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Oct 25, 2009 06:28 PM

Food You Can Only Get In NYC?

I am going to be in new york for only two days (sat/sun) for work and want to focus on foods that I can only get in NYC or that are best in New York. I am from San Francisco so have access to a lot of great Asian, Mexican and Central American restaurants so am looking for something a little different while in the Big Apple. Many thanks!

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  1. there is a really similar post floating around out there somewhere - it is called "don't leave NYC without eating..." or something like that - has tons of info!

    1 Reply
    1. re: pizzajunkie

      thanks very much - will look for it.

    2. This link will allow you to see NYC menus by location and cuisine. The city is a United Nations of restaurants so you'll be able to find anything that strikes your fancy. Last time I was there we went to Spoonbread and had memorable Southern food.

      1. Katz's for pastrami (and please don't go in there and order a turkey sandwich!) Would also say smoked fish (Barney Greengrass, Zabar's, Russ & Daughters), maybe knishes and even hot dogs (Gray's Papaya). The other thing I think of as "different" in NYC is our bread products -- bagels & pizza. Must be the water!

        Maybe you have this in SF, but I love how eclectic a single street can be here. On St Mark's (I think) there's a block with a dumpling place, and a hummus place, etc., all different "specialties" all in one area. Or in the West Village, you'll find Murray's Cheese, Amy's Bread, Cones Ice Cream, and John's Pizza, all within a block or two. Find a block like that and eat from one end to the next!

        9 Replies
        1. re: JMJD

          I like JMJD;s choices,,,interestingly alot of people from outside New York never heard of a knish,,, katz's round knishes are more to my taste than the square ones,,, and up the street is Yonah Shimmel's who used to ge famous for knishes. A Sabrett hot dog from the umbrella stands on the street is worth trying. Go to Gem Spa on St mark's place and get a New York egg cream ( soft drink),,,,, In addition to gray's , I like Papaya King. Definitely have pizza here, there is no pizza in SF that compares to NY pizza. Depending on the type of pizza you like, Chowhounders all have their favorite different places... but there is regular good Ol nyc slice pizza ,,for that I recommend Ben's on spring st. For thin crust pie I like Lombardi,,,but definitely try the pizza at Grand Daisy or Sullivan St especially the potato pizza. Pierogies at Ukrainian home or even Veselka ,,i dont think they have those out West. A PorterHouse steak at Peter Luger or if in manhattan maybe Wolfgangs,,,,Do you have falaffel in SF i dont recall if not try one here,,,,,Definitely get a fresh Bialy at teh bakery on GrandSt off Essex i forget the name, Ny bagels are the best too maybe at H&H, Chopped liver from Katz's, or egg barley from 2nd ave deli, You may have sushi in california but on W4th st there is sushi with west indian flavors at Aki, the chef is japanese but was a chef in I think Jamaica for several years, Try a Pinelle from Fernando's(italian chick pea fritter), Shoe leather and halvah from russ and daughters, a Sour pickle from Gus's, Rugalach from Russ and daughter or zabars, A burger at Big Nick's, its real NY diner "hamburger hamburger" a definite ny experience, If it were summer on the lower east side you can get a scraped ice with syrup from hispanic street cart, If you see Tate's chocolate chip cookies in a store (formerly Kathleen's from the Hampton's) try them they are different and amazingly good, Try some curry goat or oxtails at Golden Crust ( there are better but these are good) I dont think you have that type of food in SF, Enjoy

          1. re: foodwhisperer

            I think SF does have some solidly good pizza. What it doesn't have is coal-fired pizza. For that, I do not recommend Lombardi's (SF has better pizza than that) but do recommend Patsy's in East Harlem or Arturo's on Houston St. in the Village.

            1. re: Pan

              Thanks for the Arturo's recommendations here and elsewhere. We're also from the San Francisco Bay Area and were trying to decide where to go for our New York pizza fix. We have great Naples-style pizza in San Francisco (and had just been to Naples) so we definitely wanted the coal oven pizza. Arturo's is probably the best I've had in this style, though my experience so far is limited to midtown and downtown Manhattan, not Harlem or Brooklyn.

              Grand Central Oyster Bar was fabulous as usual for east coast oysters and fish that you can't get (or get with as good quality) out west. Ess-A-Bagel was two blocks from our hotel and provided the best bagels I've had in years and years. Our first visit to Katz's was a disappointment with over-salty pastrami and corned beef, wimpy bread, and dull pickles. Carnegie Deli and the old Second Ave. Deli were much better stops on previous visits.

              Thanks again for all the great guidance on this board.


              Katz's Delicatessen
              205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

              106 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

              831 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10022

              Grand Central Oyster Bar
              89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

              1. re: mdg

                I'm glad you enjoyed your trip to Arturo's. What toppings did you get on your pizza(s) there? I'm sorry you were disappointed in your trip to Katz's.

                1. re: Pan

                  We had half pepperoni and half sausage at Arturo's, both of which were excellent.

                  Somehow I managed to omit Molyvos, another of our long-time favorites in Manhattan. You can get Greek food in the Bay area, but not at this level of quality. Great octopus salad is particularly hard to find, and the Octapodi Skharas was wonderful. I finally managed to try a non-lamb entree here and the Kritharaki Thalasssinon - orzo done risotto-style with great scallops and calamari - was a real revelation. The cabbage-leaf dolmades and Galaktabouroko dessert were also excellent, but not quite as "only in New York" quality-wise as the others.


                  871 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10019

          2. re: JMJD

            There was an article in the Jerusalem Post recently about efforts to preserve the traditional deli. It mentioned that pastrama was a method of cooking poultry in Romania. Beef was available in the US. So the method was adapted to pastrami. So pastrami is native to NYC in this way. Similarly, corned beef was adopted by Irish immigrants.

            The quality of NYC bagels and pizza have been attributed to the quality of the drinking water supply.

            Does anybody make egg creams? This is a drink of milk, vanilla syrup and seltzer primarily.

            Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station.

            1. re: MahatmaKanejeeves

              The egg cream is the quintessential NYC drink. It is made with *chocolate* syrup (Fox's U-bet being the chocolate syrup of choice), milk, and seltzer. Other syrup flavors, like vanilla, can be used. But chocolate is traditional.

              Ray's Candy Store, Gem Spa, and the Times Square location of Junior's are places which, imo, make excellent egg creams.

              1. re: RGR

                Vanilla is just as traditional as chocolate.

                1. re: MVNYC

                  only in the sense that wife beating is just as traditional as thanksgiving dinner

            1. re: E Eto

              An enthusiastic seconding of this suggestion. Halal lamb/chicken rice carts are unique, delicious and inexpensive.

              1. re: kathryn

                Thank you so much for all the great advice!

                1. re: lexvegas

                  You're welcome! BTW if you're looking for good Neopolitan style pie I really have loved my two visits to Motorino East Village.