New York Food Tours: All You Need to Know
Heading to New York for a food-focused trip? Here's our guide to the best neighbourhoods to explore and typical dishes to try
Heading to New York for a food-focused holiday is a no-brainer. With such a diverse group of people bringing flavours and techniques from all corners of the world, the city's food is unrivalled. Here, we're taking a look at the best neighbourhoods to explore and dishes to try for a food tour that will make all other New York food tours obsolete. Here at Plum Guide, we've undertaken extensive research to find the ideal spots for you and your foodie friends, so heed our expert advice and enjoy a food tour to remember.
Explore the best foodie neighbourhoods
Every New York neighbourhood has a distinctly different personality - and the dining scene in each is going to vary greatly. When making final arrangements ahead of your trip, be sure to ask your host about the restaurants within walking distance from your NYC Plum Guide apartment. (Their local recommendations will be golden). Saying that, we certainly don’t suggest limiting your dining experience to whatever is in your surrounding area alone. Sometimes, it’s best to hop in a taxi and travel a bit for a good meal. If you’re heading to New York City in search of good food and want to be surrounded by it at any moment of the day (um, yes please), we advise hitting the following neighbourhoods, where dining is taken very seriously indeed.
Experience new dishes in Chinatown
Of course, Chinatown has Chinese restaurants aplenty, but there are so many other different kinds of cuisines from across the world that you can sample too. Nom Wah Tea Parlor is a favourite of ours, particularly notable for its dim sum.
Eat amongst the tourists in Greenwich Village
Is Greenwich Village one of the most tourist-filled places in New York City? Absolutely. Now, although we wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to check out the historic landmarks or catch a show at the Comedy Cellar, while you’re there, please make sure to also hunt for a good restaurant. It won’t be too hard with so many to choose from, anyway.
Enjoy some casual dining in Astoria
The upscale neighbourhoods that Manhattan has to offer are great for nights out, but sometimes you just need a more relaxed vibe. We won’t blame you if you have the burning desire to head into Queens for some laid-back and casual dining. In fact, we’d encourage it. Astoria is known for its Greek food, so make sure to leave room for extra tzatziki.
Treat yourself to typical NYC dishes
New York's food is as diverse as its population. Visitors can experience an array of different cuisines in every borough - from Jewish, Italian, Polish, and Meditteranean, to Jamaican, to Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Haitian, to Pakistani and Indian, to Thai, Chinese, and Korean… the list goes on and on. But there really are some iconic dishes that you simply won’t be able to leave New York City without trying.
Order a New York-style pizza
New York-style pizza is thin and typically sizeable, and while many New Yorkers enjoy a plain slice, toppings are encouraged. If you’re new to the city and you really want to feel like a local, go ahead and fold the pizza in half before eating. A golden rule on all great New York food tours. Plenty of high-end Italian restaurants will offer pizza, but for a true New York-style slice, just look for a casual-looking pizzeria. (Trust us: They won’t be hard to find). More importantly, don’t expect to sit down to enjoy it - just grab it and go.
Buy one of the country's finest bagels
New Yorkers can’t visit out-of-state friends without being asked to bring over a couple dozen bagels, and it’s for good reason. New York has some of the best bagels in the country. Many believe it’s because of the water that New York State is blessed with that trickles down to us from the Catskill Mountains, but it could just very well be that New Yorkers know how to make a good bagel. For a real New York City experience, we suggest enjoying your bagel by taking a hint from the Jewish populations that brought the bagel here in the first place -- with lox and schmear.
Get creative with a bacon, egg & cheese sandwich
Every New Yorker knows exactly how they like their breakfast sandwiches. And while the basic ingredients of a bacon, egg and cheese are right in the name of the sandwich, that doesn’t mean that visitors need to limit themselves in order to have an authentically New York experience. We suggest you go with your gut, and order whatever feels right on your BEC. Add some salt and pepper, take out the cheese, have it on a bagel instead of a kaiser roll… Do your thing.
Head to Katz's Deli for some pastrami
For the most authentic experience, Katz’s Deli is your best bet. (That famous scene from When Harry Met Sally takes place in Katz’s Deli, by the way). Yes, it’s a bit touristy and a favourite on almost all New York food tours, but it’s also well worth it.
Cool down with some Italian ice
Italian ice is kind of like a sorbet, kind of like a snow cone. Kind of just like crushed ice with some flavouring on top. The treat is best enjoyed in the heat of a summer’s day while sitting on a blanket in Central Park, people-watching and hoping a dog or two comes close enough to pet.
Try Breads Bakery's famous cheesecake
Breads Bakery is known for its chocolate babka -- which we absolutely suggest that you try -- but the Israeli-owned bakery has a stellar cheesecake as well. Breads’ main location is in Union Square, but you can also grab their products at Bryant Park and Lincoln Center.