My Favorite Dining Destinations

When friends and family come to New York City to visit, the first thing they usually ask is where to eat. I have so many favorite spots, and I will gradually try to include them all here. New York City is one hell of a place to eat!
Restaurants by borough and neighborhood
  • Brooklyn Bagel: Hands down my favorite bagel shop in Astoria. Arrive early on weekends to avoid the crowds. The strawberry butter is delicious, and I love that you can order regular or mini-sized (but still fairly large) bagels. The staff are always nice and helpful, even when it is crazy busy! 
  • Butcher Bar: If you are in the mood for delicious barbecue, look no further than Butcher Bar. Butcher Bar offers a variety of delicious comfort foods, and also sells organic, grass fed meats from their butcher counter. I especially enjoy their 50/50 sandwich (half pulled pork, half brisket), macaroni and cheese, and the green beans and bacon side dish. They have a awesome back garden open during the warmer months. BYOB. 
  • Kinship Coffee Cooperative: Kinship is the newest coffee shop in Astoria, located on 30th Avenue and Steinway. They serve a variety of delicious drinks using Stumptown Coffee. 
  • Leli's Bakery: Leli's recently opened on 30th Avenue, and makes the most delicious mini-Linzer cookies. I love popping in for their small cookies (sold by the pound), and fresh whole wheat breads. 
  • Leng: This is my favorite Thai restaurant in the neighborhood. Everything tastes very clean and fresh, and I have never ordered something I did not like. And who doesn't like a good plate of vegetable spring rolls and Pad Thai? I love taking people here when the weather is nice; the patio in the back is beautiful and quiet. 
  • Michael's: Great diner with great food. And it is open 24 hours a day! The french fries and mozzarella sticks are to die for. 
  • Milkflower: This new wood-fired pizzeria is a welcomed addition to the neighborhood. I especially love their toasts appetizer, kale pizza, and reasonable wine prices. 
  • Mojave: Mojave is the sister restaurant to Agave in the village, which is also good. It has great Mexican food and a large tequila menu. 
  • Queens Comfort: Queens Comfort lives up to its name, offering a huge selection of comfort food in an atmosphere that feels like home. Cash only, BYOB. 
  • Queens Kickshaw: I am obsessed with this place. Iced coffee by the jug (you buy a full jug for $11, and then bring it in for $8 refills), grilled cheeses inspired by the neighborhood, seltzer on tap, and a huge beer menu. Plus, the vibe and decor is right up my alley. Definitely check it out if you are in Astoria.
  • Rizzo's Fine Pizza Co.: Our favorite pizza spot in the neighborhood! Both the square and round pies are phenominal. 
  • sLICe: Slice recently opened a second location in Astoria on 30th Avenue. The pizza is delicious! I like to sometimes stop for a quick slice on my way home from work. 
  • Sorriso Italian Pork Store: This local Italian deli is one of my favorite places in Astoria. The employees are always friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. I love their homemade cured meats, espresso-crusted asiago cheese, and selection of pastas. Sorriso's carries a wide variety of high-quality Italian products. 
  • Sugar Freak: This New Orleans style restaurant offers a variety of comfort foods, including the most delicious popcorn pudding dessert. The decor is unique and adorable. 
  • Vesta Trattoria and Wine Bar: I crave Vesta's Papperdelle pasta with arugula, lemon, pine nuts, egg yolk, and parmigiano like it is my job. We have never been disappointed with our meals here. I appreciate their seasonal menus, intimate dining room, and reasonable wine prices.  

Hell's Kitchen
I lived in a carriage house on 51st Street and 9th Avenue for three years, and ate out several times a week with Brian around the neighborhood. 9th Avenue and the surrounding area is packed with restaurants, and most of them are great! 
  • Amy's Bread: There are a few Amy's Bread locations around the city, and they are all equally good. When I lived on 9th and my mom was in town, we would always grab breakfast here before heading out for a day of sight seeing. I recommend the cherry scones, the bread twists, and coffee. 
  • Arriba Arriba: Awesome Mexican restaurant- big margaritas (stick with the La Mama or El Papa sizes), great salsa, and absolutely delicious chimichangas. 
  • Daisy May's BBQ: Even though this is a little farther west than the others on the list, it is worth the walk! Everything at this casual, cafeteria style restaurant is phenomenal. I am obsessed with the pulled pork sandwich, creamy corn with cheddar, and mashed potatoes. My brother in law loves the food so much, he requests it in my carry-on every time I fly to Florida! 
  • Eatery: We loved eating here for both brunch and dinner. The mac and cheese is really yummy. I also really liked sitting outside at this restaurant; the people watching is fantastic on 9th! 
  • Masseria Dei Vini: We have loved every meal we have eaten here. The service is wonderful, the decor is elegant and simple, and the food is amazing! I love their homemade gnocchi and vanilla flavored ricotta cheesecake. 
  • BLT Steak: Brian and I went here for the first time for our fifth anniversary, and I have been craving it ever since. Our dining experience was phenomenal from the time we sat down until we were scraping our dessert plates clean. After your drink order is taken, warm popovers are delivered to your table along with a recipe card tied with ribbon so you can make them again and again at home. The popovers, along with the bacon appetizer, were enough to make this restaurant one of my new favorites. And the steaks were pretty amazing too. 
  • Bouchon Bakery: Whenever I am near Rockefeller Center I make a point to stop at Bouchon for a macaron or two. They have an additional location in the Time Warner shops in Columbus Circle. Their seasonal macaron flavors, such as peppermint or peanut butter and jelly, are unique and fun to try. I also love their raspberry almond croissants. 
  • Burger Joint: This is a NYC favorite for both locals and tourists. Tucked away in the corner near the concierge desk at the Parker Meridien Hotel, this burger place is packed from open to close. Be ready to order when you get to the counter, and make sure to get a shake and brown paper bag of fries in addition to a delicious burger. 
  • Norma's: This is the ultimate New York brunch experience. Make your reservations well in advance. I have eaten here many times, and have never been disappointed. I especially love the crunchy french toast as I sip coffee from the french press at my table. 
  • Redeye Grill: This restaurant connected Brian and I, so it has to be on my list. We worked together at the restaurant for a few years, and had many favorites on the menu. The guacamole and french onion soup is great and there are lots of great seafood options. The Redeye is a great place to stop for coffee and dessert after a show in the Theater District- make sure to try to banana cream pie!
  • Cafeteria: I have loved this restaurant since my freshman year at NYU back in 2003. After seeing it on an episode of Sex and the City, I was sure that it was the hippest place to be. And it still kind of feels that way. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is always bustling with an interesting mix of diners. I recommend the mac n'cheese (get the Mac Attack appetizer to sample all three kinds) and the spicy pork meatball sliders. 
  • Chelsea Market: I love taking visitors to Chelsea Market. There are many delicious food vendors inside, along with some great bakeries and coffee shops. Some of my favorite vendors are Lucy's Whey, Los Tacos No. 1, and Num Pang. 
  • Rocking Horse Cafe: My mom and I are both Mexican food lovers, and this is one of our favorite spots. Whether you are there for an early brunch or a late dinner, it always hits the spot. 
Lower East Side
  • Clinton Street Baking Company: Arrive early to avoid the hour-long wait for Clinton Street's famous pancakes and buttermilk biscuits. I love ordering their buttermilk biscuit sandwich with a side of sugar cured bacon. 
  • Doughnut Plant: Delicious doughnuts in unique flavors. My favorites are the peanut butter banana filled and peanut butter and blackberry jam filled. Doughnut Plant's square doughnuts give you filling in every bite! 
  • Fat Radish: The Fat Radish is a little gem tucked away on Orchard Street in the Lower East Side. The bright and rustic ambiance is just as delicious as the food. The menu includes a variety of small plates and entrees, with the main star being the selection of fresh organic vegetables. 
  • Freeman's: Freeman's is one of my favorite spots on the Lower East Side. Tucked away in a little alley strung with white lights, the restaurant offers an amazing dinner menu and delicious cocktails. I also recommend their brunch! 
  • Katz's Delicatessen: A New York City classic. Katz's pastrami on rye is delicious, and worth the wait. Don't let the blue tickets and rapid counter service intimidate you! Head right to the sandwich counter when you arrive and push your way to the front to get your order in. 
  • The Meatball Shop: Brian and I have enjoyed several lunches here and at their new Brooklyn location. Surprise surprise, I love their ice cream sandwiches as much as their amazing meatballs. Dry-erase menus make ordering a breeze. 
  • Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream: Morgenstern's offers a wide variety of classic and unique flavors. I highly recommend the salt and pepper pinenut! The shop is incredibly charming and the staff are always friendly. 
  • Sugar Sweet Sunshine: Hands down my favorite cupcakes in the city. The bakery offers a variety of flavors daily, and have some of the best cupcake prices in town. 

  • Brooklyn Bowl: The food at Brooklyn Bowl is just as amazing as the bowling! I love the Rock and Roll Fries and the fried chicken is also noteworthy. 
  • Fette Sau: Fette Sau is an amazing BBQ joint in Brooklyn. Their barbecue is dry-rubbed and smoked on site. Fette Sau uses all organic and/or small family farm heritage breed animals. The vibe is casual and the lines are often long. As long as you are prepared to wait, I highly recommend Fette Sau! 
  • The Meatball Shop: Brian and I have enjoyed several lunches here. Dry-erase menus make ordering a breeze! Ordering the sliders allows you to try a lot of flavors and sauces in one sitting. I also love their ice cream sandwiches as much as their amazing meatballs. 
  • Moto: Effortlessly cool, Moto is a place I could eat at all the time. The menu has so many appealing appetizers and entrees, plus a panini selection with some of my favorite combinations (brie, pear, and mixed greens gets me every time!). If you dine at Moto, make sure to order the date cake for dessert! Check ahead of time for the live music line-up as well. 
  • Reynard: Reynard, located in the Wythe Hotel, is a delicious option if you find yourself in Williamsburg. It is sophisticated without feeling too serious or stuffy. I love their brunch and am eager to return to try dinner there soon. Their menus are constantly changing, featuring high quality and seasonal ingredients. 
  • Brooklyn Mac: An entire take-out restaurant dedicated to my favorite food? Hell yes! Brooklyn Mac offers a variety of mac n'cheese meals, or you can create your own mac with their large list of add-in ingredients. 
  • Five Leaves: Brian and I had such an amazing date here, and I have been dreaming of the house made ricotta with figs, fresh thyme, honeycomb, and maldon sea salt ever since. Their truffle fries and burgers are also delicious! 
  • Peter Pan Donuts: Our absolute favorite good old fashioned donuts. We love the red velvet, sour cream glazed, autumn spice, and whole wheat donuts to name a few...
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