New York City can seem overrun with tourists and, as a result, with tourist traps. While most of NYC’s touristy restaurants can be skipped, a few gems are worth checking out. Whether you’re visiting the city or a New Yorker looking for a good meal, these six restaurants and food destinations are worth braving the lines and tourists for.
205 E Houston St
New York, NY 10002
For a classic New York pastrami sandwich, both locals and tourists alike head to Katz’s Delicatessen. The Lower East Side deli was founded in 1888, making it the oldest in New York City. Stick to the classics and order a hand-carved pastrami on rye sandwich for $16.95. Don’t be intimidated by the sandwich prices; one can easily feed two people heartily. In additional to eating one of New York’s best pastrami sandwiches, you’ll have visited the setting of Meg Ryan’s infamous scene in When Harry Met Sally.
More: Best NYC Jewish Delis
1 Front Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Eating Grimaldi’s pizza pies is a quintessential New York experience. While the line is notoriously long, the views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the pies themselves are both spectacular. Grimaldi’s uses a coal-fired oven and fresh mozzarella delivered daily. Come hungry: the pizzeria doesn’t sell pizza by the slice. Grimaldi’s has a few New York locations, but the primary Dumbo location is worth the trip to Brooklyn. In fact, make an afternoon out of it and cross the iconic Brooklyn Bridge by foot first.
200 5th Ave
New York, NY 10010
Eataly is a one-stop shop in Manhattan’s Flatiron district. You’ll find Italian groceries, fresh treats, restaurants, drinks, cookbooks and more in the 50,000 square foot superstore. Eateries are divided by food group: Manzo focuses on beef, Il Pesce on fish and Le Verdure on vegetables. Head to Birreria, the rooftop restaurant, for an Eataly-brewed cask ale and house-made sausage. The retractable glass roof ensures a comfortable meal in either winter or summer. Grab a pistachio gelato at Il Gelato downstairs for dessert.
80 Spring St
New York, NY 10012
This Parisian brasserie has become the New York spot to see and be seen. The SoHo restaurant is bustling from morning until night. Stop into Balthazar’s bakery for a warm baguette or pastry. If you have the time (or the reservation), come for traditional bistro fare during lunch or dinner. The Steak Frites with maître d’ butter or béarnaise sauce for $38.00 is Balthazar’s best-selling dish. Make sure to keep an eye out for dining celebrities.
New York, NY
While Shake Shack has grown to have locations outside of NYC, its roots are in New York’s Madison Square Park. The small burger joint – there’s no indoor seating – is infamous for long lines and stellar all-natural burgers in one of Manhattan’s prettiest parks. Order a Double ShackBurger, topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce. Skip the fries and try a concrete instead – rich frozen custards mixed with add-ins like donuts, strawberry preserves and cinnamon sugar (Jelly’s Last Donut).
New York, NY 11211
For a true splurge, head to this Williamsburg institution with a simple menu and decadent steaks carved tableside. The Michelin star restaurant doesn’t boast splashy décor or a large selection of dining options. But the steaks are some of the best in New York. Spring for a porterhouse steak for two, three or four. The luxuriously marbled steaks are aged in house, and perfectly broiled.