New York boasts one of the world’s most diverse culinary scenes. Here are 20 foods you must eat when you’re in the Big Apple.
New York City is perhaps the most mouthwatering city in the world! “The Melting Pot” is full of some of the most iconic and versatile food you can find in one city. You can live here a lifetime and still be surprised by a new delight or a classic dish that somehow was never tried before! Here’s a collection of 20 foods every New Yorker, and visitor, should savor (at least) once!
1. Plain Slice – Joe’s Pizza
Hands down the best slice of pizza in New York with just the right amount of grease, the perfect fold and a crispy crust for a perfect bite!
2. Dark Chocolate Peanut ButterCookie – Levain Bakery
A cookie from Levain is on every “best of NYC” list and the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip is the standout — crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside with the perfect level of sweetness in the chocolate and the added perk of peanut butter.
3. Crème Brûlée Cupcake – Huascar Bake Shop
Of all the cupcakes in New York, the Crème Brûlée Cupcake from Huascar takes the (cup) cake. Vanilla bean cake, crème brûlée filling and vanilla icing with each cupcake individually blowtorched upon ordering to give it that warm, crispy, outer shell just like its Crème Brûlée namesake.
4. Bagel and Lox – Russ and Daughters
Bagels and Lox are the perfect New York pairing and Russ and Daughters has been serving this iconic mouthful for over 100 years. There’s no need to go anywhere else for your lox fix!
5. Soup Dumplings – You Garden Xiao Long Bao – Queens
Soup Dumplings, or xiao long bao, might just be the perfect food with pork and hot, rich soup inside a perfectly thin-skinned, dumpling purse, worth the subway ride to Flushing!
6. Shishito Tsukune – Yakitori Totto
At this hidden Japanese culinary den, every skewer is delicious, but don’t miss the Shishito Tsukune. Mini versions of their famous Tsukune (chicken meatballs) are stuffed into perfectly blistered shishito peppers for a slightly sweet and slightly spicy perfect mouthful.
7. Lasagna alla Bolognese – Tra Di Noi
If you’re looking for the “Real Little Italy” head straight to the Bronx’s Arthur Avenue neighborhood. At red-and-white table clothed Tra di Noi, you’ll feel transported to Italy. Fresh ingredients from the local markets infuse every dish, but the lasagna is the stuff of dreams. It is so rich yet so light combining thin layers of fresh pasta with just the right amount of cheese and a perfect Bolognese sauce.
8. Fried Chicken – Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken
The combination of egg white, matzo meal and secret seasoning makes for a moist, juicy chicken with an unbelievable crispy yet flavorful crust. Don’t forget to drizzle some of their spicy honey on top.
9. Fusilli with Octopus and Bone Marrow
Marea Chef Michael White is known for his pasta, and this is his most famous. Octopus braised in red wine and tomato sauce for the perfect texture is tossed with bone marrow in a perfectly al dente fusilli for the most impeccable bite.
10. Chicken and Rice – Halal Guys
Food carts and trucks are found all over the city now, but the original, and still the best, are the Halal Guys on 6th Avenue. The corner cart still has lines down the block at all hours for the perfect dish of chicken over rice. Add plenty of white sauce and hot sauce, and dig in!
11. Pierogies – Veselka
If you’re craving Ukranian food or great diner food 24 hours a day, Veselka is the place. Pierogies are made fresh all day so each bite is guaranteed to be perfect. Add sour cream, applesauce and caramelized onion for the ultimate comfort food.
12. Porterhouse for Two – Benjamin Steakhouse
If you’re dining at one of the best steakhouses in the city (With a pedigree traced back to Peter Luger) you might as well have their signature steak! Aged for 28 days, the Porterhouse is the Filet Mignon and NY Strip all in one.
13. Pastel Tres Leches Cake – Casa Enrique
Located in Long Island City in Queens, you would never guess this unassuming restaurant was the first Mexican restaurant in NYC to earn a Michelin star—but once you taste the cuisine you’ll know why! Everything on the menu is great, but it’s the little square of moist cake saturated in sweetened condensed milk, that you’ll still be thinking about the next day.
14. Chicken for Two – The Nomad
This is the chicken to beat in New York, stuffed with foie gras, black truffles, and bread crumbs in between the skin and the meat then roasted to perfection. That first taste of the flavorful moist meat and brown skin will blow your mind.
15. Black Label Burger – Minetta Tavern
There are plenty of burgers in this city, but the Black Label is a decadent game changer. The most famous butcher of them all, Pat La Frieda, offers a one of a kind, dry-aged blend that offers the perfect amount of “funk,” combined with caramelized onions for the perfect burger.
16. Pastrami Sandwich – Katz’s Delicatessen
Katz’s Delicatessen is a New York institution. Long Lines, long-time New Yorkers behind the counter and soft Rye bread paint the scene, but it’s the giant Pastrami sandwiches you come back for. Over and Over again.
17. Oysters – Grand Central Oyster Bar
When you want to be transported back to a bygone era, head to Grand Central Oyster Bar (over 100 years old) and sit at the counter. Order as many oysters as you can —there are more than 2 dozen to choose from—and leave happy.
18. Dan Dan Noodles – Han Dynasty
Szechuan restaurants are plentiful in this town, but no one does Dan Dan Noodles like Han Dynasty. They are the perfect example of the dish, with a level of spiciness that might cause you to sweat, but is worth it for that porky, chili oil goodness.
19. Artichoke Slice – Artichoke Pizza
Sometimes you don’t want a “classic New York slice”, but something a little more indulgent. Head to Artichoke for a slice with creamy white sauce, artichokes, spinach and all the cheese.
20. Bacon, Egg and Cheese (BEC) – any corner bodega
Any self-respecting New Yorker will tell you, the perfect New York breakfast is a bacon, egg and cheese. And the best version with the perfect level of grease is found at your local corner bodega!