New York City is home to infinite food genres, flavor fusions and chefs from everywhere–from world-class formally trained to the mom and pop home cook. And if it’s the atmosphere you’re looking for, there’s something for everyone. It can be overwhelming if you’re a first-timer to the big city, so here are a few of my favorite places to hit up every time I’m in town.
1. The Meatball Shop (The West Village)
This is one of my favorite spots for lunch or dinner. The West Village location is casual and quaint, but full of very cozy tables (perfect for two!) and a full bar. You pick your favorite meatball and sauce (I love the buffalo chicken) and then pick on what you would like it served–The Kitchen Sink Salad is always a delicious surprise of ingredients, but they also have more classic options like a meatball sandwich, sliders or pasta. Don’t forget room for dessert–they don’t mess around when it comes to an ice cream sammie!
2. The City Bakery off 6th Avenue and 18th St.
The City Bakery has an awesome array of savory foods perfect for a quick lunch stop–from gourmet sandwiches and soups to an unbelievable salad bar and pizzas. Their real gem for me though is a pretzel croissant and hot chocolate for breakfast. I’ll add one of their homemade marshmallows if it’s an extra cold day outside. They also feature other baked goodies so stock up for a late night treat in the hotel.
3. Westville (East Village, multiple locations)
Another top pick for lunch or dinner, Westville’s multiple locations offer the freshest produce and ingredients you can find in the city! Each of their creations is simple, but full of flavor. My personal pick is the grilled salmon salad, but I also love their specialty sandwiches or a plate of the market sides (variety of veggies prepared with different flavors and spices).
The place is a little bit of a tourist hotspot, but I still adore this open Italian market, shops and multi-restaurant mecca in the heart of the city. Grab a stand-up table in the center of Eataly and order a bottle of wine with a charcuterie plate to share. If you’re still hungry, head over to La Pizza and La Pasta for authentic Italian tastes.
5. Shake Shack (Madison Square Park, multiple locations)
You can’t visit NYC and not make a stop at Shake Shack for a burger, fries and a shake, of course! You can visit their websites to check out the length of the waiting line, but if you’re going at a peak hour, expect to wait. And expect it to be worth the wait! You can’t go wrong with a ShackBurger with cheese and a side of fries. Add a hand-spun black & white shake and you’re set.
Happy food hunting in one of the best foodie cities in the world!