Best Restaurants to Eat Like a New Yorker in New York
By George Jack, a restaurant connoisseur with over sixty years’ worth of New York knowledge to his name.
Edited by Matthew Wears
I’m going to be honest with you, I really love food. In all shapes, all sizes, all kinds, it’s just one of the best things in the whole world isn’t it? It must have something to do with being brought up in one of the most exciting food capitals on the globe, and of course I’m talking about New York City here. I’ve been very lucky to have lived in The Big Apple my entire life, and in that time, I think I’ve actually came up with a pretty definitive list of where to find the best food in NYC, and believe me there’s a lot of places so in a way I’ve done the hard work for you! So here it is, my New York food guide, a comprehensive list of all my favourite joints that I know you’re going to love. I’m going to be sharing some of the best restaurants to eat like a New Yorker, which when you think about it, is a pretty broad term. I know one thing, New Yorkers love all kinds of food, with one of the most diverse populations anywhere on the planet, it’s probably not a surprise that you’re going to find pretty much any kind of food here! I Whatever your tastes, there’ll be a ton of places to eat in New York that are going to be just right for you, so let’s try and find them.
As I’ve said before, one of the things that makes New York so special for food is the fact that it has a history of celebrating all kinds of cultures and ethnicities. Take Katz’s Delicatessen for example, it’s a Jewish run deli down in lower Manhattan that’s been serving some of the best food in NYC for over a century. It’s been passed down through generations and claims to have the best pastrami in the city. And I can’t say I disagree on that, that stuff is incredible. It’s one of my must try restaurants in NYC because not only do you make your sandwich yourself, you can tell the guy who’s cutting the meat exactly what you want in there. Just please don’t ask for anything other than mustard on your sandwich or else you’re probably going to get some pretty bad looks, and you don’t even want to know what happens if you ask for white bread.
Now, usually I’m not into the fancy dining experience, I like my places to have a bit of character with an everyday sort of vibe, but I couldn’t make a list of the best restaurants in NYC without at least including one. Rue 57 is located up on, you guessed it, west 57th street, just a couple of blocks from Central Park. What I love most about it is that it’s got a really diverse menu with a great combination of French, American and Japanese flavours. It’s this unique atmosphere that is something that I look for in places to eat in New York, after all, there’s so many food joints why would you waste your time in somewhere mundane? This place has also got you covered at all times during the day, serving a truly excellent brunch menu with all the New York classics before switching to the evening menu where you’re going to find the more unusual concoctions.
The Time Square area sure does have a ton of places to get great food, but Bond 45 is the place I find myself coming back to because it produces some of the best food in NYC, specifically Italian food. This is one of the must go places to eat in New York to get that Italian-American vibe, they’ve not only got excellent meat and steak selection, but you’re also going to find some pretty world class pasta and antipasti here too! Not only this, but it’s got the best brunch NYC can offer. I’m not lying, the breakfast and brunch menu in this joint is a real favourite of mine, it’s the perfect place to start your day off before exploring the city. Personally, I’d say Bond 45 is really good if you’ve got kids because the menu is so big everyone’s sure to find at least something they like, even the fussiest of eaters, you know who you are!
If you’re really looking for the best restaurants to eat like a New Yorker, you’re going to have to go somewhere that’s totally connected to the city and its story, such as Lombardi’s, America’s oldest pizzeria that’s down in the vibrant lower Manhattan. This place was founded way back in 1905 so they know a thing of two about making a good pizza, their coal-baked bases are the stuff of legend and their tomato sauce is the best of the best. The pizza chefs still cook the pies in the exact same way they did one-hundred years ago, even the ingredients have remained the same so don’t come here expecting fancy toppings, it’s all old school in this joint, let me tell you. Lombardi’s is as authentic as it gets, this place should be on every New York food guide, as should pretty much everywhere in Little Italy, I really can’t think of many better things to do in NYC for food lovers.
The beauty of my city is that some of the best restaurants in NYC are in places you’d just never expect, like the totally unassuming Arthur’s Tavern, which is just over the water in New Jersey. I know this isn’t technically New York, but you can get there in no time at all and I think it’s a good idea to see somewhere less touristy on your travels. Arthur’s is known for one thing and one thing only; huge steaks, and I mean HUGE steaks, these things can be about the size of one of my arms and oh boy are they delicious. The place just looks excellent as well, it’s got a mix of traditional American restaurant with a bit an eccentric flare to it, so you’re just never going to get bored in there. If you’re searching for where to eat in NYC that’s aimed solely at meat lovers, then this is the place for you, believe me, I don’t know anywhere this good over in Manhattan.
Between Chelsea and Greenwich Village is the super cool Meatpacking District, an area of the city where choosing just one place to eat here is a difficult ask, so I’ve cheated just a little bit and chosen an entire market! I’m always looking for fun restaurants in NYC, and Chelsea Market has them in plentiful amounts, let me tell you, the place is like a gold mine of excellent food. Whether you want sushi, hamburgers, tacos or pizza, it’s all here under one big roof, waiting for you to come and devour it all before exploring the areas the buzzing nightlife scene. You could honestly make a New York food guide all about this one area, make sure you set aside a big chunk of your day here because you’ll be here for some time. The most popular places to eat here are mökbar, Los Mariscos and Creamline, but if I’m honest not one of these joints does bad food, so be adventurous!
Next up, we’re going to be going to the area that I know best; The Bronx. It’s a little-known fact that The Bronx has some of the best restaurants in NYC that serve seafood, and honestly, it’s crazy that more people don’t know about this. If you’re looking for things to do in NYC that are going to give you that real New Yorker vibe, then you just have to head over to City Island, there’s a whole load of places there where you can get absolutely any seafood you like and it’s probably going to be the best you’ve ever had. There’s this place called the Seashore Restaurant that’s just as you get onto the island, and I swear they give I so much food every time I go in there that I can’t finish is, and believe me, that’s saying something! This area is one of the best places to eat in New York, it’s just perfect to spend an evening here exploring all the excellent food.