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Eating Like a Local: The Back-Street Guide to Drinking & Dining in the Big Apple

Words: Lucy Connors

Trying to single out the top places in New York City to eat and drink is no small task. The city, famed for its melting pot of cultures and opportunities, offers up a myriad of culinary delights, with something for every mood, occasion, or whim. Here is a selection of the best, most versatile, and crowd-pleasing venues to visit on your next trip.

Quick bites and coffee stops:

Black Seed Bagels New York

Black Seed Bagels

Photo: Black Seed Bagels

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Stumptown is situated in the Flatiron District, at the base of the Ace Hotel. This small-batch premium roasting company offers delicious coffee and an even better atmosphere. Keep an eye out on their social media to catch creative pop-ups and unique seasonal flavours.

Black Seed Bagels

The hunt for the best New York Bagel is one that is ongoing and unending, and while the famous Liberty Bagels proved itself to be famous for very good reason, we’re recommending Black Seed. These woodfired bagels are delicious; fresh and New York made with a pillowy inside but a crisp exterior. In a new move for sustainability, they have started offering cookies made from unsold bagels so you truly can enjoy them without any guilt.

Front Street Pizza

It’s impossible to go to New York, or recommend it, without including a stop for a New York Slice. Again, the big names of Joe’s and Prince Street are worthy of a visit, but across the river in Dumbo, Brooklyn, lies Front Street. These giant slices not only taste incredible but come with a view straight down to Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline. To enjoy your pizza and enjoy the experience – head here.

Dinner and drinks:

Skirt Steak New York

Skirt Steak Restaurant

Photo: Eater


Located in Hell’s Kitchen, this Italian Trattoria offers elevated crowd pleasers and explores the different influences on Italian food from along the Riviera and Mediterranean. The interior of the restaurant is stunning, with a sleek modern feel and a intimate backlit bar. We recommend trying their seasonal cocktail – this bartender’s specialty was so good we asked for the ingredients. Book here to avoid disappointment, even with both indoor and outdoor seating, this spot is a favourite and will be busy.

Mama Mia 44 SW

With live jazz musicians on its outdoor terrace, Mama Mia is the perfect location for your after-dinner drinks. Located in Hell’s Kitchen this family-owned restaurant is the perfect place to soak up the city ambiance.

Skirt Steak

This Chelsea restaurant offers one thing on the menu, and one thing only. Skirt steak and unlimited fries. Simple and spectacular. There are no reservations here so be prepared to queue, but don’t prepare to be disappointed.

Good Behaviour

This rooftop bar is located on the top floor of the Made Hotel and provides panoramic views across the New York Skyline. Its interior bar is filled with disco balls and greenery, and they offer creative signature cocktails that provide a perfect embellishment to the stunning views. We recommend the margarita adjacent ‘Maybe I Am Just Like Your Mother’ to help lessen the good behaviour.

The Lobby

If you get your coffee from Stumptown in the morning, come back to the Ace Hotel in the evening to visit The Lobby. This bar offers a moody setting for a nightcap, and it would be rude to end your visit without making a trip to the photobooth.

Tao Uptown

If you’re looking for somewhere to see, and be seen, try Tao. This upscale restaurant offers an array of pan-Asian dishes, in a remarkable setting with its focal point a giant Buddha monument and water feature. Make sure to make a reservation here, and you’ll be in for an incredible experience and culinary tour.


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