There are about 8.5 million people living in New York City, and all those people need somewhere to eat. So it’s not surprising that there’s a whopping 24,000 New York restaurants. And all those restaurants means it’s pretty easy to find something for everyone. You can practically travel the world just by walking a couple of blocks. Eat your way from Little Italy to Spanish Harlem or alternate between grabbing slices of pizza on the street and waiting for a table at some of the world’s finest 5-star establishments. While there’s no telling what culinary delights you’ll discover, we can bet one thing: it’ll be delicious.
New York City is one of the most diverse cities in the world and all that diversity does wonders for the food scene. You can sample interesting and hard-to-find flavors from all over the world without buying a lot of rather expensive plane tickets. Instead, all you need is a good pair of walking shoes, an empty stomach, and a sense of adventure. But with a city as big as New York, it helps to have a plan. We’ll break down a few of Manhattan’s more unique neighborhoods to show you where to find some of the best eats in town.
Spanning just two city blocks on a small stretch of 32nd Street, this neighborhood crams more than 100 small businesses into its tiny space. Hit up karaoke joints in between sampling all the kimchi and bulgogi your heart desires.
Le Petit Senegal
Find this micro neighborhood in Harlem to discover the finer points of Senegalese cuisine like ceebu yap: tenderized, seasoned beef with rice, green olives, and black-eyed peas.
Little Dominican Republic
Here, you’ll find the blend of Spanish, Taíno, and African dishes that the Dominican Republic is known for. Just head to Washington Heights and follow the sound of bachata.
This is the famous Mexican and Puerto Rican section of Harlem so get ready for myriad spices, plenty of heat, and some of the best tacos in New York.
There are thousands of restaurants in New York, but only a handful of them are considered tourist attractions in their own right, and that’s exactly what Tom’s Restaurant is. It might sound like a run-of-the-mill American diner, but its distinctive exterior is what sets it apart from the crowd. Fans of Seinfeld will immediately recognize the bright neon sign as Monk’s, the fictional eatery where Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer ate in countless episodes of the show. It looks much the same today, though fans should know that the interior bares little resemblance to the one featured on the show (that was a set in LA). That said, they can still get fantastic diner fare from BLTs and burgers to omelettes and banana splits.
New York–style pizza, thanks to TV and movies, is probably what most people think of when they think of pizza in general. It’s a thin triangle cut to nearly an obtuse angle from a round pie—a floppy, cheesy delight with a pliable crust just begging to be folded during bites. Now that you know what it is, where are the best spots to get it? Here’s a small handful of joints to get you started:
Hip clientele, fresh ingredients, and wood-fired pies regularly put Roberta’s among the best pizza in NYC.
Deviating from the traditional slice, these are square-cut bites of heaven. Definitely try the Spicy Spring Pie.
Celebs like Dax Shepard rave about this unassuming spot, calling it “the greatest slice of pizza I’ve ever put in my mouth.”
Dying to know what else made the cut for must-try pizza spots? Check out our article here.
It would be a stretch to insinuate that When Harry Met Sally’s most famous scene is what put Katz’s on the map. The truth is, pop-culture references aside (“I’ll have what she’s having.”), the deli has been a true New York institution since 1888. Here’s what to know before you go:
Called one of the most expensive cities to visit in the world by CNN Travel, New York’s rep for high prices is pretty well known. But not all of its world-class cuisine is going to set you back a pretty penny. In fact, you can find some pretty good meals for just $15 or less. Don’t believe us? Check out a few of these spots:
Want even more inspiration? See what else made our list of our top 10 favorite cheap eats in New York.
Despite its name, Hotel Chantelle isn’t really a hotel. It takes its name from a War World II French safe house whose influences run throughout the trilevel lounge. Visitors enter through unmarked doors, finding a vintage bar on the other side replete with leather banquettes and colored globe lights. Dark mahogany-wood panels add warmth to the retro decor. Adding to the lounge’s intrigue factor, a hidden dance club, BONBONNIERE, brings the cavernous basement to life with eclectic DJ sets.
The location itself has a historical connection, being situated in a neighborhood where turn-of-the-century immigrants first settled in America from places as far-flung as Atlantis. The theme of tradition extends to the drinks as well. Most of the cocktails are twists on classic drinks.