11 Restaurants to Check Out on your Next Trip to the Big Apple

11 Restaurants to Check Out on your Next Trip to the Big Apple

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I like to eat. And I’m guessing that you do too. But with New York City’s vast array of restaurant options with every type, quantity, style and price range of food available, how does one decide?

Currently, there are approximately 24,000 food establishments in Manhattan, a number that keeps on growing each and every month. Super crazy.

So I’ve decided to share my favorite restaurants in the city that I’ve wined and dined at over the years (lucky you!!!)

Barbecue: Hill Country

Mmmm meat. This is your place if you are a red meat fanatic and are looking for a laid-back atmosphere with the occasional live music. They also have chicken and pork, but c’mon, go for the real meat. It’s that good- splurge on the $100 special: It’s Always Bigger in Texas Combo.

And the sides are just as delicious and fun. Beer Braised Cowboy Pinto Beans, Longhorn Cheddar Mac & Cheese, or Texas Black-Eyed Caviar anyone?

Don’t forget to try the peanut butter and jelly cupcake! And they serve their drinks in mason jars, an added plus!

30 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10010
p: (212) 255-4544


It’s nearly impossible to visit New York and not have the best pizza you’ve ever had.  Trust me- I’ve managed to order pizza in just about every place I’ve ever been, and Manhattan style pizza is the best yet.  No competition.  Well, maybe besides Italy.

Patsy’s is one of those places you could go everyday and never get bored of their pizza.  Plus, you can eat a lot of it since the crust is perfectly thin and crispy.  Try their class margherita pizza, my absolute favorite.   Always freshly cooked in their coal-fired oven.

Don’t forget dessert! The best Tiramisu in the city is made at Patsy’s Pizzeria!

I don’t care what the reviews say on Yelp. They have been open for over 75 years for a reason.  I will keep coming back to this pizzeria until they run out of cheese!

Numerous Locations!

Yes, mac ‘n’ cheese does get it’s own category.  This is my blog- I get to make the calls!  This cheesy goodness is sure to melt away anyways worries.  (But you’re in NY, you shouldn’t have any worries!)  
With over 10 differnet options available, with ingredients including bacon, hamburger meat, andouille sausage, and shiitake mushrooms, there sure is something for everyone here.
Try out some of my absolute favorites:

Alpine: A swiss mac with gruyere and slab-bacon

Parisienne: Creamy Brie, roasted figs, roasted shiitake mushrooms & fresh rosemary
Cajun: Cheddar & Pepper Jack, andouille sausage, green pepper, onions, celery, garlic, and some Cajun seasoning
Napoletana: Fresh Mozz, roasted tomatoes, garlic, and fresh basil.  Just like a pizza!


Or opt for the sampler platter instead, with 8 mini irresistible portions of their best selling flavors.
All flavors can be served with either regular, multi-grain, or gluten free elbow macaroni.
And if you’re staying in a nearby hotel, delivery is available if you don’t want to get out of your PJs.
Locations Here – tip: go to the one on 3rd avenue and 33st- it is a LOT quieter and you will be able to find a seat in no time.

Italian: Serafina At the Time Hotel

I first ate here not too long ago thanks to a suggestion from a friend, and Serafina sure did not disappoint.  I will most definitely be back in the near future.

They specialize in authentic Northern Italian fare.  Their perfect meals are crafted with the finest, imported ingredients.

For starters, try the PROSCIUTTO & BUFALINE (imported Italian prosciutto from Parma with imported buffalo mozzarella), or the CARPACCIO DI FILETTO WITH BLACK TRUFFLE SAUCE (thin slices of raw Filet Mignon with warm truffle sauce & boiled potatoes).
Pick from one of their 20 pasta dishes, traditionally made al dente like in Italy, or opt for a main course.  Pizza is also available here, which looked superb sitting on the table next to ours.
Be sure to use the bathroom upstairs to check out the beautiful fish tank if you are wild about sea life like I recently became.  Or if you want to check out the club scene upstairs, which has no relation to the restaurant whatsoever.  The glass elevator is pretty cool too.

Location: 49th and Broadway

Burger Joint: Shake Shack

You can’t come to NY and not try these delectable burgers.  That would be a crime, and those NYC cops can be pretty nasty. Once just a lonely cart in Madison Square Park in 2003, now serving up the most delicious burgers, hot dogs, frozen custard, shakes, beer, wine and more.

All of their burgers are crafted with 100% all-natural Angus beef, vegetarian fed, humanely raised and source verified. No hormones or antibiotics – EVER. They pride themselves on sourcing incredible ingredients from like-minded artisanal producers. Expect to find top-notch food here.

No visit to Shake Shack is complete without some frozen custard, available in a different flavor each day. Check out their custard calendar to determine which day you indulge.
The Shack is currently adding locations on the east coast, but food is always better where it originated.

Steak House: Del Frisco’s

If you have some extra money sitting in your pocket on your trip, which seems pretty impossible after shopping on 5th ave, Del Friscos is the place to spend your left over cash.  

Originally opening up in Dallas more than 20 years ago, this fine steak house now serves its NYC customers an extensive award-winning wine list and unparalleled hospitality.

What makes this menu like no other?  The aged USDA Prime Beef.  They serve only the best hand-cut steaks, chops, and freshest seafood.  Opt for an Australian cold water lobster tail if you must!  All food is a la carte, making it possible for the customer to create their own perfect meal of mouthwatering appetizers, flavorful side dishes, and irresistible desserts, and obviously steak.

Del Frisco’s is the perfect place for a special occasion, a business affair, or simply, a night on the town.

1221 Ave. of the Americas
TEL: (212) 575-5129

Mexican: Rosa Mexicano

This was a toss-up between Rosa Mexicano and Dos Caminos, and ultimately, I couldn’t decide.

However, Martha Stewart dubbed this restaurant to have the world’s best guacamole, and therefore, making this difficult decision for me.  Celebrities are always right, right?  Oh wait, they’re not?  Whoops.

With three locations in the city, this festive restaurant serves its customers elevated Mexican cuisine with traditional dishes in fun and stylish atmosphere.

Don’t leave here without indulging in the Guacamole en Molcajete, made in a traditional lava-rock mortar and prepared tableside while throwing back a few pomegranate margaritas.

Chinese: Wo Hop

After waiting on a 30 minute line on the descending stairs leading to the restaurant, basically in the basement, you’ll wonder why I urged you to head all the way into Chinatown for some food. The restaurant looks a little run down and is always crowded, no matter the time of day.  The walls are covered in photos, some bearing autographs of famous people, while others are romantic photos of couples on their wedding day.

I guess there is a reason it has always been crowded since 1938, when the “hole-in-the-wall” first opened it’s doors.

But the food is tasty, cheap, and served quickly, making this an ideal place to pig out. They will also custom design orders (you can ask the waitors for anything you would like to eat, even if it’s not on the menu).

Don’t go to the wrong Wo Hop.  There are two “Wo Hop’s” on Mott Street, and make sure you go to the right one.  The ground-level restaurant (visible from the street), at 15 Mott Street, is easily seen and, this is NOT the one you want to go to.  Wait on the stairs to get the real experience.

My family has been loving this food for years, sometimes deciding at midnight to make the trek to 17 Mott Street.  If that tells you anything… about my family or the food, haha.

Special Occasion: Gramercy Tavern

Not sure if I’m biased or not, (the husband took me here the weekend we got engaged), but it was definitely the fanciest restaurant with the most luxurious food I’ve ever eaten.

Food here is contemporary, refined American cuisine. Executive chef Michael Anthony creates delectable, irresistible combinations, including first courses consisting of Beef Tartare and Butternut Squash Custard, with second courses of Smoked Monkfish, Roasted & Braised Lamb, and Pasture Raised Chicken & Sausage.

Lit by candles and dim copper sconces, the romantic scene is perfect for taking your honey out for a special occasion.  Or just feeling like a super star with your girlfriends.  Whichever you prefer.
There are two options for seating here, one in the Tavern, with the other being in the the more formal dining room.  In the Dining Room, there are wonderful tasting menus and an awesome prix-fix option as well.  Have some cheese plates and order some wine.  Spend the entire night here if you want.
Expect to spend big bucks here.  And eat dessert.  Heck, eat a few desserts.
We were even given snacks to bring home, as well as tasty muffins for breakfast the next morning. That’s the kind of treatment to expect at Gramercy Tavern.

42 E 20th St New York, NY 10003
(212) 477-0777

What foodie list is complete without a great option for brunch? Mimosas and bloody mary’s with french toast, waffels, and eggs? Count me in.

With organic fresh pressed juices to a Midnight Brunch, this local restaurant sure has something for everyone.
Portions are texas-sized and reservations are not accepted for brunch, so be prepared to share a meal and possibly wait for a little while.  But the buttery Paula Deen-ish food is worth the wait.


120 Hudson St New York, NY 10013
(212) 219-0666
Cheap Eats: Wafels & Dinges Food Truck
Manhattan can get kind of pricey for us budget travelers.  But that’s no excuse to fail your tongue for what it really wants- Wafels.  From Wafels & Dinges.  Yes, it is certainly a food truck, but no trip to NYC is complete without at least one visit to this sweet sweet food truck.  Don’t believe me?  Go try a wafel and then you can call me out on this. 

You pick out your warm belgium wafel, then decide upon your toppings (properly known as dinges), from belgium chocolate fudge and real maple syrup, to nutella and bananas.  You can even add ice cream to your wafel!  My absolute favorite (on a warm day)!

Not in the mood for the sweet stuff?  Try a savory one instead- they even have a pulled pork wafel, a bacon and syrup wafel, and a chili con corn wafel.  

This just means you can eat here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!  HOW FAB!

Now they even have a mini wafel, named a wafelini, for those who just want a quick bite.  But they’re really tiny.  A little too tiny if you ask me.  Go for the normal size, you won’t be disappointed.  

Just bring some napkins as this dish can get rather sticky.  With a food truck permanently in Central Park, it makes it easy to stuff your face, sit on a bench, and people watch all at the same time.  Exactly what NYC is all about. 

Oh Wafels & Dinges, you smell so good.  

My Favorite Location:
1 Columbus Cir New York, NY 10019(866) 429-7329

And expect more options to become available shortly; in just 10 years, the number of restaurants has increased by 42 percent in NYC.    

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  • Ashley says:

    Rosa Mexicano, Smac and Waffles & Dinges are the best!!! I'll have to try some of the others!!!!

  • Jessica says:

    I'm so glad that you included Mac 'N Cheese – it's so underrated, but it can be so tasty! I really want to try that restaurant.

  • Leslie Koch says:

    Great picks! I didn't know you could get a ginormous rib platter with Saltines in NYC. You learn something new every day 🙂

  • Jessica, great list! I'd like to share some of mine, briefly, if I may :)Burger Joint – Maggie Brown, BrooklynMexican – Dos CaminosBrunch – The Farm, BrooklynCheap Eats – Yakitori Taisho, Japanese street food on St. Marks.

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks! There were SO many to pick from, it was a pretty hard task just choosing one for each category!I love Dos Caminos as well, and that was definitely a toss-up for the mexican category. Thanks for sharing other restaurants- I'll have to try them out!

  • Nick Dariece says:

    You just made my mouth water with this post! We are currently living in China and there are no options for steaks, Mexican or Italian..only Chinese and Japanese food. Oh how I could go for some mac n' cheese or a steak right about now!Cheers 🙂

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