A Guide To Classic NYC Food Experiences

This post is also available in: French

It is not enough to just know about the latest food craze or trendy restaurant. The real pursuit is in finding the hidden gems. We’re talking under-the-radar eateries where real New Yorkers go for delicious, unpretentious bites that always manage to hit the spot. How will you ever know where to go when New Yorkers like to keep their favorite places a secret so it doesn’t get lost in the other crowded joint in NYC? Here is our insider guide to good eats in the Big Apple.



(Photo : Katrin G)

As a quintessential New York food, you should not be surprised to see pizza first on this list. Finding “the best” pizza in this city is both challenging and controversial. Thin crust, thick crust, deep-dish, wood-fired or cooked in a coal-oven? Regardless of your preference, New York City has a style of pizza for everybody. Check out our list of The 10 Best Pizzas in New York City to find which pizza joints will make your mouth water. When you are in the city, grab a slice or a whole pie at:

  • Motorino Pizzeria (49 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003) – Tip: try the egg breakfast pizza!
  • John’s Pizzeria​ Of Bleecker Street (278 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014)
  • Roberta’s (230 Park Ave, New York, NY 10169)


Originating in the South, American Barbecue is more than just a culinary style; it’s a whole subculture with fierce fans. While New York City may be a mecca of food, it’s not the largest BBQ hub in the United States. You will be surprise by how far Barbecue enthusiasts in the Big Apple go to get their authentic BBQ fix in this City. No need to worry about finding one yourself. Book our Triboro from Hip-hop to Hipsters tour complete with a finger-licking authentic southern style Barbecue lunch in Brooklyn. For some good old BBQ, check out:

  • Hometown Bar-b-que (454 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231)
  • Fette Sau (354 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211)
  • Smoke Joint (87 S Elliott Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11217)
  • Blue Smoke (116 E 27th St, New York, NY 10016)
  • Hillstone (378 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10010)

Soul Food

Chicken n Waffles

(Photo by Flickr U)

Head over to Harlem for some authentic Soul Food. Not sure what Soul Food is? It’s a token from the south of the United States brought to NYC and has stuck around for decades ever since. The name “soul food” was coined by soul music, and initially used by Jazz artists in the ‘50s. If you’re looking for an extensive and guided experience through the history of Harlem and soul food, check out our Soul food and Jazz tours as well as our Harlem Gospel tours with soul food lunch on Wednesdays or soul food brunch on Sundays. On your free time, find the best soul food at:

  • Bobwhite Lunch and Supper Counter (94 Avenue C, New York, NY 10009)
  • Londel’s Restaurant (2620 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10030)
  • Manna’s (54 E 125th St, New York, NY 10035)


(Photo by Julienne Schaer/ NYC & Company)

New Yorkers love to have the best of everything, and the seafood is no different. They will travel to great lengths to find the perfect plate, and so should you. For freshest seafood, head over to the tiny coastal community known as City Island on the waterfront in the Bronx. See a different side of New York City while enjoying a delicious seafood lunch or dinner. Here, you may eat at Sammy’s Fish Box, City Island Lobster House, Toni’s Pier Restaurant, or one of the dozen of other seafood focused restaurants. If you can’t make it here during your stay, head over to:

  • Littleneck Brooklyn (288 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215)
  • Luke’s Lobster Times Square (700 8th Ave New York, NY 10036)
  • FishTAG (222 W 79th St, New York, NY 10024)
  • The Lobster Pound (284 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231)


Momofuku Ramen

(Photo via Momofuku)

Ramen noodles have been popular in New York City for as long as we can remember. This asian-styled food trend is only growing, as it it greatly enjoyed by New Yorkers throughout the city. Nowadays, upscale ramen eateries are popping up all over New York City and they are building a stellar reputation among food lovers in the Big Apple. Find the best Ramen dishes at:

  • Chuko Ramen (565 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238)
  • Ivan Ramen (25 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002)
  • Totto Ramen (366 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019)


(Photo by Malcolm Brown/ NYC & Company)

What makes the bagels in New York City so special? Even some New Yorkers have yet to find an answer to this question. Some people speculate that it’s all in the water. Whatever the case may be, we can all agree that they are amazing. So good that many New Yorkers refuse to eat a bagel anywhere else. Most New York bagels can come anyway you like, whether you are craving something sweet or savory. Once you eat a bagel in the Big Apple you will always be able to tell the difference when you go anywhere else. Try the best bagels at:

  • Bagel Express (347 Lexington Ave #1, New York, NY 10016)
  • Broadway Bagel (2658 Broadway, New York, NY 10025)
  • Bagel Talk (368 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024)
  • Bagel Hole (400 7th Ave)


Burger- Spotted pig

(Photo via the Spotted Pig)

Whether you are visiting or have out of town guests in New York, when it comes to getting tasty burgers in this city, your options are endless. If you don’t believe in standing in long lines for a Shake Shack Burger, you can still get juicy and delicious burgers far away from fast food in the city. Note that you can still enjoy a good, beefy burgers without going to a burger-focused joint. Check out these delicious restaurants to grab your patty:

  • Counter Times Square (Times Square Tower, New York, NY 10036)
  • Corner Bistro (331 West 4th Street)
  • Spotted Pig (314 W 11th St)

Hot Dogs

(Photo by Mack Male)

When it comes to hot dogs in NYC, please, stay away from the street carts, unless it is a Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Cart. There are so many other franks out there for you to enjoy. New York is home to the world famous Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs. Every Fourth of July, Nathan’s Famous hosts a hot dog eating contest on Coney Island. Whether you think you can take on the challenge or not, we recommend trying one (or two) of these delicious treats. Aside from Nathan’s Famous, you can grab a great hot dog at:

  • Crif Dogs (113 St Marks Pl)
  • Katz’s (205 E. Houston St., at Ludlow St.)

New York City is a giant melting pot. You can essentially travel the world from one plate at a time in this city. The greater amount of options the harder it may be to decide where you want to go! Join our Uptown and Harlem Food tour  to enjoy 5 delicious and quintessential New York food experiences while also exploring the exciting neighborhoods. If you are interested in finding more to do in New York City, search through our complete range of tours, attractions and activities. We can also tailor-make programs specifically to match your desires and budgets. Harlem Spirituals is the ideal one-stop-shop to simplify your planning! Find more information on www.harlemspirituals.com or contact us at info@harlemspirituals.com.


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