Often called the food capital of the world, NYC is home to thousands of restaurants to suit every palette and fit every wallet. Whether you're craving fine dining, a new cultural experience, or a classic New York City pizza, you won't search for long before you find that perfect bite.
Of course, knowing where to go to find exactly what you're looking for helps quite a bit.
Haute Cuisine: $$$-$$$$
New York is home to a whole tribe of famous chefs. Their upscale restaurants litter the city, but are mostly situated in Manhattan. The Meatpacking District in particular houses a variety of high-end restaurants owned and operated by celebrity chefs. Favorites include Morimoto, Buddakan, and Craft.
Outside of Chelsea, you can find Le Bernadin, home of chef Eric Ripert. His cooking philosophy embraces the combination of pure flavor; Ripert pushes the limit of what you can accomplish with food with as little actual cooking as possible. Red Rooster in Harlem specializes in comfort foods brought to the next level of culinary excellence.
Mainstays like Delmonico's Steakhouse, 21 Club, The Four Seasons, and La Grenouille can be found all over Midtown. These restaurants have earned their place in the cultural consciousness through their long-standing dedication to good food that's worth the price. Surprisingly few have chosen to modernize their appearance, though many have updated their menus to reflect more contemporary palettes.
Other long-time contenders include Gramercy Tavern down in the Flatiron District, where you can enjoy an a la carte menu in either their rustic tavern or their fine dining room. There's also One if By Land, Two if By Sea tucked away in Greenwich Village, which serves up some truly classic fare.
Fun Dining: $$
You don't have to shell out the big bucks to get a bite with a bang. Saunter down to Bleecker Street for your pick of good eats. Dotted with Italian trattorias and quirky bakeries, Bleecker Street has as much character as it does good taste. Once you're done there, hop a short distance over to St. Marks Place for an adventure in culturally diverse cuisine.
While you're on Bleecker Street, make sure to stop by Magnolia Bakery. Their cupcakes are celebrated all over the city. Later on, you can compare it to the treats to be found at Spot Dessert Bar in St. Marks. Spot serves innovative sweets inspired by Japanese flavors and traditions. Their macarons are not to be missed.
Budget Treats: $
The best part about eating in New York is that it doesn't have to cost a fortune. Finding these budget-friendly eateries isn't as hard as you'd think, either. Travel to the neighborhoods where people actually live. Stay away from Midtown and scoot down to Chinatown for some delicious set menus that will fill your stomach for prices you won't believe you found on Manhattan. The cultural neighborhoods in Flushing are also to be explored, to the delight of your stomach and wallet.