Where We Ate in New York City | NYC FOOD GUIDE

Last week I went to NYC for the first time... and only had 2.5 days there. This meant cramming in the best of what the city had to offer including, of course, the famous pizza, bagels and cronuts in between all of the city sights. 🗽

This is by no means a "best places to eat in NYC" guide, as I was only there for 2.5 days. That being said, we went to some pretty cool places including some of the most famous ones, so here's my $0.02 (so American - I've always wanted to say that haha). 

Dominique Ansel Bakery

The birthplace of the cronut! A doughnut x croissant hybrid, resulting in a beautiful flaky doughnut-shaped pastry filled with ganache. If you want to try one of these babies, you need to get there when the store opens. Luckily for us, we were super jet-lagged and ended up waking up at 5am anyway. Once you get there, there's a list of rules to follow (lol): they're $6, no cutting the line (read: queue) and only two cronuts per person. 

There's only one cronut flavour which changes monthly. September's was plum and toasted almond ganache and it was absolutely incredible - buttery, flaky, rich and sweet. We also tried their pain au chocolat which were out of this world ($5.50). If you want to try one but don't want to hop across the pond to get one, the famous New York bakery opened a location in London a couple of years ago. They're very, very sweet so we would only recommend one max per person.

189 Spring St (Soho)

Joe's Pizza

Everyone knows that NYC is famous for takeaway pizza by the slice. Joe's is consistently in the top 10. It was opened by Joe Pozzuli, an Italian man originally from Naples, the birthplace of pizza. 75 years later, he still owns and operates the place.

It's popular with both tourists and local New Yorkers and it's not hard to see why. The pizza is incredible - one of the best ones we have ever eaten! At $3.50 for a slice of margherita, it's both cheap and cheerful. It's thin, has a super crispy base and a good amount of cheese on it without being overwhelming. It's perfect.  

Various - we went to 7 Carmine Street (Greenwich Village - the original one)

TAO Downtown

This is one of the coolest restaurants I've been to in a long time. As soon as you enter, you go down a long corridor with a dragon scale patterned screen and Chinese calligraphy murals mounted on brick walls. You then get to the main bit of the restaurant which is on different levels with lots of private dining spaces. There's a massive Quan Yin on the back wall looking over the restaurant, on top of a koi pond. As you may have already guessed, it's an Asian fusion restaurant focusing on dim sum, sushi, noodles, fish and meat dishes.

The food was very, very good. We started with some speciality sushi rolls. The crunchy spicy yellowtail with crushed onion ($18) and the salmon avocado roll with tomato ponzu ($21). As our main, we both went for the pad thai noodles. One vegetarian with tofu and mushrooms ($21) and one with chicken ($23). Although it's on the expensive side, the dishes were well-portioned and the service was very good. We had a couple of drinks, and the TAO-Hito was my favourite (Bacardi lemon rum, TAO sour, mint and Fever-Tree lemon soda - $21). It was kind of like a fancy twist on a classic mojito. 

We would highly, highly recommend this place. The only downside is that it gets booked up quite quickly and that the restaurant inside is actually freezing. I'm not sure if they had a malfunction with the air conditioning, or if that's normal. Bring a jacket or a wrap or something to be safe.

92 9th Ave (Chelsea)

Two Hands

A great all-round Aussie-style brunch place in the city. They have everything from açai bowls to chicken sandwiches and bacon rolls. I was very tempted by the smoothie bowls, but we both ended up going for their smashed avo toast ($14) as we needed fuel for a long day of sightseeing. 

It came with pickled shallots, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sesame seeds and pickled chilli on sourdough bread. The bread was thick and the toppings were very generous - I loved the pickled chilli as it was a little bit different and gave the dish a nice kick. The vibes in there were super chilled, light and airy which was perfect first thing in the morning. 

251 Church St (Tribeca - where we went)
164 Mott St (Nolita)

Levain Bakery

So many of my friends who have either lived in or visited NYC told me that I had to visit Levain, a bakery famous for its cookies. I'm so glad that I listened to them. I honestly think it might be the best cookie I have ever eaten. 

I went for the dark chocolate and peanut butter one ($4), but they've got a couple to choose from. They're much thicker than usual cookies, and are absolutely delightful. They gave me a warm one which was just perfect. 

Various - we went to 1484 3rd Ave (Upper East Side)


With waterfront views of the Manhattan Skyline, this was the perfect (but expensive lol) place to go to explore the DUMBO area before walking the Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan. 

We had the campanelle pasta with basil pesto and pine nuts ($20) and the short ribs with mashed potato and gremolata ($38). The pasta was really nice and the pine nuts were well-toasted, releasing their nutty flavour. The short ribs were cooked to perfection and the mashed potato was really creamy. The gremolata (lemon zest, parsley and garlic garnish) added lots of flavour. 

Although it's got a great view and the food was good, on reflection we maybe would have skipped this one as we weren't in NYC for a long time and Cecconi's is a chain with lots of locations all over the world, including London. Our waitress was very friendly and helpful, but we got a bad vibe from our hosts and despite having a reservation and there being several free tables, they took a while to seat us. 

55 Water Street (DUMBO, Brooklyn)

Russ & Daughters

This famous bagel place is now run by the fourth-generation Russ family. It's a deli that looks like it's stuck in time (in a good way). It focuses on smoked salmon, with over five different varieties to choose from as well as other Jewish delicacies. 

Warning: these bagels are EXPENSIVE! We both got the gaspe nova smoked salmon bagels which were $16 + tax + tip each 😌. This would be okay as a one-off, except for the fact that they sadly got our order wrong. We asked (and paid) for some extra toppings which never made it into one of the bagels, and for the other we asked for no cream cheese. We ended up with two plain salmon cream cheese bagels. 

The bagels themselves were nice and the smoked salmon was super fresh, but we kind of felt a bit ripped-off due to the simplicity of the bagel (considering the price), but most importantly the fact that it was the wrong order. Maybe we just got unlucky because we've read time and time again that this place is amazing. 

Various - we went to 1109 5th Ave (at the Jewish Museum)

Hole in the Wall

Another fabulous place for brunch - we met one of our friends who has lived out here for a while for breakfast and she recommended it. It's a nice relaxed café in between the concrete jungle and hustle and bustle that is New York City's financial district. They have a range of items from mushroom bruschetta to NY favourites such as pastrami salmon bagels. 

We got home-made granola with yoghurt, fresh berries and passion fruit, which was a lovely fresh and light option but not very filling. The avo toast with truffled feta, pepitas, radish tomato and lime which was a nice spin on the classic avo toast. We also ordered a side of avo, smoked salmon and toast to construct our own plain avo smoked salmon toast and a side of tater tots because we were in America and we had to try them. They're basically like mini hash browns - delicious. 

15 Cliff Street (Financial District, or FiDi as the New Yorkers like to say - where we went)
445 E 13th St (Murray Hill)

Employees Only

The only bar on this list! We were so jet-lagged that by the time it got to after dinner time we crashed out most evenings. Employees Only is a traditional prohibition speakeasy: bartenders in smart jackets and one of the best cocktails I have ever had (not even exaggerating). 

I went for the Don Santiago - Havana Club Rum and passion fruit shaken with almond syrup and fresh lime juice, and my friend (who happened to just move to NYC a few weeks ago) went for the Fraise Sauvage - Fords Gin shaken with wild strawberries and Tahitian vanilla, finished with EO Prosecco di Conegliano Brut (both $17).

Apparently it's a little difficult to get in (it gets super busy), and because it's a speakeasy it's a little difficult to find. Look for a red neon sign with "psychic" and pull back the curtain by the door to get into the bar. 

510 Hudson Street (West Village)

Artichoke Basille's Pizza

This place has the famous artichoke pizza - artichoke hearts, spinach, cream sauce, mozzarella and pecorino romano cheese. I had heard so much about this pizza place and as an artichoke lover, I had to go. But to be honest... it was really disappointing. 

We ordered the artichoke one and a classic margherita. The base is much thicker, and the slices bigger in general which is why they're a little bit more expensive (around $4-6). Neither of us liked the thicker base at all, but some seem to love it so I guess if you like the Pizza Hut deep dish vibe, you  might like this place. The toppings on the margherita were okay, but the artichoke one didn't seem to have any artichoke flavour at all (disappointing). 

Only go to this place if you like thick pizza bases, and only order the artichoke pizza if you're a dairy-lover because between the cream sauce and two cheeses it's quite overwhelming. 

Various - we went to 111 MacDougal St (Greenwich Village)

And that's it! There were so many extra places on my list that we sadly didn't have time to visit - so I guess we will have to come back! I hope that you enjoy New York City - if you do go to any of our recommendations, let us know what you thought! 😊