May 20, 2010

Some Ideas on Visiting NYC

Whenever friends and family come to visit us in NYC, they often ask us for advice on what to do, where to go, and especially what to eat.  So we thought we would start this post (and update it every so often) as a reference for visitors (and a reminder for us).  There's so much to do in NYC and we know we have not captured everything (feel free to comment away on what else we should add!), but here's a starting primer on what to do (food-wise) in NYC.

Haute Cuisine on a Shoe String:  The best way to indulge on a budget is to take advantage of fancy restaurants' fixed price lunch menu. Nougatine at Jean Georges ($26 for 3 courses), Mario Batali's Del Posto ($29 for 3 courses), Sushi Yasuda (under $25), and Eleven Madison Park ($28 for 2 courses) all feature exquisite meals at a fraction of the a la carte and dinner costs. 
Walking Tours:  When the weather is nice, we forgo the subway and taxis and make up our own neighborhood walking tours in the city.  Here are some ideas (more to come!).
Chelsea:    You can wander around Chelsea Market, check out the nearby High Line, grab a burger at Bill's Bar and Burger in the Meatpacking District, and/or check out the small stretch of Little Britain (Fish n Chips at A Salt and Battery, Afternoon tea at Tea and Sympathy, and all sorts of grocery products at Myers of Keswick)
Lower East Side:  This historic area has been home to a constantly changing immigration population as seen by the various shops in the local Essex Street Market (say "Hi" to Jeffrey the butcher).  Then head down a couple of blocks to Doughnut Plant for inventive donuts, grab coffee at Roasting Plant, try some interesting gelato from il Laboratorio del Gelato, check out Russ and Daughters and Katz Deli.
Or you can design your own macaron tour like we did!
Weekend Markets:  Local farmers and small businesses set up shop around the city.  Our favorite market (especially on Saturdays) is the Greenmarket at Union Square (Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat, open year-round) where locals shop for groceries and tourists shop for snacks.  There's also the newly re-opened Hester Street Fair (Sat/Sun, open until end of Dec) with its changing rotation of different vendors and restaurant stands.  The New Amsterdam Market returns on June 27th (running monthly in the summer and then weekly in the fall until Dec 19).  We went last year in Oct and Nov and loved it!
Food Trucks and Street Vendors:  Street food in NYC is so much more than just dirty-water hot-dogs.  (though my New Yorker husband swears by them - at least before a Yankees game).  From North America's only dosa street vendor (weekdays only) to any number of gourmet food trucks, there's something for everyone...BBQ, Soul Food, Tacos, Dumplings, Waffles, Ice cream (artisanal and creative), Cupcakes, Baked goods, etc.  Follow them on twitter for location updates (check our growing NY/NJ mobile truck twitter list and this dynamic map).
Vegetarian places to check out:  So that our vegetarian friends have more than one option on the menu, here are a few spots that even we omnivores have enjoyed as well:  The fun, creative spot Dirt Candy (East Village), casual Peacefood Cafe (UWS), Blossom/Cafe Blossom, relaxing HanGawi (midtown), or splurge on the vegetable tasting menu at Per Se.
Beer Tour:  My husband loves craft beers, so if you're in town looking for a good beer bar, check out his favorites:  Pony Bar (Hell's Kitchen) features domestic craft beers, Rattle n Hum and the Ginger Man (both in Midtown),  Blind Tiger Ale House (Village), Spitzer's Corner (LES), George Keeley's (UWS), d.b.a., Mugs Alehouse, Spuyten Duyvil and Brooklyn Brewery (all in Williamsburg, Brooklyn), Beer Table and Pacific Standard (Park Slope, Brooklyn).  If you're looking to buy a few bottles, or just want to check out the local selection, visit New Beer DistributorsWhole Foods Bowery Beer Room (LES), and Bierkraft (Park Slope).


  1. Hey - when I visit next - I am writing you for a list. You might as well do a post on most important current places to visit in order of priority for us all.

  2. Great round-up! Don't forget that first time tourists are bound to want to know where to get the best bagels and NYC pizza! Not to mention good eats around typically touristy places (like the fact the Sushi Yasuda is not that far from Times Square!) I'm sure there are other good places in Times Square that I just am not aware of!

  3. @Valerie - Feel free to email us any time!
    @Jen - Good idea! This will be a constantly evolving list/post so I'll definitely add your suggestions!

  4. This is a great post! Even after being in and around NY fro so long, I am somtimes at a loss as to what to tell friends. This will be a good place to refer them to.


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