Much like its people, New York City’s food scene is a smorgasbord of flavors—sometimes sweet, a little spicy, and always surprising. Having lived in the city for nearly 15 years, I’ve sampled the good, the bad, and the meh. From dirty water dogs and pizza slices to novelty items (remember cronuts?) and Michelin-star dishes, the cuisine of NYC is unlike any other in the world.
Of course, part of the appeal of the city’s culinary culture is that it’s constantly changing, but there are some staples that every foodie needs to try when visiting NYC. To help you fill your belly over three days, follow this 3-day itinerary that’s packed with good eats.
Expect warm, humid summers, cold, snowy winters and generally pleasant spring and fall.
If you only have time for one thing, make it Little Italy and Chinatown, two classic foodie neighborhoods.
Spend your first day in NYC exploring two of the city’s tourist-friendly historic neighborhoods—Chinatown and Little Italy. Located in Lower Manhattan, Chinatown offers a range of regional cuisines, including Cantonese, Shanghainese, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, and Malaysian. Here, you’ll find a buffet of soup dumplings, noodle dishes, stir-fries, and dim sum.
In neighboring Little Italy, dine at an old-school spot to discover Italian-American dishes such as chicken Marsala, spaghetti Bolognese, and brick-oven pie. And don’t forget to finish your meal with a cannoli or gelato. Then, head up to Houston Street to grab a seat at Katz’s Delicatessen and order a pastrami on rye.
Venture to Arthur Avenue, also known as the Bronx's Little Italy, for tried-and-true Italian-American restaurants and pastry shops, butchers, bakeries, delicatessens, and coffee shops. You'll be near Yankee Stadium, Bronx Zoo, and New York Botanical Garden. To get to Arthur Avenue, take the B, D, or 4 train to Fordham Road and walk about 20 minutes.
Finally, travel to Flushing, Queens, home of the city's “real” Chinatown. With one of the largest Chinese populations in the US, this neighborhood delivers with restaurants, bakeries, tea houses, and markets dishing out specialties such as Hong Kong–style street food and soup dumplings from regions across China. The 7 train takes you to Flushing from Midtown Manhattan.
Next, cross over to Brooklyn to dine at the legendary Peter Luger Steakhouse, chow down on Nathan’s hot dog in Coney Island, or grab a pie at Vinnie’s Pizzeria in Williamsburg. The borough is also the spot to discover the city's buzziest restaurants.