It's pretty simple. I love food, and I love New York. Therefore, I decided to create a list of my absolute favorite eateries, whether they're heavily featured in my restaurant rotation or I've only been once but continue to dream about the corn crème brûlée (Quality Meats, I'm talking to you). There's not really a method to my madness as the list comprises full-service restaurants, bakeries, taco stands and ventures from Alphabet City to the Meatpacking District to the Upper West Side. This doesn't come close to covering all of what New York has to offer -I'm not even a full-time resident quite yet, so please feel free to share your favorites -there's a noticeable lack of sushi, barbecue and pizza joints- and I'll continue to share mine!
For the lobster roll enthusiast: Ed's Lobster Bar
Nothing can stand in the way between me and a lobster roll at Ed’s Lobster Bar -well besides the $29 price tag. But consisting of about one and a half pounds of lobster and a perfectly buttery bun, trust me, it’s a worthwhile investment in your stomach’s happiness.
For your modern day steakhouse: Quality Meats
Quality Meats defies typical steakhouse expectations. With modern décor and unique flavor combinations, it’s certainly not one to miss. Be sure to indulge in their corn crème brûlée, which is just as decadent as it sounds.
For the gourmet grocery shopper: Eataly
Often, I would delude myself by grocery shopping at Eataly, citing its convenience over a lengthier (one avenue) walk to Trader Joe’s, but honestly it’s the seemingly endless cheese, produce, seafood and meat selection that kept me going back. Designed more for tourists than locals, you’ll have to make your way around the crowds that gather, but it’s well worth it.
For the cookie monster: Levain Bakery
It’s not every day you spend four dollars on a cookie, but somehow when it’s a melt-in-your-mouth double chocolate chip from Levain, it just seems worth it.
For a New York City classic: Indochine
After 30 years in the New York restaurant scene, it’s safe to call Indochine a classic. It combines its French-Vietnamese cuisine with tropical décor to create a dining experience you’ll surely want to keep coming back for.
For Italian fine dining: Maialino
Whether it’s Danny Meyer’s reputation (of Shake Shack, Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern fame) or their spaghetti alla carbonara that gets you to Maialino, just go.
For the Jean Georges aficionado: Sort of like Pokemon, with Jean Georges, I just gotta try em all. Three down: The Mercer Kitchen, ABC Kitchen, Nougatine; Five to go: JOJO, Perry St., Simply Chicken, ABC Cocina and The Mark.
For when you’re patient enough to wait in line for a burger: Shake Shack
I have a love-hate relationship with Shake Shack. Love when I’m eating it, hate when I’m waiting for it. But a stop at the original kiosk (that began as a hot dog cart) in Madison Square Park is a necessity if you call yourself a true aficionado. If you’re feeling ravenous, be sure to try the Shack Stack. Consisting of a cheeseburger and a ‘Shroom Burger (“crisp-fried portobello mushroom filled with melted muenster and cheddar cheeses), it’s not for the faint of heart.
For the cheese lover: Murray's Cheese Bar
While Murray’s Cheese Bar may serve “real” food, their cheese is certainly the main attraction. Whether you prefer to describe your preferences and let the “Cheesemonger” select for you or handpick your favorites from their extensive list, you can’t go wrong here.
For late night eats: Cafeteria
Wherever the night may take you, count on Cafeteria for that late-night fuel. Open 24/7, Cafteria serves exceptional comfort food in the heart of Chelsea.
These are what you could call my Midtown mainstays, lunch spots I continuously rotate through and seem incapable of tiring. Fairly healthy, certainly delicious, these deserve to be in your weekday rotation.
For an indulgent brunch: Root & Bone
Their sign boasts, “Huge breasts, juicy thighs, and golden delicious legs.” And the fried chicken certainly doesn’t disappoint if their fried chicken and waffle sandwich is any indication. Check out Root & Bone when calories are a distant thought, and you’re craving biscuits, mac ‘n cheese and bourbon cocktails.
For tacos on the go: La Esquina
Sure, there’s the chic reservations-three-weeks-in-advance restaurant meets tequila bar La Esquina, but I religiously find myself flocking to their no frills taqueria for tacos to eat across the street at Petrosino Square.
For delicious Mexican in a lively environment: Tacombi
After walking by this buzzing restaurant, I finally made my way to Tacombi. Evidenced by the Volkswagon on display that serves as a kitchen, Tacombi offers a fun vibe, great tacos and a Paloma to die for.
For your trusty Mexican chain: Dos Caminos
When Mexican cravings set in, count on Dos Caminos to hit the spot. There are four locations in Manhattan alone. Make sure you get the guacamole!
For upscale tacos: Empellón Taqueria
This isn’t your average Mexican joint. Empellón Taqueria elevates Mexican cuisine to a new level. Think shortrib pastrami tacos and margarita mix-free cocktails with smoked salt.
For great Italian that won’t break the bank: Sauce
It’s pretty simple, but don't underestimate quality ingredients, thereby quality food.
For the seafood lover: Catch
Located in the Meatpacking District, Catch attracts foodies and partygoers alike with its restaurant and rooftop lounge. If you’re with a group, don’t miss out on the crispy whole snapper. Otherwise, indulge in a variety of items; the food is meant to be shared!
Courtesy of mom and dad who have prettyyyy good taste if I must say so myself.