Food, glorious food: New York is the global destination for those who like to eat, and it’s obvious why. In the same way that London seems to have a pub on every corner, it sometimes feels like every street in New York has a kick-ass restaurant worthy of enough Michelin stars to form a galaxy. This can be overwhelming, but to help you out here are some of the best places to indulge:
This SoHo institution is famed for its French cuisine, but the breakfast here is known for being as good as any in the city, and it’s probably the easiest time of the day to get a table. If you want a stomach busting, calorie fuelled affair there are plenty of options, but you can’t miss grabbing a pastry from the attached bakery, which serves up a cornucopia of buttery delights. Aside from offering one of the most famous breakfasts in New York City, it’s also a great spot for seeing some famous faces.
Whilst it may look like a bog-standard diner from the outside, La Bonbonniere is anything but that. The West Village eatery is famed for its laid-back atmosphere, attentive servers, and wallet friendly meals that don’t compromise on quality. You may have to queue, but the staff are incredibly efficient at getting bodies in and out. The only thing to watch out for is that it’s cash only, but there are numerous ATMs in the area, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
Crossing over the East River, Pegasus is a breakfast/brunch specialist venue, and when you take that first bite of any delectable dish on the menu, you can tell. There’s an excellent selection of meals to start your day and the relaxed atmosphere only adds to the experience. Most importantly though, the coffee is to die for, and all of this combined means it’s quickly becoming one of the most famous breakfasts in New York City.
This eatery describes itself as hip and high energy, and it’s easy to see why. Serving up new takes on old American classics whilst using entirely locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, Atrium has dragged fine dining over the East River and shown Manhattanites just what can be done in Brooklyn. The industrial chic surroundings are complemented by a veritable forest of greenery on the walls, and the wine and cocktail list is almost as exciting as the food. Almost.
Restaurants serving dishes from the Indian subcontinent are often considered unrefined in America due to cuisines from more established cultures (such as Korean or Mexican) having more cheerleaders, but if you only ate at Neerob, that story wouldn’t make sense to you. A favourite of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Anthony Bourdain, this Bronx based Bengali restaurant has a menu that includes several classics, all at a wallet friendly price. Be warned though, the menu can change based on which ingredients are available, which is always a good sign of the quality of produce.
You can’t have a list of the best lunch spots in New York City and ignore Manhattan, and that’s because of places like Le Bernardin. With an incredible three Michelin stars, the French spot has been around for almost four decades, and in that time, they’ve perfected what they do. Whilst this amount of success might have made some restaurateurs lazy, the number of accolades this place has racked up shows Le Bernardin has, if anything, kept improving. You will need a reservation, but it will be worth it.
Tucked away in the heart of the East Village, Madame Vo excels in a city packed to the brim with top-class Vietnamese joints. Founded by a husband and wife duo, the intimate restaurant brings homecooked Vietnamese food to the masses (or, tries to; you may have to wait to be seated because of the cosy nature of the place). Stylish without being pretentious and delicious in all ways, there’s a reason why this place (and sister restaurant Madame Vo Barbeque) have developed an almost cultish following.
The oldest restaurant on this list, L&B Spumoni Gardens serves up classic Sicilian fare and famous NYC slices the size of your head. Everything is made on site and with fresh ingredients, which is what gives it an edge over the abundant competition. Brooklynites have been coming here for over 80 years to gorge on carbs and sweet goods, and it’s clear the original owner Ludovico Barbati wasn’t joking when he claimed that “Pizza is an art”. It’s not all tomatoey, cheesey, doughy goodness, though: as the name implies, the spumoni is outstanding.
Whilst Corona in Queens is undoubtedly the spot for Mexican food, if you want top notch flavours in a stylish setting instead of a wrapper that leaves you dropping half of your burrito on the floor, Cosme in the Flatiron District is the place to be. Sleek surroundings, delicious, locally sourced ingredients and innovative chefs make this restaurant an unmissable stop in any NYC food tour. The beverage menu is as unique and inspiring as the food, and the house cocktails are as delicious as anything on your plate.
Part of the joy of New York is the abundance of top-quality food that can be had on the go. Whilst it’s a must to have at least a dollar slice or seven from a food truck on the side of the road, there are some more permanent venues that are worth dropping in on.
Almost as famous as the city itself, Zabar’s is a specialty food store located on the Upper West side and has been referenced so much in pop culture it has its own Wikipedia page. Founded by Ukrainian immigrants, the produce on offer comes from all over the world, but what you really need to sample is the smoked salmon, cheese, and baked goods.
There are dozens of places in New York called Joe’s Pizza, but if you ask any Downtown resident, there’s only one real Joe’s Pizza. This Greenwich institution was established in the 70s and offers the quintessential New York slice. The original Joe still runs the Greenwich restaurant and forty years of passion shines through with every bite.
Now spread over three locations, this bagel specialist excels in a part of the world where holey, doughy magic is seen as a religion. The original on Bergen Street in Brooklyn is almost always packed, and for good reason. Fresh ingredients and an innovative when it comes to toppings, if you only have one bagel in New York, it should be here.
If these restaurants have already got you picking out your favourite dish on the online menu, then download the Orbzii app today so you can Dream, Plan and Book your next culinary adventure.
Looking for a refreshing tipple to finish off your evening? Check out our ultimate guide to the best cocktail bars in New York.