Ok, everyone. Big news. My top secret NYC Food and Drink Guide has been LEAKED!! Since I am all the way in the long lost land of Spain (and missing some of my fave NYC spots dearly), I thought that the only appropriate thing to do would be to share my list of absolute fave spots around the city. If I can’t be there to enjoy them, I want you to be able and enjoy them FOR me! On only one condition…
You MUST take a picture and share it with me so I can vicariously live through you 😉
So, here goes. Whether you’re a tourist visiting NYC for a quick few days, or a New Yorker looking to try some groovy new spots, my little black book should give you some hungry (and thirsty) foodspiration, from quick cheap bites to the celebration $$$ dinner after your new promotion. SO…
The Official NYC Food & Drink Guide: My little black book UNLEASHED.
If a thin-crust slice of pizza is a New Yorker’s best friend, a bagel would be a New Yorker’s boyfriend. I love this place, as every NY foodie does. The bagels are fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside….and the TOPPINGS. Now, I believe that a good bagel doesn’t need all the fancy fixings, just some good quality cream cheese. But THIS PLACE…This place is the exception. It’s your wildest dreams come true…in a bagel. Let the picture do the talkin’.
FIND IT: 165 Avenue A, Lower East Side
“Taïm” means tasty in Israeli, and that’s just what this is. A delicious Israeli lunch spot, known for its AMAZEBALLS homemade falafel, made with spices of your choosing. It’s always packed and nearly impossible to grab a chair, so expect to take your pita and smoothie to go! While I was interning, I would literally grab a big, delectable Falafel from Taïm EVERY DAY. Like, no kidding. Lunch time was actually lunch Taïm. DISCLAIMER: For all you carnivores out there, this place is vegetarian. But don’t let that deter you, ’cause seriously, once you bite into a hot, crispy falafel., you’ll be saying..”meat WHAT?”
FIND IT: 45 Spring St.
El Idolo ($)
A Mexican taco truck with the most amazing carnitas tacos and quesadillas you will ever try. We all know how much I luuuuuv me some Mexican, and this little truck is the joint. The complicated part? It’s a truck, so I can’t promise you it’ll always be there! However, this Queens originated taco haven on wheels has been parked in this Meatpacking spot for a couple of years now, so cross your fingers (and your tummy). Catch those tacos before they roll on outta here!
FIND IT (HOPEFULLY): W. 14th and 8th
Dumplings, dumplings, dumpling. Who doesn’t love ’em? Especially when they’re cheap, quick, and golden to a perfection. Pick from crispy fried or delicately steamed. And all of the meats are from an organic farm right here in Brooklyn! The menu isn’t huge, but it doesn’t need to be. My fave is the pork dumplings with Bok Choy, doused in their special tangy sauce. MmmmMMMmm. It might look trendy from outside the store fron, but Mimi is straight from China and all of her dumpling recipes are family secrets.
FIND IT: 179 Second Ave
Malt & Mold ($$)
CHEESE + BEER. What else does a person need? It’s my two favorite things in the whole wide world, rolled up into one adorably cozy little shop. Sighhhhh. Boy am I gonna miss this place. Here, you’ve got two options: Stay and get cozy, talk to the adorably hipster cheese cuttin’ ladies, order yourself a nice platter sampling of cheeses, or a gourmet sandwich filled with whatever-the-heck kinda’ cheese you can dream up. Order a pint of beer you’ve never heard of, and sit back & relax. Or stand, cause there’s not many chairs! (This place reminds me of albacerias in Spain!) Or, choose the to-go option. Fill up a growler with some craft beer straight from the tap and drank’ it judgement free at home, and accompany it with a healthy lookin’ slab of freshly cut cheese to store in your fridge for later. Or do both.
FIND IT: 362 2nd Ave.
La Colombe ($)
This is my fave little coffee shop in all of NYC. And that says A LOT, considering I am a serial coffee shop loiterer (but then again I write a blog, so where else do you expect me to do my work 😉 ). If you like amazing coffee, hipster baristas who make amazing coffee, and people watching the most trendy, cool looking people you’ve ever seen in your life…then this is your spot. If you wanna fit in, grab a vintage book that looks like it’s from 1932, and pair it with some psychedelic-lookin’ Johnny Depp glasses. You’ll have the time of your life.
FIND IT: 75 Vandam St (Nolita)
The sit down stuff, add a couple of $$.
This little Venezuelan restaurant is my SPOT. Hidden in the depths of Williamsburg, Brooklyn (but super accessible as it’s only one metro stop away from Manhattan), I would eat arepas from here every day if I wouldn’t look like an oompa loompa. Read the whole post dedicated to this place to find out more, a drool a little.
FIND IT: 291 Grand St, Brooklyn
Cherin Sushi ($$)
My sushi spot. This tiny little nook-in-the-wall BYOB joint hooks it up with killer sushi dishes, at a killer price. And, for you cost-conscious drinkers like myself…it’s BYOB! So that automatically knocks off $10 plus. More sushi, anyone?
FIND IT: 306 E 6th St
Las Ramblas ($$)
Spanish food with a trendy NYC twist. Read the post, people. And get excited for some bangin’ tapas.
FIND IT: 170 W. 4th St.
Spice Market ($$$)
(As seen in the pic above). I could literally sit you down on a chair, and talk your ears off for hours about about how freakin’ amazing this place is. The concept is Southeast Asian street food meets culinary genius. And that’s exactly what the infamous Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is. The combo of the exotic music, dim lighting, and rustic yet trendy decor makes this place not just a restaurant, but an experience. I love bold flavors, unidentifiable seasonings, and SPICE. And baby, this place has got it. NOTE: This is my priciest restaurant on the list, but it’s totally worth it. I happily save a weeks earnings just to go here. YEA.
FIND IT: 403 W. 13th St.
Lombardi’s Pizza ($)
Pizza is a NY staples. An icon, if you will. And this place is my favorite. ‘Nuff said. . There are a handful of classic, iconic, pizza joints dispersed throughout the city, but Lomardi’s is my fave. It’s the perfect euphoric cross between that classic, thin-crust NY style pizza, and what the Italian’s brought over to NY a century ago: Huge thin crust slices, yet with fresh, stretchy mozzarella and the freshest of fresh tomatoes and basil. OhhhHH baby.
FIND IT: 32 Spring St.
Di Fara’s ($)
Be prepared to head to the depths of Brooklyn, wait on a 45 minute line, and devour within 1 minute. Is it worth the wait? Hellz to the YES. While this isn’t the “classic NYC pie,” it’s an adaptation of the original Naples pie and the thin slice NY pie. The ingredients are as fresh as a flower, and the guy makin’ it? His name is Mr. Dom Demarco, and he’s been working the same brick oven since 1965, when he came to NYC from Naple’s. Yea. This pizza is made with skill, and amore.
FIND IT: 1424 Avenue J, Brooklyn
Sal & Carmine’s ($)
The classic, classic NYC slice. Not to mention, one of the only slices left in the city made by actual ITALIANS. It started as a family run business, in the 1900’s, and it still is. If you wanna try a good ol’ classic slice of NYC pizza, you gotta go here!
FIND IT: 2671 Broadway, Manhattan
It’s like a grown-ups playground. Great drinks, an outdoor patio, bangin’ weekly specials…and a playground!! Well, the grown-up equivalent. There’s cornhole, a designated beer pong table, table tennis, the works. I literally spent 8 hours straight frolicking around this place, from mid-afternoon, through sunset, to late night. And I never got bored.
FIND IT: 45 S 3rd St, Brooklyn
In the summer, this is THE spot. It’s got an awesomely awesome outdoor back patio, where you might even forget that you’re in crazy NYC for about 7 seconds. Every Saturday of the summer, there are live music shows on the outdoor stage, where hipsters from every nook and cranny of the city come out to jam and sip on some ice cold Brooklyn beer. Not only is there an outdoor bar, but an outdoor TACO TRUCK. Yes. In the bar. Love is possible, people. Don’t sell this place short in the winter either, cause there’s two always bumpin’ rooms inside too. One where you’re sure to dance, and one where you’re sure-er to drink.
FIND IT: 484 Union Ave, Brooklyn
Awesome micro-brewery in a former warehouse. Grab a good group of peeps, plop down, and order high quality hops until you can’t hop no more.
FIND IT: 113 N 3rd St, Brooklyn
Close your eyes, and remove yourself from the 21st century. Now, imagine it was 1922. Prohibition laws are in full swing, and hidden speakeasies are popping up in the underground depths of the city faster than the speed of light. BUT, the only way you find these speakeasies? You followed the jazz. You listened for the sound of the trumpet leaking its way from underground, out the door and up to the streets. Now, open your eyes: You’re in Zinc Bar. Grab a fancy cocktail, set yourself down on a plush red velour couch, and admire the jazz musicians playing their soul out to everyone in the bar.
FIND IT: 82 W 3rd St, New York City
If you want something completely opposite of Zinc Bar, this is it. This Caribbean bar is characterized by vibrant colors, jolly bartenders, and pounding Caribbean jams. Be prepared to dance, people.
FIND IT: 132 W Houston St, New York City
This was my neighborhood spot, and yes- all the bartenders (and even the chef- shout out to GP!) knew me by first name. I just adore this place, and I can’t put my finger on why. It probably has something to do with the chic yet homey decor, smiling (and extremely talented) bartenders, and the amazing handcrafted apps. Oh, and the hand made cherries soaked in pure love. When you go to the bar, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Tell Alex and Tomas that Casie sent you there! 😉
FIND IT: 367 3rd Ave
Any night of the week, pianos is sure to kill. It’s got a retro vintage feel, with an emphasis on live music in the first floor backroom. However, don’t get fooled! The second floor gets pretty rowdy with everything from rap & hip hop, to old school r & b and new school EDM.
FIND IT: 158 Ludlow St, New York
I rarely say I want go “clubbing.” But if I’m going, I’m putting on my party shoes and going to The Jane. It’s classy without being too classy, plays awesome music that anyone can get crazy and break a sweat on the dance floor to, and it attracts a mixed crowd of everyone from NYU college students, Wall Street finance brokers, to international ballers.
FIND IT: 113 Jane St, New York
So there you have it! All my neighborhood spots, REVEALED. Now that I’ve told you all my deepest, darkest, hungriest secrets, it’s your turn to spread the gossip…tell everyone you know! I won’t be mad you told 😉 But if you go…you must take a picture, share it with me, and say…CHEESE!
Have you been to any of these spots before? What are you dying to try?! Let’s talk about it!
To download this article on iTunes as a GPS-guided tour, click here!