Visiting New York? Don't Miss These 10 Foods

It’s a city that never sleeps but always eats

Visiting New York? Don't Miss These 10 Foods

Ask a group of New Yorkers what to eat while you're there and you'll get a cacophony of enthusiastic responses that'll make you wonder why on earth people call these city folk so unfriendly. We've narrowed down this cacophony for you. Here are 10 foods you have to eat when visiting New York City. 

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Bagel and Lox (at Russ and Daughters)

They say the reason a New York bagel is so good has something to do with the New York tap water that the dough is boiled in. While restaurants around the country have found ways to “replicate” New York water, there really isn’t a thing in the world like the bagel and lox at Russ and Daughters. The shop has been open since 1914, long before the Lower East Side became one of New York’s trendiest neighborhoods. 

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Black Label Burger (Minetta Tavern)

We voted the Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern the best burger in America this year. Why? “It’s the stuff of legend,” writes Kate Kolenda. “Prime dry-aged beef, sourced and aged for six to seven weeks by Pat LaFrieda, is well seasoned and cooked on a plancha with clarified butter, developing a glorious exterior. The fussed-over burger is nestled onto a sesame-studded brioche bun designed specifically for it, topped with caramelized onions, and served with pommes frites.” At $28, it doesn’t come cheap, but you’re also paying for a Mad Men-like atmosphere that is unique to New York.

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Brooklyn Blackout Cake (Ovenly / Ebinger’s)

This cake is rich in flavor and history; it gets its name from the blackout drills performed by the Civilian Defense Corps during World War II. Why? It’s dense enough that you wouldn’t be hungry enough to eat anything else while the electricity is out. While the historic Ebinger’s Bakery, which made the cake famous, is no longer around, Ovenly in Greenpoint makes a fantastic version that incorporates Brooklyn Brewery’s black chocolate stout. 

Chicken and Rice (The Halal Guys)

Before the food truck revolution gathered full steam, it was carts like the The Halal Guys that came to mind when New Yorkers thought of street food. Now, The Halal Guys have a few different New York locations and are going international. What makes them different, besides their slogan (“We Are Different”)? It could be their generous use of sauce, the tenderness of their meat, their very orange rice, and, to be honest, the experience of waiting on that long, long line near Radio City — or wherever.

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Egg Cream (Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain / Eddie’s Sweet Shop in Queens)

Egg creams are completely free of eggs and cream. A refreshing mix of milk, soda water, and vanilla or chocolate syrup, the drink is typically associated with Brooklyn, though Eddie’s Sweet Shop in Queens — one of the best ice cream parlors in America — serves one that’s quite exquisite. For an equally old school environment to enjoy this classic beverage in, head to Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain

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Hot Dog (Grey’s Papaya / Nathan’s)

Hot dogs are one of America’s most beloved foods, and in New York, you just can’t go wrong with the extremely wallet-friendly Gray’s Papaya, one of America’s 75 best hot dogs. If you’re headed to Coney Island, stopping by the original Nathan’s is still a not-to-miss experience, though the hot dog giant has outposts in many mall food courts and highway rest stops in the country. After all, where else can you enjoy Nathan’s with the rattle of a rollercoaster in your ears and the Atlantic horizon in your line of vision? 

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Pastrami Sandwich (at Katz Delicatessen)

When Harry Met Sally is a movie that made us all want what she’s having — a turkey sandwich at Katz’s Delicatessen. What you actually want though is what he is having — pastrami on rye. The ungodly stack of top-quality beef in between two fragrant slices of bread is just too good for you to miss out on. 

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Pizza! (Roberta’s Pizza / Full Moon Pizzeria in the Bronx)

Very few people come to New York without the intention eating a slice of the famous New York-style pizza. While you can find it in almost every street corner, we highly recommend trekking up to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx to eat some traditional New York-inflected Italian food, such as the pizza at Full Moon Pizzeria. You also can’t go wrong by chowing down in Brooklyn, especially at Di Fara or Roberta’s, which are among the top 5 in our list of America’s best pizzas

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Pretzel Croissant and Hot Chocolate (City Bakery)

The pretzel croissant at City Bakery has such a cult following that it even has its own City Bakery-operated website ( It combines a Paris favorite with a New York favorite and the results are divine. Wash it down with City Bakery’s decadent hot chocolate and you can officially call your day perfect.

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Soup Dumplings (Joe’s Shanghai / Nan Xiang in Flushing)

Sure, you’ll probably find better soup dumplings [xiaolingbao] in China than you will in New York, but until you find your way there, you can settle for those at Joe’s Shanghai, an institution in New York’s Chinatown. Their simple fried rice with eggs and scallions is also a must-try. Flushing, Queens, has a thriving Chinese community, so you’ll also find excellent soup dumplings there; we recommend chowing down at Nan Xiang.

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