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My Own Personal Ultimate NYC Dining Guide

New York City
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My Own Personal Ultimate NYC Dining Guide

We all know looking through review after review in a city fool of restaurants can be tedious and frustrating so here is my personal nearly bullet proof guide to lunch,breakfast,brunch,dinner & desserts.

First of you are either the kind of person who wants to go to places like Carnegie Deli & Tavern on the green and waste your money or you want to go to the real deal spots.Leave your fanny packs at home and no need to clutch your purse this is the safest city in the world.


Shake Shack : Quite a long line but this is wonderful cheap eats.One of the few touristy spots that is a must.Yes it is that good.

Paul's Joint : In the East Village

Mexican:Forget about over rated Blue Smoke

Mexican Radio : Worth every penny.Amazing ambiance and even better margaritas.Best in the city

Florencia 13: AS NEW YORK AS THEY COME Located on sullivan street.Owner is Ralph straight out of So-Cal.Great authentic Cal mex & get the flaming Margarita.Service is top notich.

Agave : OK OK ..It is on the pricier size but their fresh fruit margaritas and mexican mac and cheese make it all ok.Solid mexican.

Pizza: Forget Johns on bleecker.There are 3 places much better & I call them the Triumverate

Pastys: Either on 60th or in Union Square (Get the Penne alla vodka as well it is the best you will ever eat

Lombardis : Truly is the original pizzeria in America and it is that good.This is NYC pizza at its finest

Arturos: If you are seeking Amazing downtown pizza with a little more in terms of menu selection and live Jazz this is just as good as the 2 i mentioned above.All cannot go wrong

Cupcakes: You have all heard the legend of Magnolia.Avoid the over rated lines.

Sorry to say they pale in comparison to the greatest cupcake ever made down in the Lower East Side (The neighborhood is being reborn)

Sugar Sweet Sunshine: The best cupcakes you will ever eat in your existence.So sweet you will have cavities by the time you walk out the door.

Italian Sanwiches:

Abbondanzas: Located on Bleecker Street.These are true NYC Brooklyn,Staten Island ital heros.Salads are great and the pizza is #4 on my all time Manhattan list.

Italian: Never ever ever eat Italian food in Little Italy.It is mediocre at best and they act like carnival barkers trying to get you in.Make your trip through Little Italy in 30 mins.Go to Ferraras get a Cannoli & if you absolutely must eat there go to il Cortile but only if you must eat in Little Italy.

La Foccaceria: Its so good I do not even wanna tell you about it now.Its a great price for Ital food if you are trying to avoid the Upper scales rip offs like Babbo & Del Posto.Get the Veal special.The hole in the wall is beautiful with a wonderful staff and great food.It is on Macdougal.

Trattoria Spaghetto: The best Deal in the City for Italian.Solid food and even better prices.

Bianca: A tad bit more in terms of posh but their menu is superb.

Also on Bleecker Street

Ice Cream :

Cones: also on Bleecker is very good.

Serendipity : It is that popular for a reason sad to say.The desserts will bring you to heaven and back.Do not listen to them when they tell you it is a 3hr wait.It is not.Just stand up front for 45 mins tops and stare at the guy taking names.They always have room but they just want the touristy people to leave and go to Dylans with their brats.They want you to earn their dessert.Last time i went I sat with Joan Allen & Kathy Bates.45 Mins I promise unless you have a party of 73.


Dos Caminos: Located on Houston.This is the best brunch downtown for value to quality.Beautiful setting and great Mexican brunch with out of this world fresh margaritas(Complimentray) and the best Guac you will ever eat on this island.

Pastis: If you must go to a yupster place go here.The food is average but you are essentially buying a ticket to a celebrity zoo.This is very expensive but you will see celebs.My last visit I spent an hr there and ate next ro Demi Mooor & Kutcher,Across from Gwenyth,chris and apple and on the way out say Alec baldwin.

Lunch: If you must eat in SoHo steer clear of Cafe Bari.

Cafe Habana: All about the Corn.This is a hipster yupster paradise full of trust fund babies who have yet to get a job however the Corn and sandwiches are cheap and good.Still has its NYC appeal and not yet too touristy.

Fanelli Cafe: I cannot say enough good things.Great beer,burgers and breakfast.This is a must for a true NYer in training.Everything on the menu is great and it is one of if not thee oldest concurently serving food/drink establishment in the city.It used to be on a swamp thats is how old it is.EAT NO WHERE ELSE


Puck Fair : Excellent GENUINE Irish pub.Average food

Faces & Names : A midtown dream.very near carnegie hall and central park.Excellent appetizers and wonderful drinks with a remarkable ambiance.

8 Mile Creek : Located on Mulberry Street.Head downstairs to watch some Rugby or chat up the local aussies and brits.Sat is live music.


Chumley's : my pride and joy.Located on my old block this is an old fashioned speak easy and they have their own brews and old dogs lie in the corner.


Clinton Street Bakery: Just go its that good

Chumleys : Thats right they have good breakfast too.CASH ONLY

Cozys Soup and burger : Located on broadway cannot miss for any diner food.


Dinosaur BBQ : It is the Best.Nuf said.I cannot even explain how good their food is.

Random Inserts:

Great Jones Cafe : Phenom Cajun food for NYC.Tiny and you will love it.Their menu is on the wall in chalk.

Phillycheesesteak Factory: Open Late for delivery and the cheesesteaks on the Island.

Crif Dogs: You have to go in.They have the most random heart stopping Hotdogs you will ever come across but where else can you play pac man,watch porn on the main screen occasionally and eat a hot dog with bacon,sourcream,avocado?

They call it the Chihuhah


Otto: Start out at the inoteca here and have an appetizer and some wine

Olives : At the W Hotel Great place for a special drink and convo.EXPENSIVE

Gramercy Park Tavern : The best around.Do not eat in the main dining room and save a ton of money.

Cafe Lanterna : Fireplaces,jazz,italian & Drinks.

Hope this helped somepeople out.If you have any specific questions feel free to send me a message.

Queens, New York
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1. Re: My Own Personal Ultimate NYC Dining Guide

Very entertaining and nice tips.

You can copy-paste it and create your very own "go list" here:


That way it will be easy to find in the future, if this post gets buried.

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2. Re: My Own Personal Ultimate NYC Dining Guide

Wow, zedsdead! It's great to get recommendations from the locals who know! Thanks....

Gimme a pen and paper: Sugar.......Sweet........Sunshine....

(penne alla vodka?)

New York City
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3. Re: My Own Personal Ultimate NYC Dining Guide

Well I hope it can help.This is an accumulation of going to hundreds of other places that we were just disappointed in beyond belief.We even gave some places a second chance.I myself hate making choices so if eating can be somewhat taken care of people can focus more on the touristy portin of thier visit.

Ottawa, Canada
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4. Re: My Own Personal Ultimate NYC Dining Guide

Another great restaurant list. I have a few other lists bookmarked, the links to which had been provided, I believe, by queensboulevard. Anyway, it’s very thoughtful of you to take the time to share your views on “the real deal spots” for restaurants in New York. First impressions can be important and right now I’d have to say that, based on what I’ve seen on this forum, my impression of New Yorkers is pretty favourable. In the short month and a half that I’ve researched information on this forum I’m amazed at how friendly and generous New Yorkers are, at how unstintingly they give of themselves to ensure that visitors to their city are given pertinent information so that a trip to the Big Apple is an enjoyable and a memorable one. [Hmm, these thoughts probably deserve a separate post, something that I will have to do on another occasion soon.]

But back to restaurants. This is exactly the kind of information that most visitors to New York need, especially first-time visitors like me. Your comment about how frustrating and tedious it can be to research restaurant choices and read through review after review is right on the money. I know because I’ve spent a fair bit of time myself reading through restaurant reviews on www.menupages.com!

By the way, I love your breezy, candid, “take no prisoners” style. I laughed out loud when I read the line about one restaurant being a “hipster yupster paradise full of trust fund babies”. Classic!

I’m not saying I’ll get to any of the places you mention but I will certainly have your list, along with a number of other restaurant lists, and if the opportunity presents itself, I’ll try to get to some of the places you mention and see if I agree with your picks! Most of your choices appear to be downtown, which is fine, and I do fully expect that I will be wandering around Manhattan south of 14th Street but, given that my hotel is in Midtown West, I anticipate that most of the restaurants I visit will likely be in that area.

My hotel is close to Carnegie Hall and I’ve already taken note of a few restaurants in the neighbourhood where, based on reviews, I figure I should be able to get a decent meal. However, I hadn’t heard of Faces & Names. Thanks for the tip and I may check the place out during my week in town.

Here are a few questions I have:

1. According to www.menupages.com, Chumley’s is “temporarily closed”. Does anybody know anything about this? Any idea when it will re-open?

2. I tried to find out the addresses for some of the restaurants that you mention but there were a few that don’t appear in the listings on menupages.com. I experimented with different spellings and rearranged the order or words [Café Fanelli instead of Fanelli Café] but still no luck.

Would it be possible for you to provide the addresses for

Fanelli Café?

Trattoria Spaghetto?

La Foccaceria?

3. Regarding your pizza recommendations, I note that Grimaldi’s is not on your list. Have you eaten there? In my first ever post on this forum I mentioned that my periodontist, who comes originally from Brooklyn, swears that Grimaldi’s makes the best pizza in New York. Other posters also seem to comment favourably on its pizzas.

[Speaking of periodontists, given all the money I’ve spent on my teeth and gums this past year, I think I probably should forgo the pleasures of sampling the cupcakes at Sugar Sweet Sunshine. Then again, on second thought, I don’t believe I’m in my cavity-prone years anymore, so maybe I could use a good sugar rush to get me through a day of sightseeing!]

4. Regarding pizza again, I do have one question that I have not found the answer to on this forum. The answer is probably there but is buried in the millions upon millions of posts. How many slices are there in a small pizza? Are there six? The reason I ask is that I am traveling to New York on my own and will be dining solo.

There have been times when, after a really intensive and strenuous workout at the gym, I have been hungry enough that I have had no problem eating six slices of a thin crust pizza. Eight slices, however, would probably be too much. So I figure that, after a arduous day of pounding the pavement of Manhattan, and given that I probably won’t have time to bother with lunch, a small pizza is something that I could easily handle. Are there more than six slices in a small pizza? Do the numbers of slices vary depending on the pizzeria/restaurant?

That’s it. Thanks again for your very informative and witty post.

Queens, New York
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5. Re: My Own Personal Ultimate NYC Dining Guide

Excellent information for travelers , and done with the style of a true New Yorker.

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6. Re: My Own Personal Ultimate NYC Dining Guide

Thank you for that - I have copy and pasted it in to my own personal tripadvisor DIY guide !

Albany, New York
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7. Re: My Own Personal Ultimate NYC Dining Guide

That is a nice fun list. Thanks for posting.

New York City
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8. Re: My Own Personal Ultimate NYC Dining Guide

Johanes Here are some responses to your questions:

1) Chumley's was doing some "Renovation" (Do not understand why they would be doing so in the first place.I think they were just updating the kitchen because I know they would leave everything else intact.Anyway while doing so a wall collapsed in part of the restaurant."SAD NEWS" but it will be up and running again soon.

2)Fanelli Cafe' - Cross streets are Prince & Mercer (After Soho Shopping ideal lunch)

Trattoria Spaghetto - Bleecker & Carmine (Great for daytime outdoors,great chicken parm)

Focacceria - Macdougal off of Bleecker (Must go in evening.Great Prix Fixe)


3)I have not eaten @ Grimaldis however put it on your list.I have only heard good things about it.The best pizza on the planet is on Staten Island called Deninos but its about an hr and a half out of the way however if you feel adventurous when you take the Ferry and get off on staten Island take a cab to deninons.Its about 10 minutes away by cab even though Staten Island is large.After you can go to the world famous Ralphs ices across the street (THE ORIGINAL) however dont linger on Staten island because it is dull.I know I was born and raised there..lol

As for Sugar Sweet Sunshine it is a little bit out of the way in the Lower East Side so be sure to have something else you have planned for in the area.

4) It varies however it is usually six.I know that patsys and lombardis a small will give you six.And most will only allow you to purchase a pie and not slices.

Hope that helps feel free to message if you have questions.

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9. Re: My Own Personal Ultimate NYC Dining Guide

Great list! Only going to New York for 6 days - seems to me I need 6 weeks now just to find and visit all these restaurants etc., Must try some and will report back.

San Francisco...
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10. Re: My Own Personal Ultimate NYC Dining Guide

Thanks, I've saved it too!