If there’s one place on my list to visit post-COVID, it’s glorious New York City. In addition to being the city that never sleeps, it also seems to be the city that never stops eating. On every corner, there’s bound to be a cafe, bakery, restaurant, diner, or somewhere that you can pick up a quick bite. The bustling hub is home to so many restaurants and foodie spots that you’d be remiss if you didn’t visit while you’re in town. No matter what you’re craving, it’s extremely likely that you’ll be able to find it somewhere in NYC. Its multicultural vibe is why it’s so popular amongst chefs and foodies.
Swedish bakery Fabrique where you’ll find tender baked goods like cinnamon and cardamom buns that’ll make you tear up with pure joy. Of course, you can also find classic croissants and pain au chocolat as well as artisanal loaves of bread, sandwiches, and many more tasty treats. The bakery also has locations in Sweden and London.
While NYC certainly has its fair share of cheap and cheerful eats, the city also has a wide array of restaurants worth the splurge. One of those restaurants is undoubtedly The Polo Bar. Known for its upscale classic American fare, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you bite into a juicy shrimp cocktail and the best cheeseburger you’ll ever have. While the menu is stellar, don’t skimp on the expertly crafted cocktails, either!
Tea and Sympathy
Get a taste of England when you visit the West Village’s Tea & Sympathy. This quaint restaurant often has a queue outside, even pre-COVID, but it’s well worth the wait in the cold. Tuck into comforting classics like a Full English Breakfast, Chicken Pot Pie or Bangers & Bash and don’t even think about skipping the Sticky Toffee Pudding when it’s time for dessert. The setting is so charming, with photographs and commemorative china of the Royal Family placed all around. Plus, head next door to A Salt & Battery to satisfy your fish & chips craving!
Let’s be real: burgers are totally subjective and everyone has their own opinions but if you ask me, the best hamburger I’ve ever had the pleasure of sinking my teeth into is from Shake Shack. These iconic smash burgers are morsels of heaven thanks to the soft bun, tasty secret sauce, and thin yet crispy patty. If you’re going big, then you’ll want to add some fries and a classic shake to your order. The lineup may be long, but if you venture out around mid-afternoon, you shouldn’t have to wait too long.
If you ask me, you can never go wrong with a classic bagel and cream cheese and Russ & Daughters, located in the East Village, is exactly where you’ll want to go. This cultural icon has been in business for over 100 years and it’s still owned and operated by the Russ family. Here you’ll find smoked fish, caviar, babka, latkes, bagels (duh!), as well as classic New York black & white cookies. If it’s a classic NYC experience you’re looking for, Russ & Daughters is the place to be.
ABC Kitchen is one of Chef Jean-George’s restaurants so already, you know you’re getting the best of the best. The focus here is to keep all things as simple and minimal as possible but don’t think that means the food is bleak or boring. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The restaurant uses only the freshest, local ingredients and the result is incomparable to anything you’ve ever had before. My personal fave is the Crab Toast with Lemon Aioli. It’s fresh, tasty and just so damn delicious.
Speaking of the classic New York experience, you can’t miss out on cocktail hour at Bemelman’s Bar that’s located inside the Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side. The bar features murals done by Ludwig Bemelman, who is recognized for creating the classic Madeline children’s books. Bemelman’s is a fave of celebs, politicians, socialites and more who venture here for the incredible live entertainment. The bar has also been featured in TV shows and movies, most notably On The Rocks and the first Sex And The City Movie.
If it’s Italian that you’re craving, Sant Ambroeus is the place to go if you want the best of the best. With a few locations across Manhattan and even one in the Hamptons, you’re never far away from excellent service and even better eats. You’ll be glad you came when you dig into the Spaghetti Carbonara, Linguine alle Vongole, and the Risotto alla Milanese among others.
Who doesn’t like rice pudding? Honestly, I wasn’t a fan but Rice to Riches officially made me a convert. This Soho rice pudding outpost is like an ice cream parlour but for rice pudding. They have any flavour you can think of and it’s 100% worth the calories. My top pick is the Mascarpone with Sour Cherries and the good news is, they offer samples so you can taste test until you find your fave!
If you’ve ever seen your favourite celebs or influencers posting pics of their sushi in cute little boxes, odds are, it’s from Sugarfish. Conceptualized by master chef Sushi Nozawa, the restaurant has specific ways of serving and doing things so if you’re someone who makes substitutions galore, then this might not be the place for you. However, Sugarfish is known for having sushi that legitimately melts in the mouth so it might just be worth relinquishing control.
What’s a visit to New York City without indulging in a New York slice? John’s Of Bleeker Street is a fave of locals and it boasts some of the best ‘za around. This is another hotspot that’s more than worth the lineup outside but once you get in and a hot pizza is dropped off at your table, you’ll be glad you waited.