Travel Club: New York foodie guide

A culinary trip to the city that never sleeps – and never stops serving food!

Used to describe something you can eat.

Countless; so many you couldn’t count them.

A strong desire for something, usually food.

– Soft, light and full of air; like a cloud or candyfloss.

Something fantastic which not many people know about.

Difficult to please; must choose exactly what they want.

An East Asian dish where a hot pot of soup is the base for other ingredients to be added and cooked.

Extremely impressive or surprising.

By Laura Martín

Planning a trip can be both exciting and extremely stressful. If you are planning on going to New York, I’m telling you, you’ll find yourself going from one state to the other. It was a personal dream of mine to visit the world’s most famous city, and for the majority of the time I was extremely excited checking for flights, a hotel and things to do, but NYC is pricy and it is so big you end up doubting every single one of your decisions. In the end I opted to stop worrying, just relax and enjoy the idea of visiting the big apple.

Being a bit of a foodie, I found myself daydreaming of American meals, interesting restaurants and edible curiosities, so I planned most of my visits around where to eat after. The restaurants and cafes you end up going to will always depend on your budget, taste and location when hunger strikes, so I had lots of choices saved up on Google. You’ll find endless blogs and videos on YouTube with the most famous, touristy and popular places, but I wanted to get a feel of where New Yorkers go to fill their bellies, and I was pretty successful in my research because we were surrounded by locals in almost every place we went to.

A day in New York needs to start with an amazing breakfast – you will need the energy to survive a day of 10 hours walking, sightseeing, lining up and museum visiting. There were two typical American breakfasts I wanted to have, and on our first morning in the city I succumbed to my first craving: Eggs Benedict. They are normally linked to brunch, but eggs are a key piece of most breakfasts, so go ahead if you want to have them first thing in the morning. The dish was created at the Waldorf Hotel in NYC especially for a Wall Street broker who wanted to fight a hangover, and it took his name. It consists of an English muffin, 2 poached eggs, Canadian bacon & hollandaise. After seeing them in so many TV shows, and knowing it had been created in the city, I patiently waited to have them there for the first time. I ordered them at Nice Matin (79th & Amsterdam), and they came with potatoes maison on the side.

The second breakfast dish I didn’t want to miss on was Pancakes! My favourites were the Nutella Pancakes at Viand Cafe (2130 Broadway), with bananas, walnuts & whipped cream. It was a huge serving of cake-like fluffy pancakes, it was hard to believe they were really made in a pan. I also had chocolate chip pancakes at Metro Diner (2641 Broadway), but they weren’t as light as the other ones, even though they were delicious. Both restaurants look like a movie location, as they have booths and cheerful staff, so worth the visit!

When it comes to lunch and dinner options, New York has way too much to offer! There’s something for everyone. When looking for where to go, I knew I wanted to taste some of America’s classic dishes and also something a bit more international. New York’s history and culinary tradition were built from immigration and a mix of flavours from different cultures, so make sure to try food from around the world.

Going to New York and not eating a Hamburger is like going to Valencia and not having a Paella. That’s why my first recommended stop is the Burger Joint in Le Parker Meridien hotel (57th Street& 6th Ave). So, if you want to have one of the best burgers in town, nothing better than this hidden gem inside a five star hotel. Nothing in the hotel reveals Burger Joint’s existence, which is hidden behind velvet curtains. Just enter the hotel lobby, and look for the neon sign. What’s waiting inside is a very small joint with an open kitchen and delicious burgers. Trust me. One of the best I’ve ever had. If you can’t decide, just order it with “the works” (all their toppings), and if you are picky, make sure you know what to order before you get to the counter. They are very friendly and will help you, but they aren’t big fans of lost tourists, as they have large local clientele.

If you are looking for a more easy-going, fast food type burger, I recommend any of the Shake Shack restaurants you’ll find around the city. They have quality meat and their burgers are just addictive. If you are looking for an amazing view once you are done with your meal, go to the one in Dumbo (1 Old Fulton St, Brooklyn).

New Yorkers don’t normally have a long lunch break, so they tend to eat everything inside a bread bun. But this gets classy if you decide to visit Luke’s Lobster (several locations, I visited the one on 242 E 81stafter a morning at the MET museum) where you can savour a Lobster sandwich. It might sound strange, but it was very good – perfectly cooked, very nice seasoning and a buttery bun. I wish I could have one right now.

I am not a fan of going places just because they are famous, but I didn’t want to leave NYC without having had some Pastrami and Brisket. As a huge 'The marvellous Mrs. Maisel' fan, I searched the net for one of the Jewish Delicatessen she visits and, even though the one that appears on the show closed years ago, everyone seemed to recommend Katz’s Delicatessen (205 East Houston Street), known for the most famous scene in 'When Harry met Sally'. It gets crowded and you might have to wait in line (we were lucky and only had to wait 25 minutes to be seated), but it’ll be worth it! The sandwiches are huge, so if you are not into massive portions, ask for half.

With Mexico so close by (compared to Barcelona, obviously), I just knew we had to eat some tacos whilst in New York. After a midday visit to the Top of The Rock - one of the most memorable moments of my trip, but that’s another story -, we ate at Los Tacos No 1 (43rd St & 7th Ave, close to Times Square). They were definitely the best tacos I have ever had. They don’t have many options, but the ones they do, they’ve mastered. The cooks are all Mexican and they prepare your tacos right in front of you. We had the ones with Carne asada and Adobada and they were perfectly seasoned, beautifully cooked and deliciously tasty. You can have them as Quesadillas and, obviously, have some Chips with Guacamole on the side. My mouth is watering all over again just thinking about it.

Speaking about incredible taste, I can’t leave out of this article one of the best Japanese restaurants I have ever been to in my life (and trust me, I’ve eaten a lot of Japanese food over the years). Craving some sushi we ended up having dinner at Ootoya (141 W 41st St& Broadway), surrounded by Asian people and eating the most amazing Beef Sukiyaki and Salmon sushi ever, served with a Teishoku set, traditional style. The beef hot pot had a very intense flavour, the meat would melt in your mouth and the vegetables were elevated by the delicious broth. The sushi was presented in three different ways, the best one being the one served seared with a mayonnaise and basil sauce. It was the most expensive meal we had in the city, but so worth it!

I struggled choosing what places to feature here, as we did have good food everywhere we went. I honestly thought food would end up being just OK – I never imagined I would have such an astonishing culinary experience in New York.

Let me know if you have been to any of these restaurants or if you saved any of them for future trips to the city of cities! Just send an e-mail to magazine@whatsup.es. I hope I didn’t make you too hungry... my stomach just roared!

About Laura Martín
I am a proud Barcelona girl that has loved English for as long as my memory goes back. I am the Content Manager at What's Up! and I am in charge of this magazine you are reading right now. I love traveling, food (both eating and cooking), books and dancing at the gym. I don't like bicycles and I don't trust people that laugh too much. If you wish to take a look, here's a link to my Instagram account, where you can see my NYC pictures and stories!

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