Okay, this isn’t a real guide of what to eat and do in NYC because I feel like you should really have an expert write that up. Rather, this is an overview of everywhere I ate (and some other things I did) during my month-long trip since many of you asked for a list! Each section is roughly organized with my favorites first.
All my recommendations are geared towards sugar fiends/pescatarians. If you have any questions, leave a comment or message me on Instagram! Also, don’t miss this YouTube recap of the black and white cookie bake off in New York.
- Daily Provisions (Union Square/UWS): The standout pastries of the trip were the crullers from Daily Provisions! Deeply crisp yet airy with a custardy interior, I spent a lot of the trip debating which was superior between the maple cruller (a deeply fragrant experience, like biting into a pancake) or cinnamon cruller (a glorified churro). Ultimate decision: maple by a hair, but don’t miss the seasonal crullers!
- Win Son Bakery (East Williamsburg): We picked up breakfast from this Taiwanese bakery and enjoyed our spread in a nearby park. My favorite was the vegetarian sausage breakfast sandwich in a scallion pancake and the mochi doughnut! It looks like the menu changes constantly and I would be thrilled to go back and try more items (and also try the Win Son restaurant!).
- Oneg (Williamsburg): If you are a chocolate fiend, you can’t miss this double chocolate babka that is basically more chocolate than bread. Squishy, pocked with crumble and decadently chocolatey but not-too-sweet, this babka is so popular that you can order it via Goldbelly (but it’s worth a trek to the bakery). Check their hours/call before you go to make sure they’re open!
- Fabrique (Meatpacking): Probably the best cardamom bun iteration I’ve ever had (fitting as it’s a Swedish import bakery). A perfect pick me up on the way to see Little Island!
- Mah Ze Dahr (West Village): I believe their custard-filled brioche doughnut was named best in the city by someone and I really loved their deeply fried old-fashioned. The shop purveyor really recommended their croissants and brownie! Go early for the best selection.
- Le Fournil (East Village): This French bakery opened in the former Moishe’s location and the standout pastry for me was the nutella croissant pretzel. Check their hours before you go–I recommend going on a weekday morning if possible (their weekend hours are very loose–when they say they open at “9ish” on Sundays, I waited until 9:30am before giving up.)
- Nick + Sons (East Williamsburg): Amazing laminated pastry!! The za’atar croissant was my standout favorite, though I also enjoyed the maple buttermilk biscuit and blueberry pastry. Get there early or order ahead to secure your pastries.
- Supermoon Bakehouse (LES): In my opinion, you must try a twice-baked croissant! I loved the passionfruit doughnut but not the chocolate peanut doughnut. The focaccia was also very good but I wasn’t overly wowed by the cronuts I tried. They’re quite popular, so to guarantee you get a good selection, you can either order their carepacks ahead of time or I went 15 minutes before they opened and waited in a short line and was able to get my pick of their pastry case.
- Little Cupcake Bakeshop (Brooklyn and LES): Their Brooklyn Blackout Cake was dubbed “the best chocolate cake in America” by Food & Wine. It was indeed very good and if I had more time, I would have gone back to try more of their cakes.
- Levain Bakery (multiple locations): Although I think these cookies have decreased in size over the years, they still measure up as one of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had. I was reluctant to go buy cookies since I can so easily make them at home, but my cousin bought some and they were delicious!
- Ole & Steen (multiple locations): A bit hit or miss–I LOVED the cinnamon social pastry (like a cinnamon roll in strudel form) one day, but found it a little stale when I returned in the late afternoon on a different day. Go early and get it fresh!
- Party Bus Bakery (LES): I tried their bread through the Too Good to Go app and really loved their rustic olive loaf and soft sesame loaves!
- Ovenly (Williamsburg): I went for their Brooklyn Blackout Cake but wished I had stomach room to try more items! The cake is visually so pleasing with its deeply black color and is also extremely tasty. I happened to stop by during their cake happy hour, a great deal (i.e. 2 slices for $10).
- Breads Bakery (Union Square): Yes, I do love their Nutella babka (especially warmed up) but also the cheese straw! The spinach burek! I would easily return for savory items along with sweet.
- Lilia (Williamsburg): We failed at getting a reservation to try the pasta here, so I instead stopped by to try their morning pastries (pastry is available from 8am-5pm). The olive oil cake was a standout and the strawberry crostata was very good. Would return if I was in the area.
- Sullivan Street Bakery (multiple locations): I went to the East Village location, which looks like the smallest one. I liked the finger of olive focaccia and a thin slice of cauliflower pizza that I tried, but found it a little expensive. I might return to try their bread.
- Petee’s Pie Company (Brooklyn, LES): The brown butter pecan pie and blueberry crumb pie were standouts for me. Do I wish their pie slices were a little heftier? Yes. Did I still enjoy them? Also yes.
- Joey Bats (LES): Known for their pasteis de nata. While expensive, these are pretty on par with the many pasteis de nata I ate in Lisbon. They were hosting standup comedy outside when we stopped by, so check their schedule if that’s of interest!
- Chez Ma Tante (Greenpoint): GET THE PANCAKES. Thank me later. I promise they’re worth the trip. Savory food is also delicious.
- Bodai (LES, 77 Mulberry): Not to be confused with the similar but different Buddha Bodai on Mott street, we went here for brunch on a rainy day. I think this is the only vegetarian dim sum restaurant I’ve ever been to, and I loved it! The turnip cake, mock chicken chow fun, taro dumplings and mushroom congee were highlights.
- Thai Diner (Nolita): Went for dinner, then returned to try the Thai tea babka French toast and George’s breakfast sandwich (thick and fluffy egg wrapped in a chewy roti with a smear of some herby, creamy condiment. Tasty, but I preferred their dinner menu.
Doughnuts & Ice Cream
- Daily Provisions (Union Square): See above, I stand behind these potentially being my best bite in NYC. Go early to make sure you can snag one (easiest on a weekday) and try all three (the evergreen maple, cinnamon sugar and whatever seasonal cruller is available). I went back three times!
- Wild Air (LES): This American restaurant opens pre-orders for the doughnut of the day at noon. We snagged a doughnut stuffed with vanilla cream and rhubarb jam and it was truly exceptional.
- Dough (multiple locations): These are MASSIVE, bready doughnuts. Normally I don’t love super bready doughnuts, but there was something about the slightly chewy, exceptionally fluffy brioche dough covered in crackly glazes. I went back twice!
- Doughnut Project (West Village): We tried the new old fashioned, “The Bronx” (olive oil and black pepper glazed) and a plain glazed. All were delicious; I found these a tad chewier than I was expecting, but the flavors were great!
- Doughnut Plant (multiple locations): A fun spot for novelty doughnuts! I liked the blueberry and pistachio cake doughnuts and the creme brulee doughnut is incredible.
- Supermoon Bakehouse (LES): One more plug for their passionfruit doughnut!
- Caffe Panna (Union Square): What can I say about Caffe Panna that hasn’t already been said? It’s my ice cream connoisseur friend’s favorite place in NYC and their ice cream is truly incredible. I tried about 5 other ice cream spots (thanks to a crawl organized by the inimitable Caroline!) and this was by far the best. Go as early as you can as they tend to run out of flavors by the end of the night! Also try an affogato if you can because their fudge is insane!
Okay, I didn’t do a good job of actually eating bagels while I was there, but here are some other recommendations I hope to hit up next time! Absolute Bagels, Bo’s Bagels, Court Street Bagels, Best Bagel, Black Seed, Bagel Boss, David’s Bagels.
- Ess-A-Bagel (multiple locations): Get the Signature Lox bagel. $15 feels steep for even the most loaded of bagels, but it’s so massive, it can feed two people. General feedback seemed to be that this was an excellent choice of bagel shops. I went back twice!
- Tompkins Square Bagels (multiple locations): This East Village shop was conveniently a 5 minute walk from my Airbnb. I’m no bagel snob but according to Google/Yelp, this is a highly rated shop and I’d give my scrambled egg/lox combo on a sesame bagel and friendly service an 8/10.
Black and White Cookies
- William Greenberg (UES): The clear winner of my black and white cookie crawl. The tender, slightly moist cookie, the soft and almost chewy frosting, ugh. I miss it. Must go if you love black and white cookies!
- Donut Pub (multiple locations): My second favorite from the crawl, this cookie was enormous and incredibly fluffy. A little dry and lacking in flavor, but SO FLUFFY that it almost made up for everything else!
- Orwasher’s (UES): This iteration was a little dry and more cookie-like than the cakiness of Donut Pub. I have a feeling this style is more authentic, but I prefer the others.
- Daily Provisions (Union Square): Very much a cookie style vs. the cakey style of black and white cookies. Tasty, but not my favorite iteration. (Just get the crullers!!)
- Sofreh (Brooklyn, Prospect Heights): Incredible flavorful Persian food! Highlights were the eggplant and labne dip and the feta flatbread. Highly recommend sitting in the magical outdoor back garden if you can!
- Miss Ada (Fort Greene): A dream of dips! The sweet potato hummus! The whipped ricotta! THE MALAWACH PASTRY WITH A JAMMY EGG. Everything was so good!!
- Jeju Noodle Bar (West Village): A Michelin-starred ramen restaurant. The menu reportedly changes often, but my highlights were definitely the toro ssam bap and the mushroom ramen (even the meat eaters agreed this ramen was the star!). Watch this if you need extra hype.
- Joe’s Steam Rice Roll (LES): My favorite quick lunch/dinner! If you like cheung fun/rice rolls, you’ll love this spot located inside a small food hall in Chinatown. My favorite is the shrimp party! They also offer Chinese crepes (jian bing) which I haven’t tried.
- Thai Diner (Nolita): Slightly kitschy but delicious–this is by the same crew as Uncle Boon’s. My personal highlights were the mushroom laab and vegetarian khao soi (also tried Uncle Boon’s fried rice, the phat thai and steamed bass). Definitely make a reservation if you can or go early–we waited a little over an hour for a table.
- Falansai (Brooklyn): Modern Vietnamese–my favorite was the green curry which was SO SPICY!! The broken rice with flax was also delicious!
- Awash (East Village): This Ethiopian spot was conveniently located about 10 steps from my Airbnb. The vegetable sampler was a dream of desperately needed vegetables and lentils–don’t miss the misir wat and shiro wat!!
- Spicy Moon (East Village): Not sure if there are more musical words to my ears than Vegetarian. Szechuan. I tried the mapo tofu with Beyond Beef and wish I had time to go try everything on the menu! Would easily return!
- Malatesta (West Village): Cash only, delicious pasta!! We walked over to the waterfront while waiting for a table, highly recommend.
- Love Korean BBQ (Koreatown): Have you ever wanted to eat Korean BBQ in a club? This might be the closest you’ll ever get. Bumping atmosphere, great food!
- Fat Choy (LES): This entirely vegan, “kind of Chinese” fast-casual spot offers a very compact and well-executed menu. The mushroom sloppy was perhaps my favorite, but also loved the rice roll, the salt and pepper cauliflower and sticky rice dumplings!
- Love Mama (East Village): The perfect answer when you don’t know what you feel like eating–their menu is split into three columns: Thai, Vietnamese and Malaysian. A great place to split a bunch of small plates.
Tacombi (multiple locations): Okay really I’m just obsessed with the thick crunchy chips and the guac at this taco spot. I also loved the avocado tostata which was basically the guac on top of a giant chip. Would love to go back!!
- Divya’s Kitchen (East Village): An oasis of nourishing, healthful Ayurvedic food! The peaceful, spa-like atmosphere was like a balm to my soul the way the vegetable-packed lasagna was a relief to my digestive system.
- Chama Mama (Chelsea): A fun spot for Georgian food! We tried the Georgian wine flight, the Taste of Georgia sampler, the khachapuri and the giant momos. Friends also tried the chacha (Georgian vodka) flights and lamb. Can’t miss: the khachapuri!
- Nai Tapas (East Village): A classy tapas spot. Highlights: the fideu and the portabella carpaccio.
- Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles (LES): We tried the garlic broccoli, hand pulled noodles with tofu and shrimp dumplings, all very tasty. Cash only!
- Raku (East Village/Soho): A popular spot for Udon–I got the kitsune ramen and probably would order something else next time, but it was perfect for a rainy day!
- Manousheh (multiple locations): Fast casual Lebanese: the jibneh (cheesy flatbread) or fatayer with the za’atar avocado salad was a perfect meal.
- Somtum Der (East Village): This Thai spot came highly recommended and we really enjoyed the crab fried rice and larb pla dook yang (grilled catfish salad). Would love to go back and try other dishes!
- Kopitiam (LES): This cute Malaysian cafe offers all-day Malaysian breakfast. I got the nasi lemak; my friend tried the pan mee and I would definitely return to try the Malaysian-style peanut sugar, egg, or Milo French toast.
- Xi’an Famous Foods (multiple locations): The spinach dumplings! The cold skin noodles! Can’t go wrong here.
- Veselka (East Village): The pierogies were tasty. But pricey.
- Nonono: We got take out from this modern Japanese spot and based on the strength of their grilled salmon belly and Nonono roll, I would 100% return.
- Vanessa’s Dumplings (multiple locations): Several people told me this spot is a little overrated and I kind of agree. The veg dumplings weren’t my favorite of the trip, but I’m sure there are other menu options that you’ll love!
- Sauce Pizzeria (East Village): As far as thin crust goes, this was my favorite! Super thin and floppy slices with a chewy but not overly crunchy crust. Great clean tomato flavor and a perfect amount of cheese.
- Bleecker Street Pizza (West Village): Huge slices, chewy crust, great flavor.
- Anna Maria Pizza (Williamsburg): I got a slice loaded with roasted garlic, pesto, mozzarella, ricotta, and who knows what else. It was a full meal for $5 and I highly recommend this as a stop if you’re hopping on the L to/from Brooklyn!
- Scarr’s (LES): SUPER thin and floppy. I could probably eat 5 slices of this delicate, addicting pizza…though I felt the crust could use some salt.
- Brooklyn’s Home Slice (Prospect Heights): Hefty, cheesy, generously topped slices with a chewy, doughy crust. I ate two slices and was almost out of commission the next day. Delicious but heavy.
- Joe and Pat’s (East Village): Ethereally thin crust–we got half vodka, half tri-state. The crust edges were a bit crunchy for me, but it had great flavor.
- Joe’s (multiple locations): Though iconic, Joe’s pizza was a bit too crunchy and chewy for my liking. But that’s my personal palate–many people love them so give them a try!
- Chelsea Market (Meatpacking): I love to stop in here on the way to the Highline! So many fun food vendors.
- Essex Market (LES): Also full of fun vendors! I have my eye on Dhamaka to try next time.
- Time Out Market (DUMBO): This opened back up right before I left and the fifth floor rooftop truly has amazing views! I’m excited to go back and try more vendors.
Activities (aka things to do in between meals)
- Prospect Park
- Conservatory Garden at Central Park
- Little Island: Book ahead for a timed reservation to enter after 12pm I think! If you go before noon or after 8pm, I believe you don’t need a reservation.
- Governor’s Island: Go with at least 4 people and rent a surrey!! This was hilariously fun. Or bring a picnic and hang out in one of the many gorgeous grassy areas.
- Tenement Museum
- High Line
- Hudson Yards
- Old Westbury Gardens
- Brooklyn Botanic Garden
- Walk ALL THE BRIDGES. Manhattan bridge was by far my favorite (least crowded but wow are those subways loud).