The Ultimate Planning Guide to New York City: A List of the BEST Places to Eat, Drink, See


Note: This is a continuation of my A First Timer’s Guide to NYC. If you have yet to read it, you can find it here. If you just want my list of recommendations, then you have come to the right spot!

I have divided my list by what type of activity (where to visit, what to do, where to take pictures, where to eat/drink and find the best food).

THE ULTIMATE PLANNING GUIDE TO New York City: A LIST OF THE BEST PLACES TO EAT, DRINK, SEE

One of my favorite parts about NYC is the FOOOOOD so I am dividing my list by categories + areas because there are just SOOOO many!

FUN FACT: If you ate out everyday in NYC for breakfast, lunch AND dinner (chain and fast food restaurants not included), it would take you 26 years to get through all the restaurants that exist in NYC.

Food by Neighborhood

East Village

(my favorite neighborhood in all of Manhattan)

Madame Vo

212 E 10th St.

The menu at   Kenka

The menu at Kenka

BEST Pho in NYC hands down and bowls are huge!

99 Flavor Taste

37 St. Marks Pl.

My fave place to go to for AYCE KBBQ—a little pricey, but all AYCE is pricey in NYC

Udon West

11 St. Marks Pl.

Two words—CURRY UDON. Just get it, you’'ll thank me later

Kenka

25 St. Marks Pl.

Amazing Japanese tapas place. You do not want to miss this place—just go, trust me. Beware of the one hour wait (it is well worth the wait)

Koreatown

New Wonjo Restaurant

23 W 32nd St

My favorite Korean restaurant in the city—best lunch specials (available only on weekdays)! So perfect place to go to after touring around Midtown as it is not too far of a walk from most Midtown attractions

Flatiron:

KazuNori

15 W 28th St

The Original Hand Roll Bar—super cool experience, but can get a little pricey. Well worth the wait!

Mari Vanna

41 E 20th St

Russian food with a very cute dollhouse tea room interior

Tacombi

267 Elizabeth St.

Mexican food dispensed from a Volkswagen van parked inside, garage-like theme--cheap, affordable and incredibly aesthetically pleasing

Thai Villa

5 E 19th St.

First of all, you should go here just to see the over the top interior because it is insane. But, if you’re actually hungry, the food here is of very high quality and is authentic made

Midtown

OBAO

647 9th Ave

An amazing mix of Vietnamese, Thai, and other Asian foods

Shokudo

658 9th Ave

Good, fairly cheap ramen

Reichenbach Hall

5 W 37th St

German food + beer hall with HUMONGOUS pretzels

Her Name is Han

17 E 31st St.

Really delicious Korean food and they have yummy cocktails as well! It is a little on the pricey side, so don’t head this way if you are looking for cheap eats

Chinatown

Nom Wah Tea Parlor

13 Doyers St

Piggy egg custards at the   Golden Unicorn Restaurants

Piggy egg custards at the Golden Unicorn Restaurants

Ok, seriously Nom Wah hands down has the best shumai in NYC and I have tried many, many places. They also have incredible Shanghainese soup dumplings that gives Din Tai Fung a run for its money. MUST VISIT if you like dim sum (it is served all day).

Note: It is the oldest dim sum house in NYC (dating back to 1920) and probably the best, so expect an hour wait (it is literally worth every second)

Jing Fong

20 Elizabeth St

The largest dim sum house in NYC—spanning at 20,000 sq. feet and has the capability to seat ~800 people. Read: Chaotic craziness, but a great experience!

Golden Unicorn Restaurant

18 E Broadway

More on the pricey side, but here is where you will find the infamous Dim sum with characters (order the egg custard, it comes as a piggy face)

Brooklyn

Juliana’s Pizza

19 Old Fulton St

HANDS DOWN the BEST pizza I have ever had in my life and I don’t even like pizza—get the #1 special)

Note: Expect an hour wait time (this is the most popular pizza place among locals and pizza lovers alike)

Luke’s Lobster

There are multiple locations all over the city, I just always go to the ones in BK

Best lobster and shrimp po’boys. It is kinda pricey but well worth it

Peaches Shrimp and Crab

285 Grand Ave

My personal favorite place to get Southern food

Pilar Cuban Eatery

397 Greene Ave

My favorite Cuban place in BK

Dim Sum Bar

167 Grand St

Enjoy dim sum among exposed brick walls! (A bit pricier than what you would find in Chinatown, but I mostly go here for the aesthetic of the place)

Nostrand

261 Nostrand Ave

Get this: Korean style brunch...does it get better?! Nope.

Korean food for brunch?!   Nostrand   does it right

Korean food for brunch?! Nostrand does it right

Other In Various Places

Ippudo

There are various locations throughout the city

My favorite place to get ramen in the city (East Village location), but thankfully there are many locations throughout the city!

Nyonya

199 Grand St

If you’re still in your Crazy Rich Asians obsession phase, then this will hit the spot. Traditional Malaysian food galore!

Il Corallo Trattoria

176 Prince St

My favorite place to go to for pasta—they have lunch specials!

Little Alley

550 3rd Ave

Infamous huge soup dumplings you see all over Facebook Insider Videos—cool, but kinda pricey

The giant soup dumpling at   Little Alley

The giant soup dumpling at Little Alley

More Food and Drink BY Category

Breakfast:

Because breakfast in NYC basically means a bagel and some schmear—here are some of the best places

The Bagel Store

349 Bedford Ave

Remember those Rainbow bagels you see all over Facebook and Instagram? Yep, this is where you will find them.

Bagel Works

1229 1st Ave

Probably my favorite bagel shop in the Upper East Side and you can tell many other people feel the same by the line that always snakes out the door. Try the bacon scallion, lox scallion or jalapeño schmear

Brooklyn Bagel and Company

Multiple locations throughout the city

This is my go to on Monday mornings and their bagels are very chewy! Try the Jalapeño asiago and bacon scallion

Brunch:

Chalait

Multiple locations throughout the city

Yummy AND healthy. The plates of food you order here are so colorful (filled with veggies), this is actually one of my favorite brunch places

My $32 avo toast and carrot ginger juice meal at   The Butcher’s Daughter  .  Expensive, but yummy!

My $32 avo toast and carrot ginger juice meal at The Butcher’s Daughter. Expensive, but yummy!

Mezetto

161 E Houston St

I’ll be honest and say I went here for the $20 bottomless mimosas deal—but the food here is very yummy and Mediterranean inspired! Just a tad pricey though.

The Butcher’s Daughter

Multiple locations in the city (I went to the one on 19 Kenmare St.)

The aesthetic of this place is what drew me here—incredibly pleasing to the eyes. This is a vegetarian brunch place, so it is a great option if you are looking for one! Their carrot ginger juice is to die for. SO yummy!

Seamore’s

390 Broome St

Best for their Seafood Brunch options and cheap Happy Hour

IMG_7409.JPG
Celebrating my birthday at   Pietro Nolita   . I mean were you surprised?

Celebrating my birthday at Pietro Nolita. I mean were you surprised?

While We Were Young

183 W 10th St

The cutest most, aesthetically pleasing brunch place with pink cocktails! Beware: It is pretty small and gets crowded quick

Pietro Nolita

174 Elizabeth St

ALL PINK EVERYTHING!!! PINK HEAVEN. Do I even need to say anything else?

Loosie Rouge

91 S 6th St

Best waffles, cocktails on tap, Lousiana-style plates and beignets!

Cafes

Woops

1143 2nd Ave

My favorite coffee shop in terms of interior aesthetic

My favorite Cozy Mint Coffee at   Project Cozy

My favorite Cozy Mint Coffee at Project Cozy

Project Cozy

398 Broome St

My favorite coffee shop in terms of coffee—their Cozy Mint Coffee is heaven on earth

The Chipped Cup

3610 Broadway

Victorian-esque décor

Kaffe 1668

401 Greenwich St

Whimsical, Swedish owned café with a large basement almost like a cave

Sweet Moment NYC

106 Mott St

Cutest latte art ever—must go!

The cutest latte art at   Sweet Moment

The cutest latte art at Sweet Moment

The cutest and cleanest interior look at   Ramini

The cutest and cleanest interior look at Ramini

Ramini Espresso Bar and Café

265 W 37th St

My favorite coffee shop right in Midtown! Mostly because they have macarons and a cute world map table

Urban Vintage

294 Grand Ave

The hidden gem of Clinton Hill—super rustic and vintage themed coffee shop

Drinks

La Linea

15 1st Ave Suite 1

My favorite bar to go to in the East Village—cheap drinks during happy hour starts 3-9PM $4 drinks or 50% off all alcoholic beverages

Bar Primi

325 Bowery

Frosé—frozen rosé

Ten Degrees

121 Saint Marks Pl

Day time happy hour that serves two-for-one drinks until 8PM—starts at noon

Barcade

148 W 24th St.

Happy hour starts at noon, ends at 7PM—for $10 you get a Fisherman’s Brew and Four Roses Shot; ALSO, the bar has retro video games

Pil Pil

265 E 78th St

Happy hour 4:00pm-6:30pm with $3 Sangria—best deal in the Upper East Side, hands down!

Rooftop Bars

The view from the lounge inside   230 5th NYC

The view from the lounge inside 230 5th NYC

230 Fifth NYC

230 5th Ave

Probably the best public rooftop view of the Empire State—during the winter time they have igloos that you can sit and have your drinks in!

Kimoto Rooftop

216 Duffield St

My favorite rooftop in Downtown BK as it has an incredible view—also a sushi restaurant!

Mr. Purple

180 Orchard St.

Hip and super poppin’ rooftop bar—drinks are a little cheaper than the other rooftops, but it is a little harder to get in

The Press Lounge

653 11th Ave

My favorite rooftop because it has the best view of Midtown that is super up close

Gallow Green

542 W 27th St.

A world away from NYC—basically surrounded by a ton of greenery

Refinery Rooftop

63 W 38th St.

Super Pinterest-inspired wedding like vibes with twinkling lights, exposed brick and warm wood

Rooftop 93

93 Bowery

Located in the heart of Chinatown—they have gummy bear popsicle infused cocktails (this is an indoor rooftop)

The Skylark

200 W 39th St., Fl. 30

An incredible rooftop with an even more incredible view—make reservations for the rooftop thoug

The beautiful rooftop of   Kimoto   in Brooklyn

The beautiful rooftop of Kimoto in Brooklyn

Desserts

KITH

337 Lafayette St.

Literally my FAVORITE dessert place—plus it is in a Nike store! Get the Vapor Max—best flavor

Had to get the infamous Coconut Ash at   Morgenstern’s

Had to get the infamous Coconut Ash at Morgenstern’s

Binki Café

42 Eldridge St

SO Aesthetically pleasing Ice cream + Cotton Candy Characters plus other drinks

Soft Swerve

85B Allen St

I like this place because they offer a lot of Asian-inspired flavors, but a little pricey

Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream

2 Rivington St

One of the best ice cream spots in NYC in terms of quality—popular item: Black Ice Cream (ask for Coconut Ash)

Vivi Bubble Tea LES

205 Allen St

Cotton Candy Boba and Macarons—they have multiple locations throughout NYC though! OH ALSO, MUST TRY THE GARLIC POPCORN CHICKEN!!

Yummy boba and dessert at   Vivi Bubble Tea LES

Yummy boba and dessert at Vivi Bubble Tea LES

Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer

529 Broome St.

Specialty over the top shakes

Tipsy Scoop

1580 Park Ave

Alcoholic Ice cream—it is SO good and I highly recommend that this is a must during your trip

Sweethaus Cupcake Café

135 Metropolitan Ave

Super cute Tiffany Blue exterior and yummy sweets inside

Taiyaki NYC

119 Baxter St.

Japanaese ice cream served in fish-shaped waffle cone

Yummy dessert at   Taiyaki NYC

Yummy dessert at Taiyaki NYC

Cha Cha Matcha

373 Broome St.

Specializes in matcha everything— soft serve, hot & iced green tea and baked goods

White Chocolate Lavender ice cream stuffed into a donut and topped off with mochi and fruity pebbles

White Chocolate Lavender ice cream stuffed into a donut and topped off with mochi and fruity pebbles

Besfren

315 5th Ave

Matcha + Taro swirl ice cream as well as a bunch of other yummy Korean baked goods

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

65 Bayard St

Extensive flavor selection and has unique flavors!

Stuffed Ice Cream

139 1st Ave

Donut stuffed ice cream + you can get an ice cream bouquet! They also have very unique flavors

Note: There are so many dessert places all over NYC, so by now way is this list exhaustive of all your options. These were just the must visit ones but pretty much every corner has one and is worth it to stop by.

Cheap Eats/Drinks

Because NYC is notorious for being extremely overpriced, here are some of my go to cheap eats when I’m not trying to spend an arm and a leg to fill my stomach

Xi’an Famous Foods

Has multiple locations throughout the city

Cheap freshly made Chinese noodles—get the spicy lamb noodles they are so good

The whole aesthetic of   Souvalaki GR   takes me right back to Santorini

The whole aesthetic of Souvalaki GR takes me right back to Santorini

Hello Saigon

180 Bleecker St.

Cheap Vietnamese Food in the city

Souvlaki GR

116 Stanton St.

Cheap Mediterranean food, plus the interior AND exterior is a replica of Santorini!

Gong Cha

Various locations all throughout the city

My personal favorite place to get boba as it actually originated in Asia—pretty affordable

Oaxaca Taqueria

Various locations throughout the city

My GO TO taco spot—super cheap and seriously the tacos are amazing

Dim Sum Go Go

5 E Broadway

Cheap dim sum place open late since most places close by 9pm

Go to FiDi and get the $1 falafels off the street carts—cheap AND soooo good!

Woorijip

12 W 32nd St.

This is my GO TO place for cheap, authentic and yummy Korean food. They have a buffet of food that you can pay by pound or they have precooked dishes in heated containers that you can pick up. I always spend less than $10 when I eat here!

Yaso Tangbao

220 E 42nd St (there are multiple locations throughout the city though—this is just what I went to)

My go to for cheap Shanghainese soup dumplings! ~$5.25 for their Blue Crab and Pork soup dumpling

IG Worthy Spots

One of my favorite photo spots in my favorite city in the world

One of my favorite photo spots in my favorite city in the world

Rainbow Wall

Right by DUMBO, you will see it when you see DUMBO! Walk in the opposite direction towards the highway

The   Rainbow Wall   is the perfect photo spot!

The Rainbow Wall is the perfect photo spot!

Such a cute photo spot at   NOMO SoHo

Such a cute photo spot at NOMO SoHo

Stone St.

In Financial District—just google “Stone St” on Google Maps

Streets are cobblestone and packed with bars, restaurants and twinkling lights

Crosby St./NOMO SoHO

In SoHo—9 Crosby St.

This is a popular street where most NYC fashion bloggers take their pics

Again this list is in way exhaustive—I have an upcoming post dedicated to just Instagram worthy spots!

Those infamous photogenic SoHo streets

Those infamous photogenic SoHo streets

Places to See

This was not really the focus of this post as there is an incredible amount of things to do and places to see in NYC—differing from person to person. These are just some of the classic MUST See’s

Times Square

Best time to go? 1 am lol the least amount of tourists you will ever capture Times Sq with. That or right at 5:30 am

Rockefeller Center

45 Rockefeller Plaza

Personally think the view from Top of the Rock is way better than the Empire State

Best view in Midtown!   Top of the Rock

Best view in Midtown! Top of the Rock

Notable Things to See

  • Christmas Tree

    Note: They take it down on Saturday 1/7

  • Top of the Rock (has a better view than Empire State and cheaper!)

    Cost: 28-34$ depending on what time you visit

    Note: I suggest buying the ticket online! ALSO, suggest visiting at the earliest available time (8:00 am)

Saks on 5th Ave

This is right across the St. from Rockefeller Center Xmas tree, across the St. will also be Tiffany’s from Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Brooklyn Bridge

Go early in the morning if you want a pic without a lot of people—to get my best shots I go at 6:30 am

One of my favorite spots to take pictures on the   Brooklyn Bridge

One of my favorite spots to take pictures on the Brooklyn Bridge

One World Trade

285 Fulton St

Notable Things to See

  • Ground Zero

  • Oculus + the Murals outside

Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Pierrepont Pl, Brooklyn

The most breathtaking view of Manhattan Skyline—literally my favorite place to watch the sunset on the Manhattan Skyline

The High Line

Runs from Gasevoort StàW 30th St in between 10th and 11th Ave BUT main part is on W 23rd St in between 10th and 11th Ave

Old rail line with a really nice city/river view

Central Park

Central Park is HUGE. I live by it and have gone countless times, but I still feel like I have not seen it to its full extent. You easily spend hours getting lost here.

Worth Visiting:

  • Betheseda Terrace (Gossip Girl Location)

  • Strawberry Fields (John Lennon)

  • Central Park Zoo

  • Naumburg Bandshell (Outdoor classical concert venue)

Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral

45 Prince St, New York, NY 10012

Beautiful Gothic influenced church! Near Café Habana

Flat Iron Building

175 5th Ave

Eataly is literally right across the street—stop by!

DUMBO

Pop Quiz: Do you remember what DUMBO stands for? This area is infamously known as the home of The Humphrey loft. Among other things, that is! This is one of my favorite areas to just walk around and explore in because of its beautiful streets and red brick buildings. Head to the Brooklyn Bridge Pier while you’re at it!

Note: Notice that unlike my other Ultimate Planning Guide blog posts, this blog post does not say “complete” as no list could ever be exhaustive of the amount of options that exist in NYC. These are just some of my favorite spots—which is continually evolving, so you can probably expect a new list every few months or so!

As you can tell, I have thing for chasing good views.   Brooklyn Bridge Pier Park

As you can tell, I have thing for chasing good views. Brooklyn Bridge Pier Park

Hope you enjoyed this list!

Til’ Next Time,

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