Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Apr 9, 2009 08:18 AM

Don't Leave NY Without Eating...

I'm going to be in NY for four days in June and of course I'm going to be planning my visit around the food. I know I can't do anything, and I do plan to be back in the future, but what are the must eats I can't leave NY without trying. I have a general idea, but I would be indebted to anyone willing to fill in the blanks for the following items listed below to help me do some planning.

Best Slice:
Best Bagel:
Best Non-Bagel Quick Breakfast:
Best Sandwich:
Best Hot Dog:
Best Pretzel:
Best NY Diner:
Best Dessert:
Best Food from a Cart:
Best Lox:
Best Donut:
Best Burger:

Hmmm... anything else you'd add go right ahead.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Best Lox: Russ and Daughters (get the smoked sable too)

    3 Replies
        1. re: chinaplate

          And the whitefish salad. And the chocolate babka. Best in the WORLD. Hands down!

          Note - this is not an eat-in. Take it back to your hotel room. Be sure your hotel room has a refrigerator.

        2. Best Bagel: TAL BAGELS
          Best Non-Bagel Quick Breakfast: CLINTON ST. BAKING COMPANY'S BISCUIT SANDWICH
          Best Sandwich: KATZ'S PASTRAMI
          Best NY Diner: SKYLIGHT DINER
          Best Burger: PETER LUGER STEAKHOUSE

          2 Replies
          1. re: LeahBaila

            Clinton Street Baking Company is not really a quick/to-go breakfast. You could wait 2 hours for a table on the weekend... or you could get the sandwich to go but it falls apart so quickly.

            Otto's olive oil gelato is awesome but I think it has enough butter/fat to not be considered gelato any more.

            1. re: kathryn

              The wait at CSBC sucks...To-go is quick and you can't beat that biscuit sandwich. Whether it falls apart or not, it's worth it.


          2. Best Burger: Shake Shack or Blue Smoke.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Hurner

              I'm assuming Shake Shack would be the best low end burger and Blue Smoke would be the best high end correct?

              1. re: ReelMike84

                At Shake Shack, the cost depends on which burger you choose. Prices are on the website. At Blue Smoke, the burger with fries is $11.95.


                "High end" would be the burger at dbBistro Moderne, owned by 4-star chef Daniel Boulud. The db burger is stuffed with short ribs and foie gras. Cost: $31. It comes with fries.


                Pamplona's "hamburguesa" -- composed of beef, pulled pork, and chorizo -- is superb! Served with fries and a small mesclun salad. I think the cost is around $15. It's not listed on the website menu, but it is on the menu in the restaurant.


                I agree with the Russ & Daughters for lox. Note that it's take-out only.


                Best sandwich? Definitely Katz's pastrami would be my #1 pick. However, Lamazou makes a variety of fancier sandwiches, all of which are first-rate. Take-out only.


                1. re: RGR

                  Also, the Blue Smoke burger is huge! And can easily be split between two people.

                  1. re: kathryn

                    Interesting you mention that, kathryn. I agree that the burger is huge. So, the last time my husband and I were at Blue Smoke and ordered the burger, we told our server we intended to share it. Turned out that instead of one large burger, the kitchen prepared two small burgers, each in its own mini-bun. Plus, each plate had a heaping pile of fries. The burgers were prepared as we requested, medium-rare, and were delicious.

              2. re: Hurner

                My best burger choice is Blue Smoke or Rare Burger. Shake Shack is good for fast food, but it's a thin burger that can't really be cooked to order. I love the custard items at Shake Shack and just had a concrete today (vanilla w/ caramel, peanut butter, and shortbread). I've read that The Lion and Minetta Tavern have good upscale burgers. I tried the one at DB Bistro Moderne, and I didn't like it (overcooked and not so good).

                Shake Shack
                Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

                DB Bistro Moderne
                55 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

                Minetta Tavern
                113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                Blue Smoke
                116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

                Rare Bar & Grill
                152 W 26th St, New York, NY 10001

                Rare Bar & Grill
                303 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

              3. Hi, ReelMike--I see you are also from LA. I've visited NY 4 times this past year and still haven't tried everything that I wanted try. Here are a few things that I really love and can't find anything like it in LA:

                Best Bagel: Ess-a-Bagel with whitefish or lox smear (LA just don't do bagels right)

                Best Sandwich: Katz's Pastrami on Rye with mustard (get both sour and half-sour pickles)

                Best Hot Dog: Crif Dogs "Spicy Redneck" (deep fried dog wrapped in bacon, with chili, coleslaw and jalapenos)

                You can't really get ONE best dessert because there are so many good desserts. Here are something different but amazing:

                Best Rice Pudding: Rice to Riches (chocolate chip is the best, anything with tangy fruits like lemon, raspberry and apple are also great)

                Best Dessert Bar: Chickalicious (3-couse dessert tasting)

                Best Brownies: Fat Witch in Chelsea Market (Original Witch Babies, Blonde Babies, Red Witch)

                Best Green Tea Cupcake: Amai Tea and Bake Shop in the East Village (AMAZING!)

                Best Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes: Alice's Tea Cup (you may consider this as breakfast or dessert)

                Best Chocolate: Pierre Marcolini

                Best Cookies: Amy's Cookies (I always get them at Dean & Deluca)

                Best Millefoglie: Sant Ambroeus (layered puff pastry like a Napoleon with vanilla cream and shaved chocolate)

                Best Rugaleh: 2nd Ave Deli

                Things worth trying that you didn't mention:

                Best Pork Buns: Momofuku Noodle Bar or Ssam Bar (also must try kimchi apple)

                Best Smoked Mussels: Zabar's (not in the cafe but in the market side)

                Best Izakaya: Sakagura (they also make the best green tea ice cream)

                2 Replies
                1. re: fdb

                  I find Rice to Riches to be really too sugary and the portion size is huge. And if my memory serves correctly, the plastic UFO container is leaky.

                  1. re: fdb

                    Rags to Riches is incredible rice pudding. I can't understand complaining about the portions being too big. Small is pretty small. I love their flavors, plus the caramel sauce is super (I guess I don't get the "too sugary" idea either, but there is really a range of flavors there).

                    Rice to Riches
                    37 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                  2. Best lox: Russ and Daughters

                    Best Donut: Mark Israel's genius PB&J donut at Donut Plant can't be beaten

                    Best Slice: Best I've had so far is the square at Artichoke Basil. The sauce is super tasty and the fresh basil is really fragrant.

                    Best Burger: Have yet to have a great one in NYC. Burger Joint was pretty good.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Slob

                      Note that Donut Plant usually runs out of things as the day goes on. So go EARLY!

                      And I too love the square at Artichoke, but the line sucks.

                      1. re: kathryn

                        We started going to Artichoke when they first opened and as recently as this past Christmas, and there was never much of a line. Have the lines gotten that bad? What a shame. Are the lines bad all day?

                        1. re: Slob

                          I typically go at night or on the weekends, and they usually don't have any square pies ready, so you have to wait. Meanwhile, they crank out a bunch of the artichoke ones.

                        2. re: kathryn

                          Note that the Donut Plant is closed on Mondays.

                          1. re: RGR

                            RGR, that's why I am sure to never include Mondays on my trips to NYC. That's how important the Donut Plant is to us.