You know they love their food in the US, but it’s taken to another level in New York City, with a mix of some of the country’s finest restaurants alongside mouth-watering slices of pizza, cupcakes that people line up for hours for and the “cro-nut” (or whatever the new trend might be). But what are the six things that every visitor can’t leave the city without experiencing? Here are our picks:
1. Pizza from… well, just about anywhere
Though the seeming necessity of every pizza place in New York City to be preficed with “World Famous”, and covered with photos of the owners with celebrities, does seem a bit overdone at time, the honest fact is that – as long as you avoid the chains – you really can’t go wrong when it comes to grabbing a slice of pizza in New York.
Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner or that 4am slice to help soak up whatever it is you drank all night, it really doesn’t get better than a New York Slice. They say it’s something in the water that makes it taste so damn good. The above photo, for those playing at home, was taken at Previti Pizza, a personal favourite right near Grand Central Station. Chili, Parmesan and Oregano can be added at your discretion – and no New York Pizza place is complete without it. Artichoke Pizza is also a favourite of many looking for a more “gourmet” approach. But for me, a slice of cheese with oregano, chilli flakes and a bit of Parmesan cheese is perfection…
Just make sure you never use a knife or a fork…
2. Cheesecake from Carnagies
Everyone as their favourite place for New York Cheesecake, and ours is Carnagies. Keep it simple with a NY slice, or get a strawberry… or chocolate… they have plenty of variety. Just make sure you come with a healthy appetite. Their flagship deli is open from 6:30am until 2am on 7th Avenue at 55th Street. http://www.carnegiedeli.com/
3. The Reuben from Katz Deli
It’s known as New York’s most famous deli, thanks in part to a certain scene from When Harry Met Sally. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the food – and at Katz you can’t go past the Reuben – the pastrami on rye with swiss cheese and sauerkraut. Though I also recommend doing a mix of pastrami and roast beef on rye, which is pictured. This sandwich is massive and FILLING. Expect to take some home for breakfast – which is also recommended. And look out for the massive plates of french fries. http://www.katzsdelicatessen.com/
4. Pierogis from Veselkas
Finding a 24 hour place to eat in New York City is far from a challenge, but with so much available, finding something unique is a bit more difficult. Enter Veselka, in the heart of the East Village, where it has been serving up traditional Ukrainian food since 1954. The highlight of the menu are the Pierogis – dumplings filled with an array of options from the basic potato and cheese to the incredible Short Rib or sauerkraut & mushroom. Don’t pass up on a side of beet and horseradish salad and sour cream is a must. Bring friends and share a few plates! For more details:http://www.veselka.com/
5. Meatballs from the Meatball Shop
With six locations now scattered around New York, The Meatball Shop has fast become an institution in the city – and a must eat destination for locals and travellers alike. The concept is simple: produce delicious meatballs, and let the customer decide how they’ll be served up.
You can have them in a sub, over risotto or spaghetti, or even on top of a vegetable salad. You can choose what sort of ball you want, what sort of sauce and you can add in a pile of extra customizable options. And then there’s the famous Ice Cream Sandwich desserts, where you can choose both the type of cookie and the type of ice cream, all by the power of the laminated menu and a marker – just tick what you want, and order. Don’t hesitate in adding a coke float to your meal, as I usually do…
For more details, head to http://www.themeatballshop.com/
6. A burger from Shake Shack
What started as a food cart in Madison Square Park in 2001 has exploded into one of New York’s most popular burger restaurants. Though it’s considerably more expensive than the oft-compared In n Out burger, it’s likely the closest thing to the popular West Coast burger that you’ll find on the East Coast. The photo above is of the impressive “Shake Stack”, which features a fried mushroom, filled with cheese (their vegetarian option), added into a standard cheeseburger. Your arteries won’t thank you, but your taste buds will. For more details head to https://www.shakeshack.com/.
All photos by the author.