You might wonder, what are the places to eat in New York City? Sushi, all American big sizes fried chicken, pizza, Michelin star or Italian? Do you want to visit tourist restaurants, or prefer to go to local places only? The restaurant and food scene in New York is buzzing and ever-changing. It has many top-notch restaurants, to lovely small corner restaurants. With influences from all around the world, you will surely find a place that you will add to your personal list of best restaurants in New York City. In this post, we will share our personal 7 recommendations that you as a tourist will love during your city trip. No matter if it’s your first time in New York or if you are a returning eater. Yummm!
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What foods are famous in New York City?
When thinking of food in New York, you likely have big portions on your mind. And yes, you can truly have these American-sized portions. We realised that size S is for Europeans easily L. However, this is not always the case and depends much on the places to eat you visit in New York City. New York does have some famous food that you must try! And you might know them from the movies already:
- New York Cheesecake (already one reason to come to New York!)
- Hot dogs (like the street food stands in the movies)
- New York pizza slices (there is a whole history of the arrival of pizza in New York!)
- Bagels (with often cream cheese)
- Falafel (you might not expect it!)
- Dumplings (yummy Asian influences)
- Steak (Steakhouses enough!)
- You will see many bakery’s with delicious options!
Of course that is not all. Do you like to see more? Or find the exact places to eat these specialities in New York? Try these: Famous food in New York City by Free Tours by Foot and 23 iconic dishes in New York by NY Eater.
What are the most popular restaurants in New York City?
Honestly, how can we list this? For sure there are some restaurants with endlessly long amazing reputations or trendy new restaurants. However, the food scene in New York is known for changing rapidly. New hot spots and Instagrammable restaurants pop up daily around the city. To stay on top of it you must be an insider, a local. Therefore we are happy to share two pages that have recent and updated lists available of the best places to eat in New York City, including menu explanations and locations:
How to eat on a budget in New York City?
One thing that we noticed from our city trip is that the food bill exceeded the travel budget massively. Now, we are also quite some foodies and not looking for the cheapest options. So we could do better for sure if we want to! New York is known as an expensive city for dining out. You have some amazing rooftop restaurants, and other amazing places to eat with New York City views. Surely, this city known as the concrete jungle has many options for affordable food. Try some of the tips below to save money:
- Get away from Times Square: it makes sense to add this top on top. The tourist places always have higher prices, and not even always the best quality either.
- Leave Manhattan: If you want to travel a bit further, but have more unique and affordable options we recommend you visit other neighbourhoods around Manhattan.
- Enjoy the food trucks: You can find them easily around you with the app Roaming Hunger. instead of sitting down for a 3-course lunch, enjoy some New York speciality from the street. You can enjoy food for easily 5-8 dollars.
- Grab a pizza slice or bagel on the go: There are so many places around to grab some nice food to enjoy while observing the New York concrete day-to-day jungle.
- Go for happy hours: you will see in many places happy hour announcements. Enjoy certain discounts or free drinks with your meals.
- See here for more options for inexpensive dining restaurants
Do you have to tip in New York?
As a European coming to the United States you might be shocked when you see the bill on your table. The tipping percentages are much higher than usual. It is often a topic for debate on TikTok as well, but a common thing in the United States. Servers basically live off the tips they are getting. It is a cultural difference that tourists are expected to follow. So even if it is not mandatory, there is a big chance you will get a little attitude if you do not give anything.
But how much tip should you give? Easily expect 15-20% of your total bill as a minimum. As you can see in the picture below, the tip options are given. In case you pay the lowest tip percentage, it means that you are satisfied. However, this does not give the “extra compliment” that we usually give with tips. In order to show extra satisfaction or compliments, you should aim for a higher percentage. Always double-check if it is not automatically added by the restaurant already!
Food Tours in New York
The food options and tours in New York are amazing and unique! It will bring you to places you never imagined. You can always create your own food tour of places to eat in New York. Either through blogs, or our recommendations below. If you like to see more and have background and historical stories as well, we recommend you visit with a guided tour. See some great options below:
Our recommendations for places to eat in New York
Carnegie Diner and Cafe
If you find us daydreaming about food, it could truly be a dream about Carnegie Diner and Cafe! Close to Central Park, in the middle of the city buzz you find this amazing diner. You can even sit outside in the sun very nicely soaking up all of New York’s energy. Another key point, the diner has a spectacular menu with big portions. Most of them are between 15 to 25 dollars unless you take meat or seafood.
Some very classical New York dishes. Like Pastrami sandwiches or eggs benedict. Even if you want to go healthy, you can go for salads or a quinoa bowl. Do you feel like more? Try the massive pancakes! WOW! Good for you that the breakfast and brunch menu is available all day. Did we come back? Without a doubt, yes! We couldn’t leave without visiting one of New York’s best places to eat again!
Rasa – Malaysian restaurant
This was definitely our number one, and a “by accident” discovery. Personally we prefer these types of restaurants far over anything fancy or Michelin. While we were enjoying a walk in the Greenwich Village area, we came across this great place to eat in New York City. Rasa is a Malaysian halal restaurant in New York City and not a tourist place at all.
The restaurant has a nice atmosphere, and above all the food is ridiculously yummy! The menu has a great variety of choices with curry, rendang beef, soups and noodles. If you want to try as much, think of shared dining. For example, you can offer multiple starters and share a main. Starters are around 8 to 16 dollars each, and main dishes are around 20 to 30 dollars. Did we go here twice as well? Oops, busted! And the day we will come back to New York, this is also the first place we will visit again.
Ellen’s Stardust Diner
Home of the Original World-Famous Singing Waitstaff, The Stardusters! Ellen’s Stardust Diner is a famous and more tourist restaurant. We loved it, especially because the theme is fully related to Broadway and the Theatre district. Why? All the waiters are actually singers and actors waiting for their breakthrough in big musicals. Which actually happened to many of them until now! While you enjoy your dinner, the staff will entertain you with a spectacular singing show, walking around, over tables and making it a great musical party scene. The food is also yummy and typical diner style. You can order all-day breakfast, pancakes, burgers, salads and pasta. Be prepared for a line waiting outside, but it is rewarded with a great and fun evening out!
In the middle of the Meatpacking District, you will find Chelsea Market. New York is also known for its food halls, and Chelsea Market is a well-known one. The market is a combination of shops, arts and food. Enjoy a walk around and be entertained before grapping some of the delicious food options. There is a great variety from a bakery to Italian, Noodles and special beverages.
Tony’s Di Napoli
Looking forward to some Italian food? Tony’s di Napoli is a high-ranking Italian restaurant and therefore a great place to eat in New York City! Mostly focussed on pasta with a variety of chicken, seafood or for example steak. But don’t be surprised, the portions served are massive! All due to their idea of family-style shared dining. However, you can order half-sized portions or full, both prices are shown on the menu. Still, the portions are very big for a table of two! Luckily it is very normal in New York to ask for a doggy bag ;). In the end, the waiting line was a bit long, so we opted to seat at the bar and get the “bar sizes portions”, which were still big. The food was fantastic. From a starter to the main course and dessert, we had to go back to our hotel rolling.
What is life without a good New York Cheesecake? Junior’s Cheesecakes is a dream for cheesecake lovers! Close to Times Square, and long opening hours. You can grab a delicious slice from a big variety of choices and eat it in a New York hotspot, the red stairs of Times Square. Too busy? In that case, well be like us, and sneak it into the hotel room for some relaxation after long days walking in the city. The slices are massive, but oh oh oh so good!
You know them, the typical cookies like chocolate chip. Insomnia Cookies is very well known for their delicious cookies, that are always served warm. They even deliver at home! Besides that, they also have options with ice cream! The bakery has several locations in New York. Perfect for when you are walking around and like to have a quick snack, or to have a small bite during your food tour.
Enjoying these places to eat in New York City? Imagine having a bite in these fun and delicious places! New York is a food heaven. The culinary scene has something to offer to everyone. No matter what food preferences or budget. We hope that with these tips, you will explore and stay far away from Mac Donalds! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch or share your own food experience in New York City in the comments below!Get in touch