New York City is the ConcrEAT Jungle.
The city that never sleeps is what foodie dreams are made of. Any type of food you could ever possibly imagine is available in the ‘Big Apple.’ From Soho to Midtown and through the villages, you can pretty much find anything you want, anytime of the day. Next time you’re in NYC, add the following five foodie havens to your list. Be sure to come with an empty stomach and a full wallet – and don’t blame me if you leave with the opposite!
The Little Owl
Location: 90 Bedford Street
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Continental with a twist
Go for: Dinner
The Little Owl was my first meal in NYC and, luckily, a telltale sign for what was to come the rest of the trip. Situated on the corner of Bedford & Grove, The Little Owl is a quaint little restaurant that gives off nothing short of a cozy vibe. With your choice of starters, main entrees, and vegetable accompaniments; the menu isn’t too large or overwhelming. I tasted several items from all parts of the menu (but I really wanted to taste everything!) and was very pleased by each dish. As far as dinner goes, I would highly recommend the grilled scallops with spinach risotto, leeks, & lobster beurre noisette, the duck salad with blueberries & parmesan (if the salad is available – it was a special), Novia Scotia Halibut with chive mashed (omg!) & lemon crème fraîche, and trust me when I say – do not skip the french fries with chili aioli! I would suggest making a reservation about a month in advance since space is intimate and limited.
Location: 65 Fourth Avenue – East Village and 321 West 51st Street – Midtown
Cuisine: Japanese ramen
Go for: Lunch or dinner
Ippudo came recommended to me by several friends (that I am forever thankful for!) and it definitely surpassed my already high expectations. Nothing beats a steaming hot bowl of ramen on a blustery New York day. Be sure to arrive early or at least at opening times to avoid a quickly building long line (worth the line however). Ippudo offers table and bar-like counter service and the entire staff will welcome you with a harmonious greeting in Japanese. I arrived at the Midtown Ippudo at 11:15 and fortunately just missed the wait by about five minutes. We were seated at the counter, the service was efficient and our waiter was helpful and friendly. The lunch menu is on the smaller side, with their focus being on the ramen and then a second page of appetizers and imbibements. Everything I tasted at Ippudo I’ve daydreamt about since, so I’m just going to go ahead and recommend everything I had. Start with the Hirata Buns with pork, which are spicy pork steamed buns with a delicious sauce and crispy lettuce. Next, order some ramen – both the Akamaru Modern (umami flavor) and the Karaka-Men (super spicy!) were phenomenal, just depends what your level of spice tolerance is. If you’re feeling extra hungry or curious, add the ‘lunch set’ to your meal. The addition includes a rice bowl with either spicy ground pork, chicken karaage, or BBQ eel and a small salad (just do it).
Location: 3 locations – Hotel Chelsea on 220 West 23rd Street, Lower East Side on 379 Grand Street, and now in Brooklyn on 245 Flatbush Avenue
Cuisine: Doughnuts & coffee
Go for: Breakfast or snack
The Doughnut Plant has been a favorite of mine for years and will forever be my most beloved doughnuts. Doughnut Plant is where I discovered my undying addiction to doughnuts and I haven’t been the same since my first bite. There are four types of doughnuts available: doughseed, yeast, filled squares, and cake. There are the staple flavors that are available year-round, and then there are seasonal specialties. Whatever the seasonal flavors are – try them. Whatever other flavors they have – try them. TRY. THEM. ALL. My favorites, if I had to choose, are the crème brûlée doughseed, tres leches cake, peanut butter & blackberry jelly filled square, coconut cream filled square, wild blueberry cake, and the seasonal marzipan cake. That narrows it down, doesn’t it?
PS-If you love to torture yourself with food porn, follow them on Instagram: @doughnutplant.
Location: 5 locations – Central Park South, Tribeca, Upper East Side, Upper West Side, & Park Avenue South.
Cuisine: Continental with an innovative twist
Go for: Brunch, breakfast, lunch, or dinner (I’ve never had dinner)
Sarabeth’s is well-known in NYC, and for good reason. I’ve been several times (even a few times to the Key West, Florida location) and have never had a less than delicious experience. Even if the service is spotty, the food is always spot-on. I can only recommend going to breakfast, lunch, or brunch because I’ve never tried dinner at Sarabeth’s. Always start with one of their signature breakfast cocktails, even if you’re at lunch. The four flowers mimosa is my go to drink, which is champagne topped with orange, fresh pineapple, banana & pomegranate juices. For brunch, I LOVE the lemon ricotta pancakes – they’re extremely fluffy with the perfect hint of lemon. On the savory side, I like the green & white – scrambled eggs with scallion and cream cheese. If you’re heading to Sarabeth’s for lunch, try the seafood Cobb salad. This gorgeously plated salad is loaded with seafood – lump crab, lobster, and shrimp.
Location: 38 East 19th Street
Cuisine: Latin American fusion, Farm-to-table
Go for: Brunch, lunch, or dinner
Jean-Georges’ ABC Cocina is hands down a new favorite that I immediately put on my own list of ‘must visits’ when returning to the big city. I generally like to try different restaurants, but there’s always an exception to the rule – and ABC is it. I went for dinner on a Saturday night and the atmosphere was definitely buzzing. The decor is swoon-worthy, eclectic chandeliers hanging from high ceilings, exposed brick walls, and just a modern-ish rustic NYC vibe. I would recommend making a reservation well in advance, as it is a popular destination (aren’t all Jean-Georges’ restaurants?). If you arrive early for your reservation, take advantage of the extensive bar selection. A solid margarita is hard to find, and ABC makes them on point! I had a smoky passion fruit margarita that was absolute perfection. I truthfully wanted to try almost everything on the menu, but limited my selection to about 11 items (yes, I said 11 and yes, I said limited!). My most recommended dishes are the guacamole with ruby grapefruit salsa and the cheese fondue to start. Both are served with fresh tortilla chips and the fondue also comes with crunchy raw vegetables, like purple cauliflower. ABC Cocina had a scallop ceviche on special, and I’m a sucker for ceviche. Marinated scallops with citrus, chives, and peppers makes an excellent ceviche! Order some tacos, any tacos – they’re all amazing. If they have any tacos on special, order those too – trust me, I take tacos seriously. To end the meal that I wish was never ending, the charred octopus with smoked paprika crème fraîche and guajillo vinaigrette was my top pick for the night – the flavors were so cohesive I can’t even describe it with words. What an incredible meal, really. Next visit, I’ll have to give their sister restaurant a try – ABC Kitchen (can’t wait!).
NYC really has so much to offer. There are too many good restaurants to count, and my list is always growing. Every time I visit, I’m longing for awesome NYC food as soon as I get home. Until next time New York!