New York City has it all. There is no exception when it comes to food. You can really find it all without even looking too hard to find it. Sites like Yelp, Urbanspoon and Zagat have made that search even easier. So although the culinary delights in NYC are truly endless, this list covers 5 classics that are really easy to fall in love with.
Easily described as an all-things-Italian mega-complex, Eataly is a sight to behold. Made up of numerous marketplace food departments including seven restaurants (six on the main level and a year round rooftop spot called Birreria). This place is difficult to put into words. Conceived by Mario Batali, this culinary wonderland is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s been broken down into several departments including Pasta, Peche, Carne, Sweets etc. Each area is stocked with top of the line groceries(read: Beppino Occellli Butter) that might be produced in Italy or within the walls of Eataly itself.
In addition to these fine goods, you may also want to stop and grab a quick pizza from the wood fired oven, or nosh on a freshly sliced italian salume plate up at the bar. The designers of Eataly have successfully and seamlessly blended restaurant/marketplace/cafe. You really have to see it to believe it.
Rich and Michael Mast know Chocolate. By importing their own Cocao Beans to their shop in Williamsburg, they are able to produce a variety of single origin and flavoured varieties of bar chocolate(along with various other chocolate goods). Their bars are all wrapped in a variety of really cool stationary(which is also sold seperately at the shop) and the ones I sampled were all fantastic.
It’s a really interesting experiment to sample single origin chocolates from the Dominican Republic, Papua New Guinea, Belize and Madagascar beside one another. Each one has a distinctly unique flavour profile. The bars are about 2.5 ounces and cost around $8-10US. Also keep an eye out for flavoured bars like Smokey Vanilla, Serrano Pepper or Black Truffle. This is real artisan chocolate, processed on site, made in America.
The Soho is the home of the Cronut, and Dominique Ansel is the man behind it all. Many have heard of them(especially if you live in Toronto, after the unfortunate Cronut burger CNE incident), although few have been so lucky as to taste a real one of these beauties. They are pretty rare for a few reasons. They only make 200 Cronuts per day, the most a person can buy is 6, they have a shelf life of only 6 hours(they are meant to be eaten immediately) and they change flavours every month(which seems to keeps interest very high). Large Cronut orders(50+) can be made at least one month in advance.(!)
Don’t fret, even if you miss the elusive Cronut, there are still many reasons to visit the Dominique Ansel Bakery, namely the Magic Soufflé. Ansel’s latest creation is a warm dark chocolate soufflé, completely encased in an orange brioche and finished with a powdered sugar ‘étoile’. The Magic Soufflé will set you back $7/ea.
Katz’s Delicatessen is a New York institution. It’s always busy, which is impressive. On the weekends it stays open from 8am on Friday morning until 10:45pm Sunday night. The best advice if you’re hungry, is to avoid peak hours(11am-2pm or 5pm-7pm). Even though the place is huge, the wait can still be long. Rest assured, it is worth the wait. Every time. The food and atmosphere together somehow embody that ‘New York feeling’.
When you walk in, here’s what happens. You pass security, then you’re given a ticket. Don’t lose your ticket(lost tickets result in a $50 charge per missing ticket). This is how they keep track of what you’ve had to eat because you pay on your way out. Now that you have your ticket, time to line up. There are 3 to 8 ‘cutters’ waiting to serve you behind a counter. These guys will slice your sandwich to order, always cutting a slice for you to sample before moving forward. Once you’ve got your sandwich(reuben, pastrami, corned beef etc) and pickles, there’s another area to queue up and get your sides(coleslaw, potato salad, fries etc). Finally another where you can get a drink. Each counter punches your ticket. Time to find yourself a seat, so you can enjoy this deli feast. Finally, you will find yourself in a large, wood panelled hall. Noisy as a can be, it’s filled with people from all walks of life; tourists, locals, celebrities, all sorts. It’s a pretty cool spot to find yourself eating some of the best Pastrami(this author has ever had).
If you love food, then you will love the Chelsea Market. That’s all there is to it. The market building was built in a former biscuit factory which happens to be where the Oreo Cookie was invented(!) and produced for a time. It’s home to several notable broadcast companies like the MLB.com, EMI Music and The Food Network. However, the food concourse is what you’re really looking for.
There Chelsea Market boasts Ninth Street Esspresso(an excellent coffee shop), Los Tacos No. 1(authentic tacos, quesadillas and agua frescas), Bowery Kitchens (a Kitchen supply store that’s got it all), Spices and Tease(a bulk spice shops), a flea market (full of all sorts of cool stuff)and even a bookstore. It’s in a great neighbourhood too, so it’s not to be missed even if you’re staying in another borough.
Please, tell me your favourite food spots in the comments. It’s great finding new spots to visit. It’s what keeps New York the greatest city in the world.
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