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New York’s best food & drink

  • New York, United States of America (USA)

Last updated: 07 April, 2024

There’s a restaurant for every cuisine in ‘the crossroads of the world’. The biggest influences are Italian-American and Jewish; so, terrific pizza everywhere and unforgettable smoked-salmon bagels at the ‘deli’. Steaks and high-end burgers also abound and cocktails are a must.

What to try

Your experience isn’t complete without a pastrami sandwich or a bagel breakfast, followed by fresh pizza in places run by generations of Italian-Americans – and martinis in a famous bar.

The dining scene

Eateries range from diners to Michelin-starred white tablecloth places with celebrity chefs. Locals love dining, then strolling to cafes, ice cream or cupcake places for dessert, while weekend brunch is an institution.

NYC has outstanding gourmet food trucks, serving imaginative, international bargain meals-on-the-go. They can be elusive, so check out the annual ‘Vendy Awards’ and chase them on Google or Twitter.

Who to go with: tour operators

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Chelsea Market

  • New York, United States of America (USA)

Chelsea Market

Experience

Located where the High Line meets Chelsea and the Meatpacking District, this erstwhile warehouse is one of New York’s great foodie destinations. The rambling hall is crammed by casual restaurants, food kiosks, and speciality food shops.

Good for age: 18+

Grand Central Oyster Bar

  • New York, United States of America (USA)

Grand Central Oyster Bar

Experience

With its vaulted tiled ceiling, this restaurant underneath one of the world’s most famous railways stations has been shucking oysters since 1913 and is one of the city’s most iconic places to tuck into a plate of seafood.

Good for age: 18+

John’s of Bleecker Street

  • New York, United States of America (USA)

John’s of Bleecker Street

Experience

Sure, there’s been a relatively recent trend of (great) Neapolitan-style pizzerias making the leap from Italy to the Big Apple. But there will always be New York-style pizza, coal-oven cooked and crispy on the bottom. One of the best (and oldest) is this Greenwich Village mainstay.

Good for age: 4+

Junior’s

  • New York, United States of America (USA)

Junior’s

Experience

If New York were to have a ‘specialty’ dish, cheesecake would be a contender, and when New Yorkers want cheesecake they go to Junior’s. This iconic diner-café has been serving up a mind-boggling variety since the 1950s. The original was in Brooklyn; there are now also restaurants in central Manhattan on 45th and 49th Streets.

Good for age: 4+

Katz Diner

  • New York, United States of America (USA)

Katz Diner

Experience

“I’ll have what she’s having,” is the famous line from the When Harry Met Salley movie scene set in this ancient palace of pastrami that’s been slicing and serving top-notch cured meat since 1888.

Good for age: 18+

Peter Lugar Steak House

  • New York, United States of America (USA)

Peter Lugar Steak House

Experience

What began as a German beer hall in 1887 is now one of the best steakhouses in America. Located under the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn, Peter Lugar is a true New York City experience. Reservations are essential.

Good for age: 18+

Great Jones Distillery

  • New York, United States of America (USA)

Great Jones Distillery

Experience

This craft distillery in NoHo, Manhattan, specialises in producing premium gin, vodka, and whiskey using traditional distillation techniques and high-quality ingredients. Visitors can book guided tours, to learn about the distilling process and the history behind each spirit. Tastings are also available, providing a chance to sample and savour the distinct flavours of their spirits.

Adult price: £30

Min age 21

Good for age: 21+

Union Square Greenmarket

  • New York City, New York, United States of America (USA)

view of the Union Square Greenmarket, New York

Experience

This vibrant farmers’ market, nestled in the heart of the city, is the place to go for locally-sourced produce and artisanal goods. A strict ‘grow-your-own’ rule to promote a direct farm-to-table food chain ensures the freshest produce and that profits go directly back to those who grow and make it. A locals hangout, it’s a great place for soaking up some authentic ‘New Yorker’ atmosphere. Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday.

Good for age: 18+

Duration: All day

When: Mon, Wed, Fri & Sat

Freq: weekly

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around
Duration: -

Getting there & doing it

Many chain or so-called popular restaurants and bars in Midtown and around Time Square are boring and over-priced, so frequent the East Village for hip dining and drinking, West Village for the same but more upscale, and Meatpacking District for hyper-trendy socialising.

Chelsea, SoHo and Nolita are full of good choices; while Little Italy is a tourist trap. Hells Kitchen is your best bet for a pre-Broadway.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

  • New York City

The original food tour of Little Italy and Chinatown since 2009 explores the tastes and history of two diverse NYC neighborhoods. This woman owned and operated business ensures that animated and friendly guides allow their guests to learn these neighborhoods through fascinating historical stories and culinary delights. There are 2-3 seated tastings and 5-6 on-the-go tastings to ensure that you explore both neighborhoods in 3 hours. We can accommodate guests who are vegetarian and gluten free. The delicious food tastings range from delicious dumplings to a sit-down authentic Italian meal. For guests 21 and up there will be an option to have a glass of wine at the seated tasting. One leaves this tour fully satisfied, along with a new found confidence in navigating the neighborhoods with a provided recommendation list in hand. This tour is a must if you're a local or visitor looking to get off-the-beaten path and taste amazing foods.

Price $125

Min age 4

Rating 4.94 / 5 [1535 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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  • New York City

Come explore the coolest neighborhood in NYC.  We make our way through iconic Washington Square Park and its famous arch. Learn about how the park, which movies like 'I Am Legend,' 'Searching For Bobby Fischer' and 'August Rush' were filmed at, and eat our way through town. Learn something, eat something, love everything!

Price $95

Min age 0

Rating 4.96 / 5 [1213 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Website >
  • New York City

Join our small-group food tour in Greenwich Village! With a knowledgeable local guide, you'll discover secret food havens and enjoy tastings of iconic New York treats like bagels, doughnuts, and pizza. Immerse yourself in the Village's history during the in-depth tour. Experience the best of Chinatown and Little Italy on our Secret Food Tour. Led by experienced guides, you'll explore these iconic neighborhoods and indulge in hand-crafted dumplings, fresh mozzarella, and mouthwatering pizza. Learn about the city's diverse cultural heritage and the impact of immigration on shaping New York City. Explore Five Points, Chinatown, Little Italy, and Nolita, and witness the vibrant melting pot that is America.

Price $85

Min age 4

Rating 4.94 / 5 [833 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Website >
  • New York City

The new culinary center of the Big Apple, where food and dining trends are dispersed to the rest of the country, is Brooklyn. And with this half-day tour, you can take a big bite out of it. From old ethnic enclaves to the latest hipster 'hoods, Brooklyn's dining scene is both diverse and cutting edge. Munch pierogies in Polish-dominated Greenpoint and hip farm-to-table fare in Williamsburg. This guided eating tour of New York's coolest and tastiest borough is ideal for foodies and the people who love them.

Price $134

Min age 0

Rating 4.87 / 5 [738 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Website >