Where to Eat in NYC – My 9 Favorite Restaurants

New York City is a feast for the senses – vibrant sights for the eyes, music and city sounds for the ears, and incredible flavor combinations for your mouth.

Truly, some of the best dining in the world can be found in NYC, thanks to the incredible variety of cuisines found within the city’s boundaries – whether we’re talking about a Michelin-star meal that costs $400, or a chewy slice of pizza that costs $4.

One of my favorite parts of visiting New York City is crossing off restaurants from my TBE list (aka “To Be Eaten“), and today I’m sharing the spots at the top of the list! These include best spots for breakfast, best lunch/dinner restaurants, and amazing places for dessert, and are all places that are worth visiting when in New York.

My Top 9 Favorite Restaurants in New York City

Favorite Bagel Spots in NYC

I am definitely a “grab and go” girl when it comes to breakfast, so I’m all about the takeaway bagel for breakfast. Plus, c’mon, you’re in New York City! You have to get a bagel at least once.

1. Liberty Bagels

A bagel shop with rows of assorted bagels with a glass display in front showing the different spreads.
A golden brown bagel with a thick strawberry spread in the middle of the bagel.

Liberty Bagels is just plain fun. With 3 locations in Manhattan and 1 location in Brooklyn, you’re never too far from the wall of rainbow bagels that greets you as you enter the shop.

Liberty Bagels shines in the variety department – there are 10-15 bagel flavor options, and 10-12 cream cheese options, plus options for bagel sandwiches or regular wraps.

All bagels and cream cheese spreads are made in-house, and quality is not compromised in the name of quantity here – my French toast bagel with fresh strawberry cream cheese was amazing.

The bagels are a little more expensive here ($6 per bagel), but it’s worth it.

2. Stage Door Deli

A bagel with sesame seeds and cream cheese wrapped in aluminum foil

Stage Door Delicatessen is a bustling shop in the Financial District serving up delicious bagels and schmear, bagel sandwiches, and other breakfast diner foods.

This felt like such a stereotypical New York establishment – we walk in and the employees are all yelling orders to each other, the man taking our order had the most perfect New York accent, and you don’t order “cream cheese,” you order “with schmear.”

Despite the hubbub, the line moved smoothly, everyone was very nice to us, and the bagels were chewy and perfectly toasted.

Favorite Lunch/Dinner Restaurants in NYC

3. Little Italy Pizza

Two slices of pizza with one being buffalo flavored with ranched drizzle on top and the other with bacon and sausage with ranch drizzle.

Little Italy Pizza is a New York City pizza chain with 13 locations across Manhattan. I stumbled upon this little hole-in-the-wall joint late at night after visiting the Top of the Rock, and I desperately needed something quick and easy.

This place had a large variety of New York style and deep-dish pizza combinations, and the crust was a good mix of chewy and crispy, and the toppings tasted fresh and flavorful (I’m particular to the bacon ranch and the buffalo).

Best part? The pizza was a total bargain, at just $4/slice.

4. Los Tacos No. 1

A woman hold two plates with street tacos on both white plates

I had multiple people recommend this taco shop to me, and oh boy. They weren’t kidding – these really might be the best tacos I’ve ever eaten. The meat is so tender and flavorful, and all the components taste so fresh.

Everything is prepared in-house – from the chips which are fried fresh, to the tortillas being pressed and grilled immediately before use, to the meat being sliced right off a massive rotisserie.

Three tacos with cilantro, avocado, and tomatoes on a white plate with napkins.

You can choose from flour or corn tortillas (I actually preferred the flour), a few different types of meat, and whether you want the pico de gallo, cilantro, and/or guac on top.

The most famous location in the city is at Chelsea Market, and the line here was a solid 30 minutes long. Alternatively, when I visited the location by Grand Central Station, there was hardly any line at all.

5. Ippudo Ramen

A yellow ceramic bowl with noodles, corn, and other mix-ins.

Look, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I was a full-fledged adult before I knew that ramen wasn’t just those little blocks of dehydrated noodles you bought for 15 cents in college, and instead can be the most comforting savory bowl of chewy noodles, rich broth, and delicious mix-ins.

Ippudo is a delightful little restaurant with excellent ramen – I got the miso ramen and it was excellent.

6. Tony’s Di Napoli

A woman sits at a restaurant with a Italian pasta and sauce sits in front of her.

While you can find all types of cuisine in New York, Italian cuisine has a particular hold in the city, and high-quality Italian restaurants can be found all over the city.

I can highly recommend Tony’s Di Napoli – the dining room is beautiful, and everything is house-made (including the pasta). All dishes are served family style and can be shared between 2-3 people. I adore Caesar salad, and the salad at Tony’s is prepared tableside, which is a fun touch.

A caesar salad with lettuce, spinach, croutons, and cheese on a green and white plate.

While Tony’s is known for their pasta (and we loved it), the bread was a surprising high point in our meal. It looked like a standard hearty chunk of bread, but actually had a delightfully crispy crust that contrasted with a soft interior.

Tony’s Di Napoli has two locations in NYC, and you should definitely make a reservation at least a day or two ahead of time.

7. Boucherie West Village

A woman sits at a wooden table with Victorian chairs with lots of plants around.

Boucherie is a lovely French restaurant in West Village, with a very pretty patio dining area. Highlights of the menu are the extremely high-quality cuts of beef, which are cooked to absolute perfection. 

A plate of steak and salad with a bowl of mashed potatoes on the side on a wooden table.

Favorite Desserts in New York

Desserts – one of my favorite topics! As a lady with a sweet tooth, I’m always happy to check out all the bakeries and dessert shops.

8. Breads Bakery

A display case of pastries, cookies, and bread

Breads is a mouth-watering bakery in the Upper East Side, serving a large variety of dessert pastries, breakfast pastries, breads, coffee, and takeaway salads.

Literally everything in their case looked so good, but I settled on the cheesy garlic breadstick (long, skinny, and perfectly chewy, with lots of cheesiness), and the cream cheese rugelach (light and flaky with a creamy interior).

I also had to try their black and white cookie, which apparently is the item that Breads is most famous for. The cookie was still more of a pastry, and had flaky layers and a chocolate interior. 

10/10 stars, all around.

9. Milk Bar

A display case with 3 three layer cakes and cake pops on display.

I randomly made a cake from the Milk Bar Cookbook years ago and loved it – the method is unique and the recipe is fantastic.

Essentially, the original milk bar cake is a 6-inch, multi-layer naked birthday cake, with layers of cake, light and fluffy frosting, and birthday cake crumbles throughout it. It is SO GOOD.

The shop also has cookies, other varieties of cake, cake balls, and soft serve ice cream with various toppings (including their delicious birthday cake crumbles).

While there are small stands in a few places throughout the city that serve mostly ice cream, I think it’s worth it to go to the flagship shop just a few blocks south of the Empire State Building.

Best Restaurants in New York City

In a city with thousands of restaurants to choose from, it’s hard to narrow it down and actually make a decision about where to make your dinner reservation. Hopefully this gives you some ideas for where to eat in New York!

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