Rice pudding just might be the ultimate comfort food: creamy, easy-to-chew, and slightly sweet. We order it whenever we see it on the menu, but the five spots listed below serve up our favorite bowls of rice pudding in the whole city. By Jessica Allen.
Founded in 2005, Chobani has, in many ways, been responsible for introducing Greek yogurt to the American masses. The company recently opened its very first cafe in SoHo. As you’d expect, there are all kinds of yogurt-based creations, from peanut butter and jelly, to mango and avocado, to spinach and garlic dip. Hamdi’s rice pudding features arborio rice mixed with whole milk and vanilla, then topped with raisins and pistachio. It might seem simple, but it’s lush and delicious.
At Gossip Coffee, you can down a cold brew while noshing on a Guinness prosciutto doughnut (yes, really), or sip one of several iced teas on tap while gnawing on an orange creamsicle doughnut. Then you can sidle over to the rice pudding bar, and select from one of nine rotating offerings, such as banana coconut, chocolate chip, mascarpone, and rocky road; all made fresh on the regular. The rice pudding comes in four sizes: tease, selfie, date, and entourage. Go for the entourage.
Like bread and meat, rice pudding belongs to all cultures. That said, some countries do it a bit better than others. India is one such country. Get a taste of what we’re talking about via the phirni (rice pudding) at Moti Mahal Delux. It’s a soft, sultry, rose-inflected end to a meal full of complex spices and flavors of dishes like chutney paneer tikka (grilled cheese), garlic-flavored chicken kebabs, sliced lamb in a basil and green chili marinade, or the signature butter chicken.
Some places offer rice pudding as one of many desserts, and that’s totally fine. Rice to Riches, however, only offers rice pudding, and it’s amazing. Among the Lower East Side restaurant’s slogans are “Finally, a rice pudding that doesn’t suck,” “No skinny bitches!,” and “If loving rice pudding is wrong, I don’t want to be right.” Cleverly named flavors include “hazelnut chocolate bear hug,” “take me to tiramisu,” “sex drugs and rocky road,” and “play it again butter pecan.”
You could spend the day, and most of the evening at Snack Taverna and never get bored. Begin with the oatmeal “cappuccino” (topped with apples, dried fruit, bananas, and steamed milk) for breakfast, then move onto the horta boureki (a savory pie with feta, swiss chard, currants, leeks, and a spicy feta spread) for lunch and yellowfin tuna and olive skewers for dinner. This restaurant in the West Village specializes in seasonal, Greek-inspired dishes, including a lovely vanilla rice pudding topped with apricot and pine nuts. Save room!