NYC Eats

as suggested by friends

What's this all about then?

Simply a list of places to eat in New York City - recommended by friends.

This is not intended to be a quick research tool!

Instead, take your time and enjoy reading through the recommendedations.

New York City skyline

This list started out as an email passed between some friends for comments in preparation for my NYC trip in August 2013. I found it pretty useful. In case it would be useful to anyone else, I decided to clean it up and put it on the web.

If you find this site helpful or would like to contribute with your tips, please send some feedback my way. I have some ideas to improve this website depending on the level of interest.


Places to sit down

Pearl Oyster Bar

Can't book so you will have to wait. No one in NY will take your mobile number so you always have to wait on the street. Enjoy the people watching. Famous for their lobster rolls - try one with fries.

I actually have never been. It's cool if you want to do the touristy thing of eating in Grand Central Station. If you want to try lobster rolls, I would suggest going to Luke's Lobster. They have locations on the Upper West and East Village.

Gramercy Tavern or Union Square Café

Gramercy Tavern or Union Square Café are good bets and have been favourites for years.

Agree with Gramercy Tavern or Union Sq Cafe. I would get a booking.

The Mercer Kitchen

The Mercer Kitchen was fantastic - very cool space and crowd too.

Mercer Kitchen used to be good, although in recent years / months has taken a tumble on the Yelp rating. Mercer Kitchen is run by a famous chef called Jean-Georges. He has a number of good restaurants in NYC, so a Google search will come up with the others.

The high end flagship 3 Michelin starred restaurant is simply called Jean-Georges. $$$$.

Cafe Habana

Small, cool, lively place on a corner in NoLita. Get the corn with lime and parmesan as a starter. You will have to wait. Very different vibe to West Village – younger, noisier, bit hipper. Good crowd watching.

Walked past this place but didn't really see the appeal. I actually don't like Mexican / South American cuisine that much, so it could be a good reason why. Definitely check out the East Village though, there are a whole heap of places to eat, depending on what you feel like.

Dos Caminos

Mexican - try one of either Dos Caminos (either the Park Ave one or the one in SoHo).

I went for drinks at this place in Meatpacking District. If you sit outside, definitely a good place for people watching. Never tried the food (as I explained above).

Lupa or Babbo

Lupa (near NYU, just above Houston St) is very good Italian. It is one of super-chef Mario Batalli’s affordable places (Babbo is his top end one but you cant get in without booking 6 weeks ahead). 

Lupa was pretty good, but service was pretty shite. The high end Babbo is DEFINITELY a must try. You can actually get reservations for lunch and early (5:30pm) dinners. Sometimes walk-ins also get lucky. Great pasta and a bit on the classier side.

La Esquina

Major scene, food is pretty good (it is Mexican though), but the scene is ridiculous! Very hard to get into so I would book ahead – enter what looks like a diner, go to the back door and give your name – you will go down tunnels and the kitchen and come out in a place where the stars shine! Highly recommend this.

What is with this Mexican fetish?

Bar Baloud

Upper West near Lincoln Centre - very nice French food.

I can walk to this place. It wasn't that good from memory.

ABC Kitchen

This is amazing and if you can get in is a must. Awesome place. This is the newest and trendiest restaurant. Quite expensive but very nice.

Beauty & Essex

A bit of a scene. Worth trying but I prefer the original restaurant by the same owner called the Stanton Social. Smaller with better food. Its in the Lower East Side so you have that covered.

Agree! Good for a drink.

Locanda Verde

Owned by Robert De Niro. Really great food.

Good for brunch too.


Awesome asian food / dumplings. Could be a good lunch.

Greenwich Village

For good neighbourhood places in the Village – there are lots of them - good vibe, good food – try one of these

The Place

W4th near Bank St.

Moustache Pitza

Middle eastern food, on Bedford St.


Cool space and good food. Get the chicken.


Favourite place in NYC. In W.Village. Awesome mod Italian and cool vibe.

Hudson Clearwater

Nice farm to table food. Cool small space. After go to Employees Only on Hudson St for a drink.

Aria Wine Bar

Tiny wine bar & yum food. Italian tapas. I go there often and is one of my favourites.


Amazing food. Not fun so maybe go on a quieter night (like a Tuesday when you don't want a big thing). It's worth it - they don't take bookings.


Casual Italian and great pizza - good for lunch if you don't want to waste a dinner.

Socarrat Paella Bar

Great paella bar and wine bar. Really off the tourist radar but highly worth while.

Breakfast & Brunch

Places for early and late risers

Blue Ribbon Bakery

Great for a snack or a late drink or dessert after dinner.

Brunch here has been great and I've been many times. Get the Chuallah French Toast.

Any of Pastis or Félix or Cipriani Downtown

Any of Pastis, Felix or Cipriani (the one at Soho) for weekend brunch ‘scene’. Pastis is in the Meatpacking District (great shopping there too).

Pastis is touristy but you should probably try.

Cafe Gitane

Cool place in NoLita. Good coffee and good for breakfast. May be attitude.


Tiny place on a pretty corner in the West Village – I think it is W11th and W4th - good for breakfast/brunch.

Very very small, its pretty good. Brunch starts tasting the same to me after a while.


We went there.

Never been.


Strongly recommended at just about any time of the day – brunch, lunch, coffee/pastry, drink, etc.

Touristy but should try.

More brunch

There are over 9,000 places for brunch in NYC


A favourite. Serves Australian fare & brunch.

Market Table

Really nice atmosphere. Great for long overdue catchups with old friends.


Weekend brunch spot.

The Dutch

Cool place, good food.

The Smith

E. Village. American style brunch eats.

Cupping Room Cafe

Breakfast is very nice, highly recommend their pancakes.


Places for quick eats on the go

Rainbow Falafel or Taïm

Rainbow Felafel is a hole in the wall on E17th, Sth side of the street, just off Broadway near Union Square. Fantastic, and just a couple of bucks. Look for the line …

Taïm is small place with great falafel. Vegetarians will love it.

Joe’s Pizza

On Carmine St just off 6th Ave in the West Village is good for a takeawy slice (BTW, New Yorkers generally only order “plain” slices – i.e. tomato and cheese).

Good pizza. I had a slice once.


Touristy institution but must try. Take the walk over from Financial District, over Brooklyn Bridge and get some pizza.

Lombardi's Pizza

Touristy institution but must try (Chinatown / SOHO area).

burger joint

Very simple burger, but in a classic location – hidden in Le Parker Meridian.

This place is ok. More like a speakeasy burger place. Go to Shake Shake if you want to try an American style burger. Otherwise Grey's Papaya for hot dogs, or the famous street meat aka chicken n' rice on 53rd and 6th ave.

Levain Bakery

Levain Bakery cookies (Upper West Side). Huge and amazing.

Shake Shack

Shake Shack in Madison Square Park (not Madison Square Garden) - right opposite our place and Eataly. Great burgers and you can eat outside in the park. Fun for a lunch.

Eataly Restaurants

A large Italian food market with lots of different food counters to eat at. Good for lunch. Right next to our place.

Agree with this one!

The Plaza Food Hall

When uptown or near Central Park - definitely eat at the food court downstairs in the Plaza Hotel. Highly worth it.

Carnegie Deli or Katz's Delicatessen

Carnegie’s (midtown) or Katz’s (lower east side, on E. Houston) are both good. Katz’s is more authentic. Also Barney Greengrass on Upper West Side if you want scrambled eggs and lox on a bagel.

Touristy but must try. At Katz's you pay $17 for a brisket sandwich. It's delicious though. 

Ed's Lobster Bar

Lobster Bar is great for lunch, lobster roll is a must.

Luke's Lobster

If you want to try lobster rolls, I would suggest going to Luke's Lobster. They have locations on the Upper West and East Village.


Please get in touch if you have feedback, bug reports or would like to contribute to this project.