For me, this is New York City: Phase 2. Or as I coined it when I first moved back this past August – “#rediscoveringnyc.” With the amount of restaurants that this city sees move in and out of its high-energy, partially crazy and mostly beautiful streets, this whole process is a long one. This is definitely not a bad thing though (especially when the meals are as excellent as they tend to be here!), as just like in any other city, town, beach or village that I visit, learning a place through food is the absolute best and most interesting way to do it.
So, beginning below is my preexisting list that I used to give to the hoards of Brits that ventured across the pond every year while I lived there. In my not so feeble attempt to get these people to veer off the typical tourist trap spots, I used to force this list into their hands in an attempt to get them seeing the roads less wandered by foreigners and also to really get them loving and seeing the city that I so proudly called my (first) home. NYC is amazing – and rare, and special and incredibly unique – you realize this even more so once you leave it. I wanted all the people headed this way to see it through my eyes, which of course, was mostly by way of food.
On top of this archive will start the compilation of my new catalogue of recommendations, my nerdy online file of sorts that focuses on the city I am currently living in, adding a big American compliment to all of my already surveyed spots around the world.
Alta – I love it. Always have, always will. Two stories, great atmosphere, in the West Village on a gorgeous street. I started going there probably six or seven years ago, and now all of my friends do too – it’s always a hit! Extra cosy during the Christmas season. Get a dose of the fried goat cheese balls with lavender infused honey, you won’t regret it!
Piccolo Angelo – Good small authentic Italian, West Village, definite go-to for me way back in the day (haven’t been in years though!).
Sushi spots – good sushi is much more affordable here in New York than in other places in the world (ie: London – the UK seriously lacks good sushi!!) Few favorites: Umi (not the best location in my opinion, but amongst the best for simple but great Japanese), Choshi (small, on Irving Place, wonderful street), Ako in Williamsburg. Ako also has a simple but highly satisfying summer garden out back.
Westville East (East Village, plus three more locations at this point!) – Fish, huge salads, turkey burgers and stuff like that, casual but very good if you are into this sort of food, very veggie friendly. The daily market vegetables are incredible.
ABC Kitchen (Flatiron) – Stunning decor, beautiful food, definite dining for a nice occasion sort of place.
Max (East Village) – great Italian, huge backyard area when warm.
Cafe Habana (Nolita) – This place is the best. Cheese coated, Mexican style, chilli powdered corn that is well worth the wait if you find you have one upon arrival. Baja style fish tacos and ensalada de espinaca y manzana are also great. Cool vibe, well priced, fun feel. No complaints!
Tortilla Flats (West Village) – Washington Street, casual Mexican, extremely cheap, option to get involved in a little Bingo on certain nights, fun especially in summer when you can dine street side!
Anna Maria’s Pizza and Pasta (Williamsburg) – Unreal. Best white slice of pizza I’ve ever had in my entire life – should be illegal. Don’t expect atmosphere (walk-in by the slice type spot!) but expect to love it anyway!
S’Mac (East Village) – Macaroni and cheese …. 25 different ways! Not sure if a spot like this should be “written up” but it’s quirky and delish so, why not! Something everyone should try at least once.
Angelica’s Kitchen – Excellent vegetarian/vegan restaurant in the East Village, creative menu, tons of options, cozy cornbread with tahini spread to start, can’t go wrong here if you’re craving some healthy but tasty food. The Dragon Bowl is my staple item.
Cafe Mogador – One of my longtime favorites. Moroccan food, amazing dips, couscous dishes, tangines, plus a brunch plate that is – in my mind – THE perfect mix; warm spiced zahatar pita, eggs any way you’d like, a heaping portion of hummus, tabouli, and salad. Two locations now, one in Williamsburg is actually better, though I hate even admitting that as East Village locale is where my memories of this place are!
Brunch/Lunch (same thing in the states!) – not all of the world fully understands this concept surprisingly (sadly!)
Bagelsmith (Williamsburg) – Warm, soft, fresh, best bagels ever! (small store only)
Le Barricou (Williamsburg) – Crispy stuffed croissants, eggs on the side, french cafe atmosphere, what could be better?! (hmm, except maybe not having an hour+ wait on weekends!)
Cafe Mogador – Picture above, as well as description in the dinner section
Freeman’s – Really good brunch spot down this random alley in the LES, feels really kitschy and old fashioned. Menu isn’t the most attention grabbing, but atmosphere is.
Out (just a small list, in case I quickly need to make some recos for visitors, most of which happen to have great food at them too, oops!)
Lavender Lake – New bar/restaurant right on the water in Cobble Hill, fairy lights line the backyard, inside is simple yet spacious
Custom (Willimsburg) – Casual wine bar in Brooklyn with a friendly bartender, good old school tunes, and a truffled tator tot that’ll melt in your mouth
The Woods (Willimsburg) – A ways down from the crowded Bedford subway stop, this place is a great find, day or night. $5 tacos, quesadillas, veggie burgers and other snacks don’t hurt either!
Tender Trap (Williamsburg) – Totally quirky, totally cool, and totally my cousin’s bar!
Standard Hotel – Two clubs upstairs, outdoor beer garden on the left, tables for dinner and drinks on the right (red wine + truffled french fries = perfect late night combo!). Good spot for visitors, especially those who want to see a “sex and in the city style” NY.
Wilfie & Nell – Bar in west village, little more laid back, does get crowded though
Kingswood – Same area as the above, Australian owned restaurant with square bar to sit at in the middle
The Other Room – Small bar, very west, in west village
Cafe Select – Good spot for a drink pre/post dinner, or for dinner itself! Decorations seem random on first site, but there’s a Swiss theme working throughout! Jo’s – Absolutely has become my Nolita go-to. Perfect spot when you need just one more drink to begin or end a night! Blind Barber – Looks like a old fashioned barber shop, but isn’t at all!
Summit – Good little cocktail bar on a chilled east village street
Maritime Hotel – Great rooftop to hang out at on 8th ave in summer, right above meatpacking district. Full dinner menu too.
Wythe Hotel (Williamsburg) – Huge rooftop, chic 70s style dj’s as well as overall feel