One of my favorite things about traveling to a new place is being able to try lots of new foods! I love finding restaurants that are unique. (In other words, no McDonald’s when traveling!) Before going to New York I did lots of research on places to eat. I got some killer recommendations and ate lots of delicious food. I am so excited to share with you!
Before I start out, I wanted to share one tidbit of information that might be helpful if you are looking for places to eat in NYC. When the health department inspects a restaurant in NYC, they are given a grade. This grade is based on violation points during the inspection. The lower the points, the higher the grade. But here’s the best part: the restaurants are required to post their most current grade at the entrance in a place that is easy to see. So if you are like me and had no idea that this was a thing, now you know and you can make sure you eat at restaurants that have good grades!
Okay, moving on! Let’s start with dessert, shall we?
Magnolia’s Bakery: Arguably one of the most popular bakeries in NYC, Magnolia’s Bakery was established in 1996. My mom was the one who told me I had to make a stop during my trip. I made sure to bring back some treats to share!
Location: Various locations around the city; original location is in Midtown Manhattan.
What to order: Cupcakes aka their claim to fame. I also tried a blondie.
Consensus: Both items were pretty much delightful!
Carlo’s Bakery: I have been watching Cake Boss since its debut in 2009. Naturally I was very excited to finally be able to taste some of the delicious creations. One bite and I was hooked!
Location: Various locations around the city; we stopped at the store in Times Square. The original location is in Hoboken, New Jersey, if you want to go see where it all began. I didn’t have time to make the journey this trip, but it’s on the list for next time!
What to order: Pretty much anything, but some of the most popular items are the lobster tails and the cannolis. I chose a cannoli and it was honestly the best cannoli I have ever tasted! I should have ordered 10 of them because I would have eaten every last one.
Consensus: 100% recommended! If you have time, go to the Hoboken location, if you don’t have time, stop in another location, you won’t be disappointed!
Ladurée: If you read my previous post about macarons, you know how much I LOVE Ladurée. I went multiple times while I was in Paris, and when I was planning my trip to NYC, I decided we needed to make a stop at the New York location. It was just as good as it was in Paris, but it was a much smaller store. There was a line (of course) and we were all packed in pretty tight! Even so, it was still worth the wait!
Location: There are two Manhattan stores — one located on the Upper East Side and the other located in SoHo. We went to the location on the Upper East Side.
What to order: Macarons, of course! They have other pastries and treats, but trust me, the macarons are what you truly want! I have yet to try a flavor that I don’t love, but some of my favorites are rose, Marie Antoinette, and salted caramel!
Consensus: 10/10 (as always) if you are anywhere near a Ladurée, get there as quickly as humanely possible!
And now for the main course!
New York Style Pizza: When I was planning out places to eat, I knew that pizza had to be on the list! Now, before I continue, I must add a little disclaimer because I am a Chicago-style pizza girl through and through, but that’s not to say that I don’t enjoy all pizza. We ended up grabbing a bit of pizza at a restaurant near our hotel. We tried two different kinds of pizza, and they were both delightful!
Consensus: In my opinion, Chicago style trumps NYC pizza. But it was still delicious, pizza is pizza right?!
Wafels & Dinges: This was recommended to us by some NYC locals. They told us it was a great place for breakfast/brunch. I am never one to turn down a good waffle, so we decided to give it a try. It was delicious! I felt a little bit of a sugar overload by the time I finished, but it was so delicious that I had to finish every last bite!
Location: Multiple locations throughout New York City!
What to order: Any waffle that suits you! There are lots of topping options — just be sure to add the scoop of ice cream! It was delicious.
Consensus: This is a perfect breakfast/brunch meal! You can never go wrong with a waffle. In the words of Leslie Knope, “Everyone should love waffles. If they don’t, they’re crazy.” I don’t think it could be said any better than that!
Rock Center Cafe: It was still too warm for ice skating, so instead of a rink there was an outdoor cafe set up below Rockefeller Center. After a busy day of sightseeing, we stopped in here for a bite to eat. We were unoriginal and both ordered the burgers, and they were pretty good.
Consensus: Overall, I would say that if you decide to eat here, do it for the experience. It is a fun atmosphere, and the food is good!
Shake Shack: You know that scene in the movie Something Borrowed when Rachel goes to visit Ethan in London and she brings a bag of Shake Shack food with her, and Ethan says something to the effect of, “Are you trying to make me cry?” Well, I now understand that emotional attachment to Shake Shack. I am always down for a burger and fries, and Shake Shack takes the cake for some of the best I have tasted!
Location: I recommend looking online to find the location nearest you — there are 21 locations in New York alone and 86 locations worldwide! We went to the location at Grand Central Station because it was close by our hotel. We may have made a few Shake Shack runs during our short visit…once just wasn’t enough!
What to order: Anything and everything! We tried burgers and fries (a MUST) and also tried shakes and cheesy bacon fries on our second run. It’s a good thing I am not close enough to go frequently because I would have a serious problem if I did!
Consensus: Run to the nearest Shake Shack while you can and enjoy every minute! I’ll just be over here mourning the fact that the nearest Shake Shack is 5 hours away from me!
Eataly: When I first walked in, I was a little confused; I was expecting a restaurant, but Eataly is so much more. Part Italian market, part Italian restaurant, and part cooking school, Eataly offers a little something for everyone. They section the store off by product, and the restaurants are no different. The pizza, pasta, seafood, etc. are all in different areas of the store. We had a blast wandering around while waiting to be seated at our table. The Eataly motto is, “We cook what we sell and we sell what we cook.” This is one culinary experience I would 100% recommend to everyone, especially my Italian food-loving friends out there!
Location: Eataly is another restaurant with worldwide locations, but if you are in New York, there is a location in Downtown (4 World Trade Center) and a second location on 5th Avenue (near the Flatiron building). We visited both stores but ate at the Flatiron location.
What to order: Whatever suits your fancy. I am a big pasta girl myself, and that is what we ate. I highly recommend it. I ordered the ravioli with lemon butter sauce. Words do not describe how delicious it was! I am still dreaming about it months later.
Consensus: I would have to say hands down this was the best place that we ate while in NYC, the food was high quality and super delicious and the prices were really reasonable too!
So now that I have shared my food adventures in NYC, I want to know — what did I miss? What are some of your favorite NYC restaurants that I need to visit next time I am in the city?
Written by Kaycie Jordan.
*All photos in this blog article are taken by and property of Kaycie Jordan.