I am lucky enough that I get to travel to New York every couple of months and because of that it now feels like my second (or maybe third!) home. I always get asked for my New York food recommendations so I wanted to share with you my favourite places in Downtown Manhattan. But don’t worry, I’ll also be reveling my top picks for Brooklyn and The Hamptons in the next few weeks too.
Where to stay?
When I’m in New York I always stay with friends but I would recommend staying downtown in Tribeca, East Village, Greenwich Village or Soho as there are so many great restaurants, bars and shops that you’ll never be short of distractions. It also means you’ll be close to Brooklyn, which is another great place to explore.
What about the culture?
Manhattan is not short of fantastic museums and galleries but one of my favourite things to do whenever I’m there is to walk everywhere (as much as possible) and explore all the beautiful buildings and hidden corners of the island. In particular, I love walking across Brooklyn Bridge. It does get busy but you get the most amazing view of the skyline and sunset if you go in the evening. I also always visit the High Line, which is a 1.45-mile long park created on an elevated section of a disused railway. It’s the perfect spot for an afternoon or evening stroll and there are benches along the way so you can stop and take in the stunning views of the Hudson River.
Where should I eat?
El Quinto Pino
A brilliant tapas bar! It has an exhaustive tapas menu that runs until 1am making it a perfect after hours haunt for drinks or a full Iberian spread. Try the tender shrimp floating in a garlicky sauce that’s been infused with ginger.
This is hands down my favourite restaurant in the city. It was the original trendsetter for serving clean, seasonal & local food to the masses. There is also a tapas style restaurant attached to it called ABC Cucina, and a massive home store where they sell incredible artisanal furniture and homeware.
This place does fantastic salads on the go and they have a few branches around the city. They create really beautiful salads using their concept of simple, seasonal and healthy food with everything made from scratch.
I love this place for breakfast or lunch. You can find great avocado and chili toast and baked eggs with harrissa on their menu and the coffee is very good too. A couple of doors up the road is the best juice bar in the city called Juice Press.
Mimi Chengs Dumplings
As you all know, I’m a big fan of dumplings and that’s all you will find at Mimi Chengs. Started by two sisters, they serve several different types of Chinese dumplings made from family recipes. I got the Reinvented Classic for the super reasonable price of $8 for 6 or $10 for 10. They make them by hand in front of you, which is fantastic to watch. They also always have a lovely seasonal lemonade on the menu.
You can’t come to New York and not have Italian food! This is one of my favorites in the city; it’s intimate with incredible food and atmosphere. It was opened by Mario Batali in 1999 and has been popular ever since, serving Roman dishes and an all-Italian wine list.
Russ and Daughters Cafe
Russ and Daughters is a New York institution. It originally started as a deli, which is still going in another location, serving smoked salmon and bagels to the masses. This café is a more refined version of your classic New York deli fare. It’s great for brunch but they also serve dinner and have a beautiful Art Deco bar.
Momofuku Noodle Bar
David Chang has been on the New York food scene for a while but Momofuku is still very popular with tourists and locals. There are now 9 different restaurants in New York but the Momofuku Noodle Bar is definitely my favourite. You can enjoy delicious house made noodles, and then pop to his ‘milk bar’ around the corner for dessert.
The Late Late Bar
This bar feels like being back in Ireland! It’s perfect for after or before dinner drinks as they serve artisanal whiskey cocktails as well as small plates. It’s owned by a Dubliner called James Morrisey so you know the atmosphere will be great!
The Spotted Pig
The Spotted Pig is New York’s answer to a Gastropub. It’s owned by British chef April Bloomfield, as well as Bono and Jay Z so definitely attracts a few celebs (apparently it’s Kanye’s favourite). The food is hearty and has a European influence; I always get the burger with shoestring fries.
Where should I shop?
This is my favourite food emporium. It’s great for shopping but also for lunch, Aperitivo or supper. It’s a shrine to the dolce vita world of food. The best Italian food, local artisan produce, and small eateries speckled around the store. There is also a fantastic beer garden on the roof!