I openly declare myself an absolute food freak. For me, there is no way to convincedly say that I have travelled somewhere without tasting and discussing its traditional cuisine. However, sometimes determining the popular gastronomy of cosmopolitan metropolis becomes a complicated task. Big cities are known for hosting multiple cultures and heritages. From Little Italy to China Town and Korea Town, New York City is the perfect example of the concept ‘cities within a city’ – a notion which I just invented. For the sake of making traveling to New York easier, I will recommend a bunch of MUST TRY cuisines at their respective MUST TRY restaurants.
Lombardi’s, Juliana’s and Lucali for Italian food:
I highly recommend Lombardi’s – located in what is left of Little Italy – because this pizzeria was the first one to be opened in the whole US. Without a doubt, the quality and taste of their New York-style pizzas precede their historical legacy. Another classic spot that you should definitely visit is Juliana’s. Prepare to queue because this restaurant sits just under the iconic Brooklyn Bridge and has been rated as the best pizzeria in New York. If after eating your pizza you feel like having a sweet end, order the New York Cheesecake – the kind of treat you won’t regret. Last but not least, I wanted to include in this category Lucali. This recent Italian restaurant established in Brooklyn is a legend within the pizza industry and is in fact celebrated by many for housing one of the best Neapolitan style pizzas in the US.
Tacos Nº1 for Mexican food:
This small and tropical decorated stand in Chelsea Market is one of Manhattan’s secret treasures. New York City is home to some of the best places to eat tacos, outside of Mexico of course!
Quick tip: Don’t forget to order their incredible nachos and guacamole as a side.
Xi’an Famous Foods and Ivan Ramen for Asian food:
Visiting New York without trying any Asian restaurant would be considered a sin amongst us foodies. The first spot I want to encourage you to go to is Xi’an Famous Foods. This small Chinese chain is considered one of the top places to have handmade noodles. Important notice: Medium spicy means spicy as hell! Take this advice seriously when ordering your food and enjoy one of the most delicious and affordable noodle dishes in New York. The next location I will recommend to hit is Ivan Ramen, located in China Town. Ivan is a world-wide recognised Ramen chef featured in the Netflix production Chef’s Table; a series that documents some of the best restaurants in the world. The most surprising factor (apart from the delicious and vanguard Japanese ramen this place has) is that eating here won’t empty your bank account, which is good news considering how hard it is to find quality food for a decent price in New York City.
Friedman’s for an American brunch:
I believe that having brunch in America is one of the most predictable things to do, hence, YOU HAVE TO DO IT. Why spend money on two meals when you can have both breakfast and lunch in one? Having brunch is the best way to save money and time and the family-run business, Friedman’s – which has six branches throughout New York City – is the best place to enjoy the best classic pancakes, waffles and fried chicken. If you have a saltier palate, I would recommend you go for the ‘pastrami on rye sandwich. The best thing about it? They only use local and bio ingredients for all of their dishes. Friedman’s is familiar, cosy and just delicious, which is why it is considered one of the finest brunch places in the city.
Burger Joint at Parker New York Hotel for American food:
Prepared for going on an adventure? Burger Joint is precisely the sort of experience that classifies for the same. Imagine walking into a random hotel and finding in the hall, a gigantic red velvet curtain. Now imagine going through the curtain and bumping into a giant burger neon signboard. Lastly, imagine getting into a small vintage and hipster room with a few tables and signed walls and having the most juicy and exquisite cheeseburger with classic french fries and a chocolate milkshake. This is what the Burger Joint is all about! Going to New York without trying a burger is like visiting England without feasting on fish and chips, Spain without having a paella and Italy without eating pasta; it is, in other words, strictly required and inevitable.
WARNING: Despite not being quite expensive, these places may not be very cheap either, but taking into account that in New York you pay an average of 10 dollars per pint (yes I know, and we thought London was outrageous), one could argue that the prices of the restaurants listed, fit the ‘affordable’ range within the city’s standards.
Words and Images, Paula Borges Liébana