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Eating around New York

4 years ago / travel / food / new york

My food bible, compiled.

(WTF it took me 4 days to compile this, thanks to numerous food lists from friends, my gazillion photos and me wanting to include EVERYTHING good. So proud of myself lolol!)

Sorry, still on my NYC diaries cause 1) I took a shitload of photos and 2) Everybody - and I really mean EVERYBODY - on Instagram is in New York at the moment and it's killing me to know that they are all celebrating the holidays at Central Park (or Times Square or wherever) without me.

Also, compiling this list so I remember where to eat (and where NOT to eat) the next time I'm back in New York.

Like the Momofuku Milk Bar's Cereal Milk Ice Cream (ya, if you don't know it, you're not on Instagram enough) - all these Instagrammers including yours truly lol keep posting pictures of it but this is something that UNTIL TODAY, I still can't decide if it's tasty or not. It had a very dense texture, wasn't particularly sweet nor milky and had a subtle flavour that I couldn't identify... yet it wasn't bad enough for me to throw it away after one mouth. In fact, I finished the whole thing cause I was trying to figure out if I like it or not... then when I couldn't, walked 3 blocks back the next day to eat it AGAIN. Now, one month and 9,521 miles later, I still can't say if it's good or not lol.

But here's what's good!

See that juicy piece of portobello?
  • Shake Shack! Apparently, knowing what to order is very important. The first time I'd left disappointed but thanks to Quora and second chances, I know know that you should 1) go for the concretes!!! 2) have the Shack Stack (it will BLOW your mind) and 3) skip the cheese fries.

The milkshake and cheese fries that you should skip

Upper East Side

  • Café Boulud (French)
  • David Burke Townhouse (American)
  • Le Cirque (French) - the crème brulee is a must-order!
  • Park Avenue (American)
  • Sfoglia (Italian)

(Did you know? West Side refers to the area west of Fifth Avenue and East Side refers to the area east of Fifth Avenue.)

Upper West Side

  • Boulud Sud (Mediterranean)
  • Dovetail (American)
  • Lincoln (Italian)
  • Telepan (American)

Union Square

  • 15 East (Japanese) - Strangely, I found myself craving Japanese food A LOT when I was there
  • Casa Mono (Tapas)
  • Strip House (Steak)


  • Balaboosta (Middle-Eastern)
  • Blue Ribbon (American)
  • Café Habana (Cuban-Mexican) - go for the Mexican "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" Grilled Corn
  • The Dutch (American) - Only the fried chicken is worth having though

Egg Shop was another Instagram find that turned out to be disappointing...

Though the burger was pretty photogenic lol.

Times Square

  • Sake Bar Hagi (Japanese)
  • Dallas BBQ - probably the best beef ribs you'll have in your life. The meat just falls off the bones.

East Village

  • Chikalicious (Dessert bar)
  • Shabu Tatsu (Shabu shabu)
  • Angel's Share - Speakeasy bar with amazing hand-crafted cocktails

West Village

  • Extra Virgin (American) - French toast paradise!
  • Kin Shop (Thai)
  • Pearl Oyster Bar
  • RedFarm (Chinese though with a "modern take")
  • The Spotted Pig (American) - Deviled eggs and chicken liver toast


  • Corton (French) - if you're into molecular gastronomy that sorta thing
  • Sushi of Gari - "Creative Sushi"

Though some of the best places are the unexpected finds...

We'd stumbled into this super random Ambrosia deli on 8 W 45th St where we ended up having...

One of the best pizzas and clam chowders of my life! Yelp and TripAdvisor also give this place glowing reviews so the next time I'm back, I wanna try their Korean food!


  • Char No. 4 (American)
  • Vinegar Hill House (American)
  • Roberta's (Italian)
  • La Bagel Delight - they open at 5:30am so it makes a great breakfast place when you're jetlagged and all
  • Juliana's Pizza - accordingly to TripAdvisor, it's the best pizzeria in the entire United States...

I obviously didn't eat at every pizza place in the US but this was really freaking tasty


And freaking huge too.

Also, you'd think that every food truck in NYC will be selling hotdogs and bagels but guess what? Almost all that I came across were selling gyros and lamb over rice lol. But if you'd want a hotdog, the ones at Papaya King are pretty yummy!

And their fried mac and cheese might be the most sinfully good thing I had all trip.


  • Soccarat (Spanish)
  • The Breslin Bar and Dining Room (American) - if you like lamb, you should try their lamb burger
  • Hill Country (Barbecue)


  • Golden Unicorn - for the dimsum in NY experience
  • The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
  • 10Below Ice Cream (the Buzzfeed place that has people queuing)

Lower East Side

  • Congee Village - if you are one of those who NEED Chinese food when travelling
  • Clinton St. Baking Co - good pancakes, but we have them in Singapore too. Either way, you'll have to queue.

Meatpacking District

  • Pastis (French bistro)
  • STK (Steak)
  • The Standard Grill - at The Standard hotel. Go to see and be seen.

Don't forget to make time for the weekend markets. BUT check the weather forecast though. We went to Smorgasburg on a rainy Saturday which was a kinda bad decision (cause most of the stalls weren't open) made good cause we ended up having this effing good artery-clogging duck fat fries lol

Midtown East

  • Aquavit (Scandinavian) - their smoked fish is pretty famous
  • Gilt (American) - if you want to dine in The Palace hotel
  • Lavo (Italian)

Midtown West

  • Danji (Korean)
  • Kyotofu - Japanese dessert bar & bakery
  • Norma's - great for brunch!
  • Room Service - upscale Thai food

And lastly, if you plan to go to the McGee's that supposedly touted as the real MacLaren's or the inspiration behind the bar in HIMYM...


The entire place looked (and felt) nothing like HIMYM except a couple of posters of Barney and the rest on the wall and a rip off menu of "HIMYM-inspired cocktails" that tbh, I think my 4-year-old nephew can better whip up... while blindfolded.

And I think they misnamed their Best Burger in the World... it really should be called the Worst Burger in the Whole Damn Universe. Check out that rock of a bun and patty so dry... I suffered a toothache trying to chew it.

Rest of my NYC diaries here