Trying to describe the New York cuisine scene is like trying to get a table at Rao’s Italian restaurant in Manhattan—it could take years! New York is filled with the good n’ cheap, the small and sweet, the fried and foreign, and the OMG THAT’S HOW MUCH IT COST FOR THE APPETIZER? Whatever your taste buds desire can be found here in New York, you just need to know where to look.
The Good n’ Cheap: Everything’s more expensive in New York – housing, transportation, entertainment, and, yes, food. But you can still find good food for a good price. In fact you should be able to find some of New York’s best ethnic and foreign foods for fabulously low prices.
If you haven’t heard already, New York is pizza heaven—and cheap! Whether it’s Lombardi’s, Grimaldi’s or that hole in the wall pizza parlor next to your apartment, pizza is always nearby.
You can get good and cheap Chinese food, not only in Chinatown, but pretty much anywhere in the city. Queens and Brooklyn, especially Astoria, have a multitude of Greek restaurants and other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern joints—which are now popping up all over the city as well.
And, don’t forget about the unconventional dining, like food vendors and food trucks. They serve up some of the best food in the city. A good food game is to eat from all the Vendy winners. You’ll find food trucks all over the city—here is a list of the Top Five, serving all manner of delights, including gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.
New York has so many good and cheap places that you could spend your whole life uncovering new places. For a start, check out places featured on the food network shows, ask friends and colleagues, and keep your eyes on food sections of NY Times, New York Magazine and food blogs. For an example, New York Magazine offers their Top Cheap Eats and Time Out also gives their list of Best Budget Dining in NYC.
The Coffee, the Cake, and the Café: Where would all the troubled writers, tormented poets, and melancholy musicians go if not New York’s many quiet coffee shops and intimate cafés? Everyone loves a good Starbucks, but the best parts about New York are the individual personalities of its innumerable small cafés selling coffee, cakes, and sandwiches. From Sant Ambroeus in the Upper East Side to B Cup Cafe in the East Village, you’re bound to find a place that’s perfect to cozy up with a fresh brew, baked good, and a book.
Don’t think we’ve forgotten about those of you with a sweet tooth. New York Fashion week notwithstanding, bakeries and cake shops are bustling businesses producing some of the most decadent and delicious desserts that will make your mouth water. Time Out listed some its Best New York Bakeries, which you’ll find specialize in different types of baked goods—making it easier to find the perfect bakery to satiate your sweet tooth.
Finest Dining: Eating one meal at the finest New York dining could cost more than a monthly electric bill. For recent graduates and young professionals, these fine dining establishments are often out of reach. Restaurant Week, a bi-annual week of discounted meals across the city, is the perfect chance to sample some of the fanciest New York cuisine. But for special occasions, like romantic evenings or important business meeting or when your parents come to town, there are a number of outstanding New York restaurants with divine dishes you will die for.
Shopping For Food: Buying natural and homegrown food is easy in NYC. New York City has 138 farmers’ markets. Farmers’ markets, which are set up about twice a week, are the best places to buy fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy products from local farmers, but you’ll have to Find Your Nearest Farmers’ Market.
For all your other grocery needs you can check out one of many Westside Markets, Wholefoods, or Trader Joe’s that dot the city or have your food from a local farm delivered to your doorstep by Fresh Direct.
Wherever you move you will have no dearth of Asian food menus slipped under your door. For everything else you can simply log on to Seamless or Grubhub to order online, tip included, from a restaurant near you. This is especially useful if you don’t have cash at home and are too tired to venture out.