New York City: What To Do In The City That Runs The World
Ah, New York City. It’s called the greatest city in the world for a reason, and having spent a large portion of my life there, I can tell you why. This is the kind of place where you can be anyone you want to be, meet anyone under the sun, and find some of the most impressive treats on any city streets.
As someone who has spent countless nights in this city, I’ve learned to eat, sleep, and breathe New York street culture. In my travels throughout the Big Apple, I’ve managed to get a good rotation of restaurants I enjoy. This is especially true in Manhattan and Brooklyn, since I used to work there.
Admittedly, what I find to be NYC isn’t what everyone else always does. Even so, I’ll offer up my two cents on some of the better places to check out, if you’re looking for a really authentic New York experience. This is my guide to the more authentic local flavors of New York...
If you’re looking for an affordable (!) place in New York City to have brunch at, I definitely suggest Queens Comfort. This petite venue in Astoria is known for its cozy surroundings, mouthwatering chicken and waffle platters, and shareable dishes. As the name suggests, this place offers delicious comfort food that’ll leave you in a happy food coma afterwards.
New York has a ton of upscale brunch venues worth checking out, but few are as underrated as Milk and Honey. Anyone who enjoys booze-free brunches with absolutely spectacular French toast needs to try this place. When you pair the savory taste of their cast iron cooked eggs with the rustic surroundings of their venue, you’ve got a match made in heaven.
People who aren’t native to NYC might not be aware of this chain, but they absolutely should try it once they hit the city. Gregory’s Coffee offers up some of the best cold brew coffee you can find in Midtown, as well as some pretty tasty to-go foods. I strongly suggest this as a pit stop when you’re out and about.
Indie coffee shops are a dime a dozen in New York, but actually finding one that stands out is pretty hard to do. That’s what I love about Culture Espresso. Their beans are always fresh, the cookies are always homemade, and their vintage-y surroundings make this the perfect place to find artists who care about what’s in their cup.
Black Tap became a major chain that’s only local to New York City, and if you go there, you’ll understand what the hype is about. Everyone and everything there has that Instagram-perfect look. The craft burgers are great, but the real showstoppers are their shakes—some of which are alcoholic.
Before I start this, I want to point out that everyone has a different opinion on what they like to see in a dollar slice in NYC, as well as what they think of upscale pizza. My favorite place to go for upscale pizza was discovered while shopping in the Macy’s in Midtown with a friend of mine. After seeing the wooden escalators and buying a jacket, we were hungry and went to Stella 34.
I’m just going to point out, their pizza is one of the best I’ve had. The views are great, the Italian cocktails are delish, and if you really want to go all out, try some of their appetizers. The antipasti always makes my mouth water.
Chelsea Market has a lot of amazing restaurants, and when I want a truly spectacular meal, I almost always go there. Le Song is one of the best French restaurants to still have reasonable prices in New York City. Bench seating, delicious cocktails, and some of the best escargot you can get make this a great semi-casual place to go if you want authentic French food.
Nur is the kind of place you go to when you want to impress people who adore traditional Middle Eastern food. The ambiance is incredible, the food is shareable, and the plates they offer are enough to make seasoned food critic like myself wonder what we were doing with our lives. By the way, you really need to make sure to leave room for dessert here.
Tacombi - Nolita
Tacombi is a great place for people who want to have a quick dinner that’s fun, shareable, and ready for Instagram likes. Their tacos are amazing, especially if you enjoy savory beef fillings. Like many other picks I put on this guide, there are multiple Tacombis throughout NYC. I personally enjoy the garage-like look of the Nolita venue, myself.
At this point, Eataly can’t really be called a hidden gem anymore; it’s world-famous. This market-restaurant-diner fusion has multiple mini-restaurants inside, all of which are focused on serving incredible Italian food and wine.
It’s not really possible to find a menu item you won’t like here. Their seafood is what has me hooked, but most people who go there end up falling in love with their pasta. Moreover, if you like to drink, this is an amazing place to find cocktails worth a damn.
Nightlife and Drinks
The Deep End is a venue that has a cult following among the LGBTQ crowd, as well as the rave crowd. You don’t have to be an oddball to love this quirkily-painted venue, though. They always bring in great talent for shows, have a full menu of food that you can enjoy, and also have CBD-infused booze.
Ever since I tried a Putin’s Revenge alcoholic milkshake, I knew I couldn’t stop going here. This venue is a bit of a hike, but the drinks and events definitely make it worth your time.
Brooklyn Bazaar is a pretty bizarre venue, but I mean that in the best way possible! This multi-room venue is known for welcoming all different types of acts along with hosting an actual bazaar. Over the past couple of years, I’ve seen metal bands play, raves happen here, as well as a huge variety of different events.
Right next door is a great little restaurant that’s connected to the venue. Depending on what time you get in, you’ll be able to enjoy some really epic hot dogs and nachos.
If you’re a fan of goth music, vaporwave, synthwave, or any kind of underground music, you probably already know this name. This Greenpoint venue is notorious for bringing in some of the most impressive underground acts in the world to its stage.
Everyone from Faith in the Glitch to Eternal Black has played here. Between the old school look of the place and its epic soundsystem, it’s had not to get in touch with your dark side here.
Anyone who has ever wanted to see one of the most impressive party venues in the world has heard of the House of Yes. Started by Kae Burke and Sapozhnikhova, this nightclub (and living space) hosted hundreds of parties that involve insane costumes, aerial acts, live art performances, and of course, nights that are off the chain.
There really isn’t another venue in the world that’s similar to House of Yes. If you’ve ever wanted to go to Burning Man but didn’t quite have the means to go, hanging out at this place will give you a taste of what kind of trippy, positive, and sexy vibes would await you.
Cover image via Business Insider