Take a Bite Out of the Big Apple

No trip to the Big Apple would be complete without experiencing the food that we associate with the city. Many of New York’s famous victuals arrived with various waves of immigrant communities over the years, and some were invented in the city itself. But wherever the food originated, it ultimately ended up taking on a New York accent. A tour of New York’s famous food will also take you to some of the city’s most famous, colourful and interesting neighbourhoods and boroughs. Are you ready? Let’s take a bite out of the Big Apple!

Go to the source of New York–style pizza­­

New York–style pizza is typically thin crust and hand-tossed, often sold by the large single slice. At Joe’s Pizza (7 Carmine St. in Greenwich Village) you’ll get the quintessential New York pizza slice, with uniform layers of cheese and tomato sauce, but the dough is soft enough so it can be folded in half to eat.

Some of the best pizza in the city comes from the original coal-oven parlours, where the ovens (200 degrees hotter than wood ovens) produce a crust with a superior texture. Lombardi’s (32 Spring St. in Nolita – “North of Little Italy”) is legendary for being the first pizzeria in the United States, having sold slices since 1897. Their White Pizza features a blend of ricotta, mozzarella and romano cheese, or for something a little out of the ordinary, try the fresh clam topping. Other original coal-oven parlours include Patsy’s (2287 First Avenue at 118th St.), John’s (278 Bleecker St.) and Totonno Pizzeria Napolitano (1524 Neptune Avenue in Brooklyn), but go to the original locations because the spin-off franchises don’t quite measure up.

And let’s not overlook the pizza in The Bronx. Full Moon Pizzeria (600 East 187th St. in Bronx’s Little Italy) is the place for you and your dining crew to go in this borough for an upscale slice with a crust that is thin and crispy supporting high-quality, fresh ingredients.


Search the city for the best NYC bagel

The perfect New York bagel must have a crispy and shiny exterior, but be chewy on the inside. New Yorkers will endlessly debate where to go for the best bagels, but you can’t go wrong if you seek out the legendary bagel and lox from Russ & Daughters (179 E Houston St). There’s no arguing with a family-run business (four generations now) that’s been serving the city for more than 100 years.

More than one overview of the New York bagel landscape has concluded that Absolute Bagel (2788 Broadway on the Upper West Side) is the #1 place in the city, serving hand-rolled and freshly boiled bagels that approach perfection. (By the way, from Absolute Bagel, it’s just a 5-minute jaunt up Broadway to Tom’s Restaurant, which was used for the exterior shots of the “Seinfeld” gang’s favourite eatery.)

Find heaven in an East Side deli

The New York deli is an institution in the city’s culinary culture, and it’s here you’ll find one of Gotham’s greatest contributions to the gastronomic world: the Pastrami sandwich. For many New Yorkers, heaven is defined as smoked pastrami piled inside two slices of rye bread, with a slathering of yellow mustard and pickles on the side. For the perfect pastrami, head straight to Katz’s Deli (205 East Houston St.). Katz’s has been around on the Lower East Side since 1888, and it’s where the famous “I’ll have what she’s having” scene was filmed in the movie When Harry Met Sally.

Go for a Coney Island Hot Dog

Don’t leave New York without chowing down on one of the city’s famous hot dogs, a natural-skinned, all-beef frank, usually topped with sauerkraut, sweet relish, onion sauce or mustard. Nathan’s Famous Frankfurters (1310 Surf Avenue in Brooklyn) is the home of the hot dog, originally conceived by German-born Charles Feltman on the Coney Island boardwalk where he was pushing his pie cart. In 1916, Feltman’s employee Nathan Handwerker started Nathan’s (originally a hot dog stand), where the world-renowned hot dog eating contest is held every 4th of July. Nathan’s covers the city with many locations and food trucks, so a tasty hot dog is never far away.


Chicken and waffles uptown in Harlem

It might seem an unlikely combination of eats, but chicken and waffles has become part of New York City’s foodscape since the dish originated at Wells’ Supper Club in Harlem in the 1930s or ’40s. As one story tells it, the uptown restaurants and jazz clubs tended to be bustling at around 2 a.m. At such an hour, nighthawks could be looking for either a late supper or an early breakfast. Chicken and waffles served both needs perfectly. If you head up to Harlem, try Red Rooster (310 Lenox Ave.

between 125th and 126th Streets) where award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson’s passion for food adds to the vibrancy of the neighbourhood. Order the fried chicken and waffles for two, which arrives as a whole herb-encrusted chicken with waffles and liver butter. Or try Harlem’s famous soul food restaurant Amy Ruth’s (113 West 116th St.) and be sure to order the gravy and mash on the side.


Meet up to go meatless in Queens

It’s not all about meat. There are many vegetarian and vegan options in the Big Apple, including some top-notch falafel. Head over the East River to Astoria in Queens where King of Falafel and Shawarma (3015 Broadway) will serve you their award-winning fare. Or try Taïm (“tasty” in Hebrew) in the West Village (222 Waverly Place) and also look for their food truck. Everything on their menu is strictly vegetarian and made using traditional Middle Eastern recipes with “a gourmet twist.” Or there’s Angelica Kitchen (300 East 12th St.), which serves up “organic plant-based cuisine” including kosher, vegan, organic, raw and gluten-free offerings.


Do you have any favourite food places in New York City? Let us know in the comments below!

One Response to “Take a Bite Out of the Big Apple”

  1. Geraldine McGurk December 16, 2016 at 9:28 am #

    I used my points to visit Whitehorse Yukon. My brother and niece were living there and I chose February to go visit, wanting to visit during there coldest period to see if I could tolerate a winter there. Wouldn’t you know it was the warmest winter on record.