In a city like New York, it's difficult to figure out which restaurants not to talk about, since unique and excellent restaurants are so plentiful in the city. So, here is sampling of restaurants recommended by locals and experts, alike.
Breakfast and bagels are practically synonymous in New York. Friendly arguments about the best bagels, and what to top them with, abound in the city. Some prefer the small, chewy bagels and others the large, fluffy bagels. Whatever your preference, you'll find a delicious bagel at one of these favorites: Daniel's Bagels (569 3rd Ave) not far from Grand Central; H&H Bagels (2239 Broadway), one of NYC's most famous; Murray's Bagels (500 6th Ave) in Greenwich Village; Tal Bagels (333 East 86th St or 2446 Broadway) on the Upper East Side of Upper West Side; or Bagelfeller's (36 W 48th St) near Rockefeller Center.
If your idea of breakfast is heartier, indulge yourself at Norma's (118 W 57th St) for those classics like steak and eggs or pancakes; Balthazar (80 Spring St) for weekday breakfast or indulgent brunch; Café Cluny (284 W 12th St) for a hearty breakfast sandwich; Kitchenette (80 W Broadway) for stick to your ribs, home-style breakfasts; or Barney Greengrass (541 Amsterdam Ave) for a deli-style breakfast. For a sumptuous weekend brunch, head to The Tasting Room (264 Elizabeth St) for a classy country-style brunch; the seafood restaurant, Aquagrill (210 Spring St), for their unusual Crabcake Benedict; or Provence (38 Macdougal St) for yummy beignets.
There's nothing like a New York Deli for lunch. Locals differ over which deli is best, but with so many great deli's to offer, you won't have to go hungry. A giant hooray went up when the 2nd Avenue Deli reopened at a new location (162 East 33rd St), famous for amazing pastrami. Other favorites include: Carnegie Deli (854 7th Ave), known for its mile-high sandwiches, onion rings, cheesecake, and lines out the door; Stage Deli (834 7th Ave) for chopped liver and Broadway stars; Artie's Deli (2290 Broadway), know for potato pancakes (latkes) and classic pastrami; Sarge's Deli (548 Third Ave), which locals call "unassuming" in Murray Hill; or Junior's (Lower Level Dining Concourse) in Grand Central for cheesecake.
The big event in New York is dinner, and there are so many fabulous restaurants to choose from in the city. A new favorite of New Yorkers is Telepan (72 W 69th St) on the Upper West Side, which features adventurous tasting menus with the freshest ingredients. Also new on the favorite's list, The Orchard (162 Orchard St) builds on an Italian base with surprising and tasty additions. A perennial favorite, Le Bernardin (155 W 51st St) is an internationally-acclaimed four star French seafood restaurant, with roots in Paris. Another popular favorite is Gramercy Tavern (42 E 20th St) which serves contemporary American cuisine among American antiques and murals by artist Robert Kushner. At Daniel (60 E 65th St), diners appreciate the décor as well as chef Daniel Boloud's inventive take on French food. Per Se (10 Columbus Cir) serves a choice of two unique tasting menus, which change daily. If you are a fan of the Slow Food movement, try it Italian-style at Insieme (777 Seventh Ave). Or give your tastebuds a Portuguese adventure at Alfama (551 Hudson St).
Every city has its friendly arguments over the best pizza and NYC is no exception, but locals agree on one thing: It isn't difficult to find great pizza in New York. Claiming to be America's first pizzeria, Lombardi's (32 Spring St) opened in 1905 and coal-oven pizza is their specialty. Another original pizzeria is Patsy's Pizzeria (2287 1st Ave) in East Harlem, open since 1932. If you are looking for unusual ambience with your pizza, how about dining in a former cathedral? Enjoy stained glass along with your excellent pizza at John's Pizzeria (260 West 44th St). Mariella Pizza (960 8th Ave) claims Oprah's stamp of approval. For brick-oven style pizza, locals recommend Totonno's Pizzeria Napolitano on the Upper East Side (1814 2nd Ave) or in the Murray Hill area (462 2nd Ave). For gourmet pizza, try Adrienne's Pizza Bar (54 Stone St).
Sometimes you just want a little something sweet, and New York offers everything from pastry to complex chocolate dishes. At Chocolat Michel Cluizel (888 Broadway), the desserts are as complex as the menus at many other restaurants. If you're adventurous, try the Indonesian vanilla ice cream and American sturgeon caviar with chocolate bits or sip white chocolate champagne. At ChikaLicious Dessert Bar (203 E 10th St), the flavor combinations are just as interesting, like the chocolate tart with red-wine reduction and peppercorn ice cream. For a more traditional dessert, try the Caffe Falai (265 Lafayette St), for delicious tiramisu or chocolate cake. Or visit The Dessert Truck (8th St and University Pl), a mobile eatery that serves until the desserts run out.
At some restaurants, attentive service may make you feel like a movie star, but these places have actually starred in movies. Katz's Delicatessen (205 East Houston St), is famous for the fake you-know-what scene with Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally. It's also popular for the food, especially the hand-carved meats. At the Odeon (145 West Broadway) in Tribeca, you can reminisce the 80s movie, Bright Lights, Big City. They also have a tasty brasserie menu and excellent martinis. Serendipity 3 (225 East 60th St) is known for its scrumptious frozen hot chocolate, long lines, and celeb sightings, as well as its role in the namesake movie, Serendipity.
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