Insider's Guide to All-Day Grubbing in the Big Apple


New York City is known for its cuisine creations – world-renowned upscale dinner restaurants, brunch delights, and the invention of odd foods like the cronut (croissant meets doughnut) from Dominique Ansel in Soho, or Cheetos macarons from the Macaron Parlour downtown. But with so many choices, how can you possibly pick where to go? There's so much food, but so little time. To help with your decision, here is a complete guide to the best of the best for each type of meal (and yes, mid-day dessert is a meal).

Best "Healthy" Brunch - Bluestone Lane, multiple locations

This Australian-style cuisine brings beach to the city. Snack on delicious avocado toast while sipping on freshly brewed coffee, or be more adventurous and order the ratatouille baked eggs (I’ve never tried them but Yelp is obsessed). A personal favorite is the collective granola dish-- a decadent bowl of oats, coconut chips, nuts, citrus curd, fruit, and perfectly tangy Greek yogurt. Try to snag a seat outside and bask in the summer sun.

Best Boozy Brunch - Jack's Wife Frieda on Lafayette

Don't go to the one on Carmine Street. Location actually makes a difference here. For some reason, the one on Lafayette has slightly smoother drinks and better waffles. Only downside: the restaurant has far more lunch options than breakfast, making it more of a Blunch. The Mediterranean-inspired menu offers avocado toast, rosewater waffles with a tart yogurt, and fantastic fish options.

Best All-Out Brunch - Sarabeth's on Central Park South

Again, location is important. Go to the one near The Plaza Hotel—the ambiance is fantastic, it overlooks gorgeous Central Park, and celebrities often casually go there for a late afternoon weekend brunch. Anything on this menu is fantastic so you literally can't go wrong. It's just one paradise dish after the other. Plus who doesn’t want to make eyes at Leonardo DiCaprio while nibbling on a crab cake?!

Best Cheap Lunch on the Go - Lenwich, multiple locations

The sandwiches here are surprisingly good for a chain restaurant. All options are under $10, with delicious combinations like peppered turkey with avocado. Plus you'll get your meal in about 5 minutes thanks to the speedy staff.

Best Expensive Lunch - Katz Deli on East Houston

Only go here if you want to have the best pastrami in the world (and this is coming from someone who isn't really a pastrami fan). But beware: you will drop at least $30 here for a meal. The famed deli definitely cashes in on its reputation.

Best Mid-Day Sweet Treat - Rocco's on Bleecker Street

The Italian bakery offers an array of tantalizing treats from biscotti to cookies. Check out the profiterole cake – a grand display of cream puffs layered into cake form. Delicious.

Best Margarita - Blockheads on Third Avenue

This restaurant bar is open late which is always a plus, especially when it comes to booze. But the greatest invention they have is the Bulldog drink – a margarita with a huge Corona on top, pouring in gradually. Delicious, Mexican, and of course, intoxicating.

Best Pizza - Juliana's on Old Fulton Street

Not only does this famed pizza spot offer true Italian pizza (you will melt into the crust) but it overlooks gorgeous Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. It's worth the trek to DUMBO. Trust me.

Best Cheap Dinner - Burger Joint at The Meridian Hotel in Midtown

Only go to the burger joint at the Meridian Hotel. It is the original in every sense of the word: carved walls, defamed movie posters, and celebrity headshots. They only have burgers, fries, and shakes. Do you really need anything else?

Best Expensive Dinner - Keen's Steakhouse on West 36th Street

This decades-old establishment showcases the greatest food ever: steak. From a variety of cuts and sides, be prepared to spend at least $100 on an ideal complete meal. But the experience, from food to the restaurant's mob ties (a few FBI raids occurred over Keen's steak dinners), is priceless.

Best Late-Night Snack - Donut Pub on West 14th Street

The 24-hour donut haven offers thick, sweet creations like the birthday cake donut with frosting and cereal topping. With a classic diner setting and marble bar, the shop truly is a pub of sorts. The staff is friendly and fun. It's basically like a mini family with donuts, AKA: heaven.

Hopefully you'll have a chance to explore at least one of these New York restaurant gems. Or just go crazy and complete this roster of culinary masterpieces. Either way, you’ll definitely be leaving full, satisfied, and more in love with the Big Apple.