These are the foods to try in New York City. These are the iconic NYC foods that make up New York City’s diverse culinary scene and culture.
NYC Foods to Try:
1. Pizza from Grimaldi’s, Roberta’s, Di Fara, Prince Street Pizza, Patsy’s, or Artichoke
New York City is famous for its thin crust pizza. It’s hard to get a bad slice in NYC, but I have listed some of the most iconic pizzerias above. One of the things that I love about New York City pizza is that you can get it by the pie or by the slice. My favorite is Artichoke which is most well known for their artichoke pizza, but they have more traditional pizzas too.
2. Bagels from Ess-a-Bagels
Bagels are an essential NYC food. My personal favorite bagel joint, Ess-a-Bagel, has been in the bagel business since 1976. Top your bagel with a wide variety of cream cheese, lox, or turn it into a sandwich.
3. Milk Bar’s Crack Pie
This pie gets its name because it is so delicious and addictive that you might suspect that there is crack in it. The filling is gooey and buttery and irresistible. If that doesn’t sound like your thing, try their equally famous cake truffles or cereal milk ice cream.
4. William Greenburg Black and Whites
Black and whites are an iconic New York City food, partially because they were featured on Seinfeld. If you haven’t tried a black and white, the cookie is almost like a cross between a cake and a cookie, and it is topped with half vanilla and half chocolate frosting.
5. Magnolia Bakery Cupcakes and Banana Pudding
An appearance on Sex and the City turned this bakery into a household name and set off a cupcake craze. The cupcakes are the most famous menu item, but the banana pudding has a cult following.
6. Shake Shack
The original Shake Shack is just south of the Flat Iron Building in Madison Square Park. I recommend trying the shake stack, their cheese-filled deep fried portobello mushroom served on top of a cheeseburger.
7. Katz’s Deli Pastrami on Rye
Katz’s Deli opened in 1888, and it secured a spot in pop culture history when Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal filmed one of the most memorable scenes in When Harry Met Sally there. Katz’s is known for curing their own pastrami and corned beef, and for their sandwiches stacked with layers of meat.
8. Egg Creams, Milkshakes, and Sodas at Lexington Candy Shop
Don’t be confused by the name, Lexington Candy Shop is a classic diner that has been in the Upper East Side over over 90 years. They still make sodas and egg creams with real syrup and they have incredible milk shakes.
9. Cronuts from Dominique Ansel Bakery
This Spring Street bakery is where the cronut was invented. A cronut combines a croissant with a doughnut; flakey croissant dough is deep fried and then filled with a cream filling. Luckily the days of waiting in long lines for cronuts might be over, there is now an online pre-order system for cronuts!
10. Levain Bakery’s Chocolate Cookie
This is the holy grail of chocolate chip cookies, it’s crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on in the inside. Be prepared to wait in line for your cookies, they are one of the trendiest NYC foods right now.
11. Gyros with White Sauce The The Halal Guys
What started as a single food cart on 53rd Street and 6th Avenue has evolved into a chain of restaurants in cities across the country. The Halal Guys are famous of their gyros and gyro platters and their white sauce.
12. Pierogi at Veselka
This Ukrainian diner is open 24/7 and has been around since 1954. They are known for their pierogi which come filled with your choice of over half a dozen fillings. You can get the pierogi boiled or fried and with sautéed onions and sour cream.
13. Gray’s Papaya Hot Dog
Manhattan used to have several Gray’s Papaya locations, but now there is just one and it is on Broadway and 71st Street. Hot dogs are just $1.25!
14. Ferrara Bakery Cannoli
This family-owned Italian bakery has been around since 1892. They sell cookies, cakes, and pastries, but they are most well known for their cannoli.
15. Mac and Cheese at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
This bbq joint with locations in Harlem and Brooklyn is one of the best places for an affordable meal. Their pulled pork and brisket are both excellent, but the mac and cheese with barbecue seasoning is my favorite menu item.
16. Smoked Salmon at Russ & Daughters
Russ & Daughters go their start as a store specializing in Jewish food in 1914. The owner had three daughters, and Russ & Daughters was the first business in the U.S. to have “& Daughters” in it’s name. In 2014, on the 100th anniversary of the business, a sit down cafe opened. It’s famous for it’s smoked salmon which can be served on latkes or bagels.
17. Junior’s Cheesecake
Junior’s has been synonymous with cheesecake since 1950. There are multiple Junior’s locations in New York City, and they serve over a dozen different varieties of cheesecake. Junior’s cheesecakes are distinctive for having a thin layer of sponge cake on the bottom, not graham cracker.
18. McSorely’s Old Ale House Ale
McSorely’s has been serving their own ale since they opened their doors in 1854. During the Prohibition the beer was brewed in the basement. The bar only serves two types of ale, and they didn’t let women in the doors until a 1970 lawsuit. A women’s restroom wasn’t installed until 1986.
19. Bastilla and Tagines at Cafe Mogador
The owner of this restaurant beside Tompkins Square Park is originally from Essaouira and this restaurant is known for serving up traditional Moroccan food. The bastilla, filo pastry filled with chicken, almonds, and cinnamon, and the tagines are not to be missed.
20. Jack’s Wife Freda‘s Brunch
This restaurant is known for serving healthy South African Israeli Jewish Grandmother Cuisine, and is one of Manhattan’s brunch hot spots. The breakfast bowl is made with quinoa, kale, squash, tomato, avocado, and poached eggs.
21. Ramen from Ippudo
The famous Japanese ramen chain has a several locations across the globe, including three in NYC. The restaurant is known for their ramen bowls but their pork bun is also delicious.
22. Afternoon Tea at The Plaza
The iconic hotel beside Central Park that was home to Eloise, is known for serving an elegant afternoon tea at The Palm Court.
23. Brunch at Clinton Street Baking Company
This Lower East Side restaurant is famous for their brunch, especially the blueberry pancakes. I love the fried chicken and waffles.
24. French Fries at Pommes Frites
This small shop is known for their double cooked Belgian French Fries that come with your choice of over 30 sauces. It’s the ideal late night snack, and they are open until 3am.
25. Dumplings from Lan Zhou Homemade Noodle
The noodle house in Chinatown is famous for their pork dumplings.
26. Afternoon Tea at the Russian Tea Room
The Russian Tea Room’s ambiance balances fun and elegance. Their afternoon tea has a Russian twist that adds caviar to the traditional scones and tea sandwiches.