50 NYC Foods You Need to Eat Before You Die

Katz's pastrami
New York

50 NYC Foods You Need to Eat Before You Die
50 NYC Foods You Need to Eat Before You Die

Katz's | Sarah Anderson/Thrillist
Katz's | Sarah Anderson/Thrillist

From bagels, to pizza, to black and white cookies, New York City has no shortage of bucket list-worthy eats. Which ones do you really need to eat before you die, or leave (which, honestly, is pretty much the same as dying) though?

1. Bacon, egg, and cheese

Any bodega

Forget artisanal bacon and farm-fresh eggs -- if it ain’t greasy and coming out of your local deli, then it’s not the real thing.

2. Porterhouse

Peter Luger Steakhouse (address and info)

Carefully selected and dry-aged in the basement of the legendary Williamsburg chophouse, the hefty steak for two arrives sizzling in a glorious mix of melted butter and its own meat juices.

Courtesy of The Spotted Pig

3. Sheep’s milk ricotta gnudi

The Spotted Pig (address and info)

West Village
OHMYGODSOFLUFFY! You’ll spot these ethereal orbs on almost every table of April Bloomfield’s game-changing gastropub.

Flickr/Guian Bolisay

4. The Classic

Di Fara Pizza (address and info)

The long lines at this storied Midwood joint are as legendary as the man behind the wood-fired pies. Di Fara’s signature -- a smoky slice topped with sausage, peppers, mushrooms, San Marzano tomatoes, and mozz -- is worth the wait on its own, but we’ll happily queue up just to watch Dom DeMarco in action.


5. Pork bun

Momofuku Noodle Bar (address and info)

East Village
The OG pork bun that spurred a million copycats is surprisingly simple: steamed bao, roasted belly, cucumbers, and scallions.

6. Chicken

The NoMad (address and info)

Perhaps the most decadent bird in all of NYC, Daniel Humm’s roasted chicken for two is not just a meal, but a full-on show. The foie-stuffed poulet parades through the dining room before it returns to the kitchen for carving and lands back at your table in sumptuous, crackly skinned slices.

Sarah Anderson/Thrillist

7. Lamb over rice

The Halal Guys (address and info)

Midtown West
Not all street meat is created equal, as proven by the hour-long line that emanates from this 53rd Street cart. The spit-roasted lamb on basmati is excellent, but as every New Yorker knows, it’s all in the white sauce.

8. The Classic (bagel and lox)

Russ & Daughters (address and info)

Lower East Side
This 100-year-old shop is still the place to go for the timeless combo of bagel, schmear, and smoked salmon cut whisper-thin by expert fish-slicers.

9.  Arepa de choclo

Arepa Lady (address and info)

Street vendor Maria Cano’s Colombian specialty -- a griddled corncake stuffed with gooey salted queso -- vaulted to fame during her elusive late-night runs in Jackson Heights.

Andrew Zimmer/Thrillist

10. Cronut

Dominique Ansel Bakery (address and info)

Look, we get it -- it’s the mash-up pastry heard round the world. But whatever your feelings may be, Chef Dominique Ansel’s zeitgeisty croissant-meets-donut is still one of the most ingenious desserts of all time.

11. Lasagna alla bolognese

Trattoria Tra Di Noi ​(address and info)

For a true taste of red sauce favorites, you have to head to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, specifically to this underappreciated restaurant slinging a killer meat-smothered lasagna.

12. Wontons in chili oil

White Bear ​(address and info)

Downtown Flushing
There’s no doubt that Flushing is the city’s dumpling epicenter, and these floppy, silky skinned parcels -- covered in house-made chili oil and pickled veg -- are maybe the neighborhood’s best.

13. Maccheroni alla chitarra

Esca ​(address and info)

Hell's Kitchen
New York has come a long way when it comes to pasta. In a step up from red sauce standards, Dave Pasternack opts for seafood-leaning combos, like this hand-cut spaghetti twirled in crab meat and a luxe uni sauce.


14. Black Label Burger

Minetta Tavern (address and info)

Greenwich Village
On the fancy end of the burger spectrum, this one sets the gold standard with its juicy and funky dry-aged patty, caramelized onions, and pretty-much-worth-it price tag.

Flickr/Ashley Ringrose

15. Recession Special

Gray’s Papaya (address and info)

Upper West Side
The no-fuss double-dog and soda special is a beloved combo, even when the economy is doing well.

16. Crab toast

ABC Kitchen (address and info)

Union Square
Long before toast became all the rage, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s farm-to-table powerhouse was (and still is) serving crunchy sourdough bread topped with delicate slivers of peekytoe crab.

17. Octopus

Taverna Kyclades (address and info)

At first glance, the charred tentacles, dressed in olive oil and lemon, look relatively unimpressive, but bite in and you'll find that they're as tender as a fine steak.

Andrew Zimmer/Thrillist

18. Brisket

Hometown Bar-B-Que (address and info)

Red Hook
As the moniker of this Red Hook ‘cue spot suggests, it’s a Brooklyn native who’s slinging some of the most meltingly tender beef on this side of the Mason-Dixon line. The beef rib is no slouch either.


19. Square slice

L&B Spumoni Gardens (address and info)

Laden with tart tomato sauce and a dusting of pecorino, the doughy Sicilian slices at this Gravesend establishment have been a summer rite-of-passage for generations.

20. Cheeseburger

J.G. Melon (address and info)

This no-frills burger stands on superior ingredients done right: a griddled medium-rare patty cloaked in American cheese, lettuce, onions, and pickles, all sandwiched between a perfectly squishy bun.

21. Pierogi

Veselka (address and info)

East Village
It doesn’t matter what filling you choose (though if the short rib special is available, you NEED to get those, so it kinda matters), each fork-tender pocket feels like it came straight out of baba’s kitchen. Bonus points if done at or past 4am.

22. Bialy

Kossar’s Bialys (address and info)

Lower East Side
The bialys -- the flatter, unboiled cousins of bagels that sport tiny pockets for onions -- at this Lower East Side bakery are prepped ‘round the clock, so you’re guaranteed to get a fresh one even around closing time.

Courtesy of Delmonico's

23. 1876 Lobster Newburg

Delmonico’s (address and info)

If you’re going to have this American classic, it gets no better than at Delmonico’s, its actual place of birth. The ultra-decadent plate calls for lobster coated in brandy cream sauce, plus a scoop of caviar and brioche batons to sop up all the goodness.

24. Soft pretzel

Any hot dog stand

We’re not saying this is the best soft pretzel you’ll ever have, but just like chicken over rice and dirty-water dogs, you need to try it from a street cart at least once. After that, head to Sigmund’s.

25. The Rev. Al Sharpton (chicken and waffles)

Amy Ruth’s (address and info)

The soul food staple is in its finest form at Carl Redding’s longtime Harlem kitchen, where the chicken is always golden brown and moist and the waffles are always yeasty and crisp.

Flickr/Joashua Bousel

26. Tacos

Tortilleria Nixtamal (address and info)

Part-restaurant, part-factory, Tortilleria Nixtamal was one of the first in the city to revive the art of masa-making. The superior tortillas form the base of its refreshingly simple tacos, filled with a meat of your choice, cilantro, and onions.

27. Black and white cookie

Glaser’s Bake Shop (address and info)

Upper East Side
The New York classic at this 113-year-old bakery is more cake than cookie, but still light enough to let the flavors of the half-chocolate, half-vanilla frosting (no, not fondant) shine through.

Andrew Zimmer/Thrillist

28. Peking duck

Decoy (address and info)

West Village
The bird at Ed Schoenfeld and Joe Ng’s subterranean bar is everything a good Peking duck should be: juicy and succulent with crackling skin. The prix fixe feast comes with all the usual fixin's (pancakes, scallions, cucumbers) and an absurd number of other dishes (rice, dumplings, etc.) -- leftovers are pretty much guaranteed.

29. Bee Sting

Roberta’s Pizza (address and info)

With a blistered crust and sweet-savory toppings (soppressata and honey), nothing about this new-school pie is conventional, but it’s damn delicious and rightly deserves a place in New York’s pizza canon.

30. Cheesecake

Junior’s (address and info)

If there’s a name that’s become synonymous with our fine city's namesake cheesecake, it’s obviously Junior’s, where they continue to churn out creamy slices built atop sponge cake instead of graham crackers to great effect.

Andrew Zimmer/Thrillist

31. Shio ramen

Ivan Ramen (address and info)

Lower East Side
This bowl is Japan by way of New York, fusing noodle guru Ivan Orkin’s Jewish Long Island upbringing (rye noodles, schmaltz-infused broth) with age-old ramen traditions.

32. Oysters and pearls

Per Se (address and info)

Midtown West
Arguably one of the city’s top restaurants, Per Se does an s-ton of delicious dishes, but this elegant starter of oysters, caviar, and tapioca pearls has become a Thomas Keller signature.


33. Bagel

Absolute Bagels (address and info)

Manhattan Valley
Not too large with just the right amount of chew and crustiness, the bagels here -- with a generous smear of cream cheese -- do the New York specialty justice.

34. Chocolate babka

Breads Bakery (address and info)

Union Square
Seinfeld had it right when it called chocolate the superior babka (fuck off, cinnamon) and the best of them all is found at Uri Scheft’s relative newcomer, where the braided loaf comes studded with Nutella and Belgian chocolate chips and a sugar-burnished top.

35. Spicy cumin lamb hand-ripped noodles

Xi’an Famous Foods (address and info)

East Village
What started as a humble stand inside the basement of a Flushing food court has grown into a formidable mini empire, thanks to these pliant hand-stretched noodles packed with gamey lamb, spices, and a highly potent chili oil.

36. Mutton chop

Keens Steakhouse (address and info)

Midtown West
Few places offer this time-honored cut anymore, making the colossal chop at Keens -- with its charcoal-kissed crust drenched in lamb jus -- a meaty rarity best enjoyed with a glass of Scotch.

37. The New Yorker Tea

The Palm Court (address and info)

Midtown West
The menu was recently revamped by celeb chef Geoffrey Zakarian and the room was spiffed up to include a bar, but the experience remains very much the same: dainty sandwiches, bite-size desserts, and a spot of tea inside a New York icon.

Sean Cooley/Thrillist

38. ShackBurger

Shake Shack (address and info)

Flatiron (flagship location)
In 10 short years, Danny Meyer’s homegrown burger chain has taken the city -- not to mention Dubai, Moscow, and London -- by storm with this elevated fast-food burger, featuring a toasted Martin’s potato roll, Pat LaFrieda beef, and top-secret ShackSauce.

Flickr/Jazz Guy

39. Oyster pan roast

Grand Central Oyster Bar (address and info)

Midtown East
Anchored by six perfectly cooked Blue Point oysters, this creamy, tomato-tinged stew is as storied as the dining room itself.

40. Littleneck clams

Johnny’s Reef ​(address and info)

City Island
As it starts to warm up, make the pilgrimage to City Island and this cash-only seafood shack for freshly shucked bivalves; no drive to New England necessary (thank God).

41. The Salty Pimp

Big Gay Ice Cream ​(address and info)

East Village
In 2009, from the back of a refurbished Mister Softee truck, Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff set out to reinvent old-school soft-serve, starting with their signature cone: Ronnybrook vanilla ice cream drizzled in dulce de leche and sea salt, then dipped in chocolate.

Sarah Anderson/Thrillist

42. Pastrami

Katz’s Delicatessen (address and info)

Lower East Side
We don't think there's more of a “New York” meal than the towering hand-carved pastrami on rye at this Lower East Side staple.

43. Toro

Sushi Yasuda (address and info)

Midtown East
The midtown fish temple offers the city's most pristine fatty tuna in an atmosphere that'll make you forget all about the concrete jungle around you.

44. Porchetta panino

Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria (address and info)

Scented with rosemary and laden with hefty slices of pork and crunchy skin, this sandwich is a true thing of beauty.

45. Manhattan clam chowder

Randazzo’s Clam Bar (address and info)

Sheepshead Bay
None of that New England bullshit on this list. This pier-side staple in Sheepshead Bay knows its way around seafood, ladling bowls that are rich, zesty, and chock-full of clams.

Flickr/Adam Fagen

46. Falafel

Mamoun’s Falafel Restaurant (address and info)

Greenwich Village
The fried ball specialist is fast, cheap, and damn good every time.


47. Potato knish

Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery (address and info)

Lower East Side
Best way to wash down your Russ & Daughters sandwich? With a flaky spud-filled pastry at this equally reverent bakeshop.

48. Sri Lankan buffet

Lakruwana (address and info)

Staten Island
Instead of turning right back around the next time you take the Staten Island ferry (guilty), head over to this festive eatery for a colorful buffet of authentic Sri Lankan fare (think pineapple curry and tapioca pudding).

49. Eggs Benedict

The Waldorf Astoria (address and info)

Midtown East
You can find poached eggs and ham on English muffins everywhere nowadays, but it all got started in NYC's grandest hotel, where you can brunch like a president (at presidential prices, of course).

Flickr/Takahiro Nagao

50. Pancakes

Clinton Street Baking Co. (address and info)

Lower East Side
The amazingness of Neil Kleinberg’s impossibly fluffy rounds is only rivaled by the luscious maple butter that accompanies each stack.

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Patty Lee is a reporter and editor who has written for Zagat, Time Out New York, New York Daily News, and Cooking Channel. At all other times: an eater of desserts, aspiring world traveler, and proud Brooklynite. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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1. Peter Luger 178 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211

This New York institution (opened in 1887) is specifically known for its old-school, impeccable waitstaff and its sizzling, perfectly cooked, buttery porterhouse. The wine list sticks to a strict but to-the-point number of options that pair perfectly with the dishes, and the lunchtime hamburger -- a mix of ground chuck and trimmings from the aged steaks -- is simply something you can't get anywhere else.

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2. The Spotted Pig 314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014-2369 (West Village)

April Bloomfield's West Village restaurant and bar is a fan-favorite among celebrities, lifetime New Yorkers, and tourists, known for its bucket list-worthy chargrilled roquefort burger with shoestring fries. The British-meets-Italian gastropub famously doesn't take reservations, but it's also open until 2am nightly, so if you can't get a table during peak dinner hours, then a late-night seat at the bar is your best bet -- and probably the most quintessential New York experience.

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3. Di Fara Pizza 1424 Avenue J, Brooklyn, NY 11230

You'll have to brave a long line, but it's more than worth it for Dom DeMarco's handmade pies, lauded by many as the best in New York, and featuring a sauce made with simple San Marzanos; a sprinkling DeMarco's blend of Grana Padano, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses; and a careful snipping of fresh basil across the top.

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4. Momofuku Noodle Bar 171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

Momofuku has the OG pork bun that spurred a million copycats, and it’s surprisingly simple: steamed bao, roasted belly, cucumbers, and scallions. By now, most people are familiar with David Chang's culinary empire. The chef's Midas touch has blessed diners with a slew of Momofuku-associated venues offering cocktails, pastries, and fine-dining -- but above all is his ramen. Chang worked in Japanese shops way back in the early aughts before jump-starting the NYC ramen craze in 2004, and the varieties here are loaded with pork belly and pork shoulder, smoked chicken, and veggie options with chickpea and kale.

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5. The NoMad 1170 Broadway, New York, NY 10001 (Nomad)

Housed in a historic arts building, The NoMad hotel is a stylish, Parisian-inspired luxury hotel with hardwood floors and handmade rugs. Inside the hotel is a bi-level library, an opulent lounge with a mahogany bar, and an upscale restaurant. Around the corner from the hotel is the much-lauded NoMad Bar (10 W 28th St), serving refined cocktails and upscale pub fare in a hip, lively space.

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6. The Halal Guys 6th Avenue at 53rd, New York, NY 10019 (Midtown)

This New York City landmark has attracted hungry locals and tourists for years, causing lines that require a substantial time commitment. Mephisto-esque red sauce and top-secret white sauce inspire awe, especially when draped over rice and surprisingly quality shreds of chicken and/or lamb. The heaping, steaming containers are good for everything from an early lunch to a late night meal.

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7. Russ & Daughters 179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

Open since 1914, Russ & Daughters is the NYC standard for cured fish, spreads, and other “appetizers,” which are the traditional Jewish food eaten with bagels. This piece of New York history (which, in 2014, opened a more formal cafe that is also located in the Lower East Side) is still the place to grab a bagel and schmear or one of its near-perfect deli counter sandwiches, like the Super Heebster, a mammoth bagel sandwich with Whitefish & baked salmon salad, horseradish-dill cream cheese, and wasabi flying fish roe.

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8. Arepa Lady 77-02 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372

Anyone who is a fan of the Arepa Lady food cart will go crazy over their restaurant.

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9. Dominique Ansel Bakery 189 Spring St, New York, NY 10012 (Soho)

Master pastry chef Dominique Ansel’s eponymous SoHo bakeshop is best known as the birthplace of the Cronut, a croissant-doughnut mash-up that attracts lines of tourists every morning. There’s a limit of two Cronuts per customer, but luckily the hybrid pastry isn’t all Ansel has in store. The shop sells bite-size fruit tarts, rich chocolate cookies, and Ansel’s other signature sweet, the kouign amann.

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10. Trattoria Tra Di Noi 622 E 187th St, Bronx, NY 10458 (Bronx)

This Arthur Ave spot has all the makings of a classic Italian-American joint, from the red table cloths, to the friendly staff, to the perfect lasagna bolognese. Chef Marco, the mastermind behind Tra Di Noi, was born in Italy and has over 50 years of professional culinary experience. His primary focus is classic Italian dishes with fresh ingredients, beautiful presentation, and tons of flavor.

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11. White Bear 135-02 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, NY 11354 (Queens)

This Chinese spot arguably makes the best dumplings in Flushing. The spot is pretty bare bones (a paper menu is taped to the wall and there are only a few tables), but the chili oil wontons -- served 12 per order on styrofoam plates -- draw lines every weekend. White Bear's menu also includes wonton soups, noodles, and fried rice. All of the dishes hover around $5, so it's safe to say the price is right.

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12. Esca 402 W 43rd St, New York, NY 10036 (Hells Kitchen)

Another in the Batali/Bastianich empire, this seafood-centric beauty (with a great outdoor garden in the summer) delivers with fantastic wines, interesting aperitivo, some amazingly fresh and varied crudo, pasta like the briny, creamy Maccheroni alla chittarra with sea urchin and crabmeat, and main attractions like the salt baked cod cracked out of its salty tomb tableside.

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13. Minetta Tavern 113 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012 (Greenwich Village)

In the heart of Greenwich Village, Minetta Tavern boasts a classic oak bar, vintage photos on the walls, and supremely delicious burgers (amongst other menu items). Its Black Label Burger has quite the reputation -- it's an 8oz blend of Pat LaFrieda prime dry-aged beef, cooked until there's a nice, light crust on top, then dressed with caramelized onions on a custom brioche bun.

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14. Gray's Papaya 2090 Broadway, New York, NY 10023 (Upper West Side)

This New York City staple, open since the 70s, slings franks like it's nobody's business. It's opened a few outposts across the city throughout the years, but the Upper West Side joint is the longest-running and the most iconic, if only because it's had quite a few cameos in its tenure (You've Got Mail, for one). There are only two words you need to know at Gray's: Recession Special, which'll get you two 100% beef hot dogs topped with all the basics you want (ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, etc) and a drink. Aside from the fact that Gray's is cheap, like really cheap, it's open 24/7. Huzzah!

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15. ABC Kitchen 35 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

Not only is this Union Square restaurant helmed by Michelin Star Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, but it also won the Best New Restaurant Award in 2011 from the James Beard Foundation. ABC Kitchen is committed to using locally-sourced, organic, and fresh ingredients to create its ever-changing menu, and does so flawlessly. Prepare to be doubly amazed as you realize the space doubles as a swanky, high-end home decor shop by day.

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16. Taverna Kyclades 33-07 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, NY 11105 (Astoria)

A staple in Astoria’s massive Greek scene, this lively seafood slinger has played host to the likes of Bill Murray and George Clooney, and probably countless other grey-haired old white men, too. It doesn't take reservations, so you may have to wait for a table, but you’ll have your pick of indoor or outdoor seating. Delicious side dishes of fried cheese and outrageously lemony potatoes are certainly must-orders, but don't miss the standout dish: Greek-style grilled octopus, dressed in olive oil and lemon and made as tender as a fine steak.

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17. Hometown Bar-B-Que 454 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Pitmaster Billy Durney's Red Hook BBQ joint's smoking some seriously delicious meats, like authentic Texas-style brisket and St. Louis-style ribs. Hometown doesn't stop at plain old barbecue though: the menu is inspired by Durney's childhood spent eating at international food carts along Flatbush Avenue, so options like lamb belly bánh mì and Vietnamese hot wings make the cut as well.

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18. L&B Spumoni Gardens 2725 86th St, Brooklyn, NY 11223

Far out in Bensonhurst is this iconic Italian restaurant that serves the epitome of what a Sicilian pizza should be. L&B Spumoni Gardens serves a full menu of classic Italian pastas and meat entrees, but you're really there for the plump, doughy squares of pizza topped with tart tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella. You can order by the slice or by the tray, and if the weather's nice, definitely snag a seat outside at the red picnic tables.

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19. J.G. Melon 1291 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10021 (Upper East Side)

One of New York's most classic burgers can be found at this prepster pub that's been serving the Upper East Side since 1972. The hallmark of J.G. Melon is the hamburger, comprised of a griddled beef patty and American cheese on a toasted potato bun. If you aren't a regular who lives within a five-block radius, the bar burger really is the only reason to go to J.G. Melon, whose melon decor and green-checkered tablecloths haven't changed much since it first opened.

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20. Veselka 144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

Since 1954, New Yorkers have depended on Veselka’s cabbage soup as the cure for a hangover. And where else can you get some of the city’s best banana pancakes alongside pierogies and a cheeseburger? Nowhere. On the pierogi front, it doesn’t matter what filling you choose, each fork-tender pocket feels like it came straight out of baba’s kitchen and tastes like a Polish heaven.

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21. Kossar's Bialys 367 Grand St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

The Lower East Side may be swarming with hipsters in search of swanky bars with happy hour deals on lychee martinis, but there’s one relic from the neighborhood's past that still pays homage to its days as a Jewish immigrant section with overcrowded tenements. Through all of the Lower East Side's changes, Kossar’s, a Jewish deli that opened in 1936, has remained the New York spot for bialys: the doughy roll that hails from Bialystock, Poland. You might expect the staff at an institution like Kossar’s to be snippy if you don’t know exactly what you want, but when I told the guy behind the counter that I hadn’t quite decided on my order yet, he quipped, “No rush, we’re open ‘til 8!” If you find yourself stuck on the difference between bialys and bagels when deciding, here’s how it breaks down: bialys are baked and slid out of the oven before their yeast has a chance to fully rise. They don’t have a hole in the middle and are soft, chewy, and powdered with flour on the bottom. “It’s like a Jewish English muffin,” the server told the customer ahead of me. Bagels, on the other hand, are boiled then baked, and turn out tougher, crisper, and (because their yeast fully rises) a bit bigger. The only real move is to order both (and throw in some babka and rugelach, too). The kitchen makes its first batch at midnight and continues until 4pm, so everything is supremely fresh. When it comes to the bialys, you have a handful of flavors to choose from: onion, garlic, sesame, sun-dried tomato, and olive. As if the seasoned rolls didn't already beg you to mix up your typical breakfast routine, the made-to-order sandwich menu will too: go for an egg and cheese combo on an onion bialy, made with roasted bits of onion in the center, or get The Classic, a pungent sandwich with sliced nova, everything cream cheese, tomato, red onion, capers, and a dill pickle, on a sesame bialy. Bagels and bialys are available by the dozen, and spreads range from blueberry and scallion cream cheeses to whitefish salad and lox schmear. Once you’ve made your pick, savor every bite on a red stool inside the bright, bare-bones deli, or on one of the outdoor benches that hosts a cast of neighborhood characters. Come here often enough, which you’ll undoubtedly want to, and you just might become one of them.

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22. Delmonico's Kitchen 207 W 36th St, New York, NY 10018 (Midtown West)

Delmonico's is a truly iconic New York institution, boasting a globally-inspired and seasonal approach to dining that uses organic and local ingredients. The result? Bestselling menu staples with savory twists, such as steak, eggs Benedict, and Baked Alaska -- all which help maintain the centuries-old sterling steakhouse reputation.

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23. Amy Ruth's 113 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026 (Harlem)

In the city that popularized chicken & waffles, this Harlem joint stands wings and thighs above the rest. It's an incredibly popular destination for pilgrims coming to the city to enjoy amazing soul food (not just chicken and waffles, although they are a standout), and you'll pretty much always find this place packed with folks ordering down-home cooking.

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24. Tortilleria Nixtamal 104-05 47th Ave, Corona, NY 11368 (Queens)

Part-restaurant, part-factory, Tortilleria Nixtamal was one of the first in the city to revive the art of masa-making. The superior tortillas form the base of its refreshingly simple tacos, filled with a meat of your choice, cilantro, and onions.

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25. Glaser's Bake Shop 1670 First Ave, New York, NY 10128 (Upper East Side)

If there's one thing this century-old, family-run bakery does well, it's the New York classic black-and-white cookie. It's really more cake than cookie, but still light enough to let the flavors of the half-chocolate, half-vanilla frosting shine through. After just one bite of its doughnuts, cakes, or muffins, you'll see why it’s a safe bet Glaser’s will be here for another century or two.

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26. Decoy 529 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014 (West Village)

Located just below its sibling restaurant Red Farm, Decoy can be a tight fit, but the Decoy Chips -- which are actually fried branzino skin with black garlic dip (they're usually offered for free to start the meal) -- help immediately. Follow those with the main star; only 24 ducks are served each night , and the flavors mix traditional with fusions thanks to the sauces, including hoisin, sesame, and cranberry, and the pancakes manage to hold up to stuffing despite being incredibly thin.

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27. Roberta's Pizza 261 Moore St, Brooklyn, NY 11206 (Bushwick)

Don’t be dissuaded by the gritty, graffiti-splattered cinder-block facade, Roberta’s is among New York’s most celebrated pizzerias, having made an international footprint (sauce print?) with visiting Europeans and local Bushwick loft-dwellers alike who endure long waits on nights and weekends for a table. Inside the red front door, you'll find a warm dining room and open kitchen where blistering discs of dough are pulled out of an Italian-made wood-burning oven and given names like Speckenwolf (mozzarella, crispy speck, cremini mushroom, red onion, oregano) and Millennium Falco (parmesan, pork sausage, red onion). The final product is Neapolitan-like in taste and structure, and since you probably won't have any leftovers, do yourself one last favor and buy a loaf of bread from the on-site bakery on your way out.

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28. Junior's Restaurant 386 Flatbush Avenue Ext, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (Fort Greene)

Since 1950, this Downtown Brooklyn diner has been serving up incredibly dense slices of its famed cheesecake. Unlike many cheesecakes, Junior’s version skips the graham cracker crust and ricotta filling in favor of a thin layer of sponge cake and tons of cream cheese. Though every table at the landmark restaurant orders the cheesecake, the menu features all the New York diner staples, like loaded corned beef and pastrami sandwiches, steakburgers, and all-day breakfast.

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29. Ivan Ramen 25 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

There’s so much more than noodles to be had at Ivan Orkin’s NYC flagship, especially at lunch when fusion sandwiches like the Herbie’s International (Chinese-style roast pork and Tokyo duck sauce on a toasted miso garlic hero) and pork meatballs make an appearance. But don’t get us wrong, there’s a reason “ramen” is the name of the game: noodle guru Ivan Orkin has fused his Long Island upbringing and Tokyo training with age-old ramen traditions to make original and delicious dishes right here at home. The weekend brunch features a combination of whole-wheat noodles, cheddar broth, crispy bacon and scallion omelet ramen.

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30. Per Se 10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023 (Hells Kitchen)

Thomas Keller's French-American institution above Columbus Circle is an emblem of haute dining in New York and the entire country. The nine-course tasting menu features Keller's signature starter of oysters, caviar, and tapioca pearls, plus general culinary masterpieces. There's a BYO option to bring wine that isn't available on the menu.

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31. Absolute Bagels 2788 Broadway, New York, NY 10025 (Upper West Side)

For the best bagels above 100th Street, look no further than this Thai-owned bagelry a few blocks south of Columbia. Absolute greets visitors with a Jenga-esque stack of freshly baked, palm-sized bagels with soft dough, a slightly crusty exterior, and mild sweetness. Service is quick, prices are cheap, and cream cheese is applied generously.

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32. Breads Bakery 18 E 16th St, New York, NY 10003 (Union Square)

Right off of Union Square (and with a second location on the Upper West Side), Breads bakes sweet and savory bread, pastries, and cakes on-site. The bakery is most known for its braided chocolate babka loaves that burst with ribbons of chocolate-hazelnut spread. Breads is also a good option for a grab-and-go midday meal -- the lunch menu features cheese and smoked fish sandwiches, plus soup and salad.

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33. Xi'an Famous Foods 67 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013 (Chinatown)

Named after the resting place of the famous terra cotta soldiers, the Chinatown satellite of this New York City chain boasts incredible fast/casual (but nonetheless authentic) Northern Chinese dishes. Xi'an Famous Foods is also a family-owned chain that, one day at a time, is reintroducing the rich cuisine of their homeland, which includes cold and hand-pulled noodles, soup, and flat bun burgers.

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34. Keens Steakhouse 72 W 36th St, New York, NY 10018 (Midtown West)

Keens was the gentlemen-only meeting place for all sorts of playwrights, publishers, producers, and newsmen of the Herald Square Theatre District back in the day... which was 1885, by the way. Today, the legendary steakhouse maintains its reputation and continues to deliver quality eats in an old-timey atmosphere, and women are now allowed in (!!). Wondering what to order? Try the mutton chops, word is you won't regret it.

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35. The Palm Court 768 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019 (Midtown West)

The menu was revamped by celeb chef Geoffrey Zakarian and the room was spiffed up to include a bar, but the experience remains very much the same: dainty sandwiches, bite-sized desserts, and a spot of tea inside a New York icon.

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36. Shake Shack 11 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010 (Flatiron)

Long before Shake Shack was an international chain with outposts as far as Dubai, it was a hot dog stand in Madison Square Park. The original location is still in the park, but instead of a roaming cart, it's a large kiosk surrounded by a sea of outdoor tables. There are two lines, an express one reserved for cold orders (that would be the frozen custard and concretes -- get them, they're good) and a regular one for everything else, which includes the signature ShackBurgers, crinkle-cut fries, and flat-top hot dogs.

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37. Grand Central Oyster Bar 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017 (Midtown East)

Grand Central's landmark Oyster Bar has been around since 1913 and, despite losing business due to the decline of long-haul train travel, its reinvention around the mid-'70s revived it into what's now an award-winning American restaurant serving super-fresh, top-quality seafood. It also has an extensive wine list.

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38. Johnny's Reef 2 City Island Ave, Bronx, NY 10464 (Bronx)

This counter-service seafood shack has been serving steamed and fried seafood on City Island since the 1950s. Bring cash and pray for sunny skies, so you can take your food out to one of many waterfront picnic tables on the patio.

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39. Big Gay Ice Cream Shop 125 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009 (East Village)

A funky and elegant twist on Mister Softee, this ice-cream-truck-turned-brick-and-mortar operation has reinvented the art of soft-serve with kitschy-named creations that breed snaking lines around the block in the summer. Take the Salty Pimp, an ice cream cone filled with vanilla soft-serve, drizzled with thick dulce de leche, sprinkled with sea salt, then dipped in chocolate. Aside from the elaborate speciality cones, Big Gay Ice Cream Shop also churns out sundaes, shakes, and seasonal flavors.

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40. Katz's Delicatessen 205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

Open since 1888 on the corner of East Houston and Ludlow Street, Katz's is synonymous with iconic New York City food, specifically, slow-cured pastrami and corned beef. There's usually a line filled with a mix of tourists, die-hard New Yorkers, and everyone in between, and the wait is nothing but proof of the stacked sandwiches' pure goodness. You receive a paper ticket when you walk in, order at the counter (be ready!), and wait while the servers sling layers of pink meat onto cafeteria trays. If pastrami on rye (or better yet, a hot reuben) is your kind of late-night food, then you're in luck -- Katz's is open all night on Fridays and Saturdays. Words to the wise: stock up on napkins, order a generous side of pickles, and whatever you do, don't lose your ticket.

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41. Sushi Yasuda 204 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017 (Midtown East)

The midtown fish temple offers the city's most pristine fatty tuna in an atmosphere that'll make you forget all about the concrete jungle around you.

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42. Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria 53 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012 (Noho)

At the sister restaurant of the famed Il Buco, you'll find a five-course, rustic Italian family-style menu that includes such options as chestnut agnolotti, baccala, and roasted pears. But you're really here for the lunch offerings, including the notorious porchetta panino, stuffed with hefty slices of pork and scented with rosemary. Be sure to check out the market, too, which functions as a salumeria, panetteria, formaggeria, and gelateria.

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43. Randazzo's Clam Bar 2017 Emmons Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11235

None of that New England bullshit on this list. This pierside staple in Sheepshead Bay knows its way around seafood, ladling bowls that are rich, zesty, and chock full of clams.

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44. Mamoun's Falafel 119 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012 (Greenwich Village)

Mamoun’s has OG status in your book -- and rightfully so, they've got all the delicious hummus, falafel, baba ganouj, and more that you crave -- but it's often overrun with people, especially late at night, so time your visit carefully.

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45. Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery 137 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

This LES hole-in-the-wall started selling knishes from a pushcart in 1890 before moving into a full-blown storefront in 1910. Travel back in time the moment you step in -- the knishes are still made the same way as they were during the pushcart days: chewy, potato-y, mustard-covered masterworks. You’re also gonna want to wash them down with one of the city’s last remaining spots for an authentic egg cream.

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46. Lakruwana 668 Bay St, Staten Island, NY 10304 (Staten Island)

This fantastic Staten Island restaurant services the Sri Lankan community looking for familiar foods from the homeland. Try the Dutch-inspired lamprais, a combination of basmati rice, cashews, onions, eggplant, tuna, potato, and beef, all steamed together in a banana leaf. Hoppers(basket-shaped rice flour crepes) are another solid choice -- or, better yet, eat everything at the weekend buffet.

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47. Clinton St. Baking Co. & Restaurant 4 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

With an experienced husband and wife team at the helm of this restaurant doling out simple yet delicious morning eats, it's not a surprise that Clinton St. Baking continuously receives accolades (as well as long weekend lines). A rotating pancake menu; a diverse breakfast, lunch, and beer selection; and a variety of freshly baked goods have put this Lower East Side spot on the brunching map.