Where we ate in NYC. (And a few more details.)

Where we ate in NYC. (And a few more details.)

I’ve gotten a ton of requests for the specifics on our NYC visit—especially for food options—so here goes:

We stayed in the Village at The Larchmont, so our recommendations skew towards that part of town. (We’re keeping The Library Hotel at Madison & 41st in mind for our next trip.)

And while NYC has plenty of world-class restaurants, we didn’t visit them. On this trip we were looking for great places with a neighborhood feel that didn’t take hours and didn’t cost a fortune.


824 W. Broadway (near Union Square, across the street from The Strand)

This neighborhood coffee shop has reliable wi-fi and you can’t beat the location (at least not if you’re a book lover.)

Where we ate in NYC.

30 W. 8th Street (by Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village)

This is the most beautiful coffee shop I’ve ever been in—wood and light and card catalog-style storage. It’s not the best coffee I’ve ever had, but it’s very good and the location—between Washington Square and the train—is fantastic.

1 Rockefeller Plaza

This location is a little tricky to find: it’s below ground in the Rockefeller shopping concourse. The coffee is fantastic. No dining in the shop (read: it’s all paper cups) but there’s plenty of seating nearby.

500 Sixth Avenue (Greenwich Village)

A bagel place may not be what springs to mind when you’re looking for great coffee, but the Counter Culture Coffee they serve here is terrific.


101 Saint Marks Place (East Village)

This cozy restaurant serves Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine. Great atmosphere—sit outside if the weather is nice.

148 Hester Street (Chinatown)

We never would have found this place without a recommendation. This inexpensive Hong Kong style restaurant has a vast menu (all in Chinese—English speakers can order by pictures) and a great variety of dim sum. Cash only, be prepared to share a table.

Where we ate in NYC

470 Sixth Avenue (Greenwich Village)

A hip, classic Mexican place with a neighborhood vibe. Pretty interior, great atmosphere.

90 University Place (Greenwich Village)

This bustling eatery right by NYU makes easy, affordable food—sandwiches, salads, burgers, tacos. It’s an energetic, casual environment: a hostess seats you, but you order your own food at the bar.

Where we ate in NYC

359 Columbus Avenue (Upper West Side)

This Upper West Side landmark is beautiful (think white lines and glass stemware) but not stuffy. The menu proclaims they serve inventive Mediterranean cuisine, but we went for a wonderful, relaxing brunch. Notable: I drank the most expensive glass of wine I’ve had in my life—or at least the most expensive that I’ve ever paid for myself—while we waited for a table. (Worth it: we were wiped out from Book Con and the friendly bartender gave us a few tastings before we settled on our order.)


Where we ate in NYC

18 East 16th Street (Union Square)

I’m so glad we stumbled upon this little bakery on a side street right off Union Square. They’re known for their chocolate babka, but we headed to the café in the back for morning coffee and adorable European-style breakfast sandwiches. Eat-in or takeaway; very low-key. Lots of families dropped in on the Sunday morning we visited.

279 Church Street

A classic American bakery and café specializing in classic American baked goods. We stopped in for delicious sandwiches and iced coffees and were thrilled to discover they had Stumptown’s hard-to-find Nitro coffee on tap.


The Strand Bookstore NYC

828 Broadway (near Union Square)

We visited several bookstores in NYC and this is the one worth writing home about. Book lovers could spend hours here (and many do). A true literary destination.

We rented bikes from Bike and Roll New York City (many locations; we visited the one by Tavern on the Green in Central Park). For $14/hour ($8/hour for kids) we could cover a lot more ground than we ever could on foot (although bikes are limited to the main paths). Highly recommended.

I’d love to hear YOUR NYC favorites. (I’m making a list for next time, which can’t come soon enough.)

P.S. The satisficer’s guide to NYC, and making myself make the effort.

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16 comments | Comment


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  1. Jillian Kay says:

    I just went to NYC for work (first time I’ve been in almost 20 years!) It took all my willpower to make it through. Knowing I hadn’t been there my well meaning work buddies took me through Times Square. Oh boy. Crowds are not my thing, and there was just so much going on. Your list seems much more my speed. Since they informed me there will be a next time I’ll keep it for reference.
    We ate at Becco and the food was great, and the prices were in line with something I would pay on my own dime for a special occasion. Work paid for this trip but if by some weird happenstance I ever find myself on a trip to NYC with my husband I would eat there. The pasta was amazing, and the desserts were the best part (as they should be.)
    The next morning I was so rattled that even though I could have explored for a few hours on my own, I chose to head to the airport with my co-workers who had an earlier flight. I sat in LGA for 3 hours with a book – the new Sally Ride biography. It’s a really good book, but next time I vow to be more brave!

    • Erin says:

      I was in NYC for work (a while back now) and had such a similar experience. We stayed in Times Square and it was almost more than I could handle. We too ended up at Becco and it was so good. The caesar salad was amazing and I don’t normally like caesar salad. I found Times Square was much better on a weekday and when I was by myself, rather than trying to keep up with a group.

  2. Melissa D says:

    A couple of weeks ago we stayed in the Algonquin Hotel on 44th, near Times Square. Small but lovely, well-appointed rooms. The ghost of Dorothy Parker approves.
    – If you haven’t trekked over to Argosy (Rare and Old Books, Maps & Prints, closed on Saturdays), do it. I’m still too timid to move beyond the front room, but found lots of fun books to buy. Heaven. 116 E. 59th St.
    – Brunch at Cookshop (156 10th Ave) was so good. Worth being there when it opened. They have great champagne cocktails!
    – I had the best doughnut EVER at Doughnut Plant, the tres leches one. Don’t fidget over the menu, just get the tres leches. (I got 6 different ones and ate them all within 24 hrs but that one is the best. Lots of locations and they deliver.)
    – I hid out from the heat with a friend in the Children’s Room of the NY Public Library. Sadly the stuffed Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Roo and Eeyore were on loan elsewhere, but in its place was PLTravers’s parrot-headed umbrella!

    I have to say the best thing about growing a bit older is having money to splurge on taxis and good alcohol. 🙂

    • Anne says:

      When you said “Algonquin” my mind jumped to Dorothy Parker before I got to that part! Glad we both know she’s smiling down on you.

      I’m saving your places for next time. 🙂

  3. donna says:

    OH! Do you remember the scene where Jo discovers Amy is heading off to Europe and she replies “MY Europe”???
    That is how I feel whenever ANYONE heads off to the best city in the world…”MY New York???”
    I was born and raised in Brooklyn…moved to PA when I was 33, had 4 kids 7 and under, and the hubby and I were blinded by the trees and wide open spaces.
    The kids are nearly grown and the 2 oldest moved back to NY! My son actually works in the Village at “New York Video and Games”, lives in Brooklyn while my daughter lives in Manhattan! I live vicariously through them and my cyber friends that make visits there…I miss is SO much!
    So glad you seemed to have a great time. The hotel looks like a nice little place…did you post about that experience and I missed it??? The rooms in NY hotel are so small, right? But hey, what do you really need in the city that never sleeps but a bed, a toilet, and a shower….hmmmm….maybe a good lock on the door :).
    Looking forward to hearing more of your experience!

  4. Alyssa says:

    I have made 2 trips to NYC from the west coast. One with my husband and one with my teenage daughters. Both times we went to Little Italy because my Grandma was born there- took pics of the apartment she was born in, so that is really special to us. We went to Ferraro’s Espresso there and ate amazing gelato. Both times found great Italian food, but I don’t remember the name of the restaurants. Very different experience going in the summer vs. winter. My highlight with the girls was seeing The Lion King and eating bagels in Times Square each morning. And we had to go to “Mood”-where the Project Runway designers shop, The Met and the American Girls store. Also enjoyed the food in Koreatown. I would go back anytime!

    • Anne says:

      I’ve only been to New York in the warmer months and am very curious about what a winter trip would be like. Hope to find out one day!

  5. Danielle says:

    We spent a weekend in NYC when a girlfriend of mine was getting her master’s degree there. It was actually a degree in food science, so her recommendations for eating in NYC were awesome. We had dim sum at Jing Fong, which we also would not have been able to find if we hadn’t known about it. Prince Street Cafe and Catering gave us a delicious breakfast and La Columbe was THE place for coffee in our opinion. Cafe Habana was great for Cuban food (although the wait was long) and for high dining we went to Union Square Cafe, which was worth every penny. Yum. I want to go back!

  6. My daughter and I spent a weekend together in NYC in January. One night, as part of my Christmas present, she took me to Buvette. Oh my! Loved it! We also found an amazing Mexican place in the West Village called Ofrenda. She spends a lot of time in NYC on business and has been back to Ofrenda many times with coworkers. Everyone loves it!

  7. Lee Ann says:

    Thank you for posting this list! I’m making a really quick trip to New York in July, and I think we’ll stay at the Larchmont if I end up having a free night while we’re there.

  8. Heather says:

    I love reading your list of favorite spots, and I will reference this the next time we make it to NYC! The Bean, Stumptown Coffee, and the Strand are on my list for a day well spent! (Yes, one whole day with coffee and books–YUM.) For your next trip, I highly recommend Barrio Chino, 253 Broome St.–best margaritas, homemade guacamole, and incredible chicken enchiladas all in a little hole-in-the-wall spot. Why not eat Mexican food in Chinatown?! Go early because the few tables fill up fast! If you ever wander out into Queens, I recommend SriPraPhai, a wonderful and unassuming Thai restaurant located at 6413 39th Ave
    Woodside, NY. (Take the 7 from Manhattan.) Inside is a charming patio, making me feel like I was eating in another corner of the world. And in Queens, you kind of are! 🙂

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