Here's Our Travel Guide to This Nation of Over 7,000 Islands
Best burger: 5 Napkin Burger
630 9th Ave
You can’t really go wrong with any of the burgers on offer at this local chain’s flagship location -- like the cheddar bacon or the avocado ranch, for instance. That said, the star of the show has to be the Original 5 Napkin: caramelized onions, gruyere, and rosemary aioli atop a 10oz patty.
Best weekend brunch: Friedman’s Restaurant
450 10th Avenue
Yes, a ton of the menu items here are gluten-free, but don't let that dissuade you in your quest for brunch domination: you can still get classic pancakes/chicken & waffles in all their glutenous glory. Even better, gluten-free meals are served on square plates, so everyone can dine in peace (for once)
Best shrine to the bacon gods: BarBacon
836 9th Ave
If you're even a casual bacon fan, and you haven't made the trip to this pork belly mecca, you need to seriously re-evaluate your priorities in life. Bacon flights, bacon chili cheese nachos, bacon steak -- hell, there's even a bacon caesar salad if you're watching your weight for some reason. You need to go to here, stat.
Best sushi: Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill
Putting the words "blue ribbon" in the name of your restaurant is usually a big red flag (jokes about colors!), but everything here -- from the sashimi to the California rolls -- lives up to the hype. Order the oxtail fried rice, if you feel like ruining your view of regular fried rice forever.
Best Mexican spot with tequila flights: AÑEJO
668 10th Ave
The small plates and tacos never disappoint here, but if you're sampling the vast array of agave spirits (you should), you'll probably wanna indulge in something a bit more substantial -- like, say, the whole branzino pibil. Yes, it's meant for two people, and yes, you should still get it.
Best place for spotting famous people: Bar Centrale
324 W 46th St
Tucked away in a nondescript townhouse with no sign outside, this speakeasy's a favorite haunt for hungry celebs and celeb-watchers alike thanks to its excellent food menu -- we're talking Maine lobster rolls, Kobe beef hot dogs, and grilled fontina/bacon sandwiches. Seriously, it's not uncommon to see Alec Baldwin wolfing down deviled eggs here on a Tuesday night.
Best all-around choice: Gotham West Market
600 11th Ave
Whether you're in the mood for chili dogs from The Cannibal, ice cream from Ample Hills, or a cup of Blue Bottle coffee, the top-notch array of vendors at this indoor market on 11th Ave has you covered. Head on over, then decide what you're in the mood for once you're there.
Best no-frills diner: Pom Pom Diner
610 11th Ave
To call this place is a "no-frills diner" is to sell it woefully short: yes, okay, that's exactly what it is, but sometimes all you really want is to order a burger and a milkshake from a menu with 100 different options on it. On those occasions, Pom Pom is your jam.
Best pizza: Annabel
809 9th Ave
We've sung the praises of Annabel several times already, but when the pies are this good it bears repeating: everything from the margherita to the duck prosciutto sports a chewy crust and an imaginative flavor profile. If that wasn't enough to get you salivating, the choice selection of craft beer and cocktails will undoubtedly seal the deal.
Best sandwiches: City Sandwich
649 9th Ave
If you're hankering for a basic turkey and swiss on whole wheat, you've come to the wrong place. If, however, you're searching for Portuguese/Italian-inspired sandwiches with no fewer than five ingredients -- like the smoked salmon "Jerry" or the steamed shrimp "Lucy" -- you'll fit right in here.
Best Italian: Ristorante Il Melograno
501 W 51st St
Walking to 10th Ave for Italian food is a huge ask -- hell, even doing it for money doesn't sound like a good time -- but the traditional fare at this corner eatery is well worth the trek. Come for the gnocchi, and stay for... well, for even more gnocchi, because the homemade pasta is seriously that good.
Best cookies, even when you don't want to dessert: Schmackary's
362 W 45th St
The multifarious cookie flavors on offer at this local favorite change by the month and the season, ranging from Funfetti (get this) and Fluffer Nutter (get this, too) to Caramel Apple Crisp (yes, get it) and Sch'mores (omg please). If anyone tells you, "that's too many flavors," cut them out of your life and buy more cookies.