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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
- Hilton Garden Inn Times Square -(where I stayed) Read reviews | Book rooms
- Allianz Travel Insurance– Make sure you and your trip are covered!
- Skyscanner– Compare prices and get the best deals on flights
- CityPASS– Save 42% or more New York City’s 6 best attractions
- Lonely Planet ePocket New York City– the best (and my favorite) destination guidebooks out there!
1. Bibble & Sip
Bibble & Sip is a trendy place to grab coffee, tea or pastries.
It has a cute interior with a rustic but chic vibe. I personally love that their mascot is an alpaca and this is why.
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!
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!
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.
TIP: 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
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.
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.
One Cafe is located at 285 Fulton Street, One World Trade Center, NYC 10007-2915. There are two other dining options as well.
TIP: 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!
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.
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.
Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen is open daily 10:30am-10pm and located at 811 8th Avenue, NYC 10019
4. Redeye Grill
Another place that was great for a sit-down lunch to get out of the rain for a bit was Redeye Grill.
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.
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?
Why, yes it is. A large, bronze, continuously rotating shrimp!
Even the bar was grand with a beautiful dessert display.
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.”
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!!
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.
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
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5. Ray’s Pizza
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?
I quickly consumed this slice of pepperoni, mushroom, and sausage goodness and was on my way to see more of NYC.
Ray’s Pizza has multiple locations and hours of operations.
6. Serendipity 3
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…
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.
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!
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. 😜
TIP: The Frozen Hot Chocolates are huge and great for sharing!
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
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!
Times Square Diner & Grill is open 24 hours daily and located at 807 8th Avenue, NYC 10019
TIP: Portions are huge here too and great for sharing.
8. Take a Chelsea Market Food Tour
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 Oreo from Cream Line
After all, you have to have a fried Oreo in the building where the Oreo was invented, right??
Other foods included biscuits with marmalade, candies and dried fruit, Italian sandwiches, pizza, meat pies and ice cream. I was so full afterwards and swore I would not need to eat for a month!
TIP: Go with a completely empty stomach!
Chelsea Market Food Tour details can be accessed here.
9. Burger Joint
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.
You might be thinking it’s upscale too, but nope. Upon entering you find that…
It, in fact, has the most casual bar-like atmosphere and the most casual food.
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!
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 in over 3 years. I’m so thankful I got full because I could’ve eaten the entire brown paper bag filled with fries!
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!
TIP: 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
Well, the writing on the door pretty much says it all. Sticky’s Finger Joint rocks the chicken finger world!
Their artistry is evident on their walls…
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!!!
TIP: 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.
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!
Starbucks is located on (just about) every corner worldwide.
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…