NYC Foodie Ramble
2020 has been the year of sidewalk dining in New York City. If you’ve spent any time in the city this year, it’s very likely you will have spent most of your time socialising with friends on sidewalks whilst enjoying the great food that NYC has to offer; one of the biggest parts of the city’s identity.
Sophie Greenwood, Season Communications
Whilst its by no means been an easy year for restaurants in New York, the resilience shown has been extraordinary and the vibrancy of Manhattan’s neighbourhoods with food at their heart, continues to go from strength to strength, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We want to show our support where possible and enjoy all the delights and so here’s our guide to some of the best spots in town which are good for any occasion and any time of day – the best all rounders.
Meatpacking / West Village
Buvette – if you need a spot for an exceptional breakfast or an impressive dinner date, Buvette is my number one choice. Chef Jody Williams created food heaven when she created Buvette. It’s walk-in only so get there early otherwise a long wait is inevitable. It’s worth it though to share a few plates with someone who appreciates small, charming, and excessively French things. They also do the best crunchy green salad during the summer.
Fairfax – you’ll feel like you’re in a beautiful modern century living room straight out of Architectural Digest. It’s a comfortable spot owned by the same people behind a few other West Village establishments like Joseph Leonard (another favourite right around the corner). Everything on the menu is good. Since the loss of the Bar Sardine next door, many locals petitioned for another restaurant to put their beloved burger on the menu as they couldn’t imagine life without it. Fairfax stepped up. Why? Somewhere between the BBQ mayo special sauce, smoked cheddar, thin crispy potatoes, onions and pickled cucumbers you realise you’re arriving in burger heaven.
Pastis – it’s back and a great place to have that quintessential Meatpacking District dining experience. The French food is great and take advantage of their outdoor seating now on a sunny day on the front patio.
Emily – New York has a lot of good pizza. The relationship you have with your favourite will undoubtedly last the test of time. Whilst the grass isn’t always greener, there’s always room to experience new options and one of these has to include Emily – the Colony in particular. This is Emily’s signature thick, detroit-style pizza topped with pepperoni, pickled chilies and honey – it’s soft on the inside and crusty on the outside and a MUST!
Cafe Cluny – excellent for breakfast, lunch and dinner. With usually some live jazz being played to get the full New York cobbled street dining experience. You really can’t go wrong here. The food is always delicious. The staff are always friendly and there’s always a great choice on the menu that has something for everyone.
L’Artusi – impossibly good Italian. The beef carpaccio with little pockets of garlicky crema is probably one of the tastiest dishes in NYC and the pasta’s are well, you may as well be in Italy. You must order the Buttermilk Crackers with whipped ricotta and a seasonal ricotta to start. The Garganelli which is on the menu all year round is the most delicious mushroom ragu on the planet and as for the Olive Oil Cake with a raisin marmellata and creme fraiche… you have to taste it to believe it.
Le Baratin – you have to remind yourself you’re not actually in Paris when you come here. With its exposed brick walls, red-and-white checkered napkins and the most charming French owners, it’s great for any time of day with a great atmosphere guaranteed and all the French classics you can think of.
Westville – An extremely reliable spot if you want the most delicious salad. You can taste the love they pour into each one – they should know a thing or two, they’ve had the monopoly on local salads for a few years now. The market veg dishes are also a great option.
Loring Place – if you’re in need of delicious seasonal vegetables then look no further. Loring Place incorporates them into every delicious dish.
4 Charles Prime Rib is one of those experiences in life you just have to do. And when you do it, do it well. The burger comes with it’s own show. It’s important to note it’s almost impossible to get a reservation here at a normal hour so you have to be on it when they open at midnight, 30 days in advance. The space is very small and they don’t turn tables quickly. If you are trying to keep things healthy, don’t go.
La Mercerie – you simply can’t go wrong with the French fare here. It an all-day cafe in Soho that suits all occasions. It’s expensive but excellent. Lust over the ceramics and textiles you can buy on your way to the restroom.
Banter – an Australian all-day cafe which has the same menu on a weekend as it does on a mid-week evening. Enjoy eggs in the morning, sweet potato toasts for lunch and some of the best cocktails in town on an evening. It does it all.
King – nothing stays too long on this hyper-seasonal menu. I’m still dreaming of the long, thin chickpea fritters scented by fried sage. They’re beautiful. Everything on the menu is. The food you eat here is food you’ll remember for a long time to come.
Raoul’s – a classic. It’s definitely more of a nighttime place, but I’ve put it on the brunch list because they do some great avocado toasts with overpriced eggs. There’s also 20 burgers a day so if you get there early enough, chances are you might get one!
Le Coucou – This is downtown fine dining and all the menu is oh so fine indeed. When you get brunch at Le Coucou, you can have an omelette or some avocado toast, or you can go full-French with a veal terrine and lobster salad.
Jacks Wife Freda – if you manage to get in, enjoy all the Middle Eastern influenced brunch dishes like their delicious shakshuka. If you’re into taking photos of your food then your camera roll is going to look pretty good after a visit here.
Balthazar – not open at the moment but it can’t be missed as one of my all time favourite French bistros in the city. Make sure to get the basket of pastries. Or depending on what time you go, the martini and fries is always a good option too.
Sadelle’s – go here towers of bagels and smoked fish. This Jewish deli food always so much fun, and you can count on there being a line (we’d suggest making a reservation).
Maman – a cafe and bakery with a few locations around the city. The one in Soho has a back patio with strings of light bulbs and patio furniture you wish you owned. It’s a great spot for a quiet coffee with someone. Make sure you try a cookie when you come here. They come with the royal seal of Oprah approval.
Locanda Verde – always a great spot for brunch. They’ve got a great drinks list and their lemon, ricotta pancakes are the kind of fluffy pancakes you didn’t realise were actually possible until you try them. Deborah Racicot is the pastry chef and she just might change your life.
Bubby’s – people watching and pancakes heaven. They’re also very good at pies.
East Village / Flatiron
The Smile – a brunch spot that serves simple but really good food like chicken sandwiches and the waffles are always a good option. I also love their take out cups – it’s nice to have something on it that says Smile as you go 🙂
Bar Primi – if you’ve got a big group then finding a spot in NY for brunch is harder than you might think. Enter Bar Primi – they take nearly any size, especially since you can make a reservation. Try the breakfast spaghetti with pancetta and a poached egg!
Cathedrale – you’ll feel like you’re coming to church here, the space is incredible! In the Moxy Hotel, East Village the brunch never fails with fresh, seasonal food and they also take big groups so it’s ideal for birthdays or special occasions.
abcV – this is Jean-Georges’ third restaurant inside of the ABC Carpet & Home furniture store. It’s entirely meat free, and I think quite possibly the best of the three! You will never even notice there’s no meat on the menu. Even your most carnivorous friend will like this one.
Lower East Side
The Fulton – with unbeatable views and some of the most unbeatable seafood in the city, The Fulton is always a guaranteed winner. The scallops are so buttery. Enjoy unparalleled views over the Brooklyn Bridge.
JaJaJa – there’s a JaJaJa in the West Village too. Both vegan mexican’s are so good, you’ll never know you’re not eating meat. It’s extraordinary! There’s nearly always a full bar. Make sure you get a resy if you want to enjoy brunch here on a weekend. Definitely order the nachos.
The Ten Bells – no matter who you go with, you’ll feel like you could stay here for hours. There’s never any pressure to order another glass of wine or round of tapas but you want to because it’s all. so. good. Enjoy the $1 oysters, try the newest natural wine on the block or just order some great tapas.