jongro BBQ – Classic Korean-style barbeque in Koreatown. 
  • Emilio’s Ballato – This is the place to go for next level delicious Italian food. Order classics like lasagna, baked clams, chicken Parm, baked ziti, and meatballs
  • Clinton Street Baking Company – Get the blueberry pancakes. So damn good. 
  • Russ and Daughters – There’s really no place better for an iconic NY bagel with lox and cream cheese. 
  • Jacob’s Pickle’s – Go here for decadent Southern comfort food that is unlike any other. The chocolate chip pancakes are also epic with a capital “e”. 
  • The Smith – Stop by for brunch or get the mac and cheese and you will not regret it. 
  • Sunday in Brooklyn – One of my all time fave brunch spots in NYC. Head to Williamsburg and get a stack of pancakes with hazelnut butter. So flippin’ good. 
  • Little Collins – One of my favie fave Aussie-inspired coffee shops where you can get buttered banana bread or avo toast. 

What is the Most Famous Food in New York?

Gosh, there are so many famous foods in New York that it’s hard to pick just one. However, I think some of the city’s most famous foods include pizza (go to Joe’s Pizza or Lucali’s (worth the trip to Brooklyn), bagels with lox and cream cheese (Russ and Daughters has epic bagels, as does Absolute Bagels), bacon egg and cheese (here we pronounce it as one word and you can get one at  Sunny and Annie Deli), hot dogs (Gray’s Papaya is the best), and cheesecake (Junior’s serves up a classic NY-style slice). 

What Food Should I try in New York? 

Umm…basically everything on this list of places you must eat in NYC. LOL. But in all seriousness, here are some of the best food in New York that you should 110% eat. 

  • Pastrami sandwich from Katz Deli
  • Bagel with lox and cream cheese from Russ and Daughters
  • Bacon egg and cheese from Sunny and Annie Deli
  • Slice (of pizza) from Joe’s Pizza (you can also grab a $1 slice from just about anywhere in the city)
  • Coffee from Little Collins or Abraço in the East Village
  • Gray’s Papaya hot dog
  • Falafel from Mamoun’s
  • Entire pizza from Lucali’s 
  • Cheeseburger from J.G. Melon
  • Junior’s cheesecake
  • Black and white cookie from Zabar’s

Where do Local New Yorkers Eat? 

An aerial view of avocado toast on a table from Citizens of Chelsea.

Pretty much anywhere that isn’t Manhattan since it’s super touristy and the prices are insanely expensive. Yeah, we pay enough for rent and are basically looking for good, cheap eats when we dine out in the city. 

But, if you’re looking for some of the places you must eat in NYC where all the locals go, then check out any of the following:

  • Joseph Leonard – Great West Village Cafe where you can stop by for brunch and get the fried chicken sandwich with fried country bacon and an order of Brussel Sprouts with siracha. 
  • Joe’s Pizza – Quick and easy place to grab a slice in NYC. 
  • Smorgasburg – A great place to go on the weekends to try a bunch of unique and super delish foods in NYC. 
  • Katz Deli – The pastrami sandwich is where it’s at. 
  • The Dead Rabbit – Great local watering hole where you can go for zucchini fritters, Bernicia Boy (aka an Irish Coffee), Byrrh Wine Daisy, and The Fugitive. Stop by on Sunday to hear live, traditional Irish music. 
  • Totto Ramen – Get the torched uni over rice as an appetizer and any of their ramens, although I LOVE the vegiie ramen. 
  • Wafles and Dinges – Get the “Wake Up Grumpy” which is a waffle with bacon, egg, and cheese. 
  • McSorley’s Old Ale House – Traditional Irish pub (the oldest in the city) that serves light and dark beer in small mugs. 
  • St. Anselm – A steakhouse that is way cheaper than Peter Luger’s. Get the butcher steak or the bourbon brined pork chops with a side of creamed spinach and truffle potatoes. 
  • Big Gay Ice Cream Shop – Go here for fun and quirky soft serve flavors like The Salty Pimp and American Globs. 
  • Cafe Mogador – Great Moroccan food in the East Village where you can go for an affordable brunch. 
  • Roberta’s – An awesome place in Bushwick for brick oven pizza. Ask for the “bee-sting” (think sweet and spicy) which is usually not actually on the menu. 
  • The Grey Dog – The vibe here is very homey and they also serve some delicious coffee. They also do a great brunch although the pork belly taco, four-cheese mac and cheese, and Baja fish tacos are all really top-notch. 

25 Places You Must Eat in NYC

And now – insert drumroll here please – it’s time for my top picks for twenty-five places you must eat in NYC. 

No really, trust me on this people. Eat at any one of these fun places to eat in NYC and you will not regret it. 

I mean, not only is the food beyond delicious, but many of these places are super affordable too since we locals pay a lot of money in rent and don’t really have a ton of extra cash to spend $50+ per person for a single meal. 

So, this list is mostly damn good, NYC  cheap eats that you’ll find scattered all across the city that never sleeps. 

1. Katz Delicatessan 

The exterior of Katz's deli on the Lower East Side of NYC with people walking out front.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, then you know all about Katz Delicatessan. It’s basically an insanely famous Jewish deli on the Lower East Side of Manhattan that serves up some of the best – and biggest – pastrami sandwiches in the world. 

Yes, I dare you to disagree with me on this one because their sammies are the stuff that foodie dreams are made of. I mean, after all, this place is the oldest Jewish deli in NYC for a reason (FYI, it was first established in 1888). 

Therefore, this is easily one of the places you MUST eat in NYC, particularly because this place really does live up to the hype. 

Also, expect a line out the door (especially on the weekends) since this place serves up some of the best food in New York and the insanely long lines are indicative of that. 

And just in case it wasn’t already obvious, you should be ordering their pastrami sandwich on rye. 

Pro Tip: To order here you’ll first need to get a small ticket at the front door upon arrival and then the staff will guide you through the ordering process. And if you lose your ticket? Well, you’ll get a “fine” on your bill at the end of your order. So yeah, don’t do that. 

Address: 205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 10:45 pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm.m

Price: $25.95 for this iconic sandwich.

How to Get There: Take the F train to 2nd Avenue station and walk to the deli from there. 

2. Gray’s Papaya

Two hot dogs with mustard and ketchup from Gray's Papaya in NYC.

Locally known as a dirty water dog, no trip to NYC would be complete with ordering a classic, New York hot dog.

And while you can get them from just about any vendor from around the city, there really is nothing quite like a hot dog from Gray’s Papaya. 

Yup, this place is without a doubt one of the many places you must eat in NYC. I mean, it’s an epic, family-owned business that has been around since ye olde 1974. 

This place is also so good that they now have two locations in Manhattan where you can get the Recession Special. It’s a whopping, thirty-five-year-old deal that includes two hot dogs and a medium tropical flavored drink (think papaya, coconut, pina colada, and banana) for just $6.45.

Yup, that’s a deal you really can’t beat. And for the ultimate NYC foodie experience, pair them with sauerkraut, mustard, and stewed onions.

Address: 2090 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

Hours: Open Sunday through Wednesday from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm and Thursday through Saturday from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm. 

Price: $6.45 for two hot dogs and a medium drink. 

How to Get There: Take the 1/2/3 train to 72nd Street station and walk to Gray’s Papaya from there. 

3. The Halal Guys

The Halal Guys, a street vendor is seen selling Halal food in Manhattan as a woman walk by talking on her cell phone.

Another iconic NYC food vendor, The Halal Guys have become an integral part of the street food scene in mid-town Manhattan. 

Yup, you’ll find exhausted, more-than-a-little impatient office workers popping down here during their lunch hour for some delicious chicken, gyros, and always delicious falafel platters. 

And while they did have humble beginnings (they started 30+ years ago) as a little old food cart that sat at the corner of 53rd street and 6th avenue, this franchise has long since become a worldwide brand that now has locations in over one hundred different places across the globe. 

Therefore, this really is one of those places you must eat in NYC. Just do yourself a solid and get their combo platter with some of their delicious white sauce that they are known for. 

FYI, a combo platter here is super delish and comes with your choice of beef, chicken, or falafel gyros with rice, lettuce, and tomatoes – with your choice of toppings and white/hot sauce.

Address: 720 Amsterdam Ave,  New York, NY 1 0 0 2 5 10025

Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 1:30 am. 

Price: A combo platter will cost you $10.39. 

How to Get There: Take the 1/2/3 train to 96th street station and walk to The Halal Guys from there. 

4. J.G. Melon

A cheeseburger on a green and white table cloth with a beer and fries at J.G. Melon's one of the places you must eat in NYC.

Image sourced from the J.G. Melon website.

This iconic eatery on the Upper East Side has been around since 1972 and is known for its beyond juicy hamburgers (seriously though, they’re some of the best in the city), its delicious bloody marys, and their epic cottage fries. 

So, this is a not-so-small hint that THIS is exactly what you should order here…verbatim. 

Because real talk? The burgers here are basically a thin slice of perfection since they’re crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and served with pickles, red onions, and an assortment of sauces on the side. 

There’s also an incredibly lovely, old-world charm to this place that is best-embodied through their enchanting., green and white table cloths, old-school jukebox, and refreshing outdoor cafe – making this one of the slightly fancier establishments on this list of the places you must eat in NYC. 

Pro Tip: The decor isn’t the only thing old-world about this place. No really, just take a gander at their cash register. But seriously though, they are cash only so deffo come prepared with some dollar bills. They also do NOT accept reservations and have a “preppy” dress code. 

Address: 1291 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10021

Hours: Open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 am to 3:00 am and on Sundays from 11:30 am to 1:00 am. 

Price: A cheeseburger here is a reasonable $13.00. 

How to Get There: Take the Q train to 72nd Street station or the 6 train to 77th Street station and walk to the. restaurant from there. 

5. Los Tacos No. 1

Hungry patrons waiting for their tacos at Los Tacos No. 1 in NYC.

Looking for a halfway decent taco in the veritable abyss that is the Mexican food scene in NYC? If so then mosey on over to Los Tacos No. 1.

Okay, truth be told the tacos at this place are way more than decent. They’re downright delicious, making this one of the VERY few places in the city where you can go for some really good Mexican cuisine. 

Yeah, NYC is known for a lot of stuff but the Mexican food here is sorely lacking. Thankfully though, that is not the case at this hole-in-the-wall eatery with locations in Chelsea Market, Grand Central, Times Square, and Tribeca.

So, regardless of where you are in the city, you can still hit up this fast, super casual place and grab some of their made-to-order tacos. 

And trust me, this place is legit since it was started by three friends who spent four months in Tijuana doing, “research” before they even opened this restaurant. 

Also, expect a line out the proverbial door since their delicious, housemade tortillas are overflowing with carne asada (grilled steak), pollo asado (grilled chicken), adobado (marinated pork), and nopal (cactus).

There are also no chairs for sit-down dining, so grab your tacos to-go for a picnic in the park. 

Address: 229 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

Hours: Open Monday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm and on Sunday from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm. 

Price: Tacos start at $4.25 each (FYI the steak and pork tacos are epic).

How to Get There: You can easily walk here from Times Square. 

6. Nom Wah Tea Parlor

A tabel full of dim sum, dumplings, and various Chinese dishes from Nom Wah Tea Parlor, one of those places you must eat in NYC.

Photo was taken by Paul Wagtouicz.

Originally opened as a tea parlor/bakery in 1920 that was known for its mooncakes, Nom Wah Tea Parlor has slowly evolved into an immortal, Chinatown eatery in NYC where you can get a decadently delicious dim sum of every variety. 

So, do as the locals do and mosey on over during a Sunday afternoon so that you can enjoy a delicious brunch filled with dim sum, dims sum, and, oh yeah, more dim sum. 

Just don’t expect to have the place all to yourself since locals know that is this one of the many places you must eat in NYC. 

And while you’re here, try a variety of different small plates filled with Cantonese-style delicacies like dumplings, rice noodle rolls, pork buns, turnip cakes, and egg rolls with actual egg inside, just to name a few.

Yup, just a great place to come with your friends and sample a plethora of different dishes. They also, shockingly, accept reservations for parties of three or more on RESY. 

So yeah, deffo book in advance if you can and order their shrimp and snow-pea-leaf dumplings, shrimp and pork shiu mai, egg rolls, and roast pork buns.

Also, as you probably already guessed, this is a super chill, incredibly informal place that is known for its food, not its service. 

Address: 13 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

Hours: Open daily from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm. 

Price: Dim Sum starts at $5.25 per order. 

How to Get There: Take the N/R/W/6 train to Canal Street station or the B/D train to Grand Street station and walk from there. 

7. White Bear

An order of spicy dumplings in a styrofoam container from White Baar in Flushing, Queens.

Image sourced from Rpbyn Lee on Flickr.

Are you ready for some of the best Chinese food of your life? If so then run, don’t walk, to one of the many places you must eat in NYC. 

It’s located in the Chinatown of Queens, aka Flushing, and is known as White Bear – a place that is known all across New York City for their next-level delicious dumplings. 

You know, those glorious nuggets of dough that are filled with meat and veggies and then either fried or steamed to pure, foodie perfection. 

And the Chinese-style dumplings here? Well, they are pretty rad since they are affordable, make great grab-and-go food, and are just super yummy to the extreme. 

If you can, order a number 6, which is basically twelve pork/veggie wontons that are topped with chili oil. A very no-frills kind of dining experience that you won’t regret. 

Address: 135-02 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11354

Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. 

Price: A number 6 will cost you $7.40. 

How to Get There: Take the 7 train to the final stop (Main Street station) and walk to the restaurant from here. 

8. Sunny and Annie’s Deli

A cut in half side view of an everything bagel with bacon eggs and cheese on a white plate with a white background.

Tucked away in Alphabet City, this low-key convenience store/deli is known for creating an epic version of one of NYC’s most immortal breakfast sandwiches…the bacon-egg-and-cheese (BEC for short). 

And yes, we really do pronounce this all as one word. And, again, yes, you really are forbidden from leaving the tri-state area without ordering at least one of these amazing sammies. 

Luckily for you though, you now know that Sunny and Annie’s Deli is one of the places you must eat in NYC for a classic, bacon egg and cheese. 

Also, if you want to be like a REAL New Yorker, you should get it on a roll, not on a bagel like pictured above. #justsayin’

Pro Tip: There are no seats here so feel free to picnic it up in nearby Tompkins Square Park. They also serve a delicious BLT wrap which is a classic BLT that comes with avocado, cheddar, sprouts, and Russian dressing.

Address: 94 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

Hours: Open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. 

Price: $2.50 for a bacon egg and cheese on a roll. 

How to Get There: Take the F train to Second Avenue station or the 6 train to Astor Place station and walk to the deli from there. 

9. Veselka

A plate of fried pierogi from Veselka in NYC.

Thing #3,765 you didn’t know about Girl with the Passport? Yeah, she is hardcore obsessed with pierogis and eats them every chance she gets. 

Yup, I would be a carb-o-holic, party of one up in here.

So, if you love pierogies ALMOST as much as I do, then say hello to your new bestie, Veselka. It’s seriously one of the places you must eat in NYC since they have been around forever (or since 1954) and make some hella awesome food that will cure just about any hangover. 

Yeah, Veselka is now basically a Ukrainian institution here in NYC since this diner is known for serving delicious borscht, kielbasa, pierogi. blintzes, rugelach, poppy-seed bread, and wheatberry pudding. 

And, added bonus? All of their baked goods are made fresh daily, in-house, and are totally out of this world. Therefore, come to this informal place with friends and order everything mentioned above for the ultimate NYC foodie experience. 

Address: 144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

Hours: Open daily from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm (Under normal, non-pandemic circumstances they are open twenty-four hours a day).

Price: A plate of four pierogi starts at $8.00 and it’s $15.00 for eight. 

How to Get There: Take the 4/5/6 train to Union Square or the R/W train to 8th Street station and walk to the restaurant from there. 

10. LeVain Bakery

A woman holding a chocolate chip walnut cookie with wax paper around it from LeVain Bakery.

Honestly, LeVain Bakery probably makes one of the best cookies that I’ve ever had in my life. And that’s high praise coming from someone who is as obsessed with dessert as I am. 

But, their chocolate chip walnut cookies are something extra special since they come out crunchy on the outside and all warm and gooey on the inside – making for the most ultimate of all cookie experiences. 

These cookies are also hella big (6 ounces), so be sure to share one with a few of your closest friends. There also WILL be a line. But, it generally moves pretty quickly since staff is mad efficient.

FYI, the cookies here are also totally worth the wait. And while they do make dark chocolate chocolate chip, dark chocolate peanut butter chip, and oatmeal raisin flavors, the chocolate chip walnut cookies are the best IMHO. 

You’ll also need to grab your cookie to go since there are no seats inside. 

Pro Tip: Come later in the day when the line has died down since they bake cookies throughout the day and literally never run out. 

Address: 1484 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10028 (although they have locations all across the city)

Hours: Open daily from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm. 

Price: $4.00 per cookie (so worth it)

How to Get There: Take the 4/5/6 to 86th Street station and walk to the bakery from there. 

11, Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery's famous Banana Pudding.

Most notably of Sex and the City fame, people mistakenly assume that you come to Magnolia Bakery from the cupcakes. And while they do make pretty dang good cupcakes, you’re really here for the banana pudding.

Made with decadent layers of vanilla wafers, fresh bananas, and creamy vanilla pudding, this is one of those desserts that will perpetually leave you wanting more. 

And if you’re a total chocoholic, they also have a chocolate version made with Oreo wafers, chocolate pudding, and served with chocolate shavings on top. 

So, stop by their original West Village location and try this epic dessert today!

Actually, come to think of it, visit one of their other locations instead since their flagship store is usually packed and routinely has lines that wrap around the block.  

Pro Tip: Stop by at the right top of the year and you can enjoy seasonal varieties of your fave banana pudding. 

Address: West 11th Street, 401 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

Hours: Open Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. 

Price: $4.50 for a small portion. 

How to Get There: Take the 1/2/3 train to 14th street station or the A/C/E train to 8th Avenue station or the B/F/M train to Washington Square station and walk to the bakery from there. 

12.  Supermoon Bakehouse

The inside of a black sesame miso croissant from Supermoon Bakehouse.

If you ever find yourself wishing that the confections featured in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory were real, then this is one of the places you must eat in NYC. 

Because Supermoon Bakehouse is a world of pure imagination! Get it? Because that’s one of the songs from the movie?

Okay, lame jokes aside, Supermoon Bakehouse really is more than a little amazing since they bake a divine assortment of croissants, donuts, and cruffins (a croissant/muffin hybrid) that come in wild flavors like banana split and peanut butter jelly. 

Plus, they have the added distinction of being voted the BEST bakery in all of NYC. So yeah, you know these guys (and girls) are the real deal. 

Their baked goods are also highly stylized (read super photogenic) so this place always makes for a stellar stop if you constantly find yourself doing it, “all for the gram”. 

And while everything here is delicious, I personally love their sourdough bread and the kouign brûlée.croissant which is buttery and soft, with a crispy outside and a rich, cinnamon flavor (be forewarned that their menu changes weekly so this might not be available when you visit). 

It also doesn’t hurt that their store features super sleek, chic AF decor that includes snazzy things like neon-pink lights. 

Pro Tip: Arrive early since they routinely run out of everything, especially on the weekends since this place is uber-popular and they regularly have a line out the door. 

Address: 120 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

Hours: Open Friday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. 

Price: Most items are around $5.00 each. 

How to Get There: Take the F or M train to Delancey Street/Essex Street station and walk to the bakery from there.

13. Milk Bar

Started by Christina Tosi of downtown NYC pastry fame, this now iconic uptown bakery is one of those places you must eat in NYC if you love dessert. 

And you know your girl over here definitely does. This location on the upper west side also has the added benefit of having enough seats for up twenty people while sitting right next door to the legendary, Stumptown Coffee (it’s seriously one of the best coffee shops in NYC). 

And while many people opt for their compost cookies (really good) and their cereal milk soft serve (I thought it was gross), I’m a huge fan of their crack pie since, hello, it really is the most delicious food crack ever. 

Personally, though, I’d stop by with a few friends and get their greatest hits package, which consists of a compost cookie, a slice of Crack Pie, B’day Truffles (also good), and a Cereal Milk soft-serve ice cream with Cornflake Crunch on top. 

Yup, just an all-around fun and funky, super sweet, uber-colorful place to grab dessert in NYC. 

Address: 561 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024

Hours: Open 10:00 am to 10:00 pm daily except on Friday and Saturday when they are open until 11:00 pm. 

Price: $20 for all of their greatest desserts. 

How to Get There: Take the 1/B?C train to 86th street station and walk from there. 

14. Dough

Cheesecake and grahm cracker doughnut from dough in New York.

Who rocks the house? Umm, dough doughnuts rock the house, that’s who.

Because this Flatiron area bakery is packed to the gills with innovative and downright delicious versions of your favorite breakfast treat. Confectionary delights that will leave you perpetually drooling for more. 

However, believe it or not, this epic bakery first started out in 2010 in the Bed-Stuy area of Brooklyn. It was founded by none other than Fany Gerson, who created delicious, handmade, 4″ donuts that were total crowd-pleasers.

And while their classic plain glazed donut is always a winner, you can opt to walk a bit on the wild side with flavors like cinnamon sugar, Nutella, toasted coconut, hibiscus, dulce de leche, pecan pie, and pumpkin with salted pumpkin seeds.

Full disclosure? The last two are only available seasonally which means that you obviously need to stop by this fall in NYC

Pro Tip: Try and get here early in the day – especially on the weekends – since this bakery routinely sells out of everything. 

Address: 14 West 19th Street at, 5th Ave, New York, 10011

Hours: Open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm and on Sundays from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. 

Price: $4.50 each. 

How to Get There: Take the R/W/F/M train to 23rd Street station or the 1 train to 18th street station and walk to the bakery from there. 

15. Artichoke Basille’s Pizza

Two slices of artichoke spinach pizza in a pizza box from Artichoke Basille pizza.

Not your average slice of New York style pizza, Artichoke Basille is known for its artichoke pizza. And yes, these slices really are as decadent and rich as they sound since they are made fresh daily with artichoke hearts, spinach, cream sauce, mozzarella, and pecorino romano cheese.

So, order a slice, bring a friend to share it with, and prepare for one of New York’s most iconic foodie experiences. Because this bad boy of the pizza world tastes like the best spinach and artichoke dip that you’ve ever had. 

Only, it comes to you as a fresh and delicious piece of pizza. That’s why, even though you can order classic slices of Margherita and Sicilian pizza (both are good) the real star of the show here is the artichoke pizza, which is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted before. 

They also have simple, unassuming stool seating and routinely stay open until 4:00 am, making this the perfect place to go after a show at the Comedy Cellar or after a night of hardcore debauchery.

FYI, Mamoun’s Falafel is also right down the street so be sure to hit up both places while you’re here. 

Address: 111 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

Hours: Open daily from 11:00 am to 4:00 am. 

Price: $4.50 for a slice. 

How to Get There: Take the B/F/M/A/C/E train to Washington Square station and walk from there. 

16. Joe’s Pizza

A classic slice of New York Pizza on a paper plate with a green table in the background.

If you’re looking for places you must eat in NYC, then there really is no place better than Joe’s Pizza. I mean, not only do they serve a delicious version of the classic New York slice, but it’s a great place to go to get an authentic, NYC pizza experience (it’s also in Manhattan so you won’t have to haul ass to Brooklyn). 

Therefore, the crust will be thin and crispy, the cheese will be equal parts stretchy, drippy, and gooey, and the sauce will be ever-so-slightly sweet.

Also, expect a super informal dining experience that will involve you standing at a table while you eat your pizza – at least if you’re lucky enough to snag a table since seating is limited.

FYI, the pizza served here will be “burn the rough of your mouth and tongue” hot. So yeah, consider yourself warned. 

Also, you are forbidden from using a fork and knife to cut your pizza and MUST, instead, fold your slice down the middle and eat your way from the bottom to the crust. 

You’ll know it’s a REAL New York slice when you see a river of grease drip out from the crust at the bottom. 

Address: 7 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014-44 

Hours: Open Sunday through Wednesday from 10:00 am to 4:00 am and Thursday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 am. 

Price: $3.00 per slice and you should get a regular slice. 

How to Get There: Take the B/D/F/M/A/C/E train to Washington Square station or the 1 train to Christopher’s Street station and walk to the pizzeria from there. 

17. Lucali 

A Margarita pizza with fresh basil on top in a box from Lucali in Brooklyn.

If you’re feeling extra ambitious and want to check out one of the places you must eat in NYC, then head on over to this pizzeria in Caroll Gardens (a neighborhood in Brooklyn). 

Because Lucali easily makes THE best pizza in all of NYC and has been an iconic foodie hot spot ever since it was first opened by Mark Iacono in 2006. 

And that makes sense since the pizza here is made the traditional way, with dough that has been left to proof for twenty-four hours, with house marinated tomatoes that are crushed into sauce, and pies that are made to order as they are cooked in a hot, wood oven. 

The result? Fresh and delicious pizza that is totally worth waiting in line for. I also like to keep it simple and order a regular pie with basil and garlic. But, other toppings offered include pepperoni, shallots, onions, mushrooms, hot peppers, and sweet peppers. 

Just be sure to bring plenty of cash and to arrive BEFORE 5:00 pm for seating since there will always be a line. Basically, you’ll just put your name on the list once you get here and can then go have a drink since they’ll call you when your table is ready. 

Address: 575 Henry Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 

Hours: Open Wednesday through Monday from 5:45 pm to 11:00 pm. 

Price: $24 for a large pie 

How to Get There: Take the F or G train to Carroll Street station and walk from there.  

18. Jongro BBQ

Authentic Korean bbq with pork and various side dishes around an in-table grill.

Looking to experience all the awesomeness of authentic Korean culture right here in NYC? Then beeline it on over to Koreatown.

It’s a vibrant neighborhood on 32nd Street (right near the Empire State Building) that is overflowing with Korean spas, Korean karaoke places, and, you guessed it, authentic Korean BBQ restaurants. 

And one of the best of them all is Jongro BBQ since, well, it’s one of the places you must eat in NYC – at least if you like Korean BBQ.

So, order up generous helpings of fresh pork and beef that you then cook for yourself, right there at the grill on your table. Also, be sure to leave room for some of the restaurant’s amazing sides, like traditional Kimchi (you get a BUNCH so if kimchi isn’t your thing, don’t worry). 

Finally, order a bit of soju (a traditional Korean liquor/alcohol) to compliment your meal before enjoying the old-world, wooden decor that will seamlessly transport you back to the Korea of old. 

Address: 22 W 32nd St 2nd floor, New York, NY 10001

Hours: Open Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 am to 12:00 am and Friday/Saturday from 11:30 am to 1:00 am.  

Price: Prices vary by dish but platters of meat (get the Bulgogi) start at around $33.00 each and you’ll then cook it yourself. 

How to Get There: Take the N/R/W/B/D/F/M train to Herald Square or the 1/2/3 train to Penn Station and walk from there. 

19. Emilio’s Ballato

Eggplant Parm on a white plate from Emilio's Ballato.

Want to try some truly authentic Italian food while you’re in NYC? Then go just outside of Little Italy, to Nolita, where you can experience all of the deliciousness that Emilio’s Ballato has to offer!

It’s definitely one of the places you must eat in NYC since they are known for serving up amazing, Italian-American dishes like meatballs, baked clams, parm of every variety (veal, eggplant, chicken, meatball, etc.) baked ziti, and lasagna. 

And along with the delicious cuisine, you’ll also enjoy an atmosphere of old-world Italian charm that includes giant menus, waiters in tuxedos, red-checked, and table-clothes that would make no less than the Godfather himself proud. 

Because this place has been in business since 1956, has served a variety of celebrities, and continues to pay homage to the Little Italy of old that we all kind of miss. 

Not surprisingly, they DEFFO do NOT take reservations, so be prepared for a bit of a wait. 

Pro Tip: Portions are huge, service is great, and your meal comes with fresh, warm bread. Highlights include the tagliatelle with bolognese, the cannolis, and the tiramisu. 

Address: 55 E Houston St, New York, NY 10012

Hours: Open Sunday through Thursday from 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm and Friday/Saturday from 12:00 pm to 12:00 am. 

Price: Entrees start at around $31 each but are huge. 

How to Get There: Take the R/W train to Prince Street station or the B/D/F/M train to Broadway-Lafayette Station and walk to the restaurant from there. 

20. Clinton Street Baking Company

Pancakes topped with blueberries from Clinton Street Baking Co.

Home to one of the best brunches in NYC, Clinton Street Baking Company is one of those places you must eat in NYC since it’s all about the pancakes up in here. 

That’s why, if you love pancakes almost as much as I do, then this is easily one of the best restaurants in New York for you!

Because at its core, Clinton Street Baking Company is this amazing, low-key, family-owned restaurant where you can go for some uber-delicious, blueberry pancakes.

An iconic brunch staple that is the perfect cure for any residual hangovers that you might have.

Now, is this place fancy? Hell to the no. But, that doesn’t really matter since the pancakes topped with stewed Maine blueberries are the stuff that all my foodie dreams are made of. 

However, if you’d rather try something savory then go for the biscuit sandwich with scrambled eggs, melted cheddar cheese, homemade tomato jam, and hash browns. Add on a side of sugar-cured bacon and you have one of the best meals in the city. 

Pro Tip: Waits for weekend brunch can regularly exceed two hours. Therefore, avoid the queues and stop by in the evening or during the week since they serve breakfast all day long. 

Address: 4 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

Hours: Open Monday through Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Price: Entrees start at $12.00 and go up to $19.00 (I’d get the pancakes though for $16.00)

How to Get There: Take the F/M train to Delancey Street/Essex Street station and walk to the restaurant from there. 

21. Russ and Daughters

The exterior of Russ and Daughters

Bagels and New York kind of go together like PB and J. So yeah, a total match made in heaven for anyone who’s not a fan of this classic, American sammie. 

That’s also why I cannot in good conscience let you leave the city without eating an amazing, New York bagel. And one of the places you must eat in NYC for a delicious bagel is none other than Russ and Daughters.

And if you’re partial to salmon, then definitely get a classic New York bagel with cream cheese and lox since it’s the stuff that all the kids with refined tastes crave. 

Especially since these culinary giants have been mastering the art of smoking fish since 1914 and now have deli-like counters all across the city where you can go and grab your bagel to-go.

However, for a more formal sit-down experience, head to either the Russ & Daughter’s Café on the Lower East Side or the one inside the Jewish Museum on the Upper East Side. 

Both offer guests all the classics of the deli counter but with a variety of egg dishes and Jewish deli staples available too, including matzo ball soup and potato latkes.

Plus, the café even has a bar where you can enjoy a variety of brunch-erific drinks like champagne, wine, beer, and several unique, flavor-infused Bloody Marys. 

Address: 127 Orchard Street, New York, New York 10002

Hours: Open Thursday through Monday from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm.

Price: A classic bagel and lox will cost you $14.00 (If you’re feeling fancy get the nova smoked salmon with chive cream cheese on an everything bagel with tomato, onion, and capers).

How to Get There: Take the F/M train to Delancey Street/Essex Street station or the B/D train to Grand Street station and walk from there.

22. Jacob’s Pickle’s 

Bloody Mary from Jacob's Pickles.

Quietly sitting on NYC’s Upper West Side is this gem of a brunch spot that is absolutely one of the places you must eat in NYC. 

And, of course, I’m talking about Jacob’s Pickle’s, which is known for its decadent, Southern comfort food and its amazing variety of 20+ in-house craft beers. 

So, sit down inside this well-designed, rustic meets city chic, barn-inspired eatery and savor fan faves like the buttermilk fried chicken and homemade biscuits. 

Also, as the name so accurately suggests, you obviously have to sample their homemade pickles. which are made in small batches and will forever change the way you feel about pickles. 

Plus. added bonus? The vast majority of menu items here cost less than $20, like their decadent mac and cheese.

Therefore, you won’t actually have to go broke while enjoying some of the top restaurants in NYC. 

Now, time for the not-so-good news. Jacob’s Pickles only accepts reservations for parties of 6 or more. Therefore, waits are exceptionally long on the weekends and service is kind of MEH as a result. 

Yup, you’ve been officially warned. 

Address: 509 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

Hours: Open Monday through Thursday from 10:00 am to 2:00 am, Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 am, Saturday from 9:00 am to 4:00 am, and Sunday from 9:00 am to 2:00 am.

Price: Most entrees here are around $14.00 each.

How to Get There: Take the 1 train to 86th Street station and walk to the restaurant from there.

23. The Smith

Huevos Rancheros from The Smith.

Not gonna lie, The Smith has easily been one of my favie fave brunch spots for YEARS now. That’s why I obviously needed to add it to this list of places you must eat in NYC. 

Plus, they have multiple locations across the city – with outposts in NoMad, the East Village, Midtown, and Lincoln Square – making it, now, easier than ever to get your brunch fix and enjoy some of the best places to eat in New York, regardless of where you are in the city. 

And when you dine here, expert to enjoy classic, American fare that ranges from healthy to next level indulgent.

Personally, though, I’d opt for the mac and cheese (they say it’s a starter but it’s easily a big enough portion for a main), the Ranchero Scramble for brunch (perfectly scrambled eggs, black beans, cheddar, avocado, and chipotle salsa on fresh corn tortillas), and some freshly baked cookies to-go. 

They also DO accept reservations for brunch so be sure to make some before you dine here on the weekend. 

Pro Tip: Visit the East Village location since it’s light and bright and just really well-designed, making it the perfect place for dining out with friends. 

Address: 55 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10003

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 11:30 am to 11:00 pm, on Saturday from 9:30 am to 11:00 pm, and on Sunday from 9:30 am to 10:00 pm.   

Price: Entrees range in price from $16.00 to $23.00 each.

How to Get There: Take the R/W train to 8th Street station or the 5/6 train to Astor Place station and walk from there.

24. Sunday in Brooklyn 

Avocado toast from Sunday in Brooklyn with whipped ricotta, sprouts, toasted seeds, and a six-minute egg on top.

Honestly, I usually hate schlepping out of Manhattan and ALL THE WAY (lol) into Brooklyn. Yup, I am indeed lazy. 

But, the one (actually there are several on this list) exception to that rule is Sunday in Brooklyn. Because as you probably already guessed, I’m more than a little obsessed with brunch.

Yeah, it’s kind of my favorite meal of the week, and the fact that Sunday in Brooklyn serves up insanely awesome pancakes – with hazelnut maple praline and brown butter no less –  has me wanting to stop by every single weekend. 

Thankfully though, my eternal desire to actually be able to fit into my clothes is what prevents me from doing that eating brunch here in Williamsburg every single weekend.

I also love that uber-fab American restaurant has its very own marketplace, barroom, and a light and airy upstairs dining room with a garden. Yup, feel free to be duly impressed. 

So, the moral of the story? Do yourself a favor and visit one of the many places you must eat in NYC now, before the HANGRY beast within totally takes over.  

Address: 348 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Hours: Open daily from 10:30 am to 3:300 pm and again from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm. 

Price: Most entrees start at around $15 but I’d go with the pancakes. the egg and cheese sammie is also really good, as are the wood-roasted mushrooms. 

How to Get There: Take the M train to Marcy Avenue station or the L train to Bedford Avenue station and walk to the restaurant from there. 

25. Sylvia’s Restaurant

A plate of Southern fried chicken with collard greens on a wooden table.

I know eating super amazing soul food probably isn’t the first thing that you think of when dining in NYC. But honestly? It really should be. 

Especially since Harlem is practically overflowing with epic, soul-food-centric places that should definitely be at the very top of your list of places you must eat in NYC. 

And Sylvia’s Restaurant is 110% one of those places. After all, this eatery has been serving customers since 1962 when Sylvia Woods, a North Carolina native, started her restaurant and quickly became the unofficial queen of soul food. 

Since then, this place – and it’s ever-lit marquee out front with Sylvia’s emblazoned on it – has become a foodie landmark where you can order classics like fried chicken, cornbread, BBQ ribs, mac and cheese, and chicken and waffles. 

So, come hungry, enjoy the down home cooking, appreciate the warm and friendly atmosphere, and quickly become part of the Sylvia’s Restaurant extended family. 

Pro Tip: Stop by the legendary Apollo Theater either before or after since you are literally right down the street. 

Address: 328 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10027

Hours: Open Monday through Wednesday from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm and Thursday through Sunday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm. 

Price: Most entrees start at around $15 each. 

How to Get There: Take the 2/3/B/D/A/C train to 125th Street station and walk to the restaurant from there. 

Map of the 25 Places You Must Eat in NYC

Map of the best places to eat in NYC

Click here for the full map.

Additional NYC Travel Resources You’ll Love

There you have it NYC travel fans! Because that just about wraps up this epic guide to 25 places you must eat in NYC. 

Tell me, did all of your picks for the top restaurants in NYC make the cut? If not then let me know in the comments below so that I can check them out. 

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