- Avocado Stone Bowl Rice - A twist on bibimbap. Rice in a hot stone bowl with avocado, veggies and miso sauce.
- I have no idea what it's actually called on the menu, but in Korean it's Tteokbokki (pronounced Dukboki) - Soft rice cake in a spicy sauce with mushrooms and tofu.
Hangawi | 12 East 32nd Street | New York, NY 10016 | (212) 213-0077
I'm on a vegetarian roll, but Totto Ramen makes the best vegetarian ramen (trust me I've tried them all in the city!). Everyone I've taken there who does eat meat hasn't complained either.
There are no reservations at Totto, so the line can be extremely long, an average of 30-45 minute wait. SO, I always get there at 11:45ish to put my name in for when they open at noon.
- Veg Ramen - Seaweed and mushroom based soup topped with veggies, seasoned avocado, lime and yuzu paste! (I order mine with wavy noodles and bamboo shoots)
- Miso Ramen - Miso and ground pork topped with a marinated egg.
Totto Ramen | 366 West 52nd Street | New York, NY 10011 | (212) 582-0052
Last Ramen recommendation I swear! I'm not a huge fan of their veg ramen, but when I was eating meat, their lunch set and pork buns can't be beat.
They also don't take reservations, so again I suggest trying to go for lunch for a shorter wait time, and you get the option of the lunch set.
- Hirata Buns - Pork or Eggplant versions are equally divine! Each order comes with two and you can even ask for one of each.
- Any of their ramens with the lunch set (I loved the fried chicken rice bowl)
Ippudo | 65 Fourth Avenue (212) 388-0088 & 321 West 51st Street (212) 974-2500
If you're looking to really treat yourself Buddakan is the spot. I've never had trouble getting a table here because the place is gigantic, two huge floors. The food is family style, the decor is crazy and it was in Sex and the City the movie, why would anyone not want to go there?
- Edamame Dumplings - If I ever get married it's only going to be these at the reception! Edamame and, I think parmesan filling, in a light shallot broth.
- Vegetable Rice - Veg fried rice with pineapple and coconut curry foam!
Buddakan | Chelsea Market 75 9th Avenue | New York, NY 10011 | (212) 989-6699
CARACAS AREPA BAR
They make the best arepas and their chips and guac aren't bad either. Again I'd recommend lunch or an early dinner, no reservations and long waits, sigh..
- La sureña - Grilled chicken, chorizo, avocado and chimi-churri sauce.
It's just like Google says, colorful, bodegalike eatery serving hearty Mexican sandwiches, taquitos and fresh margaritas. I love this place for it's charm, location and duh, food.
- Crispy Eggplant Torta - Panko-crusted fried eggplant, chihuahua cheese, avo, tomatoes and chipotle BBQ sauce
Tortaria | 94 University Place | New York, NY 10003 | (212) 776-1830
MESKE ETHIOPIAN RESTAURANT
Meske, is a hidden gem, and I know it looks like it. I only discovered this place because it was at the end of my old block in Hell's Kitchen. My dad later told me that a friend of his who lives in the city swears this is the best place for Ethiopian food in the city, and I couldn't agree more.
- Avocado - Avocado mixed with tomatoes, green peppers and onions. Pretty much a thicker quac but with yummy Ethiopian bread, injera
- Vegetarian Combo - A mix of all the best veg dishes with injera
Meske Ethiopian Restaurant | 468 West 47th Street | New York, NY 10036 | (212) 399-1949
One of the very first restaurants a friend took me to my first week in NY. They're highly rated by the NY Times, and all I have to say is that they have parmesan cheese Crème brûlée...
- Crème Brûlée Di Parmigiano Reggiano - Made with 18 month aged Parm with an aged spicy balsamic crust. Woo!!!
Perbacco | 234 East 4th Street | New York, NY 10009 | (212) 253-2038
Take advantage of the fact that they take reservations! And they are right across the street from the Big Gay Ice Cream shop which is also on my list. Some of the best Greek food I have ever had, even though I have never actually been to Greece.
- Anginares Moussaka - Artichoke heart casserole-type appetizer with onions herbs and cheese.
- Horiatiki - A classic Greek village salad.
Pylos | 128 East 7th Street | New York, NY 10009 | (212) 473-0220
THE PLAZA FOOD HALL
Whenever someone is visiting I usually take them here. It's underneath the Plaza Hotel and there are many individual food shops and restaurants. Everyone can get what they want.
- In the Food Hall - Crepe Cake from Lady M
- In Todd English - Risotto tater tots, with fontina and truffle aioli
The Plaza Food Hall | 1 West 59th Street | New York, NY 10019 | (212) 986-9260
When I was interning in Tribeca my boss would always order from here, and I would always try to sneak a cookie for myself. I'm rarely in Tribeca these days but when I am I always make a point of stopping by. I would eat here everyday for lunch if I could. They are only open Monday - Friday.
- Anything really
- Tuscan Vegetarian Sandwich - White bean puree with oven-dried tomatoes, arugula, onion, garlic, black pepper and parmesan on pizza bianca bread.
Cafe Clementine | 227 West Broadway | New York, NY 10013 | (212) 965-0909
ALICE'S TEA CUP
I'm not 12, nor do I have a 5 year old daughter. I'm 28 and have been going here since I first moved to NY and was living on the Upper West Side. Besides the good food, it was the only place to talk to someone about Lost. The waiter was just as obsessed with the show as I was, as I AM! I've also taken fully grown men here and they've said their scones and burgers are the best things they've ever eaten, so ha! It's also a favorite of Katie and Suri Holmes.
Don't bother going for brunch unless you live on the same block, get there right when they open, or feel like waiting an hour. I suggest going during the week to avoid the crowds.
- Pumpkin Scone - Pumpkin scone with a caramel glaze
- Alice's Hamburger ***only at the Chapter II & III locations on the East side
Alice's Tea Cup | Check their website for all three locations
TEA & SYMPATHY
So maybe I am 12...I also love afternoon tea. The best afternoon tea I've ever had was at The Drake Hotel in Chicago, for anyone who cares? But as for New York, Tea & Sympathy is the best in the city. I've been to fancy high teas at fancy hotels and at Bergdorf Goodman, just to know, who offers the best afternoon tea service. It all came down to T&S, maybe because everyone that works there is actually from the UK, who knows.
- Victoria Sponge Cake - Sponge cake with cream and berry jam.
- Cheddar and Branston Pickle Sandwich
Tea & Sympathy | 108 Greenwich Avenue | New York, NY 10011 | (212) 989-9735
The newest to my list. I recently went to the Heath for the first time to celebrate a friends birthday and was blown away by the interior. The Heath is connected to the Sleep No More show and is entirely set in the 1920s. There are live performances and even fake smoke to make it feel like you are on a train platform. You can even eat in the train cars. There is a rooftop bar - the only bar recommendation I can make, although I have no clue if the drinks are good.
The Heath | 542 West 27th Street | New York, NY 10001 | (212) 564-1662
BIG GAY ICE CREAM
My spot for a sweet treat! I love this place so much.
- Mermaid (go figure): Vanilla ice cream, key lime curd, crushed graham cracker and whipped cream
Big Gay Ice Cream | Check out their website for all locations