Favorite Food Mainstays in New York

I grew up in New York and it’s always held a special place in my heart so I thought it might be fun to do a small series of NYC posts. One of my favorite things about NYC is how easy it is to find delicious food. I’ve seen a lot of places come and go but here are some of my favorite places that have been around for a while. The service in all of these places is really warm and makes you feel extremely comfortable. If you get the chance to visit any of these places, you’ll immediately see why they’ve been around for so long. 

Japanese – Kyo Ya ((212) 982-4140, 7th St between 1st Ave and Ave A). Everything here is extremely intricate and well cooked. I love the sweet potato tempura (a large chunk of sweet potato on a bed of fried watercress), the chawanmushi (super fluffy egg custard and seafood), and the black bean an mitsu (the most intricate dessert you will ever have in your life).
Sushi – Yasuda (43rd St between 2nd and 3rd). I love this place. The decor is simple and the fish is fresh.

Hot Dog – Gray’s Papaya (corner of 72nd and Amsterdam). It’s the last Gray’s Papaya left in the city. The hot dogs have that perfect snap when you bite into them and the hot dogs only cost $2 each.

Tapas – Las Ramblas (West 4th near 6th Ave). Delicious tapas (my favorite is the sauteed mushrooms). They also have great sangria and a good selection of wines

Cheesecake – Eileen’s Special Cheesecake (17 Cleveland Pl). The cheesecake here is perfectly fluffy and not too sweet and not too sour. You can buy them in units of mini, which are about 3″ in diameter, or in units of large, which are about 10″ across. Plain is my favorite.

Italian – Max Soha (123rd St and Amsterdam) The restaurant is super cozy and the perfect place to enjoy a pot of Grandma’s Lasagna.

Cookie – Levain Bakery (74th St between Amsterdam and Columbus) This place makes the Platonic ideal of a cookie. Warm, soft, and chewy; their chocolate chip cookie is to die for (it closes at 7pm)

Peking Duck – Mr. Tong’s ((718) 897-8202, 9720 Queens Blvd) The chef here used to work at Tung Ching Garden, which was one of the best Chinese restaurants in NYC. Tung Ching Garden has since closed but the chef at Mr. Tong’s continues to make a delicious peking duck with crispy skin and ample duck meat. They will also make the requisite duck soup with tofu and vermicelli from the leftover duck bones.

Cream Puff – Beard Papa’s (Broadway between 76th and 77th) The cream puffs are light and airy and the cream is sweet and vanilla-y.

Chicken and Rice – Halal Guys (53rd and 6th, SE corner!) These guys serve the same food as the cart across the street but they are open during the day and have no line! Hurray. I like to get the mix of lamb/chicken with white sauce (so crucial!) and spicy sauce. I think they now also have a storefront downtown.

Croissants – Ceci-Cela (55 Spring St) The croissants here are flaky and buttery and just perfect. The cafe is very cozy and the bread here is also fantastic.

Steak – Peter Luger (178 Broadway, Brooklyn) It’s an institution. The steak is fantastic but huge so don’t go alone. And the old male waiters are cranky but cute.

Stay tuned for my next post on how to get discounted tickets but amazing seats to many shows in NYC.

Feature Image by T.Tseng

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