must eat places in new york city
City Travel USA

15 Must Eat Places in NYC: Cool Places To Eat in New York City (2022)

Last updated on March 10th, 2022

New York City is a food lover’s paradise, home to one of the most diverse food scenes in the USA. If you’re looking for a unique and memorable dining experience, look no further than the restaurants of NYC. From cozy bistros to opulent fine-dining establishments, from casual eateries to hipster hot spots, the Big Apple has something to offer everyone and every taste bud. Selecting from so many restaurants can be overwhelming, which is why I’ve created this NYC food guide to help you choose where to eat in New York City. 

This list of 15 cool places to eat in New York City is for first-timers to NYC and those who want to explore the NYC food scene. Enjoy your time exploring and eating your way through New York City.

All the food places I recommend in NYC are places I have visited and enjoyed the food. 

If you want an itinerary to pair with this list of unique restaurants in NYC, check out this 3-day NYC itinerary, which works well for a weekend getaway.

15 Must-Eat Places in New York City

The Strip House Steakhouse is a romantic NYC restaurant, a perfect place to eat for NY steak.

The Strip House Steakhouse & Cocktail Lounge

One of the most romantic restaurants in New York City, The Strip House has two locations in the city. Upon walking through the doors, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported out of modern NYC and into Old New York City. 

The Strip House specializes in steaks and seafood, and you can treat yourself to a variety of delicious appetizers such as the Crab Cakes or Tuna Tartare. Indulge on a NY-style steak; after all, you are in NY. And don’t forget to save room for their signature dessert, a slice of their decadent 24 layer chocolate cake. 

The Strip House Restaurant is known for their signature 24 layer chocolate cake slices

The restaurant walls are lined with photos of Hollywood stars from the 1920s, with dim lighting, making for an old-timey romantic ambience.

During my visit to The Strip House Steakhouse, I enjoyed a signature New York strip steak and a slice of delicious 24-layer chocolate cake. It was the tallest slice of chocolate cake I’ve ever seen. Each cake slice weighs two pounds!

The Strip House Steakhouse & Cocktail Lounge

Hours of Operation: Tuesday-Saturday 4 pm-10 pm, Sunday-Monday 4 pm-9 pm 

Location: 15 W 44th St, New York, NY & 11 E 12th St, New York, NY


Patzeria Perfect Pizza is a must-eat place in NYC for pizza slices

Patzeria Perfect Pizza

If you’re looking for a unique NYC dining experience, head to Patzeria Perfect Pizza. The restaurant has limited seating, but it’s one of the coolest pizza places in New York City. NY is known for its pizza, so you need to eat pizza at least once while in NYC.

Besides its small size, what makes this eatery so memorable is that you get to watch your pizza being made while you wait for it to bake. The pizzas at Patzeria Perfect Pizza are Neapolitan-style and served quickly. Patzeria Perfect Pizza is known as one of the best pizza places in NYC, known for its no-frills pizza. 

If you’re feeling adventurous, try out one of their delicious specialty pies like the Lasagna Pizza or the Bianca Pizza. It may seem bizarre, but lasagna in pizza form works well. 

During my visit, I tried a pepperoni and a lasagna pizza slice. Both were yummy. I should’ve taken a photo of the lasagna pizza, but ate it too quickly; my pepperoni slice photo doesn’t capture how delicious the pizza is. A perfect place to stop for a quick bite to eat when you are near Times Square.

Patzeria Perfect Pizza 

Hours of Operation: Sun-Tues 4 pm – 11:30 pm, Wed-Fri 12 pm – 11:30 pm, Sat 11 am – 11:30 pm 

Location: 231 W 46th St, New York, NY


Mel's Burger Bar NYC

Mel’s Burger Bar

Another great place to grab some burgers is Mel’s Burger Bar. This funky restaurant on the Upper East Side is known for its mouthwatering burgers and eclectic decor. Mel’s is a place for all those who enjoy the simple things in life. 

If you’re looking for a recommendation, try their most popular burger, the Hot Mess Burger. Once you’ve decided on your burger, treat yourself to one of their delicious milkshakes or beer on tap.

Mel's Burger Bar New York City

One of my favourite things about this unique NYC restaurant is its giant lit-up Mel sign. Being a Melissa, with people often calling me Mel, I took my photo with the Mel sign. 

Mel’s Burger Bar

Hours of Operation: Daily 12 pm – 11 pm

Location: 1450 2nd Ave, New York, NY & 2850 Broadway, New York, NY


Halal Guys is a famous street vendor NYC and is a must-eat place while in NYC

Halal Guys 

Considered one of the best food carts in New York City, the Halal Guys are a must-try restaurant in NYC. You can find them on 53rd St and 6th Avenue in NYC, where they’re open every day until late at night. Since 1990, they have been serving NYC halal Middle Eastern food. 

If you’re looking for a quick and delicious bite to eat, be sure to try out one of their famous platters – either the chicken or the gyro platter. Your taste buds will thank you later. 

Halal Guys platter

A popular place to eat in NYC, be prepared to wait in a queue for your food. Halal Guys is well worth the wait. 

During my visit, I loved Halal Guys so much that I returned a second time before leaving NYC. If you choose to only eat at one place to eat from this list of cool places to eat in NYC, pick Halal Guys. 

Halal Guys

Hours of Operation: Mon-Thurs 11 am – 4 am, Fri-Sun 11 am – 5:30 am

Location: 6th Avenue &, W 53rd St, New York, NY


Tom's Restaurant in NYC is famous for its appearance on Seinfeld

Tom’s Restaurant

Tom’s Restaurant is one of the most famous restaurants in New York City due to its exterior feature on the popular TV show Seinfeld. Although Tom’s is known for its classic American cuisine, it’s best recognizable for its memorable exterior featuring an old-fashioned style sign with red neon lettering. Its interior consists of photo-and-memorabilia-covered walls from the show. 

Tom's Restaurant in NYC contains Seinfeld memorabilia

Tom’s Restaurant has been a beloved classic American diner since the 1940s. More than a place to eat, it is also a local landmark for people living in NYC. Tom’s Restaurant is a unique NYC restaurant and a must-visit place for those who love Seinfeld. 

Tom’s Restaurant

Hours of Operation: Daily 7 am – 10 pm

Location: 2880 Broadway, New York, NY


Very Fresh Noodles serves delicious noodles in Chelsea Market and is a unique NYC restaurant

Very Fresh Noodles

Very Fresh Noodles is a tiny eatery in New York City that serves up amazing Chinese cuisine. They specialize in high-quality hand-pulled noodles and serve them at record speed. Watch the cooks make your food before your eyes, hand-stretching and cooking the noodles to have the freshest noodle possible. 

Very Fresh Noodles offers dry noodles and noodle soups with beef, pork, or vegan options. In addition to Chinese noodles, they also sell bubble tea and craft beer. Located in Chelsea Market, Very Fresh Noodles is a must-eat restaurant in NYC.

During my visit, I enjoyed watching the noodles be made right in front of me. It’s like a dinner and a show and adds to the experience. Be prepared to wait in line for this popular restaurant. The food is worth the wait.

Very Fresh Noodles

Hours of Operation: Wed-Sat 11 am -7 pm, Sun 11 am – 5 pm, Closed Monday/Tuesday

Location: 409 W 15th St, New York, NY


Clinton hall is famous for its unique dishes such as the Doughnut Grilled Cheese and the Fondue Burger - both are must-trys

Clinton Hall

Known as New York City’s beer garden, Clinton Hall is a gastropub that specializes in eclectic American beer hall cuisine. Besides serving up a wide selection of hard-to-find craft beers, this eatery also offers a variety of tasty and extraordinary dishes such as the Fondue Burger and Doughnut Grilled Cheese. 

In 2018, Clinton Hall’s Double Smash Burger was voted the #1 burger in NYC by Food Network’s Burger Bash. 

Clinton Hall is the most unique NYC restaurant I visited while in New York City

If you’re looking for a hip place to grab dinner and drinks, head to Clinton Hall. With five locations across NYC, you will be able to find one near you in New York. If you have room for dessert, try their popular over-the-top WTF waffles.

During my visit, I had doughnut grilled cheese and the fondue burger. Both dishes were incredible, and I haven’t tasted anything like them since. Clinton Hall was the most fun and unique NYC restaurant dining experience of my trip to New York City.

Clinton Hall

Hours of Operation: Sun-Thurs 12 pm – 12 am, Fri-Sat 12 pm – 2 am

Location: 16 W 36th St, New York, NY and other locations in NYC


Black Seed Bagels nyc

Black Seed Bagels

Black Seed is an artisan bagel shop that specializes in delicately-prepared bagels. Their bagels are innovative, combining a NY-style bagel recipe with Montreal-style baking techniques. The bagel-making process starts with a high-quality dough, boiling in honey water, and baking them in a woodfire oven. 

Using their fresh bagels as a base, Black Seed Bagels creates its mouthwatering menu items, including the Turkey Avocado Bagel, Salmon Classic Bagel, or BLT Bagel. Their bagel choices include: plain, sesame, sesame, salt, rye, poppy, everything, and multigrain. If you don’t feel like dining in, you can order takeout or order bagels and spreads to make at home how you like. 

During my visit, I had the pepperoni pizza bagel, and it made me reminisce about the pizza bagels I would enjoy in my high school cafeteria. Fresh and delicious.

Black Seed Bagels

Hours of Operation: Daily 8 am – 3 pm

Location: 170 Elizabeth St, New York, NY and other locations in NYC


Mimi Cheng's Dumplings NYC

Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings

If you’re looking for delicious dumplings, head to Mimi Cheng’s in New York City. Run by the Cheng sisters, this tiny eatery started because they couldn’t find dumplings like their Mimi always made anywhere in NYC. 

Mimi Cheng’s uses all organic and local ingredients to create its hand-made Taiwanese dumplings. All their dishes are made fresh and from scratch using a family recipe.

Mimi Cheng's spicy dan dan noodles NYC

Their most popular dishes include their signature Mimi Cheng Dumplings, Pork & Chive Dumplings, and Scallion Pancakes. 

During my visit, I had spicy dan dan noodles. 

Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings 

Hours of Operation: Daily 12 pm – 8:30 pm

Location: 380 Broome St, New York, NY and other locations in NYC


Prince Street Pizza in NYC has the most delicious pizza in NYC

Prince Street Pizza

Prince Street Pizza is a cool and cozy pizzeria in the NoLita neighbourhood. They specialize in Neopolitan round pizza, Sicilian square pies, and square slices. One of New York City’s favourite places for a pizza slice, Prince Street Pizza is an eatery you should not skip.

A tiny restaurant with no seating, there is a standing-height countertop that you can eat at. The brick interior walls of Prince Street Pizza are lined with photographs of celebrities who have visited the pizzeria. Popular menu items include the Mercer Margherita and The Fancy Prince.

Prince Street Pizza NYC

The Spicy Spring slice at Prince Street Pizza was the most pepperoni-est and delicious slice I tasted in NYC. Their cup and char pepperoni is so yummy, I still think about it. 

Prince Street Pizza 

Hours of Operation: Wed 10 am – 12 pm, Thurs-Tues 10 am – 3 am

Location: 27 Prince St A, New York, NY


Yips is an affordable and delicious place to get Chinese food - a must-eat place while in NYC


If you are in the mood for some good American-Chinese food, head to Yip’s. Located in the Financial District in New York City, Yip’s is an affordable and delicious restaurant that serves up great-tasting NYC Chinese food. Known for their speedy service, it won’t take long to get your lunch. 

They serve their food pay-by-the-pound buffet style, with a good selection of dishes available. Take your food to go, or sit upstairs in their second-floor dining room. 

You can’t beat quick, delicious, and affordable food, which makes Yip’s a must-eat place in NYC.

During my visit, we dined in and enjoyed a nice quiet lunch. Very filling!


Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri 10:30 am – 5 pm, Closed Sat-Sun

Location: 16 Beaver St, New York, NY 

Filaga pizza NYC in Chelsea Market


For a taste of Sicily in New York, you should try Filaga in Chelsea Market. Inspired by Italian street food, Filaga sells pizza by the slice, square-shaped, of course, using high-quality ingredients imported from Italy. A friendy and casual eatery, they aim for simplicity, to be authentic and delicious while making their pizza slices easier to eat on the go. 

At Filaga, they are passionate about pizza and aim to provide the best Italian Pizza experience in NYC. You can pick up a square slice at the counter or order pizza delivered. 

Popular menu items include the Mediterranea Pizza, Prosciutto Pizza, and the Bufalina Pizza. If you are looking for something different, they also make calzones.  

During my visit, I tried a pepperoni slice. I always use pepperoni as my basis for judging a pizza place. A slightly crunchy crust with a soft middle makes for a delicious pizza slice. 


Hours of Operation: Tues-Sun 11:30 am – 7 pm, Closed Monday

Location: 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 


Levain Bakery is famous for their massive cookies

Levain Bakery

Known as New York City’s favourite cookie, Levain Bakery is a must-eat bakery in NYC. What makes Levain’s cookies so popular is they are massive, crisp on the outside, and ooey-gooey on the inside. For over 25 years, their mission has been to create the best chocolate chip cookie. 

Levain Bakery uses high-quality ingredients to create its menu, including its original Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie and the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie. This beloved cookie has expanded into grocery stores; you can find them around US stores in the freezer aisle. 

There are multiple locations of Levain Bakery around NYC, but the original bakery shop is on West 74th. Be prepared to wait. During my visit, I bought a Chocolate Chip Cookie. I can see why everyone loves these massive and decadent cookies.

Levain Bakery

Hours of Operation: Mon-Sat 8 am – 8 pm, Sun 8 am – 6 pm

Location: 167 W 74th St, New York, NY and other locations around NYC and the USA


Ample Hills Creamery serves the freshest ice cream in Brooklyn

Ample Hills Creamery

If you’re in the mood for ice cream, head to Ample Hills Creamery. This local ice cream company makes their ice cream at their factory in Brooklyn. They are Brooklyn’s freshest ice cream, hand-making everything from the base to the ice cream mix-ins for very delicious and high-quality ice cream.

The flavours at Ample Hills Creamery are playful and out-of-the-ordinary; they are always testing new flavours. Popular flavours include Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, Breakfast Trash, and Salted Crack’d Caramel. If you’re in the mood for something different, try one of their vegan or gluten-free flavours.

In addition to scoops, their ice cream is available in pints, ice cream cakes, and Instagram-able ice cream tacos on Tuesdays. Their mission is sweet and simple, ice cream can make people happy, so they make ice cream. Grab a scoop for yourself, and see what the hype is all about.

Ample Hills Creamery

Hours of Operation: Mon-Thurs 2 pm – 9 pm, Fri 2 pm – 10 pm, Sat 1 pm – 10 pm, Sun 1 pm – 9 pm

Location: 141 8th Ave, New York, NY, and other locations in NYC


Insomnia cookies nyc

Insomnia Cookies

While not originally from NYC, Insomnia Cookies is a unique restaurant that specializes in warm, delicious cookies into the night. As you might have guessed from the name of this eatery, Insomnia Cookies is open late – most Insomnia locations deliver cookies until 3 am. 

Serving more than 15 types of cookies, plus brownies, ice cream, and ice cream cookie-wiches, you can get fresh and yummy baked goods anytime you have a craving, even into the late night. The best part is you don’t even have to leave your house or office because Insomnia Cookies delivers anywhere in New York City. 

With more than 10 locations across NYC, it will be easy to find one that fits into your NYC itinerary. 

Anytime I am in a US city with Insomnia Cookies, I stop and pick some up. I love all of their flavours, but my favourite is classic chocolate chip. 

Insomnia Cookies 

Hours of Operation: Daily 11 am or 12 pm – 1 am or 3 am, check with individual locations

Location: Various locations across NYC


With so many unique NYC restaurants, it’s hard to know where to eat in New York City. Enjoy this list of ideas for cool places to eat while visiting one of the most foodie cities in the USA.

Hope this information helps you choose where to eat in NYC.

Happy travelling! 

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