When I mentioned to people that I was going to New York almost all of them said how much I would love the food! I thought it a little strange because when it comes to travelling, food is not usually high on my priority list, but given this reaction from others I thought I best take this seriously.
So not really having any clue where to start I put the call out on a Facebook travel group that I am a part of for any MUST DO suggestions and was inundated. It began to be obvious that I was going to eat my way around the streets of New York City. So here are some of their suggestions as well as some places I stumbled across on my own.**
Long Island Bagel Cafe
You can't visit New York and not have a Bagel! This was my first lunch stop having just hopped off the Hornblower Cruise out to see the Statue of Liberty. The cafe still cooks bagels 'the old fashioned way' and if you time your visit right you can watch them make the bagels.
I had the Avocado BLT on a whole wheat bagel with a spinach and feta side for around $8 (I forgot to note the price at the time).
Long Island Bagel Cafe is at 125 Fulton Street and is open from 6am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 7am to 7pm on weekends.
NYC Diner & Bar - Not your typical diner (So they claim)
I stopped by here after watching a show on Broadway (Jersey Boys - fabulous!). It was open late and wasn't super busy so ducked in and ordered the mushroom and cheese crepe with a side of sweet potato fries, totally $15.10. The service was great and the food was delicious.
The diner is open 7 days from 11am to 1am and is can be found on Broadway between 52nd and 53rd Streets.
The High Line
The High Line was recommended as a must see attraction in New York. It's a 1.45 mile (or 2.33km for us Aussies) disused railway track that was converted into an elevated park in the Meatpacking District. It really is quite cool and you may remember it from a scene in I am Legend with Will Smith. It has lots of places to sit and enjoy the serenity, as well as places to buy food. I chose the Taco Truck, was a little disappointed they had no chicken so settled for a pork taco and was not disappointed, and for just $6 how could I be.
The High Line is open from 7am to 11pm and is accessible via stairs and lifts in many locations along 10th Avenue. It's super close the Chelsea Markets and I went up via the stairs near New York Burger Co. on the corner of 10th Ave and 23rd Street.
Radio City Pizza
Again, no visit to New York is complete without pizza and I stumbled into Radio City Pizza on my way to Rockefeller Center (I say stumbled because I was wearing my new 'feet murdering' Converse shoes at the time!). To say the slices are HUGE is an understatement...
Seriously... unless you haven't eaten for a week and are literally starving, you do not need more than one slice of pizza in New York. The slice of pizza and a diet coke cost me $6.21. Radio City Pizza is located on West 49th Street and is right near Rockefeller Center, opened from 11:30am-10:00pm seven days a week.
A recommendation from my tour guide earlier that day, Juniors is a must visit for Cheesecake lovers. Originally only in Brooklyn (and New Yorkers would apparently travel over the bridge just to get some) Juniors has recently opened a store right off Times Square. There are numerous types of thick dense heavy traditional cheesecakes to chose from. I chose the Chocolate Swirl and a slice cost me $7.25.
I will confess to not being a massive cheesecake fan and even though it was super yummy, I didn't finish it all. Juniors is the perfect location for a dessert treat after a Broadway show with it's ideal location just off Broadway on West 45th Street. It's open from 6:30am-midnight Monday through Thursday, 6:30am-1am Friday and Saturday and 6:30am-11pm Sunday. And if you feel like something more dinner like, there is the diner right next door.
Ellen's Stardust Diner
If you are looking for somewhere quiet to enjoy a meal and a chat, this is not the diner for you! This famous diner is where all the wait staff are aspiring Broadway actors and actresses who had to audition for their jobs, and sing while you eat, even at 8am in the morning!
I ate here for breakfast as it was also the meeting place for my TV and Movie Locations tour. This diner was in a scene in the movie New Years Eve where Sarah Jessica Parker's character was having a deep and meaningful chat with her daughter.
I ordered a herbal tea and Brooklyn Bagel (because again... when in New York) with a side of bacon, that also came with a side of potato gem/hasbrown things for a total of $17.21. It was here that I discovered that New Yorkers really do not know tea! I wasn't quite sure what I was going to get when I ordered the herbal tea, because there was no options on the menu. What I wasn't expecting though was a mug of hot water with a spoon in it and a Chamomile tea bag still in the packet....
The service was a little slow as my waitress was often performing, but once my order was taken the food came out super quick. Ellen's Stardust Diner is on the corner of Broadway and 51st Street and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7am-midnight Sunday to Thursday and 7am to 1am Friday and Saturday.
McGee's is the inspiration behind the pub in How I met your Mother and was the final stop on my On Location TV and Movie tour. It was super busy but often one of the advantages of travelling solo is that you can (and will) be seated almost anywhere, most commonly up at the bar.
I ordered the Quesadilla and had a lemon lime and bitters. I was a little pissed here with the whole tipping thing I gotta say. If you visit the pub after your On Location Tour you get 15% off your bill, but McGee's is one of those annoying places that automatically adds a 20% tip to your bill.... not cool I think! It then really makes you feel like you need to tip that amount as that is the TOTAL showing on your bill... So my total was $17.45 minus my 15% discount but inclusive of the 20% tip! Make sense!
Again with the world famous...although I had never heard of them and they were a suggestion from a Facebook group member and once again, I was not disappointed. These were seriously the best cupcakes I have ever had! I chose the Red Velvet and had a chai tea as well - total $5.93
They even sell cupcakes for your dog! Yep...
Sprinkles Cupcakes is on Lexington Ave between 60th and 61st Streets and is open from 9am-9pm Monday to Saturday and 10am-8pm Sunday. But what if I feel like a cupcake after these hours I hear you ask? Well never fear because Sprinkles Cupcakes has an ATM!!!
Another recommendation was that I just HAD to try a Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity! So with it being just around the corner from Sprinkles I ticked them both off the same night/afternoon. Probably not the wisest decision but it was yummy just the same!
Again being solo meant I got to bypass some groups that were waiting for a large table to be available, and slipped right into a table in the back.
I ordered the famous Frozen Hot Chocolate.
I am not entirely sure how the 'frozen hot' chocolate works but it does. From what I can figure the glass is super super cold, hence why it's delivered in a bowl, and the drink is poured in hot but starts to cool down and get a little icy.
I also ordered a side of Nacho's which were super yummy but probably not necessary and I did not really finish either. The nacho's and frozen hot chocolate cost $20.58.
Serendipity 3 is located at 225 E 60th Street and is open from 11:30am - midnight Sunday through Thursday and 11:30am - 1:00am Friday and Saturday.
Again something that you have to try at least once during your visit to New York City. They are everywhere! And sell a variety of different types of foods. I stopped at one that sold freshly made fruit smoothies for $4 and also got a hot dog and water from one for $7.
Some other tips on eating in New York City.
- Check your bill before you pay it. Some places add the tip they think they deserve, anywhere from 15-20% on to the total.
- Prices on the menu is not what you will pay! The prices may look cheap but remember you have to pay sales tax and tip on top of the advertised price. This can really throw you off sometimes!
- If you are not a big eater, only order a beginner as the meal sizes are HUGE. Entrees in America are not the same as our entrees in Australia either so don't get caught out with that one!
- You may often be giving lots of small notes in change to encourage you to tip, for example if you need $5 change, they will give you five one dollar bills instead of just a $5 note hoping this will encourage you to leave a tip.
- Waitstaff get paid well below minimum wage in America which is terrible, that is why it is customary to tip and it is usually anywhere from 15-20% of your total bill. Some places will automatically add the tip if your party is over 6 people, but most places leave it up to you. I still believe however that tipping is a personal choice and that it should be earned, not expected.
Go forth and enjoy the wide variety of amazing foods that New York City has to offer.
Have you ever been to New York City?
What was your favourite place to eat?
Add your recommendations in the comments section below
**All prices are inclusive of sales tax but without tip (unless stated otherwise) and store details were correct at the time of writing this post.
Linking up with Grace from With Some Grace for FYBF and A Brit and a Southerner for Weekend Wanderlust