Believe it or not, there’s actually more to NYC cuisine than dollar pizza and halal food. Yes, we all know how tempting it is to eat Artichoke pizza every day of the week, but if you’re blessed enough to be living in New Yawk, it’s about time you widen your culinary horizons. From spicy miso ramen to cheeseburger mac and cheese, here are 10 sexy food spots in NYC that you need to hit up!
1. Bao Haus
I remember the first time I stepped into Bao Haus, intrigued by the blasting hip hop music coming from this tiny dark hole in the wall in the East Village. Taiwanese food and hip hop is a combination I never thought I’d encounter, but Bao Haus was quick to prove me wrong. First off, their interior décor is spunky AF, featuring a mural of old-school polaroid pics and graffiti-like writing on the wall. On top of that, if you’ve never had a Taiwanese steamed bun (bao), your taste buds are about to be shooketh. These savory bread rolls come with fillings ranging from fried fish, crispy tofu, to even fried chicken.
2. Miss Lily’s Avenue A
Is it a bar? Is it a club? Is it a restaurant? I’m not really sure. One thing I am sure of though is the fact that this place gets PACKED on the weekends, and you can probably hear their dancehall from Avenue B. Miss Lilys is an East Village staple known for their jerk chicken and Caribbean rum. This is the perfect place to get smacked AND eat your heart out.
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Jerk Fest Mondays are back! All you can eat Jerk Chicken and Jerk Pork with unlimited Jerk Corn & Watermelon Salad for only $25. Forward out to either location for this tasty Jamaican treat from 6pm to close. #misslilysjerkfest #jamaicanfood #misslilys #jerkfestmondays #riceandpeas #jerkcorn #jerkpork #jerkchicken #jereverything #jerkshack #nyclunch #foodie #rumbar #nycdinner #sohoeats 📷: @mausfilms
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3. Mac Bar
If you’re obsessed with mac and cheese like I am, you most likely live, breathe, and eat at Mac Bar whenever you get the chance. This mac and cheese specialty shop is literally always packed to the gods whenever I come in, and wait times are a guaranteed 20 minutes no matter what you order. Nonetheless, this spot is definitely worth visiting. Their menu ranges from mac and cheese delicacies including cheeseburger mac and cheese, Mayan chipotle mac and cheese, to even lobster mac and duck confit mac!
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Did you know it’s #nationallefthanders day?! What better way to celebrate than with a fork full of cheesy goodness in hand?! 🍽🧀✨ . . #forkyeah #cheesepull #macncheese #cheesy #macbar #feedyoursoul #lefthanders #sohoeats #nyceats #nyceatery #devourpower #yum #yummy #foodie #foodporn #food #classic #goodeats
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4. Empanada Mama
The esteemed Empanada Mama- which even A$AP Mob shouted out in their song Bahamas– has long been a coveted staple in LES cuisine. They have every and any empanada combination you can think of. Shrimp and scallops in your empanada? Try the Viagra. Feeling like a Cuban sandwich? They have a Cuban Sammy empanada. Good ol’ rice and beans? They got that too. Their Reggaetón empanada is a solid hit too.
5. Hotel Tortuga
Burrito lovers, get ready to flock here. The name might throw you off a little, but Hotel Tortuga is actually a haven to Mexican deliciousness. This tiny joint is hidden in the East Village on 2nd avenue and 14st, and boasts a large selection of Mexican staples including burritos, tacos, huevos rancheros, enchiladas, black bean soup, and more. The best part about this place is that it’s vegetarian and vegan friendly, so you can substitute any of their items with vegan cheese, sour cream, tempeh or tofu.
6. Minca Ramen
My favorite ramen place (RIP Kambi Ramen) sadly shut down this year. My sorrow was short-lived, however, when I found out that its sister restaurant Minca Ramen has the exact same menu. The spicy miso ramen is to die for, and the gyoza dumplings are perfectly crisp and satisfying.
7. By Chloe
Vegans, this place is one of the food spots in NYC for you. Often called the Shake Shack of vegan restaurants, By Chloe is plant-based heaven and has everything from burgers, nachos, salads, pasta, pancakes and MORE! They also have a specialty sweets shop (SWEETS by Chloe) that has every vegan delight and treat you can think of. Both of these shops are located in SoHo!
8. Sweet Chick
Classic fried chicken and waffles will never get old. Sweet Chick in Williamsburg might have the most annoying hour long waits on any given day, but honestly, it’s worth it. Beyond their fried chicken and waffles, they have hush puppies, shrimp and grits, grilled octopus, and even vegetarian fried chicken. Having actually tried this vegetarian chicken, I can attest to the fact that it does indeed taste like real chicken. This is one of the best food spots in NYC!
9. Sao Mai
An underrated gem, Sao Mai is a Vietnamese joint in the East Village that has the best Banh-Mi sandwich you will ever taste in your life. If you’re not really a sandwich person, their Pho is delicious too. And don’t forget to try their spring rolls and Vietnamese iced coffee! Yum.
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Sao Mai — NYC Pho Chay with Beef Broth : tofu, carrot, onion, straw mushroom, broccoli, rice noodle, cilantro, basil . . @snugglekittens.portfolio #honoraryramen #pho #ramen #noodles #soup #nitamago #menma #chashu #wakame #miso #tonkotsu #shio #shoyu #tantan #kotteri #assari #benishoga #mayu #mabo #tobanjan #kaedamaplease #yelpeatsnyc #yelpbrooklyn #ramennoodles #yum #forkyeah #snugglekittenseats #🍜
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10. Vanessa’s Dumplings
Can you tell I like to hang out around 14 street? For any and all things dumpling-related, Vanessa’s Dumplings is the place to be. First off, their menu is incredibly cheap ($2.49 for 4 vegetable dumplings!), and most importantly, TASTY. My favorite items to get here are the steamed vegetable dumplings and the sesame pancake with grilled tofu and kimchi. Food spots in NYC like this are the best. Try it out, you’ll thank me later.