Wow. NYC was once a pipe dream and it’s still so crazy to me that I live here *and* that it’s now been a year. I’ve loved getting to settle into the city this past year and explore things as a local. As 62 million people visit NYC a year, this has been one of my most-requested city guides. I didn’t want to roll this one out without having explored the city enough, and while I know this guide only skims the surface, here are my favorites restaurants, bars and things to do in the city!
Living here has been such a dream. I love the energy, can’t get enough of the convenience, constantly craving the best new restaurant and, of course… care so much about the people. The friendships I’ve forged here have been so dear to me. New York is such a big city, but with great friends, it somehow manages to feel like a more intimate place at the same time.
I ended up dividing this guide up by neighborhood as NYC is such a spontaneous and walkable city. Taking the subway or hailing a cab is pretty easy ~ although, for weekend visitors, I might recommend staying away from the Subway unless you’re with a local. I’ve ended up going the wrong way and ending up in the wrong part of the city more than I’d like to admit. I’d recommend using Uber while here!
- La Esquina (Mexican) – Spanish for “the corner,” this some of my favorite Mexican food in the city. The margaritas are fantastic, I’ve never had a bad experience with the food here and the atmosphere is a vibe. This is one of my go-to’s for bringing out-of-towners!
- Uncle Boons (Thai) – Expect a wait. Not your typical Thai as they have traditional dishes you won’t likely find in American (sorry, no Pad Thai here!)
- Gitano (Mexican) – Sometimes the best parties have a disco ball suspended among palm fronds. At least that’s the vibe at the Tulum-Inspired “Jungle of Love” pop-up during the summer!
- Rintintin (Mediterranean) – A favorite to meet for drinks. Great spicy margs and small plates + a cute interior!
- Ruby’s Cafe (Australian) – Gret for lunch – recommend the Bronte Burger or the crispy rice salad!
- The Crosby Bar (at the Crosby Hotel) – This lobby bar is one of my favorite spots to grab cocktails when in Soho!
- Rubirosa (Italian) – A staple of NYC Pizza. I’d recommend going at a funny time to avoid the typically long wait!
- Shoo Shoo (Israeli) One of my favorite Mediterranean spots in the city. Great for brunch and lunch, too!
- Mother’s Ruin (American) – Drinks and small plates that serve late nite!
- 12 Chairs (Israeli) – If you’re a connoisseur of shakshuka, this is a great brunch option for Mediterranean fare!
- Shuka (Israeli) – If you love Mediterranean cuisine, you can’t go wrong here.
- Her Name Was Carmen (Peruvian) – A beautifully designed and upscale Peruvian restaurant. Don’t miss the intimate downstairs club that has a dancefloor with a pineapple disco ball (yaaas!)
- ATLA (Mexican) – Contemporary Mexican fare from Chef Enrique Olevera! Great brunch option, too!
- Extra Virgin (Italian) – Classic Italian bistro with cute sidewalk seating – perfect for when the weather is nice!
- Bar Sardin (American) – Upscale American dining in snug and candle-lit space. During the summer they open the windows and the counter seating is some prime people-watching real estate.
- Bobo’s (French) – Cute and quaint French cuisine with a great little terrace in the back!
- Due West (American) – Great for happy hour as they have some phenomenal small plates and feature $1 oysters.
- Mary’s Fish Camp (Seafood) – Casual New England fish shack-style seafood. Lesbian owned + operated!!
- Fedora (Cocktails) – Modern speakeasy with some creative cocktails and upscale bar fare.
- Jeffrey’s Grocery (Seafood) – Located right in the middle of the village, this is a go-to for brunch and some phenomenal seafood. This spot has a lot of character and has a cozy bar! Get a spritz here for me!
- The Happiest Hour (Cocktails) – A vibey tiki bar with fun cocktails and solid bar food.
- Dante (Italian) -A special place. Modern Italian restaurant (run by Aussies!) with a negroni menu and Aperol Spritz on tap! Every in the summer they have a live jazz band playing from 2-5pm. Really is one of my favorite spots in the city – catch me here!
- Beatrice Inn (Steakhouse) – An upscale steakhouse with a fun bar towards the front – get a martini here for me!
- Emily (Pizza) – A snug Detroit-style pizza joint!
- Employees Only (Amerian) – A prohibition-style restaurant that is intended to serve your servers – people in the service industry when they get off work! They have some great upscale food and serving until 3am!
- Little Branch (Cocktails) – One of my favorite speakeasies in the city! (22 7th Ave.)
Tribeca/ Financial District:
- Smith and Mills (American) – A converted carriage house that is almost as big as my apartment – not saying much! Cute and a candle-lit option for happy hour or snag a seat for some great octopus and the burger.
- Locande Verde (Italian) – Rustic Italian from Chef Andrew Carmellini.
- Yves (French) – Cozy French bistro with some great craft cocktails!
- Primo’s (Cocktails) – located in the bottom of the Fredrick Hotel, this art deco lounge is perfect for a martini happy hour!
- Tiny’s Upstairs Bar (American) – In a historic townhouse that’s been painted pink, this dimly-lit restaurant is one of Olivia’s favorites!
- Ward III (Cocktails) – Mellow cocktail bar that boasts a great selection of whiskey!
- Frenchette (French) Modern French bistro and has a great selection of natural wines!
- The Django (Jazz Bar) – Fun jazz bar located downstairs at The Roxy Hotel. Also one of Olivia’s favorite spots!
- Macao Trading Co. – Intimate dinners and lively dance floor at this that draws inspiration from the brothels and opium dens of Macao in the 1930s.
- Grand Banks (happy hour) – Enjoy oysters and seafood (some rosé, too!) aboard a ship that was hand-built in 1942 and is the last original saltbank fishing vessel in existence.
- Manhatta (cocktails) – A Danny Myers joint. Boasts some insane views of the city and the perfect place for sunset cocktails!
- Bubby’s (brunch) – A staple brunch place, mothers tend to love it – at least mine does!
- Joe’s Shanghai (Dim Sum) – There might be a wait, but this hole-in-the-wall is worth it. Their soup dumplings (xiao Long Bao) are some of my favorite in the city!
- Chinese Tuxedo – (Chinese) Everything on the menu is great as the di modern Chinese
- Peaches (Cocktails) – a basement bar beneath Chinese Tuxedo. Lots of neon and palm print make this modern Chinatown
- Apotheke (Cocktails) – Some of NYC’s best cocktails located in this unassuming Chinatown location. Would recommend grabbing a drink here before going to any of the restaurants mentioned!
- Mission Chinese Food (Chinese) – Fun atmosphere and great Chinese staples at this vibey restaurant – don’t miss the bar in the back that you can order at for a more casual experience.
Lower East Side/East Village:
- Dimes – This funky-fun restaurant is a favorite. With an eclectic interior and solid small menu, their wheatgrass margaritas are some of my favorite.
- Kiki’s (Greek) – One of the best Greek food and souvlaki in the city!
- Scarr’s Pizza – Some solid NYC slice of pizza with a funky vibe!
- The Fat Radish – Vegetable-forward modern British fare.
- Dudley’s (Australian) – This little Aussie spot is probably my favorite in the city. It’s casual, easy and always so good. Fantastic coffee and great avocado smash as well as the burger! Can’t go wrong here!
- Casa Mezcal (Mexican) – This is a margarita lover’s dream. They have dozens of margaritas and some really solid
- Et. Al (Cocktails) – a lively bar that feels lounge-y but is also a fun place to go dancing!
- Attaboy (Cocktails)
- Good Thanks Cafe (Aussie Cafe) –
- The MasalaWala (Indian) – Traditional and
- Mimi Cheng’s (Chinese) – Fantastic dumplings, in a few locations around the city!
- Clinton Street Baking Co. (Brunch) – There’s usually a line for this little diner, but it’s always worth it. Serving up some of my favorite pancakes!
- SingSing (karaoke) – A great place to rent a room and sing along with your friends, late-night – it’s open until 3am!
- Thursday Kitchen – Lively Korean Get the eel tacos, gnocchi, and edamame dumplings.
- Rosie’s – Great place for groups to share pitchers of margaritas and delicious tacos. Some
- Gemma (at The Bowrey Hotel)
- The Bowrey Hotel Lobby – A cozy spot to grab cocktails before dinner or late at night
- The Wren (Cocktails) – Good spot for drinks, can get crowded fast though.
- ACME (Cocktails) – Fun young crowd at this basement dance party!
- KazuNori (Japanese) – A hand roll bar from Kazunori Nozawa (sushi chef behind Sugarfish)
- Sugarfish – This LA import might be my favorite sushi in the city.
- ABC Kitchen (American) – The seasonal toast is always a good move. Their fried chicken is a can’t-miss, also!
- ABC Cocina (Mexican) – Serving up some modern Mexican cuisine. Great lunch option!
- Bondi Sushi (Sushi) – this fast-casual Aussie-inspired sushi spot is perfect for on-the-go as your rolls are made to order right in front of you ~ similar to Chipotle!
- Quality Eats (American) – Serving up modern comfort foods that are sure to please every
- The Smith (American) – Not the sexiest restaurant, but so great for accommodating groups of 4 or more!
- Pocha 32 (Korean) – Korean watering hole serving street-style snacks and Soju cocktails
- Keen’s (Steakhouse) – Historic steakhouse with hundreds of old-world pipes lining the ceiling.
- Nur (Mediterranean) – you’ve got to get the eggplant carpaccio ~ I was skeptical at first, too!
- Buddakan (Pan-Asian) – Dim sum and noodles at this chic restaurant that
- Boom Boom Room (cocktails) – At the top of The Standard High Line.
- Restoration Hardware – Beautiful restaurant and rooftop on top!
- Jack’s Wife Freda (South African + Isreali) – One of my favorite lunch and dinner spots in the city. From breakfast bowls, peri-peri chicken and zucchini chips, you really can’t go wrong here. And you’ve gotta get the grilled halloumi to start!
- Thai Sliders (Thai) – One of my favorite Thai spots in the city. It’s cheap & casual and is serving up all the classic thai dishes you crave. The honey pork slider me
- Morimoto (Japanese) – One of the nicer Japanese restaurants I’ve been to in the city. Their pork belly and sushi do not disappoint!
- Cookshop (Breakfast) – A solid spot for breakfast or brunch offering elevated classics – right along the High Line!
- Happy Bones (Soho) – Cute Aussie coffee spot, perfect for on-the-go!
- Mudpark (Lower East Side) little coffee kiosk in Mudpark.
- Maman – Don’t sleep on their cookies! They have quite a few locations throughout the city!
- Greecologies – (Soho) Coffeeshop with a grass-fed Greek Yogurt bar and other yogurt offerings.
- Bluestone Lane – A flat white and avo smash hit the spot at this Aussie cafe!
- Variety Coffee (Chelsea) Beautifully designed shop serving up some of the best 3rd-wave coffee.
- Blank Slate Tea (Nomad) – Very cute and Instagramable tea spot.
- Cha Cha Matcha (Nomad) – For all you matcha-lovers out there!
- Felix Roasting Co. (Nomad) – Great coffee and pastries served in this elegant coffee shop!
- Roman And Williams Guild (Soho) – This place kinda has it all: coffee shop, restaurant, flower shop, and amazing home goods – all of which you’ll want.
- Catch an iconic Broadway show ~ great deals from TodayTix!
- Take a stroll along The High Line, NYC’s elevated train track converted into a greenway trail
- Central Park: stroll around the city’s park, get lunch at the famous Tavern on the Green, rent a rowboat! I love to get some food at The Plaza Food Hall below the Plaza Hotel and have a picnic!
- 9/11 Memorial + Museum
- Visit the iconic Plaza Hotel
- Visit any of NYC’s world-famous museums: The Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art or The Whitney– to name a few!
- See the One World Trade and Oculus
- Time Square – I’d recommend going at night as it’s less crowded and just as bright out!
- Window shop down 5th Ave.
- Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge!
- Scale the Vessel and shop at Hudson Yards – NYC’s newest shopping and dining development!
- Take a seat on a park bench and people-watch at the historic Washington Square Park (West Village)
- Rockafeller Center – If you’re coming here before the holidays, Ice skating at the iconic
- Experience the NYC hustle & bustle and marvel at the ceiling at Grand Central Station
- Walkthrough Wall Street and see the NYSE and the Charging Bull.. not to mention the Fearless Girl
- See ‘The Devouring” ~ a provocative dinner + show experience at The Edition Time Square’s Paradise Club (not family-friendly)
- The interactive, provocative and immersive experience that is Sleep No More (not family-friendly)
- Katz Delicatessen (Deli) – Grab a corned beef at the iconic from ‘When Hary Met Sally’
- See the ‘Friend’s’ Apartment (West Village) – located at 90 Bedford St.
- The Royalton Park (Park Ave.)
- Mr. Purple (Lower East Side)
- Le Bain (Meatpacking) – at The Standard High Line
- Restoration Hardware (Meatpacking)
- Sixty LES (Lower East Side)
- 50 Bowery hotel (Lower East Side)
- Rooftop at Eataly (Flatiron) – SERRA by Birreria
- Crosby Hotel (Soho)
- The Mercer (Soho)
- Mr. C (Seaport)
- The Ludlow (Lower East Side)
- The Marlton (West Village)
- The Edition Time Square (Time Square)
- 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge (Dumbo)
- Williamsburg Hotel (Williamsburg)
- The Wythe (Williamsburg)
- The James (Soho)
- The Nomad Hotel (Nomad)
- The Standard Highline (Meatpacking)
- The Standard East Village (East Village)
- The Bowrey Hotel (Lowe East Side)
- The Beekman (Financial District)
Do you live here in NYC or have you visited yet? Let me know what your favorite spot is ~ I didn’t add some neighborhoods (Williamsburg, Upper East/West Side) and they’ll be coming soon!