There are about 30,000 restaurants on the island of Manhattan, and Carly and I have tried them all – just kidding (not yet :p). But we have tried and loved a few and would be only delighted to share them with you. I’ve also put a little Google Map together so you can find these restaurants easily. You can even download it and use it for when you have no Wifi or 4G – handy or what!
Also, since moving here, we’ve picked up a few tips and tricks about eating in NYC that we’d like to share; these will be helpful for when you next visit.
Top Tips For Eating In New York City
Remember, everything’s bigger in the States; this is especially true when it comes to portion sizes. Often one main (or entrée as it’s known here) would serve 2 people easily.
Food Delivery Services
Unlike Ireland, which has about 3 or 4, there are dozens of food delivery services to choose from in NYC. Uber Eats, Seamless, Caviar, DoorDash, Postmates – the list goes on.
We use Seamless and Uber Eats, but some restaurants are only available through certain sites, so you’re best off Googling the restaurant you’re ordering from first, to see which delivery service they use. Click here to read about more apps you should download when visiting NYC.
Also, each delivery service offers promotions. The same restaurants may be available on multiple sites, so take a couple of minutes before ordering to make sure you get the best deal.
Tipping and Taxes
Tipping in the US, and especially New York City, is part of the culture. The thing is, those working in the service industry, get paid little to nothing and so they rely on their tips to make a living. 20% of your bill is considered a standard tip.
Note: Always check to see if a service charge has been added to your bill. Some restaurant do this if you’re with a couple of people. If a service charge has been added, you don’t have to tip on top of this. Also, in New York City, there’s a 4% sales tax on your food, so just be aware of that too.
Broadstone Bar & Kitchen
The Broadstone Burger is one of the nicest burgers we’ve had in New York and that’s a bold statement because we’ve had a few.
This burger is huge, and comes with cajun fries or a side salad (both are delish). Check out the full menu here.
If you don’t know, New York Cheesecake is world famous, and Junior’s Cheesecake is by far the best cheesecake in New York, hands down. Seriously, you can’t leave here having not tried it!
This place doesn’t just do cheesecake, oh no! They do burgers, stacked sandwiches, hot dogs – all the American staples. Carly loved their Disco Fries, which are just chips, cheese and gravy, but sure look, what’s not to love. Here’s the full menu.
Katz’s Delicatessen is known around the world for its traditional Jewish cuisine (and that scene from When Harry Met Sally). What they’re most famous for, and the reason why we went, is their stacked (and I mean about 6 inches tall), thinly sliced pastrami sandwich.
It really is out of this world, and queueing up for about an hour and being screamed at for your order (you better know what you want after waiting in line for an hour), adds to the experience. The sandwich is huge (you’ll see it when you go in) and you could definitely share between 2. Check here to see their menu.
Something else New York is known for is bagels – apparently they’ve a reputation for being the best because of the local water used while making them, but that’s highly debated and I’m not getting involved! All I know is they’re delicious and Leo’s Bagels are our number 1.
The queues are around the corner every lunchtime, but the wait is well worth it. We’ve had plain bagels with cream cheese and scallions, tuna filling and a turkey club. Also, the portions are huge so think about splitting one. See the menu here.
Constantly touted as the best burger in New York City, everything we’ve had in Shake Shack has been 10/10!
Their chips are fried to perfection, their strawberry shakes are hands down the best we’ve ever had, and their cheeseburgers are mouthwateringly good. When you’re in NYC, trying Shake Shack is as critical as trying a New York slice, or a hot dog from a vendor.
Joe and the Juice
I think Joe and the Juice may be Dutch, but anyway, it’s another one of our go-to, healthy-ish lunch spots. Carly gets the Spicy Tunacado Flatbread Sandwich and I get Joe’s Club Sandwich. Delish! Also, their banana bread is unreal as are their iced coffees!
Hands down the best Thai food we’ve had in NYC. We loved it so much the first time, that we went back the next night to sample more of the menu. So far we’ve had the ribs, a spicy cashew flavoured dish, an Avocado and Bone-In Chicken Massaman Curry and pineapple fried rice with prawns (this was UNREAL!).
One of the best things about this restaurant is that they have the old school tunes blaring. It’s a great place to start your night out!
Aroy Dee Thai
We were craving Thai food one night, and stumbled upon this one. We took a chance because it was highly rated on Seamless and had a lot of the same options you get at home.
We weren’t expecting too much to be honest, because we’d been let down with Asian food in the past, but let me tell you, MY GOD! We get the Thai green curry or Drunken Noodles with a side of edamame and peanut sauce (so good!) – it works out at about $20 including tip and delivery (which is good for NYC). Check them out here.
Sakura of Japan
When we’re looking for something for dinner that’s cheap and cheerful, Aroy Dee Thai and Sakura of Japan are our go-tos. Sakura of Japan is a hole in the wall on John Street that offers Chicken Teriyaki over rice and veg for about $12. You get a drink for this price too, and the portion’s big enough to feed 2. You can’t go wrong!
Ruby’s is one of our favourite restaurants in NYC. And no, they’re not serving up kangaroo and crocodile; it’s Aussie-owned is all.
They’ve burgers, salads, and pasta dishes (which are delish), but Carly’s absolute favourite is their Ricotta Hotcakes with banana, Nutella and honeycomb butter. According to her, the BEST she’s had, and that girl is a pancake aficionado.
Their sweet potatoes are my favourite; worth the trip for these alone. Check out the full menu here, mate.
Another Aussie-owned spot, Bluestone Lane has some of the nicest coffee we’ve had and one of the nicest sandwiches, if not the nicest (Carly’s Edit: Defo the NICEST!).
The B.L.A.T.E (Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, Tomato and Egg) sandwich is so, so good. It’s got fresh greens and this amazing garlic aioli on it too. It’s the business. If you’ve ever had a Brunch Burger from Bang Bang Cafe in Dublin, it’s similar. Here’s their menu.
The Mean Fiddler
Perhaps one of New York’s most famous Irish bars, The Mean Fiddler is where you go if you’re craving some chips with McDonnells Curry Sauce, a Shepard’s Pie or an Irish Fry (well, an interpretation of one!).
They’ve also got live trad music, karaoke and the black stuff pours nicely too 😉 Definitely worth hitting this place up for a night out when you’re here. Here’s their menu.
One of the things we’ve craved most since moving here is a traditional Irish breakfast and Doc Watson’s does a pretty decent one. I wouldn’t go out of your way, but if you’re hanging around the Upper East Side, and in desperate need of a fry, Doc Watson’s is where I’d recommend. Menu here.
The Dead Rabbit
If The Mean Fiddler is one of New York’s most famous Irish bars, then The Dead Rabbit is probably New York’s most famous Irish bar and in fact, it’s one of the most fampous bars in the whole world!
Known for its cocktails and creamy pints, The Dead Rabbit was founded by two lads from Belfast, and is housed in a brick building built in 1828. It gets its name from an Irish gang that used to knock around the neighbourhood back in the day (Gangs of New York was also inspired by the gangs of this time period).
We’ve only had the breakfast and curry so far, and both were delicious. If not for the food, it’s definitely worth a visit just to see the place. The Dead Rabbit is the closest thing to a traditional Irish pub that I’ve seen in New York. Check out there menu here.
Located around the corner from The Dead Rabbit, Fraunces’ Tavern is considered the oldest building in Manhattan and has been an operating tavern since 1762. There’s a museum on the second and third floors that we’ve yet to check out, but it’s definitely on our list.
We’ve had everything on the menu at this stage, and we haven’t been disappointed once. The Beef Pie is our favourite by far. Menu here.
Hands down the best pizza in New York, and thus the world! Carly and I visit this place more regularly than we care to admit and it never disappoints. The plain cheese and tomato is grand, and the pepperoni is good, but the meatball pizza is where it’s at! John’s doesn’t do slices, but that won’t matter as you’d never be able to stop at just the one slice!
Public Service Announcement: Do Not Leave Manhattan Without Trying John’s Meatball Pizza! Here’s the menu, but you won’t need it. MEATBALL PIZZA!
One of the first places we went to eat in our new neighbourhood, and my god, what a find! I played it safe and ordered the spaghetti bolognese and it so, so good! We also ordered the garlic bread and it’s probably the main reason why we rate this place so highly! Thick cut doorstop style bread with just the right amount of garlic oil and herbs! Good luck! Check them out here.
If it’s ooey, gooey, cheesey, greasy New York style pizza you’re looking for, then look no further than Joe’s Pizza. Of course, “the best pizza in New York” is a highly debated topic, but Joe’s is definitely up there for us. For me, it’s the best slice (remember: John’s above doesn’t do slices :p) of pizza you can get in NYC!
Plain cheese for me, or Pepperoni for CCB; you will not be disappointed. Wash it down with a Mexican Coke* and thank me later. Menu here.
*Fun Fact, a Mexican Coke (in a glass bottle) is different (and WAY nicer), because it’s made with real sugar cane. Regular Coke is made with fructose and corn syrup instead.
Meatballs, pasta, and pizza (the usual Italian fare) is what you’ll find in Adrienne’s Pizzabar. Located in the always buzzing Stone Street, the food is really good, and their pints of Peroni, in ice-cold glasses, go down a treat. Check the full menu out here.
Okay, so this place isn’t strictly Italian, but they are best known for their pizza.
The Colony² is a crispy, deep-dish, pepperoni, jalapeño and honey pizza and it is cat’s PJs. Their cheesy garlic sticks, burger and waffle fries are also top notch. Check the full menu out here.
The food here is good – pizza, pasta and steak etc. but Eataly has made the list not for its food, but for its adjoining supermarket. I can only describe it as Donnybrook Fair on steroids. Everything is imported from Italy and (or) made with Italian ingredients and I love just strolling through the aisles checking out the 50 different types of cheese/olive oil/balsamic they have on sale. We go to the one in the Financial District across from the old Century 21 (RIP). Here’s Eataly restaurant’s menu.
We’d been going to Vapiano’s for our pasta fix up until when everything closed, and we’d been craving it ever since. Unfortunately, Vapiano’s has closed down for good ;(, so we had to look for an alternative. Thankfully, thanks to the ratings on the Seamless app yet again, we found Rosella’s Pizzeria and we weren’t disappointed.
So far we’ve had Mushroom Fettuccine Alfredo and Garlic and Broccoli Linguine and they were both delicious. The prices are reasonable and the portions are huge! Check out their menu here.
The good thing about New York City is that Indian food is the same as back home, but obviously that doesn’t mean every Indian restaurant is list worthy. We’ve tried a few Indian restaurants downtown, and Benares was by far the best.
We got the butter chicken (of course) and a spicy naan, which they call a bullet naan. This naan paired with the butter chicken was unreal, and perhaps even better than some of the Indians we’ve had in Ireland. Check out their menu here.
This is our go-to for when we’re being good, which is more often than you’d think, despite the amount of “durt” in this blog post.
Essentially, it’s like Sprout or Chopped, but with a Mediterranean twist. Kale, Hummus, Harissa, Mediterranean chicken, feta, Tzatziki, and pickled red onion all served in a bowl – it’s absolutely delicious. The portions are huge and it’s reasonably priced too. They have vegan and veggie options too. Menu is here.
Mediterranean food wasn’t really an option we’d think of when we were in Ireland, but it’s definitely an option for us in NYC, and 12 Chairs is our favourite. Hummus, falafel, pita and all that good stuff.
Warning: Mediterranean food is usually riddled with coriander (or cilantro as they call it over here), so if you’re not a fan of Devil’s Lettuce (we hate it), then be sure to mention that to your server! Here’s their menu.
So there you have it. An exhaustive list of restaurants that Carly and I have tried, loved and want you to try too. I’ll maintain this list as and when we try new places, but this should be more than enough to get you started.
Thanks for reading!