my favorite food in NYC

Warning...major #foodporn is about to happen. 

While in NYC this summer Matt and I tried a fair amount of restaurants, all were spectacular, and all made me gain a couple of extra pounds...whoops.  

Small disclaimer: There are 24,000 restaurants in NYC - seriously I googled it. (Google is never wrong right??)  That includes all deli's, bakeries, cafes, and takeaways. Which means I tried .05% of total places in NYC.  I don't claim to have been to the best restaurants in the city or know everything (or anything really) about eating in NYC. These are just the places I tried and loved and wanted to pass on and look back at later.

Pictured: Rose. Kale Salad, Bruschetta with Fish Dip on top in background.
Kale & Goat Cheese Pizette, The Chicken in background. my friends and I with Jonathan.
Desserts - from top left clockwise: Chocolate Budino, Some sort of tart with Orange Sorbet, & an Affogato (Vanilla ice cream with espresso poured over it)

Barbuto: Meatpacking.  Around $25-35 an entrée. 
Try: I know it sounds boring but get the Chicken, it's fantastic and there is a reason it has been on the menu since the beginning.
I am a bit impartial to this restaurant because I worked at their sister restaurant in Nashville.  But as unbiased as I can be the food is phenomenal! Jonathan Waxman (from Top Chef on Bravo) likes to cook simple American/Italian food with the least amount of ingredients as possible.  Plus he is usually there walking around talking to guests and signing cookbooks for guests.  He couldn't be nicer.

Pictured: Spicy Signature Ramen.
Chicken broth, Cha-Shu pork, scallion, and bamboo shoots with added Rayu (spicy chili oil)

Yasha Ramen: Upper West Side. $10-17 for a bowl of Ramen
Try: Spicy Signature ramen. Worth the extra $1 if you can handle heat.
I walked by this restaurant a million times while in NY and there were always spots at the bar.  the ramen is good, hot, and definitely has enough to take some home for seconds.  Also free Wi-Fi.

Pictured: Buffet items, and the entrance once you get to the roof.

Gallow Green:  Meatpacking. $35 for two hours of live music and unlimited trips to the buffet.
Try: Southern sweet fried chicken. Thoughts while eating it "Am I in Georgia? Nope...NYC.  Ok just checking"
Book tickets online and look for the non-descript huge black steel door on 27th Between 10th and 11th Ave. It's hard to find but once you step inside you realize why. The atmosphere on top of the McKittrick hotel (where the live interactive play/dance experience Sleep No More takes place) is undeniably cool.  The rooftop views aren't anything to write home about, but the live music and small (but amazing) buffet spread definitely is.

Pictured: Banana Rum Cronut.

The Cronut: Original is at Dominique Ansel's Bakery in Soho. $5 a Cronut.
They only have one flavor a month.  While I was there it was Banana Rum.  The lines at the bakery are always notoriously long.  Thankfully Matt's office over the summer loved to have these at meetings so he brought me home a bag full of them TWICE over our 3 month New York stay.  I was happy because omg they are waistline not so much

Pictured: Front of store, and Pastrami Sandwich.

Katz Deli: Lower East Village.  $14-17 for a hot sandwich.
Try: Pastrami Sandwich obviously. As if you needed the recommendation.
Iconic for a reason.  Great food and a famous landmark deli.  It is cash only so be careful.  Table service is available but more people order at the counter and then find a seat in the ruckus. Go enjoy, and then slip into a delicious food coma after.

Pictured: Chocolate Cookie, and the outside of bakery

Levain Bakery: Upper West Side.  $4 a cookie. 
Try: Literally GET ANYTHING. I'm not kidding, I got a cookie, scone and bread and I still can't pick a favorite
It took me a while to actually get a cookie from here because every time I went to this place the line was crazy long. Finally one day I just sucked it up and waited in line...and it actually moved so fast! Moral of the story: don't be intimidated by the long line!  This place is a must do bakery while in NYC the cookies are expensive but ridiculously good and it took me 3 days just to eat one of them. 

Pictured: The Rev. Al Sharpton.  The front of Amy Ruths.  The Sister Jannette Robinson.  (All of their menu items are named after noteable African Americans)

Amy Ruths Restaurant: Harlem.  $13 for the classic Rev. Al Sharpton. 
Try: any version of their Chicken & Waffles - their waffle recipe is ridiculously good.
If you google "best chicken and waffles NYC" there are tons and tons of articles all which say undeniably the best in the city is Amy Ruths.  I went and is fantastic.  I will disclose this is the only chicken & waffle place I tried in NYC but I doubt I will keep looking for a different one.  I want to eat here everyday. 

Pictured: Outside of the shop in Flatiron (you can see the longgg line through the window)  Starting from top left: Glazed, Cinnamon, Dulce de Leche, Hibiscus

Dough: Brookyln (original), Times square, & Flatiron. $3 a donut.
Try: all of them but the Hibiscus donut was my absolute fav.
This is the type of food that makes me wish I had a superpower of "eat as much as I wanted and not gain weight".  I decided to go there on National Donut Day and waited in line for over an hour.  And it was totally and completely worth it.  Every donut is amazing and I want to try them all.

Pictured: Their dessert window that faces the street. 
Top row of treats are their cramiques (chocolate brioche, and sugar). 
Bottom row is their wide variety of Merveilleux.

Aux Merveilleux de Fred: West Village. $2-5 a dessert.
Try: the chocolate cramiques. 
When I walked in I pretty much thought I was back in France.  Everyone speaks with a French accent and the desserts are inexpensive and beyond amazing.  Their shop is located conveniently right next to the C subway which makes it easy to stop in.  It's a small grab and go shop with no where to sit but definitely worth eating while you walk. 

Pictured: Frozen Hot Chocolate

Serendipity 3: Upper East Side. $9 for frozen hot chocolate.
Try: All desserts are huge (and amazing) so maybe get one to share.  Frozen hot chocolate is their classic for a reason.
I know, I know, such a tourist place. But I actually think this is one tourist place worth stopping at.  The interior is funky, their desserts are famous for a reason, and if you choose to eat dinner there the food comes out fast (and in huge portions). I will say their regular food menu is a bit over priced but stopping in for dessert is possible and a huge frozen hot chocolate is only $9.  The waitlist is usually over an hour but there are tons of stores to walk around and browse while you wait. 

Pictured: Matt & a beer in Madison Square  during their BBQ fair.  BBQ from the fair.
Empanadas at Highline.  Take out burger eaten at Highline.

Street food and fairs:  All around the city in the parks.
If you see it, eat it.  I doubt you will be disappointed.

La Toulousaine: Upper West Side. $1-5 for bakery products. $7-10 for Sandwiches.
Try: Almond croissants.  They run out of them everyday so good luck.
A small bakery with free Wi-Fi.  I would come here a ton to get work done and eat delicious food all day. Their breads and pastries are baked fresh daily and any leftovers (they rarely have any) are baked into bread pudding for the next day. 

All you can eat Sushi: All over the city.  Around $20 a person for ayce.
This particular picture is from Yuka on the Upper East Side (81st and 2nd) Their deal is $21 all you can eat simple roll and was fantastic.  We also tried Hunan Park on the Upper West Side (95th and Columbus) which was $23 for all you can eat special rolls and simple rolls and one glass of Saki.  Amazing deal if you ask me.  The food was a bit slow coming out but once it did it was good.

Pictured:  Ouef with Smoked Salmon.  Croissants with Jam and Butter.
Drink Menu. Ham, egg and cheese.

Buvette: West Village.  Appetizers and Small plates from $5-12 each.
Try: Fresh baked croissants with house made Jam.  I still dream about them.
Their second location is in Paris if that tells you anything about how amazing this restaurant is.  They don't take reservations so come early and put your name down while you walk around the West Village.  The "Friends" corner is only a couple blocks away as well as a million cool Village places.  Once you get in the food comes out pretty quickly and it doesn't disappoint.  Just a fantastic experience all around.

Pictured: Fresh baked bread with ricotta, honey and olives
Main course: Roasted potatoes, eggs and ham plate, house made spagehetti pomodoro

Spasso: West Village. $15-30 an entrée.
Try: Roasted Potatoes.  Don't let the boring name trick you, this dish has Marscapone, maple, chili and bacon.  Get it, get it now.
Matt and I stumbled on this place completely by accident and it ended up being the one of the food highlights.  Their outside seating is delightful, they have scaffolding up around their restaurant so they have embraced it and put up flowers and string lights to make it cozy.  The service was amazing and the food was "OMG give me more" phenomenal. Its an Italian based restaurant with hand rolled fresh pasta and unique flavor combinations.

Pictured: Summer rolls.  Chicken Curry with Quinoa, Beet something, and no idea
(sorry! their summer menu isn't online & I don't remember the 3 flavors exactly.)

Two Tablespoons: Madison Square Eats and Broadway Bites.  $12 for 3 summer rolls.
Try: Chicken Curry summer roll.
This place is a pop up shop in different food markets so you have to keep an eye out for it.  They serve amazing gluten free vegetarian food that has tons of flavor.

Pictured: Menu. 
Biscuit & Gravy, Argentinian Grilled Skirt Steak with heirloom tomatoes.  Rib Eye Steak & Eggs.
Brioche French Toast. Eggs Benedict

Tavern on the green: Inside the park on the west side.  Brunch/Lunch $18-32 an entrée.  Dinner $26-56 an entrée.
Try: Their sides of Biscuit & Gravy was ridiculously good.  The table next to us saw us eating it and immediately called their waiter over and ordered it for themselves. True Story.
Yes it's expensive, but it's also iconic and beautiful inside.  The patio is perfect to sit on especially at night with their string lighting. We had an awesome waitress who was super patient with us since it took us forever to order (we wanted everything) and we had a fabulous experience.  If you're going to splurge on a meal while in the city I would make it this one.