When it comes to the exceptional food quality, artistic presentation, and freshly incorporated ingredients, New York City tops the list as my number one favorite city to dine at. Flying into New York City for seven days with absolutely no knowledge of the raving food scene, I felt completely mind blown to learn just how delicious their food really was. If you ever plan on visiting New York City, I've compiled just the list for you to turn those taste buds on ;)
Alidoro (Midtown East)
Known best for packaging their delicious Italian sandwiches with their signature gold foil, Alidoro offers a variety of Italian sandwiches to choose from. Dining in with a party of four, we came in a little bit earlier than noon and luckily beat the long line of hungry customers. With their menu choices, Alidoro satisfies a wide range of customers from the passionate meat lover to the healthy vegetarian. If you are craving a hearty Italian sandwich packed with fresh vegetables, savory dressing, and/or thinly sliced meats, Alidoro is your go-to sandwich shop to visit. Or, if you reside in New York City and are looking for a catering company to provide a tray of deluxe sandwiches for your next event, you already know Alidoro's got your back ;)
I ordered the La Bomba sandwich, which was originally created to kick off this year's Superbowl festivities. This party sandwich is much more fancier than your average sandwich, jam-packed with mortadella, salami, gran biscotto ham, fresh mozzarella, provolone, sweet roasted peppers, diijon mustard, red onion, and arugula. Both filling and delicious, I left Alidoro with a satisfactory experience and more-than-satisfied stomach.
*Personal Favorite: La Bomba
Ancolie (Greenwich Village)
If you want to up your Instagram food game tenfold, Ancolie serves as the perfect place to do so! Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, Ancolie promotes healthy eats and environmentally friendly practices through their use of recyclable hipster glass mason jars.
Walking into Ancolie, you can already expect to find beautifully prepared salads and healthy dessert alternatives to the right of the store. These salads incorporate healthy ingredients that include, but are not limited to, quinoa and lentils. Not to mention, I have to say that their salad dressing concoction is OUT of this world. As a passionate food enthusiast both at restaurants and in my home kitchen, I can say with confidence that I have never tasted a dressing as savory as theirs. I ordered the Ancolie Jar with chicken and let’s just say I had one memorable lunch experience. Also, you can choose to keep the glass jar to make your own salad mixture at home or return it for a $1.00 discount towards your next Ancolie purchase.
*Personal Favorite: Ancolie Jar
Blenheim Restaurant (West Village)
Blenheim Restaurant is labeled as “one of the 10 sexiest restaurants in NYC” and I couldn’t agree more. This Michelin star restaurant radiates cozy, date night feels with its dim lighting, intimate booths, accommodating staff members, and remarkable entrees.
For dinner, the girls and I chose one small plate and one main plate each. Whenever I come across the words “short rib” on a menu, I don’t think twice and order this dish without hesitation. Thus, I ended up ordering their Braised Short Rib and Scallops. And of course, who could forget my favorite Shirley Temple – I downed two of these babies that night ;) Every entrée was served within a timely manner, looked downright gorgeous, and tasted over-the-top amazing. Sharon’s Cauliflower dish looked too irresistible not to shoot and it had to be my favorite food photos from this trip – if only I had the chance to try a bite before she devoured it, heh. Overall, I had a wonderful experience dining at Blenheim Restaurant, as the bartender made us feel so welcome with his warm smile and silly jokes. While talking to him, we slipped in the fact that we may be returning to NYC around September 2017. He replied that he couldn’t wait to see us then – let’s hope that we are able to keep that promise ;) Lastly, we ended the night with a scrumptious Chocolate Panna Cotta that satiated our sweet tooth cravings.
*Personal Favorites: Braised Short Rib, Scallops, Chocolate Panna Cotta
Cha-An (West Village)
What’s a lunch date without dessert afterwards? After a filling meal at Alidoro, the girls and I instantly craved dessert. That’s when Fiona’s tour guide skills kicked in and we ended up visiting a popular Japanese tea room called Cha-An. This West Village restaurant features your typical traditional tea room setting and serves as the perfect place to catch up with a friend all the while enjoying a light bite.
Seeing Hojicha Ice Cream on the menu caused my eyes light up instantly and prompted my hasty decision to order the Matcha Rice Krispies. The rice krispies carried the perfect hint of matcha with every bite and complemented the hojicha flavor quite well. All in all, Cha-An is definitely the place to grab some warm tea and light bites, as this restaurant goes above-and-beyond with their creation of Instagram-friendly desserts.
*Personal Favorite: Matcha Rice Krispies
Joe’s Shanghai (Chinatown)
Located in the heart of Chinatown, Joe’s Shanghai was packed with both tourists and NYC natives as soon as we walked through the door for a late night bite. In fact, it was SO crowded that we were seated next to two individual parties at the same Lazy Susan table. Not a big deal, as Fiona and I came for one of Joe’s highlighted favorites – their famous Crab Pork Meat Soup Dumplings. Cue the drool emoji please. And yes, this dish definitely lives up to its hype. Additionally, we ordered a Beef with Green Peppers dish with a side of white rice, which tasted just as delicious!
*Personal Favorite: Crab Pork Meat Soup Dumplings, Beef with Green Peppers
Magic Mix Juicery (Financial District)
I absolutely love Magic Mix Juicery for its innovative twist on healthy menu options. By labeling each ingredient in their food and drinks, Magic Mix Juicery makes me feel a lot more aware and educated when it comes to knowing what exact ingredients I'm putting into my body. Additionally, I appreciate their use of quality ingredients and environmentally friendly practices (such as educating their customers on what to recycle versus what to dispose in a trash can). I've listed a few of my favorites at the bottom of this post, but one highlight that I must rave about is the We Will Rock You Acai Bowl. I'm making a pretty strong statement here, but I swear that this is one unforgettable acai bowl that will always remain one level higher than all of the other acai bowls I've tried in California. Not only does this acai bowl receive an A+ on presentation and taste, but the additions of sliced bananas and drizzled almond butter served as the perfect complements to the berry flavors of the acai bowl. Another favorite included the Vegan Sushi – I would seriously pick one of these boxes up as a light snack or lunch option if they had it back in California.
Honestly, if I were an NYC native instead of a suburban OC gal, Magic Mix Juicery would serve as one of the places I would drop by for a light snack or lunch fix. All I need is their signature Acai Bowl and Fair Trade Vanilla Latte and I would be set for the rest of the day.
*Personal Favorites: We Will Rock You Acai Bowl, Vegan Sushi, Fair Trade Vanilla Latte, Tuna Snack Pack, Ensalada En Fuego
Spring Shabu Shabu (Flushing)
Spring Shabu Shabu served as the ideal AYCE hotpot restaurant of my dreams. At Spring Shabu Shabu, you are allowed to pick from a wide assortment of fresh greens and frozen items (sort of like you’re shopping at a grocery store with unlimited options to choose from). Typically, the hotpot places I’ve previously dined at usually involve a waiter or waitress bringing you a platter of vegetables upon request. However, I prefer the liberty of picking your own vegetables and Spring’s method allows you to try the whole menu.
At your table, each customer gets one individual hot pot to him/herself. My favorite hotpot ingredients include fish tofu, pork gyoza, chow mein noodles (yellow), watercress, and napa cabbage. As for the various types of meat, Spring Shabu Shabu does charge per plate, which is totally understandable. One order of their tender beef and I was done.
If you don’t know how much I love this place, just ask Fiona. I kept comparing every restaurant to Spring Shabu Shabu and told Fiona that I was seriously down to eat here a second time before I depart NYC, LOL. In response, Fiona laughed and told me that I should give other restaurants a chance…sigh. Welp, you can already guess that I’ll be back at Spring Shabu Shabu the next time I visit Fiona!
The Gander (Flatiron)
After eating my way throughout New York City, I can safely say that I nominate The Gander as my absolute favorite restaurant in New York City. Our waiter was extremely attentive, helpful, and funny, which definitely added to our positive dining experience. You can find a variety of New American entrees here, which reminded me of my Bay Area food photographer pal, Jeremy. Recognizing his extreme infatuation for New American cuisine, I already know Jeremy would fall instantly in love with this place if he visited New York.
Every entrée that we ordered tasted so damn good here and are highlighted in my personal favorites below. If you frequently watch my Instastories, I do whip up a side of brussel sprouts with my homecooked meals every now and then, but my version does not even come close to the exceptional quality of The Gander’s. Cooked with confit garlic, their Brussel sprouts were so addicting that we had to order TWO of these dishes! Additionally, our party ordered the Duck Breast, Baby Octopus, Beef Rib, and Grilled Fish Of The Day (Swordfish). We ended our wonderful lunch with Black Sesame Pave, Ale Bread Pudding, and colorful Jello shots courtesy of The Gander.
*Personal Favorites: Duck Breast, Baby Octopus, Brussel Sprouts
Totto Ramen (Theater District, Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown West)
Although I’ve only dined in at Totto Ramen once, it must be a ramen shop must raving about if Sharon mentioned more than once throughout the trip just how addicting their noodles were. Totto Ramen is a very tiny ramen shop that is considered poppin’ among NYC residents with a whopping 4,000 reviews on Yelp and a crowd waiting outside the restaurant.
Whenever I’m on vacation, I always have that “go big or go home” mentality. Thus, I selected their biggest ramen bowl on the menu – Mega Paitan for $17.50. Yep, pretty much the most expensive ramen order I will ever purchase in my entire lifetime. Was it delicious? Hell yes. Was it worth $17.50? Not so much. As much I boarded the hype train and ordered Totto Ramen’s biggest ramen bowl, I would honestly recommend ordering any of the other regular sized ramen bowls for a fraction of the price.
Xi’an Famous Foods (Midtown West)
You know a restaurant lives up to its title when Xi’an Famous Foods has an Instagram following of more than 10,000 people. Like damn, son. This Midtown West restaurant gives those hole-in-the-wall vibes when you walk into their two-story building. If you don’t know what hole-in-the-wall means, it basically means that the flavor of an entrée is prioritized way more than interior design and entrée presentation.
This was the day when I had to take public transportation by myself around New York City while Fiona went to work. After arriving at Fiona’s workplace, we walked together down the busy sidewalks of NYC to catch up on life as we filled our tummies with Xi’an Famous Foods’ amazing entrees. We ordered two Spicy & Tingly Beef Handripped Noodles and shared one Spicy & Sour Lamb Dumplings dish. While Fiona loved their freshly made noodles (and so did I), I found myself reaching for the dumplings more. I admire Xi’An Famous Foods most for highlighting the intensity of their flavors through their homemade sauces. If you’re looking for a place to satisfy your Asian food cravings without breaking the bank, Xi’an Famous Foods has got you covered.
*Personal Favorites: Spicy & Tingly Beef Handripped Noodles, Spicy & Sour Lamb Dumplings
White Noise (Flushing)
This one is for my Instagram hipsters and bloggers! White Noise contains everything you need for that ideal hipster coffee shop backdrop. Located in Flushing, White Noise is a spacious coffee shop that includes a minimalistic interior, aesthetic greenery, and trendy furniture.
Fiona and I definitely used this opportunity to capture a few Instagram-worthy shots, some vlog footage (stay tuned for an upcoming NYC vlog my YouTube channel – missmisschelle), and our much needed coffee fix. While Fiona sipped on her Matcha Latte, I opted for the Tiramisu Latte instead. For $12, I honestly felt that this drink was way overpriced for a regular sized latte. However, I did appreciate the adorable cookie that the barista placed on the rim of my mug and thoroughly enjoyed the rich flavor of my latte. For your first visit, I would recommend ordering a simple Caramel or Vanilla Latte for a much more affordable price. Feel free to bring a book for a good reading sesh or your laptop if you’re looking for a peaceful place to get some work done ;)
I made it a fact to only highlight the restaurants I truly enjoyed in New York City. If there’s a restaurant that you feel should be added to this list, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below to let me know what other NYC restaurants I need to dine at! ;) I’ll definitely be adding to this list the next time I visit New York City, which may possibly be in September 2017. Lastly, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the juiciest blog post yet to come from my NYC trip – my first NYFW experience!