In every decent-sized city there are essential eating experiences, bites every serious eater should avail themselves of should he or she find themselves there. Here at Serious Eats we thought it would be fun to post guides to essential eating experiences in cities all over the world.
We're going to start with, what else, New York (hey, we live here) and move across the country and then the world. Over time our fellow bloggers, critics, food writers, cookbook authors, and serious eaters of all stripes are going to give us their take on the cities they have spent the most time in. We hope the Serious Eats community will also weigh in on the food of the cities they know and love. Before too long we'll have Serious Eats Guides to Deliciousness for every major food city in the world. Without further adieu, here's our guide to New York. Which of your favorites have we left out? Serious eaters want to know.
That's a tricky one. For purists, the Neapolitan style at Una Pizza Napolatana are hard to beat. Anthony Mangieri's individual pies are the lightest of airy pizza clouds, with a crispy exterior that represents pizza perfection. For elevated, classic New York slices, Di Fara in Brooklyn. Domenico DeMarco is the only person that's ever made pizza in his undistinguished storefront since it opened 44 years ago. For New Yawk coal fire brick oven pizza, Totonno's in Coney Island cannot be improved upon.
Una Pizza Napolatana: 349 East 12th Street, New York NY 10003 (map); 212-477-9950. Di Fara: 1424 Avenue J, Brooklyn NY 11230 (map); 718-258-1367. Totonno's: 1524 Neptune Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11224 (map); 718-372-8606.
This is a tough one, my friends, for New York is a burger lovers' paradise. For fancy pants burgers I like Telepan and the Union Square Cafe, and my most recent fave, Hundred Acres. For a mid-priced steakhouse burger I go to Peter Luger's (insist on it medium-rare even though they probably won't get it right the first time); for a classic burger I go to the Fairway Cafe or the Shake Shack. The fresh fries are way better at the Fairway Cafe than the as-good-as-can-be frozen french fries at Shake Shack.
Telepan: 72 West 69th Street, New York NY 10023 (map); 212-580-4300. Union Square Cafe: 21 East 16th Street, New York NY 10003 (map); 212-243-4020. Hundred Acres: 38 Macdougal Street, New York NY 10012 (map); 212-475-7500. Peter Luger's: 178 Broadway, Brooklyn NY 11211 (map); 718-387-7400. Fairway Cafe: 2127 Broadway, New York NY 10023 (map); 212-595-1888. Shake Shack: Madison Square Park, East 23rd Street and Madison Avenue, New York NY 10010 (map); 212-889-6600.
Best Ice Cream
Grom, Il Laboratorio del Gelato, and Otto for classic Italian low-air, low-fat gelato, Shake Shack for frozen custard, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory for straight-ahead American ice cream. Have the peach in the summer.
Grom: 2165 Broadway, New York NY 10024 (map); 212-362-1837. Il Laboratorio del Gelato: 95 Orchard Street, New York NY 10002 (map); 212-343-9922. Otto: 1 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10003 (map); 212-995-9559. Shake Shack: Madison Square Park, East 23rd Street and Madison, New York NY 10010 (map); 212-889-6600. Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory: 2 Cadman Place West, Brooklyn NY 11201 (map); 718-246-3963.
Best Late-Night Eats
Blue Ribbon, where you should get the fried chicken. At Greater New York Noodletown, get the shrimp wonton soup and suckling pig.
Best Bar Food
The Enoteca at Del Posto has great fried Italian bar snacks. The meatball sandwich at Gramercy Tavern is also excellent, and right around the corner from there is Il Struzzichini, where they know how to fry and grill with aplomb. In midtown I love the tarte flambe (Alsatian pizza with bacon) and the liverwurst at the Bar at the Modern.
Del Posto: 85 Tenth Avenue, New York NY 10011 (map); 212-497-8090. Gramercy Tavern: 42 East 20th Street, New York NY 10003 (map); 212-477-0777. Il Struzzichini: 928 Broadway, New York City NY 10010 (map); 212-780-5100. Bar at The Modern: 9 West 53rd Street, New York NY 10019 (map); 212-333-1220.
Best "Date Night" Spot
At the tiny Casellula you'll find terrific sandwiches, small plates, and the best cheese and condiment pairings in New York, to go along with a smartly done set of wines by the glass. The lovely glow makes everyone look great as well—always important when it's date night.
Casellula: 401 West 52nd Street, New York NY 10019 (map); 212-247-8137
Best Japanese Food (Raw and Cooked)
Masa (I assume money is no object when it comes to sushi). Soto for cooked Japanese food. For ramen, Ippudo is a must, and a whole lot cheaper than Soto or Masa.
Masa: Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle, 4th Floor, New York NY 10019 (map); 212-823-9800. Soto: 357 Sixth Avenue, New York NY 10014 (map); 212-414-3088. Ippudo: 65 4th Avenue, New York NY 10003 (map); 212-388-0088
I'm not a big cocktails person, but the Flatiron Lounge seems to make serious ones, as does Pegu Club and For Employees Only.
Flatiron Lounge: 37 West 19th Street, New York NY 10011 (map); 212-727-7741. Pegu Club: 77 W Houston Street, New York NY 10014 (map); 212-473-7348. For Employees Only: 510 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014 (map); 212-242-3021
I don't know that there is one single best food market in New York. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. Citarella, Eli's and Fairway all have a terrifc selection, but you have to know what you're looking for to make sure you're buying the best quality stuff. I also like the smaller, more personal markets like Blue Apron in Brooklyn. Of course the Union Square and Grand Army Plaza Greenmarkets are both terrific.
Citarella, Eli's, and Fairway: multiple locations. Blue Apron Fine Foods: 814 Union Street, Brooklyn NY 11215 (map); 718-230-3180. Union Square: 14th Street and Broadway (map); Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat 8AM-6PM. Grand Army Plaza: Prospect Park West and Flatbush Ave (map): Sat 8AM-4PM.
Must Eat Before Leaving City
Hot dog from Gray's Papaya, a slice of pizza from Di Fara, a burger from the Shake Shack.
Gray's Papaya: 402 Sixth Avenue, New York NY 10014 (map); 212-260-3532. Di Fara: 1424 Avenue J, Brooklyn NY 11230 (map); 718-258-1367. Shake Shack: Madison Square Park, East 23rd Street and Madison Avenue, New York NY 10010 (map); 212-889-6600.
The mini bagels from Absolute Bagels—they have more crunch and less soft innards. Their minis are really close to the size bagels used to be.
Absolute Bagels: 2788 Broadway, New York NY 10025 (map); 212-932-2052.
Best Eating with a View
Porterhouse New York. Really good NY-style steakhouse where the chef-partner Michael Lomonaco is a serious cook, so the sides are just as good as the steak. The view is a bonus.
Porter House New York: 10 Columbus Circle, New York NY 10019 (map); 212-823-9500.
Best Chinese Food
Greater New York Noodletown for Cantonese food, Szechuan Gourmet for Sichuan food, Chinatown Brasserie for dim sum.
Greater New York Noodletown: 28 Bowery, New York NY 10013 (map); 212-349-0923. Szechuan Gourmet: 21 West 39th Street, New York NY 10018 (map); 212-921-0233. Chinatown Brasserie: 380 Lafayette Street, New York NY 10003 (map); 212-533-7000.
Best Old-School New York Landmark
Russ and Daughters is my favorite only-in-New York spot for their smoked salmon and all kinds of old-school Jewish appetizers. Smoked fish of every variety is carefully selected by the Russ family for our serious eating pleasure. Right down the street, Katz's serves up a phenomenal hand-sliced pastrami sandwich. Avoid the lousy fries and cole slaw.
There's no deli that does everything really well anymore. 2nd Ave. Deli for pastrami, french fries, and mushroom barley soup, Ben's Best for pastrami, Katz's (see above) for hot dogs, pastrami, and knoblewurst.
2nd Ave. Deli: 162 East 33rd Street, New York NY 10016 (map); 212-689-9000. Ben's Best: 96-40 Queens Boulevard, Rego Park NY 11374 (map); 718-897-1700. Katz's: 205 East Houston Street, New York NY 10002 (map); 212-254-2246.
Best Streetside Bargain Lunch
Gray's Papaya Recession Special or the barbecued pork banh mi sandwich at Paris Sandwich or the ribs over rice at Big Wong.
Gray's Papaya: 402 Sixth Avenue, New York NY 10014 (map); 212-260-3532. Paris Sandwich: 113 Mott Street, New York NY 10013 (map); 212-226-7221. Big Wong: 67 Mott Street, New York NY 10013 (map); 212-964-0540.
Best Fancy-Pants Bargain Lunch
Jean-Georges for the $14 a course lunch, plus you get the amouses. It's the regular menu.
Jean-Georges: 1 Central Park West, New York NY 10023 (map); 212-299-3900.
Best Brunch Without the Wait
Both Ouest and Telepan have great housemade bread baskets, good burgers, egg dishes a few more ambitious and unusual brunch entrees.
Best Bargain Italian Food
Celeste on the Upper West Side, Bianca in the Village, Fiore in Williamsburg. Chef-owner Giancarlo Quaddalti provides value like no other great Italian cook in New York.
Barbecue is one of those things where each place in New York only does one or two things really well. Daisy May's whole roast suckling pig has to be ordered in advance, but the delicious short ribs are available every day. The Flintstonian beef ribs at Blue Smoke are a source of much gnawable pleasure, and the moist brisket at Hill Country is indeed a beautiful thing.
Daisy May's: 623 11th Avenue, New York NY 10036 (map); 212-977-1500. Blue Smoke: 116 East 27th Street, New York NY 10016 (map); 212-447-7733. Hill Country: 30 West 26th Street, New York NY 10010 (map); 212-255-4544.