New York is a food lovers paradise with a mix of cuisines and prices happening around seemingly every corner. It’s easy to stuff and stomach while simultaneously emptying your wallet at a break-neck pace. For the weekend food tourist, it can be an overwhelming decision of where to go and what to splurge on. These are the essential tastes that can’t be missed, even if you’ll only be in New York for a couple of days.
Even now, ages after opening, David Chang’s slim little restaurant is packed at meal times. Afternoon is the perfect time to dip in for a little snack of those luscious pork belly steamed buns and a restorative post-flight glass of wine. Head over to Milk Bar across the street for some of that incredible Cereal Milk soft serve for a roaming snack. Also, consider grabbing a couple of those Birthday Cake truffles to bring home for your favorite house/cat/dog/kid sitter.
This new(ish) restaurant in the TriBeCa neighborhood is run by two restaurant veterans. Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson have cooked together at Balthazar, Minetta Tavern, Pastis and Schiller’s Liquor Bar. Those restaurants were under different ownership and this spot is entirely their own.
Unsurprisingly, the food is mostly French and entrees can creep up in price. Don’t be put off by the $68 roast chicken and instead head right for the sweetbreads or pasta that are more affordable and still luxurious.
This one is non-negotiable. There is nothing like a bagel in NYC and this iconic deli makes the best — with that good chew and tear texture on the outside, soft dough on the inside. Grab a number and cram inside with a little patience. This place is perpetually packed on the weekends, but the wait will be rewarded. A good amount of thick cream cheese laced with lox, onion, tomato, and capers is a hearty treat.
Make it a day of carb-celebrations of classics. The restaurant claims to be the first pizza in the states and generations of pies sold are hard to argue with. Grab a bite and get back out there for more walking and roaming. There’s much more to see before the weekend is over.
A super sweet treat is the kouigin aman at this pretty little bakery. The case is filled with gorgeous confections, this is the home of the cronut (forget about getting one – they always sell out ridiculously early.) Grab a sweet and something pretty for a snack, or dessert on a dinner picnic.
It’s been a long day of walking and people. Stop by this glorious cheese market for a few bites and some cured meats along with a couple cans of something cold before heading over to the nearby park. There’s always something going on over there and the people watching is truly spectacular. Lay down for a little rest and catch a few strains of music from the street musicians.
Drinks in NYC can be an expensive and rigorous endeavor (involving passwords and cranky doormen and it can honestly be a huge pain just to get the guys in the vest to pour something quick and tasty.) Head over to Porchlight for fantastic cocktails, easy vibes, and reasonable prices.
After a couple of Manhattans, it’s time to make some investments in a good morning and that means a trip to a Halal Guys stand. It’s a popular spot for piles of meat stuffed into a pita and slathered in their white sauce. (Resist the urge to grab extra packets for later. This is always met by bleary morning eyes wondering what those squishy little containers are doing in your pocket.)
If there’s time before packing up, stash your suitcase with the concierge and head over to Eataly for a fantastic cup of simple coffee or flawless espresso with a wedge of lemon. Take a little time to shop for souvenirs before packing it in.
Danny Meyer’s simple burger chain has spread across the country, but somehow, grabbing a burger at the JFK Airport location before leaving tastes better than any other juicy slab of meat could.
There is no shortage of fantastic places to eat on your next trip to New York City. The next time you are in town, use our guide to navigate the wonderful world of New York cuisine.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.