LATEST REVISION 16 MAY 2019
Below you will find a selection of my (Hayden Quinn) favourite spots, hidden gems and best eats in New York City.
This page, map and information will be constantly updated as new trips take place and more hot tips come in from our friends, plus you guys (if you have anything you think MUST be on the list, send me a DM on Instagram!) so be sure to check back frequently and share with your friends…
NEW YORK CITY
The Fly (549 Classon Ave, Brooklyn) this was a suggestion from @megandveg and to be honest, when I saw the pics on her instagram, all I wanted to do was dive through the phone and eat the amazing looking roast chicken she posted! The Fly describes itself as “a chicken bar with wine, cocktails and beer”.
Ugly Baby (407 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY) - The newest (2018) hotspot for epic south east Asian food. Trendy, hip and amazing vibe. P.s. the food is spicy hot!!!!
Win Son (159 Graham Ave, Brooklyn NY) - Taiwan meets Brooklyn, two of my fav places coming together. Lots of fun, funky Asian. Cold beer, flavourful food.
Lucy’s Vietnamese Kitchen (262 Irving Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11237) - I have claimed this place as the best food I have ever eaten in NYC. Its no joke. Best Banh Mi I have ever eaten. Its a hole in the wall place. Does epic pho as well.
Ba Xuyen (Queens – I think) best banh mi you will eat (other than lucy’s kitchen – above)
Momo Sushi Shack (43 Bogart St, Brooklyn, NY 11206, United States) (right next door to Roberta’s – see below) - Love this place. It’s a staple for me when in Brooklyn. Great sake. Epic sushi. Fun communal tables.
Tina's Diner (1002 Flushing Ave, corner of Flushing and Wilson, Bushwick ) - This place is a bushwick institution, a place open from 3pm to 3am, the spot where you go when there are no more spots to go. super cheap, real diner food. eat too much you might get a little large, but nothing could be better after a few beers the night before for a late "breakfast" the day after. with everything on the menu from a $2 egg and cheese roll, to hot cakes, to home fries. I went for the club sandwich, as I think you can judge any venue, wether it be pub, diner or 5 star hotel by its chicken club sandwich. And to use the words of my good friend Harry, "the club was balls!" [read: good!] uncomfortable stools, no frills service and coffee that has been dripping for hours just adds to the whole experience.
fette sau bbq (354 Metropolitan Ave, between Havenmeyer and Roebling, Williamsburg) - all i can say about this place is: go there and eat! do it. you will not be disappointed. probably not for the non meat lovers. definitely for those who love pork, love cider and dont mind eating on park benches, in a lane, off prison trays. perfect to me. out there for some. we ate a lot.
Hometown Bar-B-Que (454 Van Brut St, Brooklyn NY) - This has been claimed to be the best BBQ going, worth a visit if you like the meat sweats!!!
Momofuku Milk Bar (382 Metropolitan Ave, at Havemeyer St, Williamsburg) - David Chang and his team have outdone themselves here. Institution for cookies and “cereal milk icecream”.
The Meat Hook in Brooklyn - Sick butcher, heaps of cooking supplies.
Roberta’s (Brooklyn) famous pizza joint. Bit of an institution now.
Cafe Mogador (Brooklyn) - Good for breakfast/brunch.
Maison Premiere (Williamsburg)
Torrisi (of course)
Odd Fellow’s Ice-cream (East Village and Williamsburg) - A friends place. Really good. They just did a collaboration with Connoisseur Icecream here in Australia.
Battersby: Yes, this one is in Brooklyn, but it’s by two crazy guys who own and cook and it’s a bit anything goes. It’s a destination, neighbourhood restaurant and their food is off the charts. If I remember correctly, you can only do set menus. If you want to do a la carte, Dover is their new outpost and you can make bookings as well. But, I prefer the food and atmosphere at Battersby. It seems more actualised and it feels like they’re trying to be less like something they’re not.
SOHO AND SURROUNDS
Cervos (Lower East Side) this was a suggestion from @megandveg - it looks amazing, boasting a funky wine list and bar food style menu with a good selection of epic seafood and oysters with a Spanish vibe to both the food and the wine.
Jacks Wife Freida (Soho and West Village) - Cafe vibes. Great clean flavours.
Egg Shop (Nolita)
Russ + Daughters (Lower East Side)
Seamore’s (Nolita) - Seafood.
Ruby’s (Nolita) - Aussie set up, Aussie vibes.
Joe’s Shanghai Dumplings (Chinatown), best soup dumplings going around. You might have to line up. Worth it. Plus you will def share a table with randoms, they just throw you in where you fit, serve you beers and dumplings and get you out!
Mission Chinese Food (Lower East Side)
Lucien (East Village) - French bistro / cafe.
Prince Street Pizza (Nolita)
Cafe Habana (Nolita)
Balthazar (Soho) - NYC classic French Bistro.
Saint Ambroeus (Soho)
Cafe Gitane (Nolita) - Tiny French cafe - great for breakfast.
Clinton Street Baking Co (Lower East Side)
Two Hands - Aussie place in Nolita and Tribeca.
La Esquina Corner Deli (114 Kenmare St (between Mott St & Elizabeth St) New York, NY 10012) - Best Mexican I have ever had... Has a stand up corner deli kind exterior but when you walk in you go through and employees only door, walk through the kitchen, and walk into a really cool bodega style restaurant. Have to book ahead... if you’re looking for a Fri or Saturday make sure you book well in advance. Get the crab appetiser...
Lombardis (32 Spring St (between Mott St & Mulberry St) New York, NY 10012) - Apparently the best pizza in the city (this is the second time I have said that). I reckon you cant go wrong with anything from Rays... Otherwise anything after 3am tastes great.
Bleecker St Pizza (corner of 7th and Bleecker St) - When i think of pizza i dont think of Italy, no way, the first place i think about is NYC. Where i had my first REAL pizza. Ever since that time i have only ever had one choice and that is the classic sausage, sprinkled with a little chili and some dodgy parmesan cheese. Beware, you will burn your mouth on the hot HOT cheese because you will not be able to resist, no matter how hot!
O. Ottomanelli & Sons (285 Bleecker St, between Commerce St and S 7th Ave) - This was classic NY. walking in almost takes you back in time with a proper old New Yorker behind the counter, seemingly rough but offering acceptional service and a massive amount of knowledge. They also sell kangaroo in case you want a taste of Australia in NYC. If you have a pad (or somewhere with a grill) preferably with a roof top, grab some steaks and get cooking.
Artichoke Pizza (111 MacDougal St, between Bleecker and West 3rd) - This place has become an institution, a place for stumbling in for a late night eat and tucking in day time while the pies are being made for the night to come. where top chefs like David Chang of momofuku enjoy their specialities and cry their praise. come for the artichoke slice, try the crab. you wont be disappointed. Oh and have a draft beer too while your there. We did.
Mermaid Inn Oyster Bar (79 MacDougal St, between W Houston and Bleecker) - Happy hour is the time to go. why? $1 oysters of course! Get there a little before they open as this place will fill up, especially on a more convivial evening. We at nearly 60 oysters between us, plus some clams, plus some shooter and plus, i HAD to have a glass of champagne with my first couple of oysters. Good fun, nice service. As i said in the video place to take that lucky lady / man friend for a nice relaxed evening.
Zuma (Japanese) (Midtown) upscale epic Japanese food… $$ few dollars but if you looking to impress, worth it..
Frank Restaurant - epic little Italian place (when I say little, I mean it) book ahead so you can get a spot, lots of great specials on the specials board, communal eating…
Eleven Madison Park - They just refurbed the whole space(2018) it is meant to be insane! Bring the $$$ with you but would def be a NYC wow moment.
OTHER and all over
Horman's Best Pickles (we found them on: 6th Ave between Bleecker and West 3rd in Greenwich Village) ever since my first visit to the US back in 2005 i have loved a good pickle, and in the US they dont mind adding the odd pickle to most things. but finding a good pickle sometimes proves hard to find (particularly in Australia). But Horman Pickles well and his pickle dealers some times may not look like the most reputable or trustworthy salesmen, but they know their brine. We tried them all and particularly liked the spicy sour.
Murray's Cheese Shop + Boutique Beer (254 Bleecker St, between 6th and 7th Ave) - You know a good cheese place when you walk through the doors and you just get that heady smell of fermented milk products. You know an even better cheese place when one wall is full of boutique beers. People think wine and cheese, but there is nothing wrong with pairing some great beer! The one gripe i had with Murray's was that we were not offered any samples of their cheeses. You have to be able to try before you buy with this stuff!!!
Minetta Tavern (Greenwich Viallage) Must do. NY institution... go the burger.
Momofuku Noodle Bar (171 1st Ave (between 10th St & 11th St) New York, NY 10003
Shake Shack (Multiple Locations) Madison Ave & E.23rd St, New York, NY 10010, USA
Nomad (Flat Iron)
Doughnut Plant - Make sure to get a creme brulee doughnut.
Laboratorio del Gelato - lots of gelato.
Hearth - good quality farm to table style.
Terroir - an absolute must for snacks and cheap, freaky-ass wine.
Motorino - Pizza.
Red Rooster (Harlem) - Modern soul food.
Crif Dogs – hot dogs
Grays Papaya– hot dogs
The Breslyn - for a heart attack breakfast
Katz's Deli - for a salt beef sandwich and a chocolate egg cream and the grumpiest service of all time.
Hanjan / Danji. the best modern Korean in NY!! This guy, Hooni, used to work at Daniel for 10 years (studied to be a brain surgeon before that and decided he’d rather be happy) and opened up his own places. Danji is his first place and ground breaking- go for lunch. Hanjan is more his more grown up, darker, sexier baby. Did I also mention he is a judge on Korean masterchef? You must order his fresh killed chicken (skin skewers are a testament to his training) and the jokbal. If you eat at Hanjan after 9, get the ramyun, it is Korean style ramen and he makes a 12 hour broth to go with it. Suggestion from @spoonful_of_sarah and @niccyboy
Ivan Ramen. Hear that story about the NY Jew who moved to Japan to open a ramen shop? Well, he kicked ass, ended up getting an instant ramen line dedicated to him and he moved back to NY in 2014 and opened Ivan Ramen. You must go here to experience it. There’s a smaller kitchen in the Gotham West Market, but the full version has opened up in the city. Suggestion from @spoonful_of_sarah and @niccyboy
Xi’An Famous Foods - Ok. This is part research and part, very delicious. A 25 year old Chinese guy started this 5-post empire serving authentic Xi’An cuisine. There is only plastic cutlery, you order and pay at the counter, you collect your own food and dump it in the bin- like Maccas, but the food is insane. You must get their spicy cumin lamb noodles, one of their “burgers” and stewed oxtail. Suggestion from @spoonful_of_sarah and @niccyboy
15East - If you’re feeling sushi like and don’t want to drop 600 at Masa, the chefs here used to be at Masa and Hooni says it’s the only place he will go to eat sushi. It’s near Union Square on 15E street, crazy, I know. Suggestion from @spoonful_of_sarah and @niccyboy
James - brunch spot.
High Street on Hudson - you like bread, you’ll like this spot!
Alta - this place just does cool food, plus it is great for brunch.
Peter Pan Donuts - old school donuts + breakfast stuffffff!
Okonomi - Japanese breakfast plus ramen.
Earl's Beer and Cheese - quirky food, epic craft beers.
Jing Fong - dim sum, a hangover saviour.
Barney Greengrass - Jewish deli delights.
Keens Steakhouse - icon + steak. Make sure you get a reservation.
Don Pepe - make a stop on the way to the airport for this old school Italian gem.
J.G. Melon - for all your burger needs.
Blue Ribbon Brasserie - iconic late night dining spot.
Peter Luger Steakhouse - steak, steak, steak.
BARS & NIGHTLIFE
The Narrows (1037 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn) Fun, small little cocktail bar with great food and a really cool little backyard / courtyard set up. My buddy Chris used to work here and is one of the first spots Jax and I went when we met each other.
10 Degrees Bar (121 St Marks Pl, New York) funky little bar, buttttt the best thing is they do 2-4-1 drinks (all drinks) from 12 noon til 8pm…
Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel (Gramercy) - they do live jazz every Tuesday and Thursday
Rintintin (Nolita)- good for drinks and snacks
Surf Bar (Williamsburg) - sand on the floor and frozen drinks, really fun, seafood on the menu.
Baby’s Alright (Williamsburg)- Bit more of a bar/club thing. almost always have live music in the back, brunch on the weekends.
Up & Down (Chelsea) Hip Hop (Tuesdays and Thursdays are best)
Never Never (Chelsea) - Speakeasy next to Up&Down, more of a bar then a club.
1 Oak (Chelsea) - it’s not terrible but the door guys are kind of assholes.
Avenue (Chelsea) - Right around the corner from 1Oak, personally i think it’s better but Up & Down is my favourite.
Reunion Surf Bar (357 W 44th St) Fun spot in a good location if you are in the craziness of the city and want a drink. Always a fun crowd in here.
Gansevoort Hotel (420 Park Ave S (between 28th St & 29th St) - There are two of these, one in midtown & one in the Meatpacking district. Midtown is pretty cool, obviously high up, nestled in the middle of the city. You walk in, jump in the elevator and head on up. Worth a look. The one in Meatpacking has a great view across the Hudson into Hoboken & Jersey. Strange crowd during the day but theres a pool (for guests) and a DJ and at night it apparently pumps (people from work went and said it was good... but personally i wouldnt go out of my way to go because there are so many elite places).
Kimberley Hotel 145 E 50th St 31st Fl (between Lexington Ave & 3rd Ave) - Pretty cool lounge type bar in midtown, cool little tapas snacks and cocktails. Only opens from 5pm so is a good place to go as the sun sets on the city... I rated it.
SoHo House 29 9th Ave (between 13th St & 14 St) - You need to be a member or a members guest to get in here.
Metropolitan Museum of Art Rooftop. (1000 5th Ave New York) - Obviously not a heaving bar, but if you’re on museum mile, its def worth heading and checking out the rooftop bar. Its only a donation of your choosing to get in and when you walk through the exhibits to the elevator and get up top, it’s an elite view across the whole of central park & down museum mile. More of a sandwich a beer kind of place but worth a look if you’re in the vicinity of the museums.
Beer Garden at The Standard (848 Washington St (between Little W 12th St & 13th St) - Really cool beer Garden built right under the Standard Hotel and right next to the Highline (which is also worth a look: its an old converted railway which was used to truck all the meat into the meatpacking district and now is... well check it out). Cool beer garden, ping pong tables, good crowd on a Saturday arvo.
The Standard Roof Top - hit the roof for a drink with the cool kids (great view also).
The Blind Barber - 339 E 10th St (between Avenue A & Avenue B) - Cool bar, have to walk through a barber shop to get in. Great back room which looks like a smoking room/library.
Employees Only - 510 Hudson St (between 10th St & Christopher St) - Went here a few times, loved it. Small, locals only. Kicked it with John Legend here. Psychic in the front window. Was here for an impromptu bday party. Whole bar was treated to a (classy) strip tease. Def worth a look.
The Box - 189 Chrystie St (between Delancey St & Rivington St) - Awesome club. Every 20 minutes or so you’re treated to a show... some are not for the faint hearted but spectacular. Think burlesque, transgender, dance battles, circ du soleil. Was awesome. We splurged on a booth & table service but would be awesome no matter where you are. Worth a look. Ring ahead.
Pianos - 158 Ludlow St (between Rivington St & Stanton St) - This place was pretty cool, worth a look if you’re in the area but not somewhere to go to especially. Bar downstairs. Room out the back with live bands and then another bar upstairs with DJ & DF.
The Bowery Hotel - 335 Bowery (between 2nd St & 3rd St) - Awesome decked out bar. Was urinating next to Sam Rockwell here. The bowery has a heap of elite places down it... theres a place around the corner that does Monday night Bingo as well. You can literally rock up (pretty much like all of NY) and walk and find something really cool within a block or two.
McSorley's - oldest pub in NYC, been here a couple of times, its pretty fun, always busy and fast service, be ready to order and drink. Small little cups the beer is served in.
Txikito - for a glass of sherry
PDT - Please don’t Tell - You actually have to go into Crif’s hotdogs and enter through the phone booth (there will be people eating hotdogs!). It is best to book ahead if you can. Suggestion from @spoonful_of_sarah and @niccyboy
Milk & Honey - World-renowned for their cocktails (unbelievably creative cocktails). They have opened a new small place in the West Village called Little Branch (the original is uber famous and also pretty special)- you have to enter through a completely random metal door - that looks like it could lead to anything - as good a cocktail as you can have on earth! Suggestion from @spoonful_of_sarah and @niccyboy
Amor Y Amargo. The digestives bar, which is actually my favourite bar in NY. It’s in Alphabet City and a few doors down from the cocktail bar Death and Co. It was meant to be a pop-up and never left. I want to own a place like this someday. Oh yeah, it’s also absolutely tiny!! Suggestion from @spoonful_of_sarah and @niccyboy
Bemelmans Bar - old school classic, piano bar, it’s not cheap. But a bit of a NYC experience.
Old Town Bar - step back in time and have a drink.
COFFEE & TEA
Bluestone Lane - They have locations in Midtown East, Financial district, Bryant Park, NoHo-> this is run by guys from Melbourne who are rapidly expanding. Not overly impressive but a nice, true Melbourne cafe experience. Suggestion from @spoonful_of_sarah and @niccyboy
Colina Cuervo - house made chorizo is about all I need to say, but for those coffee lovers, they do a pretty good brew also.
This is a list of spots and shows from my good buddy and stand up comedian Chris Metcalf, you can follow him here to see when his next show is on...
Barber Shop Comedy Show - Produced & hosted by Ronnie Lordi - A few years ago he started doing a comedy show out of this old school barber shop called Original Barber Shop. Apparently he goes there to get his haircut and thought it would be a cool spot to have a small, intimate, BYOB stand up show and he was correct. It's gotten quite popular lately and our friend Ashlynn will be doing a set there in the next month. He has also been booking sick upcoming comics and it’s always sold out. I think he’s doing Fri/Sat/Sun nights now it used to be only fridays. Watch the promo video here. Write up on NY Post here.
Better Days - Produced and hosted by Petey DeAbreu - I don’t know much about this show other than the fact that its got an underground vibe, with DJs and dope comics. I know other comics like to go there just to watch, that's how good it is.
Super Video Bros (Union Hall, Brooklyn): Produced & hosted by Dillon Stevenson & Mike Brown - These guys make fun of, and comedically celebrate music videos. Every show they have guests on, usually comedians, but sometimes actors/musicians too, to perform some stand up then join them in making fun of music videos. The show is hilarious and it is gaining some interest from television networks. Follow Super Video Bros for their upcoming shows.
Broadway Comedy Club - always have shows on. More well known.
Gotham Comedy Club - get your fix here also. More well known.
sHOWS / PERFORMANCES
Book Of Mormon - If you get a chance try to get to Book Of Mormon. Try to have a look now for tix cos its may be sold out. If it is, try the lottery. You never know you might win! I did. Best show ever.
Fuerza Bruta - Pretty cool, if you google it you can find cheap tickets at the last minute.
Sleep No More - I didnt see this but people who went said it was amazing. An interactive play/performance i guess is the best way to describe it. You go in, wear a mask and cruise around the building and become part of whats going on. Apparently ridiculously good.
Plus all the other regulars.
Gotham West Market - They did what the emporium did and approached great food people to open up branches in this retail and shopping space. THere’s Blue Bottle coffee, Cannibal, Ivan Ramen and such in here. It’s all amazing and can give you some inspiration - Hit some galleries when you’re out near here cos it’s pretty desolate, otherwise. Suggestion from @spoonful_of_sarah and @niccyboy.
Central Park - get lost, run and watch out for the tourists.
SOHO Strength Lab - a great little set up with some fun group classes. Book in and just roll up. Good vibes. I have done a number of sessions here.
GYM 105 - this is my mate Antonio’s gym. It is up town and a tiny little spot but it has everything you need. If you want to train here I would contact direct and see if they have any group sessions running. I love getting back there.
S10 Training - to be honest I can’t remember how I ended up getting an invite to train here? But it is an amazing set up training some serious athletes!!! I did a session with Joe Holder, an incredible coach and great bloke. We had a meal together after our session (and from there I actually met Jax for the first time!) I think to train here you would have to reach out and make contact with the team and organise a session or two while you are in town.
SoulCycle - lots of options here, numerous locations. I did my first SoulCycle class with my good mate Dale. It was fun, it was sweaty and it was bloody loud and quite dark. A bit too hectic for me, but it was accessible, good change rooms, etc.
SOHO Grand - possibly my fav place to stay when in NYC. It is not cheap, but it will make your NYC experience. Epic location, great breakfast and an amazing bar. I have stayed here a few times and once for a week with work. If you don’t stay, at least have a drink at the bar.
The Standard, East Village - I have only been to the penthouse here for a party. Great hotel, again a good location.
The Standard, High Line - love this spot. fun little rooms, good location and an epic rooftop.
The Williamsburg Hotel - I didn’t have a great experience here. Tiny rooms. Ok location, plus at the time the hotel was barely finished and work was still going on while guests were in the hotel. Not cool.
W New York - this joint is right in the thick of it! I stayed here for work once. Surrounded by tourists in a very chaotic area. If it is your first time in NYC this location will throw you in the deep end!
TIPS & INFO
The Subway - grab yourself a MetroCard - top it up and use this to get around the city. Single rides are $2.50. A 7 day pass (which is good if you are in the city for a week and are planning to use the subway a lot) is $29.00.
Navigating the subway is super easy, efficient and can basically get you to every location on my NYC map with a short walk too and from stations.
Don’t be intimidated, jump on, give it a crack, you wont get lost, but you might find somewhere awesome!
Tipping - ok so I am sure you are all aware, but in America tipping is a big thing! It is how most service staff will make their money, some work only for tips. Be as generous as you can, let your tip reflect the service you recieved.
There are some general rules:
- If you buy 1 beer from the bar, tip a $1.
- If you are sat down and get a bill and table service and it is good service, you double the first two numbers. For example, if the bill is $236.75 then the tip would be $46. This is the expectation, if you got amazing service, then add some more, if it was a little under par, you should talk first to your server or make any comments during the meal to allow the team to pick up their game. No point not saying anything and then punishing them at the end of your meal / evening.
- Don’t forget to tip in cabs, your bell boy, and if you are having a long stay in the hotel, you could leave a tip for your housekeeper as well (especially if you are a messy person!!!!)
Taxes - when you buy something, or see a price on a shelf or on a menu it will not include taxes. So when you go to check out, or get the bill there will be taxes added on top of the advertised price?
Safety - I have never felt unsafe in NYC. There have been times where I have acted with caution and moments when you need to be aware of your surroundings, but I think this is the case in any city around the world at certain times.
Be smart about your belongings, keep your wallet in your front pocket and don’t lug around large amounts of cash, there is no need for that these days.
Pan handlers - don’t make eye contact, don’t engage, don’t make physical contact (a lot of people will try and shake your hand or give you something, once they do that they have got you!) No one wants to get scammed. Just ignore. If someone if persistantly annoying you or following you a firm “NO!” will work.
Look right, then left when crossing the road!