An ever-evolving list of places I love in NYC, freshly updated.
Baar Baar [East Village] I never not order the dahi/pani puri, sweet potato chaat, avocado bhel, cauliflower, and I’m just going to keep reminiscing about the lamb ribs until they bring them back.
Cervo’s [Chinatown] I will unfriend you if you don’t try the crispy shrimp heads, prawns a la plancha, and piri piri chicken, plus any seasonal salads or vegetable starters.
Yellow Rose [East Village] I have an almost religious devotion to the bean and cheese taco, but don’t sleep on the appetizers and mains. They’re so much more than a taco restaurant.
Superiority Burger [East Village] Punk, vegetarian, back and better than ever in the old Odessa space.
M. Shanghai [Williamsburg] I’ve been going here for over 20 years and have not had a better soup dumpling anywhere in the city; other favorites: vegetable wontons in spicy peanut sauce, beef in “awesome” sauce and simply-cooked string beans.
Via Carota [West Village] Every single dish on the changing verdure menu, chicken liver toasts, and cacio e pepe. They make a perfect negroni.
Cafe Spaghetti [Carroll Gardens]
Dosa Man [Washington Square Park] Yes, the line is long but it’s because the dosas are perfect and a classic lunch experience.
Diner [South Williamsburg] I can’t believe it’s 22 years old. We were back recently and it’s as good as the day it opened.
Faiccos [Greenwich Village] For Alex’s favorite Italian sub
Hawksmoor [Gramercy] We’ve now been to the Sunday roast at one of their locations in London and NYC but I’d say my favorite experience has been to sit in the bar area and order from the menu a la carte there.
Joe’s Pizza [Greenwich Village] Before Scarr’s, this was the only slice I loved in NYC and I never go a month without it.
Joseph Leonard [West Village] We love walking over here for a cozy meal in the winter.
Kiki’s [Chinatown] Classic Greek food with nods to the neighborhood (the name on the awning is in Chinese; the vinegar on the table are in soy sauce bottles). It’s crowded every night.
Le Rock [Rockefeller Center] New but already a must for fancy drinks and food at the holidays.
Mimi Cheng’s [East Village] A perfect little dumpling shop. The chicken-zucchini and the vegetable dumplings are my favorites.
Pickle Guys [Lower East Side] They’ve been since before pickles were cool and have the most cheerful staff.
Razza [Jersey City] Yes, not NYC but I’d be remiss not to tell you about my favorite wood-fired artisanal pizza, the kind you order with wine or cocktails and great sides.
Red Hook Tavern [Red Hook] Their burger has a near-religious following.
Skovorodka [Brighton Beach] This is where we go for pelmeni and vareniki, usually in the middle of winter when the promise of cozy food is the only thing that will get us out of the apartment.
Strip House Speakeasy [Greenwich Village] No, you didn’t ask where Alex takes himself on solo “dates” when Deb is away on book tour, but this is the answer.
Scarr’s Pizza [Lower East Side] They just moved into a bigger space and are better than ever.
Wallsé [Greenwich Village] We’ve been going for almost 20 years and it remains consistently excellent. We are always impressed by the perfectly-executed classic cocktails.
Win Son [East Williamsburg]
bakeries and sweets
Breads Bakery [Union Square] They could gold medal in hamantaschen as far as I’m concerned and their chocolate babka is legendary; you’d be crazy to leave NYC without one in your suitcase.
Ciao, Gloria [Prospect Heights] It’s not fair to add this under bakeries when they have a full menu, but I’ve adored Renato Poliafito’s baking since his Baked days and he continues to knock it out of the park in his own space. Rainbow cookies are always on the menu.
Davey’s Ice Cream [East Village and Williamsburg] My “kids” favorite ice cream shop.
Fan Fan Doughnuts [Bed-Stuy] Unquestionably the best doughnuts in the city
Pop-Up Bagels [Greenwich Village] New to NYC but became my instant favorite bagel in the city. I highly recommend preordering.
La Cabra [East Village] They make the best croissants I’ve ever eaten outside Paris, the best cardamom bun in the city (because it’s not crazy sweet or heavy), and my favorite sourdough (I like the sandwich loaf shape, better for freezing).
Le Fournil [East Village] A classic boulangerie with reasonable prices and my favorite baguette in the city. This used to be Moishe’s Bakery.
Morgenstern’s Bananas [Lower East Side] Amazing you-won’t-even-know-it’s-dairy-free ice cream that doesn’t taste like bananas, swear.
Red Gate Bakery [East Village] Modern bakery classics are great, but do know that my own husband has ordered my birthday cake from here in the past, which I hope tells you how good their layer cakes are.
Sullivan Street Bakery [Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen] While everything Jim Lahey bakes is excellent, I love picking up one slice each of all of his innovative pizzas (like the summer squash, or the potato) and warming them up for dinner.
Varsano’s and Li-Lac [Greenwich Village] These are, to me, the classic NYC chocolate shops. I always get dark chocolate nonpareils because chocolate with sprinkles on it > chocolate without sprinkles on it, obviously.
nyc food essentials
Grow NYC Greenmarkets [Union Square + Grand Army Plaza, but also all over the city] The reason NYC Greenmarkets are so special is that every single thing, including the flour for bread, is grown within a 100-mile radius of NYC.
Archestratus Books + Foods [Greenpoint] Bookstore specialized in vintage & new cookbooks, plus an in-store cafe with pastries and guest chefs.
Bonnie Slotnick [East Village] Possibly the greatest place on earth for a cookbook lover, Bonnie sells used cookbooks and is an encyclopedia of cookbook knowledge.
Fishs Eddy [Union Square/Gramercy] Eclectic and vintage dishes and glassware.
Kitchen Arts & Letters [Upper East Side] A cookbook store with passionate staff
Kalustyan’s [Kip’s Bay] Stock up on every spice on earth, the most enchanting baklava selection, the mujadarra and vegetable soup from the prepared food fridge is a longtime favorite of mine.
New York Cake and Baking Co. [Chelsea] If you’re a baker, it’s not to be missed.
Murray’s Cheese [Greenwich Village] Famous for a reason; it’s heaven for cheese-lovers who want to pick up something new.
Sahadi’s [Atlantic Ave or Industry City] A spice and ingredient wonderland.
SOS Chefs [East Village] Cooking pantry essentials and custom spice blends.