Gaby’s Guide to NYC

I’m a California girl through and through, but I LOVE a week in NYC. The energy, the food, the hotels, it’s the best! I’m there once a quarter or so for work and I soak up every single minute of it. After dozens of trips and copious amounts of research, here are my all time favorite places to eat / drink / stay!

It’s a big place – and recently I’ve been staying downtown because all my meetings are in that part of town… so that said, I usually have more to say on lower Manhattan! Don’t you worry – there are some up town and Brooklyn bits and bobs here and there! So here we go…

ABC Kitchen – business lunch location 101! Can’t be beat!

Via Carota – one of my favorite meals in recent history! Honest to goodness incredible food with a neighborhood vibe!

Jacks Wife Freda – such an incredible place for brunch!! Grab some friends and go!

Frenchette – I mean, if you want a glass of french wine and some french food… this is it!!

Miznon – Mediterranean stuffed pitas with a local twist… and OMG THAT TAHINI!

Loring Place – farmers market driven dishes that will knock your socks off.

West Bourne – the best place for lunch in Soho!! everything is a dream… it’s like a little slice of california in NYC.

Emily – West Village – everyone will tell you to go for the pizza, but the burger is LEGIT!!!

Pasquale Jones – pizza, pizza, pizza!!

Dominique Ansel Bakery – ONLY worth going if there is no line… but get the chocolate chip cookie. It’s truly one of the best I’ve ever had.

Lilia – the Italian food of my dreams. Aperol Spritz and all the pasta. You can’t go wrong with any orders here. It’s the definition of perfection.

Upland – great for a fun night on the town. The dinner is phenomenal!

Raouls – bistro life at it’s best!

Don Angie – more italian food that is beyond dreamy

Roberta’s – FAVORITE pizza in Brooklyn. OMG it’s so good.

Barbuto – I’ll never tell you to order chicken at a restaurant (it’s easy enough to make it at home) but THIS place is the exception! And the sangria. EVERYTHING. (It’s closing shortly – so go if you have time! And I’m leaving it on here in hopes that they re-open in a new space ASAP)

Gato – one of my favs for a post-work dinner! Octopus and Paella are must-haves.

Blue Hill – One of the most special places in the entire city! Catherine introduced me to it years ago and it’s still at the top of my list for most incredible meals of all times.

Locande Verde – my fav for an Italian inspired night out!

Balthazar – just promise me you’ll go!!

Joe’s Pizza – it’s a NYC right of passage. The best slice in town according to some!

Prince Street Pizza – my personal favorite slice of pizza in town!! Expect a line!

Happy Bones – COFFEE! One of my favorite places to re-fuel in between meetings!

Morandi – more Italian. Because I’ll take it where I can get it until I devise a plan to move to Italy.

Estela – all about the small plate situation and ordering everything on the menu with a handful of friends!

Khe-Yo – this Southeast Asian inspired restaurant with Laotian roots CANNOT be missed!

Buvette – love everything about this place including the fact that it’s open late and it’s a great place to grab a night cap and a small bite or two or three 🙂

Peasant – wood fired oven. Enough said.

The James – Soho – an incredible hotel that’s right in the heart of Soho!!

Four Seasons Downtown NYC – best hotel ever. And the room service menu is to die for. And that’s saying a lot because who really does room service well? The Four Seasons Downtown NYC… that’s who!

Frank – the coziest of all Italian eateries!!

Lure Fish Bar – all the fish you could possibly dream of!

I Sodi – one of those places that takes me back to Tuscany.

Seamore’s – go for lunch! It’s light and bright and perfect for a quick bite!

Quality Eats – I had to have at least one steak house right? Well… here ya go!!

Dirty French – such a fun night out! Drinks / food / service the whole nine yards. It’s loud though, so maybe don’t bring your grandparents.

Russ and Daughters – bagels and lox. You’ve gotta go once for breakfast or brunch

ABC Cocina – one of my favorite places of all times. Sophisticated Mexican food – into it!!

Le District – Imagine Eataly but all French food – and that’s Le District! So fun.

La Colombe Coffee Roasters – FUEL!

Smith and Mills – the cutest MINI restaurant / bar that you can find.

Minetta Tavern – it’s super trendy and a bit celeb-y but it’s worth it!

The Fat Radish – one word… BURGER!

Pastis – go for the french fries but stay for everything else. Their Croque Madame is other worldly!

Danji – really incredible Korean rice bowls right in the middle of mid-town! Perf for a quick lunch.

Uncle Boons – best Thai food in all the land. Go V early though and put your name down for a table – then waltz around Soho till your table is ready.

Lafayette – power breakfast spot with incredible pastries!!

The Smith – my favorite place for a breakfast meeting!

Mermaid Oyster Bar – champagne and oysters for happy hour. duh.

Hundred Acres – it’s country style cooking in the chicest of all spots!!

Arcade Bakery – one of the best places to grab a quick pastry and be on your way!

Laughing Man – they’ve got coffee but go for the tea!

Did I miss anything? Shout it out in the comments below so I can go give it a try!! There are too many restaurants and not enough days in the week to try them all. But I’m willing to give it a try!

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  1. Jill

    I just mapped out my NYC trip this morning………………back to the drawing board! (In a GOOD way!). Thank You!!!!!

  2. Kitty

    Lower East Side is a blast and so many food options. Agree with many of your choices, others I haven’t tried, but will on future visits. For the best pizza, you left out Speedy Romeos. You will never be disappointed.

  3. Lisa

    Contra, Wildair, Sadelles (amazing bagels and lox too), Maison Premiere and Sauvage in Brooklyn if you want to head out there. Il Buco Alimentari, Le Coucou, Ladybird, Dirt Candy, Loring Place, Sant Ambroeus.

    One I wouldn’t miss is Superiority Burger. Little hole in the wall that is to die for! I would skip Blue Hill unless you can get to Blue Hill at Stone Barns near Tarrytown, NY. The NYC location is overrated in my opinion.

  4. Irene

    Sarabeth’s !- Tribeca or Chelsea Market locations. Her pastries, need I say more? And it’s not just pastries.. all of it is fantastic!

  5. Barbara

    Hi Gaby, Funny you mentioned the Four Seadons Hotel room service …my son Drew met his wife Rosemary while working the room service night shift at the Four Seasons Hotel. They are both Culinary of America graduates and they were working as chefs at the Four Seasons. That was many years ago…..they now own their own catering business in New Jersey…..The Fruited Plain….going on 11-12 years, I think. They have some good stories to tell about some celebrities who used to stay there and would order room service….and the interesting food requests they would have.. Your New York trip sounds fun! Lucky you!

  6. Melissa B

    I LOVE NYC!!My husband and i take semi regular trips, one place i recommend hugely is Morimoto right beside Chelsea Market, it was TO DIE FOR!! Also, Quality Meats (between 58th and 6th) is an amazing steak house.

    We have always stayed uptown Manhattan, maybe next time we will have to give downtown a try!

  7. Amanda

    Balthazar is EVERYTHING. Saturday or Sunday brunch at the bar will make your day!

  8. dana

    Any Vegan places you love? I have a SIL who is Vegan and headed to NYC soon!

    • Lisa

      Dirt Candy, Avant Garden, ABCV, Superiority Burger ( not a burger joint, Monday’s for tofu fried tofu sandwiches)

  9. Shayna

    Williamsburg- Leuca (get pasta or pizza or both), St. Anselm (everything cooked on a grill in an open kitchen, best steak ever and the most unpretentious steakhouse ever), Marlow + Sons (get the brick chicken! Only item that stays on the menu in spite of them changing the menu daily)

    Lower East – Upstate (best oysters I’ve had in NY, also known for the fettuccine with clams)

    Upper East – Flora Bar (downstairs from the Met Breuer, beautiful space and delicate food)

  10. T.

    If you loved Lilia, you will LOVE Llama Inn, Also in Williamsburg and a few blocks down. Similar vibe, amazing cocktails and the yummiest Peruvian food with a twist…

  11. Kendall

    Marc Forgione – Hands down my favorite restaurant in NYC. The experience, the food, the atmosphere…try to get a table outside. You won’t be disappointed. Get the lobster Texas toast, kampachi, and halibut.

    Tetsu – another TriBeCa spot. Incredible. Get the kale salad and ribs.

    Maman – TriBeCa, delicious coffee/cookies, avocado toast and beautiful atmosphere


  12. Rhonda

    So cool that you recommended Khe-yo. My son-in-law’s restaurant!! I agree that it can’t be missed !!

  13. Gabi Tidhar

    12 Chairs in Williamsburg, you won’t be disappointed!

  14. Hartanov Happy Hour – The food we make for the people we love

    […] leaving and found helpful information from three main sources: Bon Appetit,Smitten Kitchen, and What’s Gaby Cooking. This list below is by no means the best of NYC but rather the itinerary of places we visited with […]

  15. Mimi Alperovich

    Gaby! Is there a hotel you recommend or did I miss this somewhere?

    • Gaby

      omg there are so many!! Four Seasons downtown, The James, Beekman, Gramercy Park are my favs!

  16. Teri

    Where are the places to stay reccomedations?
    Going to NYC for a girls long weekend beginning of November. Can’t wait to try some of your food recs.

    • Gaby

      I love the Edition (not the times square location, Four Seasons and The James!

  17. Jennifer G

    SO happy that you’ve done the legwork for me. If Gaby likes it, it has to be good. Bookmarked for our trip in January.