The Big Apple. The city that never sleeps. The melting pot. One of the most international cities in the world. In its eight-mile radius, New York houses over 26,000 thousand restaurants, and it has always set a high bar for cuisine. It’s a melting pot, famous for its pizza, its bagels, its cheesecake, and, of course, its fine dining. It’s one of our favorite cities in the world.
Together we have compiled all our New York favorites in this foodie map. You’ll find lots of pizza, natural wine bars, high-end restaurants, and, of course, the best bagels in town. Navigate the map easily either by scrolling through the list on the right or by clicking the points on the map. Places are listed in geographical order.
Maybe it’s something in the water, maybe it’s magic. Whatever it is, it’s undeniable that New York is home to the world’s best bagels. And since Absolute Bagels is the best bagel shop in New York City, it therefore must be the best in the world. These are just facts, folks. Kaitlin was lucky enough to live on the Upper West Side during her college years, mere blocks from this no-frills bagel shop. (An appreciation for great bagels may be the most important thing she took away from Columbia University.) Kaitlin’s go-to order is simple: an everything bagel with plain cream cheese. Anders tried a few different variations, and also recommends getting an everything bagel, but he likes his with lox (smoked salmon) and dill and chives cream cheese. If you time it right in the morning, you can snag a fresh, hot one. (A bagel this fresh does not need toasting.) Important to note: this bagel shop is one of the few places left in this world that is still cash only.
Upper West Side newcomer Mama’s Too stole our hearts this year with their incredible square pizza. The toppings change seasonally - most recently we were obsessed with the elote pizza, but our other two favorites are the cacio e pepe and the vodka slice. These squares are almost like focaccia (doughy, crispy, with a caramelized crust) and everything is made fresh and served till it runs out. You don’t wanna miss this spot – it’s our favorite pizza in NYC!
You’ve probably seen them on Instagram: the enormous chocolate chip cookies, crispy on the outside with a gooey cookie dough center. They might be Insta-famous, but Levain Bakery is so much more than a social media fad – these gigantic sweet treats are really the best cookies in the world. The chocolate chip walnut cookie is the most popular, but don’t sleep on the dark chocolate peanut butter and oatmeal raisin cookie (Kaitlin's personal favorite). The original location is on the Upper West Side on 74th street, and while you should walk by to see the cute storefront, Levain has several locations around NYC now. You can avoid the long queues by heading a couple blocks north to their larger location on 77th street.
One of the toughest tables to snag in New York right now is the Korean fine dining concept Atomix, from chef Junghyun Park and restaurant manager Ellia Park. The husband and wife duo put so much heart into their restaurant, proudly introducing their culture to America in a way we’ve never seen it before. Gone are the days when Korean food is constrained to KBBQ joints or strip malls - this is thoughtful, refined cooking on a very high level. This year Atomix was awarded two Michelin stars, and entered The World’s 50 Best list at no. 119. We’re excited to watch them climb the list in the years to come – this is one of our favorite restaurants in NYC!
Currently ranked no. 4 on The World’s 50 Best Bars list (2019) is the NoMad, located inside the Flatiron hotel of the same name. Saddle up on one of the bar stools in The Elephant Bar to watch the action from the bartenders, or sink into one of the plush velvet booths. If you’re looking for a more intimate space, check out The Library, which is lined with leather chairs and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Wherever you sit, you’ll feel transported back in time at this glamorous establishment, and the cocktails are sure to dazzle you. This is not your ordinary hotel bar.
What makes a restaurant the “best” in the world? Is it the food? Dishes from an extremely talented chef that delight and surprise your palate? Is it the teamwork? The front of house staff moving in perfect synchronization, as if performing a beautiful choreographed routine? Is it the ambience? Is it the way the restaurant makes you feel? Completely relaxed and treated like the most esteemed guest? Eleven Madison Park, previously named the world’s best restaurant by The World’s 50 Best, possesses all these qualities and more. Chef Daniel Humm has crafted an absolutely magical dining experience from start to finish. While it’s hard to pick just one favorite dish, the signature honey lavender duck is definitely a standout.
If you find yourself a little thirsty, venture down into the basement of fancy Korean BBQ restaurant Cote. There you will discover Undercote, with Norwegian bartender Sondre Kasin at the wheel. You pretty much cannot go wrong on the cocktail list, but a couple of our favorites are the Purrrfect, a fresh sour lemonade with a minty bitter touch, and the magical, color-changing butterfly pea cocktail with gin, vermouth, and apple. The best part? This cocktail bar also has wagyu and tangy chicken nuggets on the bar snacks menu!
How cool is it that one of the world’s best restaurants (no. 23 on The World’s 50 Best list 2019) can have such a fun, chill vibe without losing anything in terms of quality and hospitality? Young female chef Daniela Soto-Innes and her mentor Enrique Olvera have won many awards for the positive environment she cultivates in her kitchen, and the good vibes are definitely tangible at Cosme. The team’s happy energy bleeds into the dining room, and into the food. Signature dishes include the Pujol mole, the duck carnitas, and the corn husk meringue with corn mousse, a one-of-a-kind dessert with a nice sweet and savory balance.
For the best donuts in New York, head to restaurateur Danny Meyer’s all-day café. Here you’ll find donuts of the “cruller” variety – an eggy, popover-like, Yorkshire pudding-esque donut with a signature swirly shape. Our favorite flavors is the cinnamon sugar cruller, which reminds us a lot of a churro: crunchy on the outside with a soft center. Go before 10am – they will sell out! This is also the only place in New York where you can find Salt & Straw ice cream (for sale by the pint).
New York’s newest ice cream shop is from restaurateur Danny Meyer’s daughter, Hallie Meyer. Her love of Italy inspired her to open a gelato shop, serving creative and constantly rotating flavors, such as pistachio and brown butter fig. Don’t forget to add “panna” (whipped cream) on top!
If you’ve watched the Chef’s Table Pastry series, you’re probably familiar with pastry chef Christina Tosi. She’s famous for creating the cereal milk soft serve (served with a cornflake crunch), the layered funfetti cakes (without icing on the side), the Compost Cookie, and the buttery Milk Bar pie (the artist formerly known as “crack pie”). Tosi’s dessert empire has now expanded beyond its original New York outpost to include locations across the U.S and one in Canada.
East Village's tiniest, and coolest wine bar, is about the size of a hallway. Grab a seat at the bar if you can (there's really no space for standing room) and try a glass of something orange – Ruffian has the largest list of skin contact wines in NYC! They serve some delicious small plates here, but, if you're looking for more food, head a few blocks down the street to their new restaurant Kindred for handmade pasta and more natural wine.
Although they’ve expanded to become a nationwide chain, Magnolia Bakery started out as a small, independent bakery in the West Village, and their original storefront is well-worth a visit. Their cupcakes and other sweets are good, but it’s the banana pudding you’re here for. It’s not much to look at, but it’s an absolutely delicious carton of vanilla pudding, bananas, whipped cream, and Nilla wafers.
For the best hot chocolate in New York (dare we say the world?), head on over to the brand new Wonderbon Chocolate Co. The founder is Maury Rubin, who previously ran City Bakery, a New York institution for hot chocolate and baked goods, which sadly closed its doors (after 28 years!) in 2019. Maury's hot cocoa is incredibly rich, not too sweet, with a creamy, velvety texture. If you’re in town in Februrary, be sure to check out their annual hot chocolate festival, when they have a different flavor hot chocolate every day of the month (peanut butter, coconut rum, chili pepper, etc.).
We’ve been long-time fans of The Shack, but on our most recent trip to NYC we got to visit the Shake Shack Innovation Kitchen, where the executive chef and culinary director of the brand test new burger ideas and seasonal specials. While in the Innovation Kitchen, we got to try the Seattle-exclusive “Montlake Double Cut,” a double cheeseburger with jack cheese, caramelized onions, and mustard mayo. We also had a Shack Burger fresh from the griddle (best fast food burger in the game) and some new shakes still in the testing phase. If you visit the Innovation Kitchen location, you just might be the first to taste some new menu items, but if you want to visit the original Shake Shack location, head to the string light-illuminated stand inside Madison Square Park.
A lot of people assume you have to be a fine dining, tasting menu restaurant to make it onto The World’s 50 Best list. While a lot of the best chefs in the world do choose to showcase their creativity in a formal setting, some flaunt their culinary skills at simple wine bars. Chef Ignacio Mattos of Estela choose the latter option. Although you probably should still make a reservation at Estela, you don’t need to set your alarm months in advance to snag a seat here. (Dare I say, you could even walk in and sit at the bar?) Estela has really simple dishes with punchy flavors - our favorites were the burrata, salsa verde and charred bread; the endive salad; and the ricotta dumplings with mushrooms and pecorino. Of course, with a glass or two of natural wine.
If you see a line down the street in Soho, you’re in the right place. The shop is located, you guessed it, on Prince Street, and is home to maybe the most famous pepperoni slice in the world. The walls are proudly plastered with pictures of celebrities – even the rich and famous can’t get enough of this pie. Prince St. serves a lot of different pizzas, but you’re here for their signature Sicilian-style slice: a thick, chewy square, baked in an oiled-pan which gives the airy crust its signature crispiness around the edge. The cheese is melted directly onto the dough, with the sauce poured on top to prevent the dough from getting soggy. Last but certainly not least come the ‘roni cups, delicious little grease traps filled with olive oil.
The finest ice cream in New York can be found at Morgenstern’s. All of their ice creams are made in extremely small-batches, and stored in small, individual tubs. The texture is perfectly creamy, and the toppings are mixed in after you order. Morgenstern’s has really creative yet focused flavors – simple combinations that are unique without being over-the-top or gimmicky. Try the burnt sage, lavender agave vanilla, banana curry, or chocolate oat (Kaitlin’s favorite). We love the original location on Rivington Street on the Lower East Side, but they also recently added a second location on Houston Street.
Pizzaiolo Anthony Mangieri started his pizza career with a shop in the East Village, relocated it to San Francisco (where Kaitlin first tried his pie), and just moved it back home to New York City. There’s no mistaking that it’s some of the best Neapolitan pizza you can find in the world, and that’s simply the result of an extremely dedicated chef. Tony himself has committed to making every pie, until the dough runs out each day. The co-owners of Contra and Wildair invested in the latest version of the restaurant, and added some small plates, desserts, and a killer natural wine list.
I’ll have what she’s having! Katz’s Deli’s legendary reuben with pastrami (made famous by the movie “When Harry Met Sally”) is so good you’ll moan – stacks of heavenly, delicious, freshly-cooked pastrami slices, sauerkraut, and melted cheese on rye. Although Katz’s is extremely popular with visitors, it’s so much more than a tourist spot – it’s actually the best pastrami in town. Of course, we sat where Harry met Sally. On Saturdays, this Lower East Side hotspot is open 24 hours!
For a cool Lower East Side hangout, check out Wildair, the more casual younger sibling of Michelin-starred Contra (located next door). Wildair has a fantastic natural wine list and really tasty small plates, but it’s the desserts that are on another level here. The chocolate hazelnut tart was one of the most memorable desserts for us this year: a velvety soft mousse with a sprinkle of sea salt to balance the sweetness. But don’t skip the panna cotta and grape granita or the almond mille feuille – order all the desserts!
This Nolita wine shop has an emphasis on natural and organic wines. They have one of the best selections in town, with bottles from a lot of our favorite producers, including Gabrio Bini, Partida Creus, Costadila, Bodega Cueva, Claus Preisinger, Christian Tschida, Frank Cornelissen, Frukstereo, and Anders Fredrik Steen. How do you choose?!
We seriously wanted to stay forever in our one-bedroom suite at the Crosby Street Hotel in Soho. This hotel has a chic vintage feel, with a modern eclectic interior design by Kit Kemp. Lots of fun and colorful prints and textiles line the guest rooms, and there’s a dog theme throughout the hotel. With spacious suites and even a fireplace in your living room, this is a hotel that feels like home.
If you’re looking for a great brunch spot in a relaxed, homey setting, check out the adorable French bakery, Maman. They have a few locations spread out around New York, but they’re all easily identifiable if you recognizable their signature navy and white floral wallpaper. Some shops only offer pastries and coffee, and some have a full brunch menu with dishes like nectarine waffles and breakfast sandwiches. The lavender hot chocolate and chocolate chip macadamia nut cookie are the absolute must-orders.
This TriBeCa French bistro is so much more than a wine bar, it’s a full-fledged restaurant, and yet, their completely natural wine list is so good that we’ve actually only come here for a bottle at the bar! While we can’t attest to the greatness of Frenchette’s food (we’ve heard good things!), we can highly recommend their wine program. Their insane list includes the largest selection of Gabrio Bini we’ve seen outside of Pantelleria (they even have the pet nat!), Christian Tschida, Escoda-Sanahuja, No Control, and pretty much every bottle Matassa has ever made.
Tucked away in Manhattan’s Financial District, The Beekman is a hidden gem. What an incredibly gorgeous hotel! It’s luxurious while still being cozy, with a classy and modern industrial style. For the best view of the nine beautifully designed floors, look up from the lobby restaurant at the tiers of balconies leading up to the skylight roof.
Some of the most beloved dumplings in New York can be found on Bowery Street, at Lan Zhou. Get one order of dumplings boiled and one fried – we love the crunch of the pan-fried version, but the boiled dumplings have a delicious way of soaking up the chili sauce. The handmade noodles are also a signature here, so don’t leave without trying some of the knife-cut, stir-fried beef noodles.
Kaitlin’s first time ever trying xiaolongbao (steamed soup dumplings) was at Joe’s Shanghai, one of the city’s most popular Chinese restaurants. The dumplings here are legendary, drawing long lines of tourists and locals alike, and with good reason – they’re easily some of the best dumplings in New York.
While on a food crawl in Chinatown, we stumbled into XO Kitchen – a local favorite for Hong Kong-style dim sum. The place itself is nothing special, but the pan-fried shrimp and pork dumplings make it worth a visit. Cash only!
You don’t need a lot of money to live like a king in New York. For three dollars you can ride the subway. For three dollars you can get the city’s best everything bagel with cream cheese. Or for three dollars you can get the famous peanut butter noodles from Shu Jiao Fu Zhou. Long, stretchy noods tossed in a rich and creamy sauce of soy and peanut butter. Who said money can’t buy happiness?
One of the best bars in the world (no. 7 on the 50 Best Bars 2019 list) is located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. That is, if you can find it… This speakeasy has no menu – instead, you simply describe what kind of drink you’re in the mood for to your bartender, and he whips up something made especially for you. Kaitlin asked for something fresh and sour and received a bright yellow drink that they named “The Sunflower,” a cocktail with citrus, rum, and a touch of saffron.
We can’t stay away from Scandinavian cooking, even when we’re in the US! Swedish chef Fredrik Berselius’ tasting menu showcases innovative twists on Nordic classics, such as langoustine with violets, potato pancake with pommes soufflé and a roe emulsion, and their signature mushroom fudge-filled aebleskiver with woodruff syrup. There’s so much “hygge” at this cozy Brooklyn restaurant, a focus on sustainability, and great natural wines. Aska has had two Michelin stars since 2016.
Chef Missy Robbins' latest pasta endeavors are happening on the trendy Williamsburg waterfront. Misi serves some of the best pasta we’ve had in a long time, and it’s one of the most exciting recent restaurant openings in NYC. Our two favorite pastas were the occhi, cute little pillows of perfection filled with ricotta and topped with bottarga and lemon, and the brown butter tortelli filled with spinach and mascarpone. Don’t leave without ordering the whipped ricotta crostini and the slow roasted tomatoes topped with hot honey. We washed down our pasta with a bottle of “Orange” – one of our favorite natural wines, from Pantelleria, Italy.
Sunday in Brooklyn is of the best brunch spots in New York and the home of the fluffiest of pancakes: the malted pancakes with hazelnut praline and brown butter. When given the option to order 1, 2, or 3 pancakes, we obviously went for the triple stack. But don’t leave without ordering the maple cheddar biscuit – it’s sweet, salty, and our favorite thing on the menu.
If you’re looking for a great cup of coffee in a stunning setting, Devoción is the place for you. A living plant wall is the backdrop of this gorgeous Williamsburg café, and antique furniture and rugs line the spacious, warehouse-like room. Devoción is home to some of the best coffee in New York, with a focus on Colombian beans. They do everything themselves – their team is on site in Colombia to harvest and export the beans, before finally roasting them in Brooklyn. While Williamsburg houses the original café and roastery, Devoción has added shops in Downtown Brooklyn, NoMad, and the Flatiron District.
This neighborhood wine shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn carries natural and organic wines, "celebrates farmers and friends," and spins records while slinging wine in their cute shop. On the shelves, you’ll be tempted by the likes of Gut Oggau, Christian Tschida, Matassa, Frank Cornelissen, Le Coste, and even Gabrio Bini. Yup, that pretty much covers all our bases!
This trendy Williamsburg natural wine bar was just awarded a Michelin star! We haven’t tried their food yet, but we can attest to their killer wine list – it’s one of the best in New York. Be warned – the wine prices are a little steep, but the cool vibe ensures this is a place we come back to every time we’re in NYC.
Waking up in a cotton candy pink robe with a view of the NYC skyline from our balcony – it really doesn’t get better than this. The trendy Williamsburg Hotel is situated in Brooklyn’s coolest neighborhood amidst some of the best shops and restaurants, and the hotel is outfitted with a sleek bar, a rooftop pool, and a dance club, which is located inside the water tower atop the hotel.
Even after a trip to Tokyo, we can honestly say that the best tonkotsu-style ramen we’ve had is from Ichiran, a Japanese ramen chain with several locations in New York. The space is designed for solo diners – guests sit at counter seats, “flavor concentration” booths, isolated from other guests and even from the waiters. This setup, which is very common in Japan, allows you to focus only on the flavors and to eat your ramen without distraction. You place your order by filling out a form specifying how you want your noodles cooked, your desired spice level, and if you want to add any additional toppings. You slide the order form under the roll-up curtain in front of your seat, and minutes later your customized ramen bowl appears in its place. Ichiran’s signature broth is incredibly rich and creamy, balance with just the right amount of heat. The noodles are extremely thin and incredibly slurp-able.
This iconic Bushwick pizzeria looks like a grungy dive bar on the outside – the entrance is wallpapered with stickers and graffiti, and the building itself feels like an abandoned warehouse, with shipping containers as makeshift walls. But the space has charm, in a rock and roll sort of way, and, despite the no-frills venue, Roberta’s still draws a three-hour line for their pizza. (To avoid the wait, we recommend going during lunch on a weekday!) Once you snag a seat, you’re going to want to order the signature “Bee Sting” pizza, topped with mozzarella, large slices of soppressata, and a drizzle of hot honey. In the summer, the big backyard with communal tables and a bar is a super fun spot to hang outside with a glass of natural wine.
There’s no shortage of pizza and natural wine joints in Brooklyn, but Ops Pizza happens to be one of our favorites. The pizza here leans Neapolitan, with a very fluffy sourdough base and modern, creative toppings. The potato, ricotta, and broccoli rabe pie stood out as a favorite. Ops’ insane wine list includes bottles from Partida Creus, Lammidia, Christian Tschida, Matassa, Le Coste, Escoda-Sanahuja, and Anders Fredrik Steen.
This super cute Prospect Heights wine shop has a mix of classical and natural wines. We scored and found a magnum of Gut Oggau Theodora here, as well as a rare Christian Tschida bottle with an illustration of a naked lady through a keyhole on the label.
The best burger in the world is found at a pizza restaurant in Brooklyn. What makes it so perfect? The Emmy Burger is made with extremely high quality meat (dry-aged and perfectly cooked medium rare) in one big, juicy patty; a healthy amount of melted cheddar cheese; sweet, caramelized onions; a fluffy yet sturdy bun that tastes like a brioche and pretzel bun hybrid; and a slightly spicy sauce that brings all the flavors together. It’s sweet, it’s salty, it’s an umami bomb exploding in your mouth. It’s not a cheap burger (it costs $27 USD), but it’s worth every penny. Emily now has a couple locations, including Manhattan outposts, and a few offshoots called Emmy Squared, but each shop has a burger that’s unique to that location. Only the original Emily in Clinton Hill serves this EXACT version of the Emmy Burger. Pro tip: only a limited number of burgers (twenty five) are made daily – and they sell out. To ensure you get your hands on one, make a reservation for dinner when they open at 5:30pm, or for Sunday brunch when they serve an unlimited number of burgers.
Olmsted is the neighborhood restaurant you wish was in your ‘hood. This cozy Brooklyn spot serves really creative fare like rutabaga “tagliatelle” with truffles and brown butter, fried squash donut rings, uni + sweet potato pierogies, and carrot crepes. Every dish is super tasty, while still feeling healthy and light. We ended our evening with lavender frozen yogurt and homemade s’mores by the fire pit in the backyard.
Across the street from Olmsted, you’ll find Chef Greg Baxtrom’s latest venture: a French bistro/Japanese yakitori hybrid. At the center of this fun cultural fusion, you’ll find flavorful barbecued skewers with a French flair, katsu sandos, and okonomiyaki – dishes inspired by Chef Greg’s travels abroad. The duck a l'Orange is a clever contemporary tsukune (traditionally chicken meatball skewers) made with duck meat, and the egg yolk has been replaced by a sphere made of orange juice.
It’s an easy 45 minute train ride up to Tarrytown, New York, where Chef Dan Barber has his world-famous farm and restaurant (no. 28 on The World’s 50 Best list in 2019). Maybe you saw his episode on Netflix’s Chef’s Table? The tasting menu changes daily, even table by table, depending on what’s available on the farm, but Blue Hill at Stone Barns is so much more than your typical farm-to-table restaurant. Chef Dan Barber has worked with seed breeders to grow the exact type of vegetables he wants to cook with, for example, his Habanada peppers (with all the chili flavor but no heat), and his Badger Flame Beets (with all the sweetness but no earthiness). This meal was an eye-opener for how tasty pure vegetables can be! In 2019, Blue Hill at Stone Barns was finally awarded the long-deserved two Michelin stars.