If you are planning a trip to New York, you will of course have plenty of places to visit, but also countless restaurants to discover. Typical American cuisine, burgers, pizzas, vegetarian dishes...
To help you prepare for your stay, I will now introduce some of the best restaurants in New York, according to the type of cuisine they offer.
Best restaurants for "American" cuisine in New York
If you want to try typical New York and American specialties, you'll have no trouble finding great restaurants in all parts of New York.
The Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
What could be more typically American than a BBQ restaurant? The Dinosaur is a family-run restaurant where you can enjoy delicious grilled food. In fact, you can even find two such establishments in New York, one in Harlem and the other in the Brooklyn district.Here, the speciality is the famous marinated ribs. There are several side dishes to go with the meats, such as fries, kale or even soup. Many other meats and North American dishes are also served, such as burgers or poutine – all accompanied of course by a large American beer! 😉
American cuisine is not just about grills and burgers! There is another dish that cannot be ignored: Macaroni & Cheese. S'MAC is a chain of restaurants that can be found in several places in Manhattan, and specialises in this typical dish.
In these restaurants with a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere, you can choose to eat in or take away your meal. Not all mac & cheese are the same, and you can choose from a dozen different recipes, from the most classic (All American) to the most extravagant.
The Brooklyn Crab
Did you know that in New York, lobster is much more common, and therefore much cheaper than in the UK? It would be a shame not to take advantage of that... In Brooklyn’s Red Hook district, you will find the Brooklyn Crab, a small and very friendly restaurant with the appearance of a fishing hut.
There you will find beautiful seafood plates and hearty crab, lobster or fish sandwiches for very affordable prices. Don't hesitate to try the famous Lobster Roll – the most popular lobster sandwich in the Northeast.
Discover New York while eating 🍴
During your stay in New York, you could go on a culinary tour. These tours will take you through one of New York's neighbourhoods (Greenwich Village, Brooklyn, ...) while stopping at different places (in the best establishments of your chosen neighbourhood) to taste typical New York dishes.
As the food is so diverse in this city, there will no doubt be something for everyone and the tour format is somewhat unusual – and therefore interesting! 🙂
You'll be mixing city history and food, two things that obviously go hand in hand 😉
best fast food in New York
No doubt that your schedule will be very busy during your stay in New York. If you wish to eat on the go, here are some good places to eat well without wasting time.
The Five Guys
This is the typical New York fast food restaurant. If you want to enjoy your burger the way locals do, you should go to one of this chain’s restaurants. What's special about Five Guys is that you can make your own burger, choosing all the ingredients you want from a list. According to one Barack Obama, this is the place to find the best burgers in the world.
The Shake Shack
Shake Shack is often considered the place to go for the absolute best burger in New York. I classify it as fast food because it serves typical fast food, but its reputation precedes it, and you'll often have to wait a long time to be served.
On the menu you will find a wide range of burgers made with fresh ingredients (including the famous Shack'Burger), all served with French Fries. Shake Shack is actually a chain: there are several restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn, but the most famous is in Madison Square Park.
The Burger Joint is a small restaurant almost hidden inside the Parker Meridien Hotel, near Central Park, on the Columbus Circle side. The burgers served there are so delicious that this establishment quickly became a household name, and is now one of the most popular fast food joints in the city.
You can choose the ingredients for your burger here too, although I personally recommend the cheeseburger – a timeless classic that will certainly not disappoint.
best Pizzerias in New York
The Italian community is very present in New York, and pizza has truly become a city specialty – so much so that some even claim that New York has better pizza than Naples!
This pizzeria in the Bushwick district of Brooklyn is clearly worth a visit. To get to the restaurant, you'll have to cross this former industrial district – which has become the emblematic place of street art in New York.
When you enter Roberta's Pizza, you will be surprised by the lively atmosphere of the place, and you will be able to taste some of the best pizzas in the city. The menu is very extensive, and you should have no trouble finding a pizza to your liking.
Di Fara Pizza
This is a legendary New York City pizza joint that has been voted Best Pizzeria in the city several times. In this tiny establishment, you'll probably have to wait at least an hour before you can eat – but that long wait will be completely forgotten after the first bite. You can even wait while watching Demenico de Marco, Di Fara Pizza's owner of more than 50 years, work on the dough.
Best Soul Food restaurants in New York
If you want to discover the traditional culinary specialties of African-American culture, there are some excellent Soul Food establishments in New York City waiting for you.
This establishment, which opened in 1962, is probably the most famous soul food restaurant in New York. Sylvia Woods, the creator of the place, has now passed away, but the greatest specialties of the woman who was nicknamed the "Queen of Soul Food" are still served in her restaurant.
In this very welcoming place, you can try these often very simple but delicious dishes, such as pork knuckle with beans, waffles and cornbread.
Miss Mamie’s Spoonbread Too
This is another Soul Food establishment where you can enjoy hearty dishes. Located north of Central Park, Miss Mamie’s Spoonbread Too is a very cosy place where you will be warmly welcomed. Shrimp, gumbo beans, chicken sandwiches... Many typical dishes from Alabama, Louisiana and Carolina are offered on the menu of this authentic African-American restaurant, which is notably known for serving the best fried chicken in Manhattan.
Best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in New York
Most restaurants in New York City now serve vegan recipes, but you can also find establishments that specialise entirely in vegetarian and vegan cuisine:
- Blossom on Columbus is a vegetarian restaurant located on the Upper East Side district of Manhattan. It's the perfect place to spend a quiet evening in a romantic setting, while enjoying dishes made with organic, locally grown produce.
- Candle Cafe is an establishment that works for sustainable development. This Upper West Side restaurant was originally a health juice bar, and now continues to offer dishes that aim to improve the health of consumers. In this restaurant, you will find many fine vegetarian and vegan dishes made with fair trade products.
Best foreign food restaurants in New York
New York is the most cosmopolitan city in the world, and you will have the opportunity to taste cuisines from all over the world in restaurants all over the different New York districts. Of course, I couldn't possibly introduce you to all of them, but here are some examples of restaurants that serve specialties from other countries:
- La Petite Boucherie is a brasserie in the West Village that is undoubtedly one of the best French restaurants in the city. You will find many classic French dishes, as well as a very nice wine list. Plus, the prices of the dishes are much more affordable than in most other French restaurants in New York.
- The Excellent Dumpling House is a typical New York Chinese restaurant located in Chinatown. You can eat there for a particularly good price. Pork dumplings, Cantonese rice, soups and many other Chinese dishes are offered on the menu, and all recipes are made with fresh ingredients.
- The Mesa Coyoacán is a Mexican restaurant located near the Brooklyn Bridge, offering dishes with authentic flavours. In this large restaurant with a particularly warm atmosphere, you will find tacos, tortas (the Mexican equivalent of sandwiches), enchiladas and ceviches, preparations based on seafood or raw fishest.
- The Cuba Restaurant is a Greenwich Village establishment that, as the name suggests, serves typical Cuban dishes. This restaurant serves all the specialities of Cuba: Moros y Cristianos, picadillo, lobster, Cuban flan... It also doubles as a rum bar, where you can taste the best mojito in Manhattan. Regularly, music groups come to play in the room, for a very enjoyable atmosphere.
And that's it for my article on New York's best restaurants! Of course, if you've already been in New York and know of a restaurants that you found absolutely delicious but isn't on this list, don't hesitate to share it with us in the comments! I'll definitely try it during my next trip to the US 😉