I try to visit New York regularly. Not only because this buzzing city is very influential when it comes to food trends, which means it’s my perfect research place, but also because I just love spending time in this lively city. There is something to do, eat or see on every corner and I love the positive energy that shines through. This time was extra special for me, because I had a very tiny travel companion…
Although my work requires me to visit new spots all the time, I really do like to visit old favorites over and over again. Because of the current hotspot-craziness, one would almost forget to return to those places that have proven themselves already. My list of favorites becomes longer and longer though, so my days are always packed to the brim with hospitality visits. In this post, I’m sharing a few of my favorite places in New York. Highly recommended!
1. Nomo Soho hotel
It was the second time I stayed in the elegant Nomo Soho hotel, right in the middle of the Soho (what’s in a name) district, mostly known for its stores and restaurants. This hotel isn’t cheap, but the location – also subway-wise – is just perfect, it has a lovely outside patio and lounge, very stylish rooms and most importantly: a breathtaking view I will never get tired off. This time I was lucky enough to view the Empire State Building from my room: just perfect.
2. Two Hands
This Australian spot has that typical relaxed Aussie vibe and accompanying breakfast and lunch menu. I almost always go for the acai bowl (made with cacao powder here: very good), but can wholeheartedly recommend you the avocado toast as well.
3. By Chloe
In a very short time, mini-chain By Chloe has become extremely popular. Their concept is simple: fast food, but then vegan and fairly healthy. This means eating burgers made of seitan and Portobello mushrooms (= the Whiskey BBQ, served with sticky onion marmalade and smokey Bourbon BBQ-sauce). Or a Caesar salad with shiitake bacon and almond Parmesan (yes, really). Although I am not a vegan myself, I was very enthusiastic about the quality of all dishes I tried: big flavors, nice presentation and real comfort food that will even convince the biggest carnivore to have a burger here. For some, this place can be a nice vegetarian variation, for those with special diets or restrictions, it’s the perfect way to go out for fast food too.
I’ve said it before: the best donuts in the city can be found at Dough. Nowadays, they’ve got several locations in Manhattan (saves you a trip to Bedford Stuyvesant!) and even more exciting flavors. Make sure to pick a yeast donut, because those airy ones are the best.
5. Smile to go
Around the corner of Nomo Soho, you’ll find this very cute little spot: kind of like a deli version of big-sister restaurant The Smile, which fills up very quickly and where you’ll see all kinds of customers eating outside. The menu offers lots of salads, take-away dishes and still very trendy bone broth, but also high-quality coffee and freshly baked sweets.
Upland is the new restaurant everyone in New York loves. Including celebs like Oprah, Obama and U2’s Bono. Not very surprisingly, because their menu offers lots of well-known and well-priced dishes that are prepared perfectly, the place is buzzing, stylish and relaxed at the same time and service is attentive. Make sure to order the very best bucatini cacio e pepe (thick noodles with pecorino and black pepper) ever and the pizza with fontina and guanciale (amazing). Vegetarians will love the immense crispy ‘hen of the woods’ mushroom with cloumage cream cheese, that turns out to be a very addictive dish. Oh and let’s not forget the amazing, warm and soft potato bread that they serve as an appetizer.
The name of this place was very appropriate for me this time, but I was a fan of Maman already. This elegant French spot (now with several locations) has the most gorgeous to-go cups and the very best home-baked sweets ever. My favorite? The mini brioche-meets-cinnabun with a luscious cinnamon cream inside and a perfectly crisp outside, but their famous double chocolate chip cookies with sea salt come very close second. Especially when they’re just from the oven and still warm and gooey on the inside.
8. The Butcher’s Daughter
This spot now also has a LA location and still offers a sunny menu for pretty much everyone: from hangover carnivores to the fittest fit girl. Two new discoveries: the freshly baked waffles with homemade strawberry butter(!) and maple syrup. And the soaked oats with frothed almond milk, nuts and fresh fruit.
The owners of The Meatball Shop started this female fish restaurant-variation with lots of success and that’s deserved: this remains such a wonderful place. Although I had to skip all oysters and ceviche this time (with pain in my heart!), the fried fish taco’s turned out to be just as much of a success. And make sure to pick ‘the reel deal’ for your main: fish of the day with all kinds of veggies and grains. It’s always a colorful plate filled with lots of goodness. And their virgin watermelon cocktail made sure I didn’t miss a glass of wine too much.
10. Luke’s Lobster
OK, Luke’s famous lobster rolls are pricey. But hey, that’s what happens when you order lobster. Believe me: they are completely worth it, because these remain the very best rolls in town. Slightly sweet and lightly toasted brioche rolls, juicy big chunks of lobster and simply some good-quality mayo, spices and lemon. Nothing else needed, besides a second one.
Eat the very best bbq-dishes – my favorite being the ribs – at Mighty Quinn’s, get some lunch at the Chelsea Market and eat it on the High Line above (new discovery: the vegetarian sushi from Beyond Sushi) and of course: eat the famous and really very best Shake Shack cheeseburger.