if you could eat ANYWHERE in new york, where would you go?

foot long hot dog
With Kids, Hit Up Serendipity III : The Foot Long Hot Dog

Being asked, “If you could eat ANYWHERE in New York, where would you go?” is like asking me to plan a dream vacation. My mind slips into a state of bliss, a place superior to dreaming, and I begin to hopscotch my way across the city, touching off at the sweetest spots, for things as simple as cocoa and as complex as a twice baked upside-down Comté soufflé. So when a friend posed this question to a sea of Facebook friends, I felt it was my duty to step in and set things straight.

From her friends, she received the following recommendations:

“Lupa, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Hill, Lincoln, Peter Lugers.”
“Abc kitchen will not disappoint!!! Also, brown cafe on the lower east side- yummy!”
“Hotel griffou. My new best ever.”
“Luna Piena on the east side or Asia de Cuba”
“I’ll agree about Hotel Griffou and it’s nice to have a drink before or after in the bar area. Also Da Silvano, Morandi or Lupa for Italian, Old Homestead for Steaks.”
“Da Silvano is still my favorite! Bar Pitti, Il Buco, Little Owl, Blue Ribbon and Prune are all great too!”
“Shake Shack!”

Then another question popped into the conversation, revealing that the diner in question would be eating with his lawyers and wanted an “awesome restaurant he hasn’t been to.” And all I’m thinking is Shake Shack?! Look at the cow jump over the over-rated loon.

Here is where I elbowed my way into the conversation: Literally, this is what I wrote on facebook

I am a foodie. I know my shit. And these Facebook friends of yours, and this is said with love, have no idea what the concept of “anywhere” is. Gramercy Tavern is good for lunch, in the bar area. Sit at the bar, even better.

At Lupa you’ll basically get “country” Italian, like a lamb shank that kinda melts away in your mouth, but it’s nowhere I’d send someone.

Asia de Cuba is outdated; not even a consideration.

I haven’t been to Hotel Griffou.

Da Silvano is a no. Know why? It’s not special. It’s casual. It’s not memorable (sorry, but I’ve been several times and I can’t remember what we ordered, only that I sat beside Dr. Phil).

Also, sorry, but Little Owl and Prune are a poor man’s special. Little Owl is great for cocktails, though.

Blue Ribbon, however, is consistently good.

I would go to Balthazar for breakfast or brunch (goat cheese onion tart, or eggs with soldiers for breakfast).

The Meatball Shop for lunch (Thank you Carole for the tip about the homemade ice cream sandwiches), but it’s on Stanton Street, which is a hike and a half.

Where would I, personally, go if I could go anywhere when someone else is paying? Anything by Alain Ducasse. I’d try Benoit or Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis hotel. Also, you can never, ever go wrong with Gotham Bar & Grill. It’s an old standby.

Anything by Joel Robuchon, namely, L’Atelier at The Four Seasons.

Or if he wants chic, hip, people watching, Minetta Tavern. And if he’s jonesing for Italian, he should consider Danny M’s new Maialino at Gramercy Park Hotel or Sorella on Allan St.

And, if anyone suggests Má Pêche, they’re not insane, but they’re not on the mark, either. You don’t go there if you’re looking for an “anywhere meal.”

The restaurants I’d most like to go, personally, are Sho Shaun Hergatt and Aldea (I haven’t been to either yet). Stuck up rant over. Smooches.



  1. Do yourself a favor and get thee to 11 Madison Park, by all means.
    Momofuku Ko, if you can get in. Not good for groups though.
    Artisanal, for the cheese counter.

    In Park Slope, Brooklyn: Stone Park Cafe, especially for brunch. Al Di La for dinner.

  2. That would have been a nice response if it hadn’t started out with such a condescending tone.

  3. I agree! So pretentious! What makes Stephanie the ultimate foodie who knows her shit? Blech!

  4. I don’t think the response is condescending. It’s a New Yorkers response.
    Shake Shack is a terrible place to recommend – she is right.

  5. So between Benoit, L’Atelier and Sho Shaun which would you pick for a romantic date night?

    Also, what are some of your favourite NYC neighbourhoods to walk around – I’m looking for a fun afternoon activity this weekend when I visit NYC.


  6. lol i love the response. If she hadn’t started it the way she did people would’ve taken it as an invite to debate.

  7. As a native New Yorker and a foodie myself I have to agree with those above who said SK’s response was condescending. But worse, it was very limited in it’s scope and knowledge of great New York food and very skewed to a particular SORT of diner. Of course she does know her audience but…

    Here is MY very subjective list: Per Se is by far the best dining experience I have ever had in NY and maybe anywhere. Momofuku Ko is also amazing. French bistros are a dime a dozen in this city and I wouldn’t recommend one as “special” unless I was talking about Le Relais de Venise which only serves one thing: steak frites. It’s good and sometimes great but you go for the experience – it’s fun and kitschy. Italian is also ubiquitous here but I love Locanda Verde. Is it a once in a lifetime place? Nope, but I’d recommend it highly. Minetta Tavern is where my parents met and now a place where PR girls go because they can get in. The food is average. I’d recommend Grimaldi’s for pizza – I think it’s the best ever since Lombardi’s went full on tourist. Little Owl is terrific – I’m not sure what Stephanie was talking about with the drinks, though – it’s far too tiny to have an enjoyable experience at the bar. It’s special because it’s a perfect little west village gem and a great place for a romantic date. I’m also a Gramercy Tavern girl – I dine at the bar probably once a week and it very rarely disappoints. My favorite time there is around 4pm on a Sunday in the late fall – magical! And finally, because Stephanie has that uptown problem she didn’t even recognize Brooklyn. Amazing restaurants in Brooklyn these days – far too many to name here but my favorite is Marlow & Sons. Interesting, creative and adventurous farm to table. Very much worth the trip across the bridge – unless you fancy yourself some sort of Carrie Bradshaw.

    1. Author

      Per Se, agreed. I don’t know how I forgot Per Se. You are right.
      Grimaldi’s, though, I’ve got to take exception. Because it’s SOGGY, even when you ask for it well-done or “crispy.” So, that’s my issue with Grimaldi’s. Though, have you tried the EDDIE’S PIZZA TRUCK? Holy shitballs. You must. I favor the little bits of fried eggplant as a topping. I love this pizza because it is at once JUICY, yet it’s still CRISPY, which to me is the very God of pizza. I’m psyched to try Locanda Verde. And I didn’t mean to drink the drinks at the bar of Little Owl, but that they have good cocktails, wherever you sit. As for Brooklyn, I’ll admit that I haven’t had the opportunity to stray very far from Smith Street. I’ve eaten in Brooklyn only a dozen times, so I’m no expert, though before hitting it again, I’d devour this Brooklyn Foodie Book.

    2. I have to wildly disagree about Grimaldi’s. It’s super overrated. Best pizza in the universe is DiFara’s on Ave. J in Brooklyn but if you don’t have 4 hours to wait around and watch a very old man make pizza (and he’s the only one in the place who touches the pizza) then it’s not for you. Lucali in Brooklyn is also great, as is L&B Spumoni Gardens for squares. In Manhattan best pizza is at Artichoke on 14th st though they’ve been resting on their laurels a bit lately.

      Also have to disagree about Minetta. It’s impossible to get in because the food is so great. Best burger I’ve ever had and the bone marrow is unforgettable (and I don’t normally eat bone marrow).

  8. You set a high bar! I live in New York and have a lot of the best food that I or a loved one prepare (seriously), but going out you want food that is made with love. In my experience that means 11 Madison, Frankie’s 457, Ted and Honey, Pipa, Del Frisco’s, Porchetta (after a bottle), a plain slice, La Mela in Little Italy, and Tanoreen in Brooklyn (let me know as I have some very nice girlfriends dying to go. ) Also, tell me if you find great fried chicken in New York. Good luck! Eating is so fun.

  9. If you were my FB friend and insulted my friends with such an obnoxious opening comment, I would immediately delete your post. Said with love my ass. You used that as a disclaimer to be rude. That’s JMHO. YMMV. See how that doesn’t change a thing?

    1. Author

      Sadly my sweet sassy voice does not come along with my condescending asshole. I actually adore condescending people, especially when it involves food. They make me laugh. I don’t take myself too seriously, so I just (wrongly) assume that no one else will take my asshole-ness to heart. In other words, it’s something I’d say to my closest friends and family, that they don’t know jack about food… even if one were a chef, I’d say so. Because it’s the way I talk, all macho nacho.

  10. Hotel Griffou is pretty good, one of those places that is better late night (think Minetta Tavern but not as delicious and easier to get in). I agree that most of the places suggested to your friend were kind of eh (Shake Shack is soooo eh, much prefer Burger Joint, especially as a New Yorkish experience) and also agree it’s ok to be obnoxious about food.

    You’re missing a big one on your list, Stephanie, (and, sidenote: I trust your restaurant recommendations after reading your recommendation of Sfoglia years ago and LOVING it), and that’s Marea. If you haven’t been yet it should be your first stop when you’re next in NY.

  11. Nope, I have to respectfully disagree. While DiFara’s is good I prefer Grimaldi’s. As for Artichoke: No. I live two blocks away and it really isn’t all that. First, the slices are ridiculously huge – no one needs to eat that much pizza. Second, it’s novelty pizza – good every once in a while but it gets old.

    The Minetta burger is good but the rest of the menu is meh – there are so many other places that are better. And don’t kid yourself, it’s impossible to get in because it’s a scene – the last time I was there I sat next to George Clooney.

  12. Just wanted to say we just went to Aldea for my husband’s birthday and it was delicious! Great food, good ambience. Not too fancy or stuck up, but definitely a nice restaurant with a sleek decor. I highly recommend!

  13. For sentimental reasons I adore E.A.T. Cafe on Madison – to be followed immediately with hours-long browsing/buying next door at E.A.T. Gifts. Love this combo for a fun afternoon, and good with kids.

  14. Love all of this, NYC restaurants make my mouth water.

    Hands down the best new (new to me, its been here over a year though I think) restaurant I’ve been to in a long while is ABC Kitchen. The Kombucha Squash Toast is unbelievably delicious. And it is one of the most beautiful dining spaces too.

    Locanda Verde, double yum.

    If you want a casual (very) low key and chill lunch spot try Grey Dog (Univ. Location)…amazing sandwich list on homemade bread worthy of finishing.

    Lancmarc in Time Warner is great too, the Gruyere Cheeseburger is great (although how could it not be).

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