Favorite Bars (also see my favorite restaurants as most have great bars also)
- Aldo Sohm Wine Bar – 151 W 51st Street – Le Bernardin’s world renown sommelier works this loungey bar with Eric Ripert cooking in the kitchen. Pretty wonderful if a bit expensive.
- Amelie Wine Bar – 22 W 8th Street – Modern décor but cozy French small plates makes you feel like you are in a European establishment. It balances the modern vibe with low lighting and an attentive staff. An extensive wine selection with traditional French appetizers (try the savory steak tartare prepared with quail egg, and steamed mussels in a decadent crème fraiche broth).
- Ardesia – 510 W 52nd Street – the wine bar on the ground floor of the LEED-certified Archstone Clinton complex. There’s a 35-seat patio, a banquette-lined lounge, and a Venetian-marble bar backed by a two-story wine wall. The list emphasizes “mineral-driven” bottles expressive of terroir, with a by-the-glass selection ranging from a $9 Zweigelt to a $16 Sangiovese Blend from Bellus. Lite bites are also available.
- Corkbuzz – 75 Ninth Avenue (15th St) and 13 E. 13th Street – two bars, one in Chelsea Market and one in the Village are master sommelier, Laura Maniec’s, little gems. Italian inspired small tastes accompany the large wine selection. She loves Champagne and sells all bottles for 1/2 price after 10 PM and on Sunday.
- Gem Wine – 297 Broome Street (Forsyth Street) – Small neighborhood wine bar that is closed on the weekends. Bottles are displayed on shelves along one wall with prices (all well prices with nothing above $100). Walk around a chose one or just order from the great list of wines by the glass. They also serve simple, but delicious, snacks.
- Il Posto Accanto – 190 East Second Street (Ave B) – Started out as a typical Italian wine bar ad has expanded to a restaurant and East Village institution. A great place for a quick glass of excellent Italian wine and a bite!
- Lelabar – 422 Hudson Street – this is a wonderful wine bar option in the West Village. An excellent wine bar, with a huge selection of wines, with some snacks including sandwiches, charcuteries and cheeses.
- Mace – 649 E 9th Street – Highlights a single spice in each cocktail. Sleek, modern bar.
- Porchlight – 271 11th Avenue – Danny Myers first bar and it seems to be doing quite well.
- Parcelle Wine Bar – 133 Division Street (Cannel Street) – Set up like a lounge with extensive wine list from under $60 a bottle to bottles price in the hundreds or thousands. You can pair with snacks or a full meal.
- Terroir – 24 Harrison Street – Paul Grieco’s wine bar celebrating Riesling, but also offers other great variety of wines and small dishes.
- The Happiest Hour (upstairs from the Shirley) – 121 W 10th Street – their 4 California-style burgers all have comforting names
- The Spaniard – 190 W 4th Street (Barrow). Just opened early April and is a cozy bar with serious food. Bar specialty is whiskeys and whiskey cocktails. The food, cooked by chef PL Calapa (from Al Fiori) has a mix of small and large plates.
- The Up & Up – 116 Macdougal – Quirky cocktails in a warm, cozy space.
- Vin Sur Vingt – 1140 Broadway; 201 W. 11th Street – excellent and tiny Bar A Vin. Has five locations throughout New York City. All tiny and quite busy most evenings. Rotating wine list and Bistro food.
- Wildair – 142 Orchard Street (Rivington) – probably more of a restaurant but the bar features a large list of natural wines and snacks.
Just Dessert Please
- Balthazar Bakery – 80 Spring Street – This tiny boulangerie, attached to the famous Balthazar bistro, is always mobbed with locals and tourists alike. Its flaky croissants, heavenly pastries and sturdy loaves are deployed as a mark of quality at cafés and restaurants around the city. Look for the beloved levain, sticky dried-fruit focaccias and a raspberry studded caramel-chocolate tart.
- Breads Bakery – Head over to Union Square for this 9,000-square-foot bakeshop. Grab one of 25 seats for a warm chocolate croissant or take out a box of the baked treats if you don’t want strangers to see you licking chocolate off your fingers. You can also pick up a range of breads, including Danish ryes, fresh focaccia and crusty baguettes. Oh, and you can’t leave without buying the Nutella babka, one of the best in the city.
- Bouchon Bakery – Superchef Thomas Keller opened two bakeries, one in the Time Warner Center and one in Rockefeller Center where he serves his French-style sandwiches, salads and pastries. The classic baguettes are superb, as are sweet treats such as pain au chocolat, chocolate eclairs and macarons.
- Dominique Ansel Kitchen – 137 7th Ave S (212.242.5111) – The ceativor of the Cronut has opened a new shop with inventive made-to-order French pastries & savory bites in an airy bakery/cafe with outdoor tables. It uses the techniques of a restaurant kitchen, offering all his pastries and desserts à la minute as he believes that what you miss in a retail bakery is the freshness. You certainly get it here!
Fabrique Bakery – 348 W 14th Street – First NYC branch of this Swedish Bakery specializing in cinnamon buns, ham and cheese croissants, sourdough bread, and other treats from this Swedish import. Hands down the best banquettes and breads in the city.
Ladurée – 398 W Broadway (SoHo) – Upscale bakery with Parisian origins, specializing in French macarons in a number of flavors. TDecore has traditional French style, gold trimmings, beautiful China and velvet seating. Yummy macaroons and coffee, outdoor seating is romantic and quaint.
- Levain Bakery – 167 West 74th Street – serving dense, squishy-centered, warm chocolate chip cookies. The best in the city.
- Marble Dessert Bar – 27 Bedford – West Village, mmarbledessertbar.com, Chefs Eugenio Mauro Pompili and Maya Sittisuntom elaboration on their East Village place, ChikaLicious, with this dessert-only-fine-dining restaurant. Prix-fixe menu has lots of innovative courses.
- Mille-Feuille –552 LaGuardia Place – Pierre Hermes acolyte Olivier Dessyn, moved from Paris and opened this humble shop in Greenwich Village. The baked goods are all traditional French—macarons , cheese brioche and chocolate sables )—but the real standout is Dessyn’s croissant. The best in the city: The crisp, dark-brown shell shatters on the first bite, revealing stretchable layers of silky, buttery pastry.
- Momofuko Mik Bar – Multiple locations all over the city – Downtown pastry darling Christina Tosi brings her cultish sweets to many areas of NYC. Find her signature treats (crack pie, compost cookies, cereal milk shakes), alongside Stumptown coffee. The bakery does its own version of the Momofuku empire’s famed pork buns: Here they’re made with slow-roasted pork shoulder seasoned with hoisin and sriracha. Vegetarians can opt for buns stuffed with braised shiitakes, caramelized onions and smoked red-chili pepper flakes. Get either with a soft-poached, deep-fried local egg.
- Tbsp (Spoon NYC catering) – 17 W 20th Street – retail counter of Spoon NYC catering has prepared food & baked goods. Look out for the savory tarts, flakey pastry pies, soups, and sweets.
- Food Trends Catering – 212-972-7320. Ask for Laura, Nina, or Allison
- Cloud Catering – 718-383-3313. Speak with Jon Winkler
- Neumans Kitchen – 212-228-2444
Food Markets / Halls
- Eately – 200 Fifth Avenue – Near Madison Square Park, run by Mario Batali and Joe and Lidia Bastianich , it has become one of the most popular shopping and dining experiences in NYC. With its rooftop bar and restaurant to its top-notch Italian imported meats, cheeses, pastas and bottled goods.
- Gotham West Market – 600 11th Avenue – Eating options in this out-of-the-way corner of far west Hell’s Kitchen opened in 2013, bringing with it nine gourmet vendors. Just added to is a late-night menu (11 PM on weeknights and 12 AM on weekends) with offerings from The Cannibal, El Colmado and more.
- Le District – 225 Liberty Street (West Street) – French indoor market that is like the great food halls in Paris, London, and Berlin. Includes Restaurants, area that sells groceries & prepared foods, Bakery, Fromagerie, Charcuterie, Wine Bar, Cafes, Rotisserie, and Meat Market (that will also cook on site for you). (ledistrict.com)
- Mercado Little Spain – 10 Hudson Yards – Jose Andres, the chef and restaurateur, headed up this project modeling it after the Boqueria in Barcelona. The quality is unparalleled at the sit down restaurants, bars, and kiosks. La Barra is a tapas style bar with a long list of small plates and many Spanish wines. Bar Celona specializes in Spanish-style Gin & Tonics (my favorite) and bar snacks. The restaurants are less impressive as service is a bit slow and “green”.
- Tin Building by Jean-Georges – 95 South Street, Pier 17 – Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten opened a food 40,000 foot market at the seaport in the old Tin Building, selling food from local, domestic & international purveyors.
- Time Out Market New York – 55 Water Street, Dumbo, Brooklyn, timeout.com/newyork/test-out-market, Spans two floors with great views from the rooftop. Food from restaurants all over NYC that Time Out views as some of the best bites.
- UrbanSpace Vanderbilt – 230 Park Avenue – next to Grand Central with all food kiosks from 20 producers. Red Hook Lobster Pound, Roberta’s pizza, Toby’s Estate Coffee, La Palapa tacos, Ovenly baked goods and Amaili Mou’s wines by the glass.
That Special Dinner (my favorite top restaurants in NYC)
- Ai Fiori – (italian seafood peciality but with plenty of meat, also owns Marea) 400 Fifth Avenue, 212-613-8660 (Italian)
- Daniel – (the best french food and service in the city) 60 E. 65th Street,212-288-0033 (French)
- Gramercy Tavern – 42 W. 20th Street, 212-477-0777 (New American)
- Jean George – 1 Central Park West, 212-299-3900 (French)
- Kuruma Zushi – 7 E. 47th St., 2nd fl. Y 212-317-2802 (Sushi)
- Le Bernardin – (seafood never looked or tasted like this before) 155 W. 51st Street212-554-1515 (French)
- Marea – 240 Central Park South 212-582-5100 (Italian Seafood)
- Mas – 39 Downing Street, 212-255-1790 (New American)
- Masa – 10 Columbus Circle, 4th fl. 212-823-9800 (Japanese)
- Momofuku Ko -163 First Ave., 212-254-3500 (Japanese)
- Per Se – (not really one of my favorites any longer as I believe it lost it’s appeal & service standards are below the others on my list, but some friends disagree so left on list) 10 Columbus Circle, 4th fl. 212-823-9335 (New American)
- Soto – 357 Sixth Ave. 212-414-3088 (Italian)
- Sugiyama – 251 W. 55th Street, 212-956-0670 (Japanese)
- Sushi Nakazawa – 23 Commerce Street, 212-924-2212 (Japanese)
- Sushi Yasuda – 204 E. 43rd Street, 212-972-1001 (Japanese)
- The Modern – (new chef and I haven’t tried it since he took over) The Museum of Modern Art – 9 W 53re Street (French/New American)
Great Cheap Eats (thanks to New York Mag)
- Superiority Burger – 430 E. 9th St / Ave A – vegetarian fast food that is cool, cravable, and satisfying. Try the Hippy Wrap, veggie burger, faux Sloppy Joe, burnt-brocoli salad, vanilla-labne-gelato-and- srawberry-sorbet twist.
- Uma Temakeria – 64 Seventh Ave / 14th St – serving Temaki cone-shaped hand rolls wrapped in nori. They are customer designed and come with signature sauce.
- Spaghetti Incident – 231 Eldridge (Stanton) – 10 long-noodle options. Order the wheat-speghetti special, dressed with pistachio pesto and chucks of garden fresh zucchini, or the bucatini all’ amatriciana, and the wacky salads (arancici are priced at $3, with a two ball minimum).
- C&B Cafe – 178 E 7th St (Ave B) – Coffee and Breakfast is what C&B stands for, and they do both really well. The two owners/chefs, one from Masa, and the other from Rouge Tomate are making some of the best breakfast sandwiches in town. You want the housemade chorizio with scrambled eggs on a brioche roll, or the merguez sausage with Cheddar and egg on a croissant. They also have dishes for carbophobes!
- Pi Bakery – 512 Broome St (Thompson) – this sleek cafe is spreading the Greek-food gospel, with savory pies (stuffed with leeks and kale or spiced lamb), oozy moussaka, greek salad, stuffed grape leaves, and great desserts.
- Goa Taco – 79 Delancey St (Allen) – Chef Duvaldi Marneweck’s thick, flackey and buttery Indian paratha is grilled crisp and then folded around various fillings (like paneer cheese with spinach pesto, fried chickpeas, and pickled tomatillos).
- Empellon al Pastor – 132 St Marks Pl (Ave A) – Alex Stupak’s tequila bar and tortilleria, is a taco tour de force. Housemade tortillas are stuffed with crisp pork juxtaposed with pineapple and three piquant salsas, or potato and chorizo, or beef. Also try the black beans and white beans – great seaonings.
- Raciette – 195 Ave A (12th St) – Raciette is the namesake dish, a delicious mound of melted cheese scraped off the wheel and onto a platter of potatoes, cured meat, and hunk of baguette. They also have other open and close-faced sandwiches, like sardines with ribbons of fennel, and pinwheels of prosciutto and figs and hazelnuts.
- Kiki’s – 130 Division St (Orchard St) – though the sign outside is in Chinese, you get greated at the door with three words: “Traditional Greek Cooking”. And indeed it is, as the owners Auntie cooks up all the traditional Greek specialties that are simple and delicious.
- Manousheh – 193 Bleecker St (MacDougal) – Lebanese flatbread served all day. Crisp, chewy bread, baked on site, topped with As’atar, mild cheese, thick labne, ground beef, or vegetables and herbs.