10 Unique Restaurants in New York City + What to Order

 
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Just a couple of a weeks ago I took a trip to New York City, a place I love and have visited many times. There was a purpose for this trip but in addition to that purpose, it was my first completely solo trip. And I loved it. Every second of it. One of the aspects I was most excited about was all the great food I was going to have. I honestly wanted to find some unique restaurants in New York City and not eat at only touristy places.



It took me a little while to put together my personal food tour, but I think this list is appealing and eclectic and includes something for everyone from grab-n-go and nice sit-downs to quirky and even a fun touristy place too!

NYC Resources & Recommendations

Hope you enjoy my top 10 list of unique restaurants in New York City!

1. Bibble & Sip

exterior of Bibble and Sip in New York City

Bibble & Sip is a trendy place to grab coffee, tea or pastries.

collage of interior shots of Bibble and Sip in New York City

It has a cute interior with a rustic but chic vibe. I personally love that their mascot is an alpaca and this is why.

my lavender latte in green coffee cup at Bibble and Sip in New York City

One of their specialties is their lavender latte complete with latte art. I was a little skeptical only because the smell of lavender gives me a headache, but I decided to try it anyway. To my surprise, not only did I like the latte, but it also smelled good and didn’t bother me. Score!

close up of the top of my latte with panda bear latte art in New York City

And really, how cute is this little bear on the top? The only thing that would have been cuter is an alpaca. I wonder why they don’t do those. That will be a question or maybe a request I make on my next visit!

Bibble and Sip sign outside in New York City

I couldn’t help but capture their logo sign outside their storefront. BS all you want! Love it and I did! It was a particularly great morning to BS since it was rainy and cold.

Travel Tips
If you aren’t heading to a meal soon (like I was), try one of their fresh pastries with your coffee or hot tea. Also, for dine-in, they use real cups and saucers. Don’t leave without cleaning up after yourself as they don’t bus their tables.
Bibble & Sip is open M-F 7:30am-8pm, Sat/Sun 10a-8p and is located at 253 West 51st Street, NYC 10019

2. One Cafe at One World Observatory

eating pizza at the top of One World Observatory in New York City

One Cafe made my list because I could grab a number of options while waiting for the sun to set after getting my daytime photos from One World Observatory. They allow you to take food anywhere you want so I found a spot where I could sit down, eat, and people watch all while getting the best views of the city.

pepperoni pizza in New York City

As you can see, I chose pepperoni pizza. I had arrived in New York that day and pizza just sounded good. While not the best pizza I’ve ever had, it was yummy and I was hungry. Before I knew it, I finished the entire thing. Warning though. The appeal is the convenience and not the price.

Hilton Hotels

Travel Tips
Visit One World Observatory in the late afternoon to see the views during the day. Then grab pizza or any other item on the menu, find a place to sit and settle in while you watch the sun go to bed and the Big Apple waking up!
One Cafe is located at 285 Fulton Street, One World Trade Center, NYC 10007-2915. There are two other dining options as well.

3. Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen

Later one night after some night photography and a fabulous Thai massage, I realized I was really hungry. On the way back to my hotel which was about 2 blocks away, I noticed Kung Fu across the street from my hotel.

pair of beef buns with duck sauce in New York City

They had me at beef buns. Their menu was posted outside and being a gigantic fan of dim sum, I was sold. Since it was later than I usually eat, an inexpensive, small plate of something I love and can’t really get back home was a winner!

I completed the late night snack with duck sauce and a diet coke and went back to my hotel to feast on my treasure. Or treasure my feast. I feel pretty certain both of these occurred.

Travel Tips
Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen is open daily 10:30am-10pm and located at 811 8th Avenue, NYC 10019

4. Redeye Grill

exterior of Redeye Grill in New York City

Another place that was great for a sit-down lunch to get out of the rain for a bit was Redeye Grill.

table and menu from Redeye Grill in New York City

I was seated at a table right away. Turns out that a rainy Saturday at lunch is one of the few times the place isn’t packed out.

interior of Redeye Grill in New York City

I had a great view of the rather large restaurant. There was a whole section behind me too. And then upon closer look at the top, left…is that a shrimp?

giant rotating bronze shrimp in Redeye Grill in New York City

Why, yes it is. A large, bronze, continuously rotating shrimp!

the bar and dessert display at Redeye Grill in New York City

Even the bar was grand with a beautiful dessert display.

overhead view of sushi burger from Redeye Grill in New York City

The aesthetics were a bonus, but this baby is what I came for. In fact, when I sat down and the waiter asked for my drink order and if I needed a few minutes, I said “Nope. I’m only here for one thing.” He replied with “I bet I know what that is.”

side view of sushi burger from Redeye Grill in New York City

He was correct with his guess. The Redeye Grill is known as the home of the Sushi Burger. For sushi lovers like myself, this was flipping awesome!!

closeup view of sushi burger from Redeye Grill in New York City

The spicy yellowfin tuna, wakame seaweed salad, watermelon radish, ginger and avocado on a tamanashiki rice bun made a fabulous combo of flavors. For me, this was a big deal since I’m normally not a fan of radish, ginger or spicy food and I usually like salmon included in my sushi.

Travel Tips
Redeye Grill is open Sun 11:00am-10:30pm, Mon 11:30am-10:30pm, Tues-Fri 11:30am-11:30pm and Sat 11:00am to 11:30pm and located at 890 7th Avenue, NYC 10106

5. Ray’s Pizza

exterior of Ray's Pizza in Times Square New York City

In a hurry and want to grab a slice on-the-go? Ray’s Pizza is the place. I ducked in on National Pizza Day because you must have pizza on that day, right?

slice of pepperoni, mushroom and sausage pizza from Ray's Pizza New York City

I quickly consumed this slice of pepperoni, mushroom, and sausage goodness and was on my way to see more of NYC.

Travel Tips
Ray’s Pizza has multiple locations and hours of operations.

6. Serendipity 3

collage of different views of the interior of Serendipity 3 in New York City

Even though it’s a known touristy spot, Serendipity 3 is still a must-do in my opinion. This was actually my first time at this location in NYC, but I had visited the Las Vegas one a few times before it closed.


The quirky interior will you keep you interested while you wait for…

side salad and chicken pot pie from Serendipity 3 in New York City

whatever you’ve picked on the menu. I say that because I’ve had several items and you just can’t go wrong. This particularly cold night, I went with the chicken pot pie and a side salad. Saying it hit the spot would be an understatement.

overhead view of my frozen mint hot chocolate from Serendipity 3 in New York City

And because most people flock to Serendipity 3 for dessert, you must have that. They are known for their Frozen Hot Chocolates. Plural. As in regular Frozen Hot Chocolate, Peanut Butter Frozen Hot Chocolate, etc.

I’ve had the regular and it was really good. But this time I got the Frozen Mint Hot Chocolate and I was in heaven. If you are a chocolate mint fan, you will adore this!

giant red, lit up garland type heart hanging on back wall of Serendipity 3 in New York City

And yes, if you caught that, I just topped off my warm chicken pot pie with a frozen drink. On a cold, rainy night. In New York City. Don’t judge. It’s that good. That’s why there’s a heart hanging on their back wall. 😜

Travel Tips
The Frozen Hot Chocolates are huge and great for sharing!
This is a great place for families with kids. If you are traveling with a baby, check out these tips to dining with a baby in NYC.
Serendipity 3 is open Sun-Thurs 11:30am to midnight, Fri/Sat 11:30am-1:00am and located at 225 East 60th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Ave), NYC 10022

7. Times Square Diner & Grill

mozzarella cheese sticks from Times Square Diner & Grill in New York City

The fried mozzarella cheese sticks at Times Square Diner & Grill was another one of my late night munchies. It was also located across the street from my hotel and since it was packed all the time, I decided to check it out.

Only problem here is that I wish I had been hungry for a meal rather than a snack because their large selection of unusual pancakes and French toast looked amazing!

Travel Tips
Portions are huge here too and great for sharing.
Times Square Diner & Grill is open 24 hours daily and located at 807 8th Avenue, NYC 10019

8. Take a Chelsea Market Food Tour

unique colorful wooden sign with store listings in Chelsea Market in New York City

Okay, so technically not a restaurant, it’s several! If you haven’t taken a food tour in NYC, then you are missing out. I chose the Chelsea Market and Highline tour with Foods of NY Tours.

I chose this tour for a few reasons-the biggest being I liked the food options offered and I wanted to check out Chelsea Market and the Highline. Also, I knew it was going to be raining the day I planned to go and the tour was mostly indoors so that was a bonus.

fried oreos in Chelsea Market in New York City

Fried Oreo from Cream Line

After all, you have to have a fried Oreo in the building where the Oreo was invented, right??

collage of biscuits with marmalades, dried fruit and candy and Italian sandwich from food tour in New York City

Other foods included biscuits with marmalade, candies and dried fruit, Italian sandwiches, pizza, meat pies, and ice cream. Afterward, I was so full I swore I wouldn’t need to eat for a month. If this is your situation as well, meander over to the High Line Hotel and check out its urban sanctuary!

Travel Tips
Go with a completely empty stomach!
Chelsea Market Food Tour details can be accessed here.

9. Burger Joint

peeking down secret hallway into grand lobby of a hotel in New York City

Perhaps the most interesting place I went to is Burger Joint. Mainly because of where it is located and how you access it. It’s located in the very upscale Le Parker Meridien Hotel hidden behind long red velvet curtains.

collage of entrance into Burger Joint in New York City

You might be thinking it’s upscale too, but nope. Upon entering you find that…

interior of Burger Joint in New York City

It, in fact, has the most casual bar-like atmosphere and the most casual food.

getting my burger and fries wrapped up from Burger Joint in New York City

I’m talking you have to grab your own paper plates stacked on the counter to put your food on when your order is called type of casual!

my burger from Burger Joint in New York City

The burger was tasty, but it was the fries that I couldn’t get enough of. They reminded me of McDonald’s fries which I haven’t had since December 2014. I’m so thankful I got full because I could’ve eaten the entire brown paper bag filled with fries!

mirrored lobby of grand hotel Burger Joint is located in New York City

After leaving the seemingly secret entrance, I asked where the restroom was and this was the lobby I entered on my way to that restroom. It was like two different worlds and that’s part of its appeal!



Travel Tips
Try not to go during peak times. They don’t take reservations, there are not a lot of tables and the line can easily be out the door. I lucked out to be third in line and get a place to sit at 1:15pm. As soon as I sat down, the line was out the door!
Burger Joint is open Sun-Thurs 11:00am-11:30pm, Fri/Sat 11:00am to midnight and located in Le Parker Meridien Hotel at 119 West 56th Street, NYC 10019

10. Sticky’s Finger Joint

exterior of Sticky's Finger Joint in New York City

Well, the writing on the door pretty much says it all. Sticky’s Finger Joint rocks the chicken finger world!

colorful murals inside Sticky's Finger Joint in New York City

Their artistry is evident on their walls…

salted caramel chicken fingers from Sticky's Finger Joint in New York City

and in their food. These are the salted caramel chicken fingers, one of their specialty creations. This is just a whole new take on chicken fingers for me. I can’t tell you how good they were or that I started brainstorming on how I could get them to come to Birmingham. If you’re reading this Sticky’s, please come to Birmingham, Alabama!!!

Travel Tips
Try these with Sticky’s Sauce. It’s their signature white BBQ sauce. I know what you’re thinking-with salted caramel? Yes! I got this after getting mixed up on how the chicken fingers were served. I decided to try it anyway resulting in an amazing flavor combination!
Sticky’s Finger Joint has multiple locations with various hours.

BONUS

cherry mocha frappuccino from Starbucks in New York City

Clearly not unique, but the drink itself is. This was the cherry mocha frappuccino from Starbucks. It was their specialty drink for Valentine’s Day. I had their specialty for Halloween and Christmas and decided I had to try this one too. If your local Starbucks has any of the cherry syrup still leftover (mine did as of a couple of days prior to publishing this post), you MUST try it. It tastes just like a chocolate covered cherry!

Travel Tips
Starbucks is located on (just about) every corner worldwide.

PIN IT!

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And here you have it! My personal food tour of 10 unique restaurants in New York City. Is your mouth watering yet?

Have you been to any of these? Do you have any to add to this list? What was your favorite?

Also, New York can be expensive so be sure to check out these 14 ways to see NYC on a budget!

‘Til next time…

Trimm Travels,

Heather

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26 Comments

  1. Nice. Chelsea Market Foods are my go-to in summer after walking the Highline. I wish you had crossed the bridge into Brooklyn because we have so many unique restaurants from all cultures and nationalities for much, much cheaper than Manhattan. Glad you had a great time in our great city!

    1. Hi Kemi, you have NO idea how disappointed I was that I didn’t get to cross the bridge! It was one of the top things I wanted to do and the weather didn’t cooperate. Just means I need to go back and I will. I LOVE NYC and am really wanting to dive into more of it! Food in Brooklyn is high on the agenda! Thanks for reading!

  2. Out of all these, I got my eyes on that Redeye Grill. I love the decor inside and the food does look yummy. I love finding new eating places in NYC and havent heard of this one, so would love to check it out. 🙂

    1. Hi Danik! It’s fantastic! I’m like you…I like to find new places to eat in NYC and LA where I previously lived. Definitely check it out! Thanks for reading!

  3. I think my favourite from your list would be Bibble and Sip due to the darling alpaca…plus I love coffee and pastries. I’m also very intrigued by Burger Joint…such an interesting contrast! Great list of some unique eateries.

    1. Hi Delisa! Oh my gosh the alpaca was TOO cute! I love alpacas…fell in love with them in Perú (and Perú too)! Burger Joint was quite interesting. I felt like I was on the sly asking the bellhop where it was and then going down this hall behind curtains! LOL! Thanks for reading!

  4. I visited New York City a few years back and I wish I would have known about these places before – hand. Guess I just need to make another trip back! I am a huge hot chocolate lover so Serendipity 3 would be a must!! That Peanut Butter Frozen Hot Chocolate sounds like the best thing in the world!

    1. Hi Steph! Right??? The frozen hot chocolates are a MUST!! Can you imagine what the Peanut Butter one would taste like? I’m imagining a big, frozen Reese’s Peanut Butter cup! I will have to go back and try that one next! I want them all! LOL! Thanks for reading!

  5. I also love New York so much. I’m in the process of writing my own article about the visit we had some years ago. Great food options, hope to experience more of them next time there, that I hope would be soon :))

    1. NYC is just a great city and has something for everyone! It seems to be the number one city non-US citizens want to visit! Thanks for reading!

  6. Great article! Some really interesting places included, will certainly check them out on my next visit to NYC, thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Jack! Glad you liked them! Tried to find something for everyone and it was all really good! Thanks for reading!

  7. I’ve not been to NY for way too long, especially for someone who considers food to be one of the greatest reasons to travel! Lovely to have some tips on where to go and what to order. I’m drawn to the steamed byns at Kung Fu and the sushi burger at Red Eye! Oh and fried oreos from Cream Line!

    1. Hi Kavita! You gotta get back to NYC! SOOO much good food there! I didn’t come close to covering it all, but I’m on a mission! LOL! The sushi burger is out of this world!! But then so were all the other things listed. Food is just yummy! Thanks for reading!

  8. Sooo yummy! Thank you so much for all this great insider tipps – I am planning a trip to New York and I will visit some of this places for sure 🙂 – and now I am really hungry…

    1. Hi Martina! I’m glad you find the tips useful! I try to hopefully make it easier for others! That’s the only downside to food posts, right?? You get really hungry! Enjoy your trip to NYC, let me know if you go to any of those places and thanks for reading!

  9. Bibble & Sip is a great spot! We really like their cream puffs, especially the matcha and black sesame. Burger Joint is a cool spot too, like how they are tucked into the fancy Le Parker Meridien. Haven’t been back there in a while.

    1. Hi, yes Bibble & Sip is really cool! It’s just different…the vibe, the menu items and that cute alpaca! Thanks for reading!

  10. I shouldn’t have read this while I was so hungry! Your photos are so yummy looking. I love finding new places to eat in NYC- so many choices. And favorite of mine is Chelsea Market, but I look forward to trying some of these on my next visit.

    1. Haha! That’s how I feel when I’m creating the post! Not sure if it’s good or bad that I can’t just rush out and get these! Probably good! Chelsea Market is totally awesome! Thanks for reading!

  11. Pinned it, Heather. I am in NYC often. I need to take my son for the sushi dinner and I need to try the salted caramel chicken. Next time you are in town, you should try the Hallal Guy food truck. It is worth the wait. And I agree with Serendipity being a must-try!

    1. Hi Jamie, thank you!! I’m ALWAYS looking for new places to try in NYC. I love to go and am planning to visit more often actually so I will definitely try your suggestion of Hallal Guy food truck. I am always open to great street food!! Serendipity is just a yes! Thank you for reading! 🙂

  12. I love Serendipity as well. A tip is put in your name, then take the funicular over to Roosevelt Island to pass some time. You have to let me know next time you are in the city. I can take you for some fabulous dim sum. You can take me to Sticky Fingers!

    1. Hi Jamie-Deal! Actually, I did that this time-we took the gondola thing over to Roosevelt Island and we had some fabulous dim sum in Chinatown this time. I will go eat dim sum anytime, anywhere and I’ll definitely let you know next time I’m there! Thanks for reading! 🙂

    1. Hi Juliann-They really are! The salted caramel chicken fingers especially (there are other good choices there too) and the sushi burger is to die for! There’s also a sushi donut that I will be adding to the list or in a different post soon! Hope you and your daughter have a fantastic time! I may be there in the spring too. When are you going? Thanks for reading! 🙂

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