101 Best Dishes, Drinks, Restaurants and Supper Clubs in NYC

I thought I’d revisit some of my favorite and most interesting food memories from 2001 to 2012.  There were so many more items that I tried and loved, but I wanted to limit my list to 100 (plus 1) choices.  In no particular order:

  1. Bread Pudding Griddle Cake with Rhubarb and Raw Maple Syrup from Acme
  2. Donuts from Doughnut Plant: please try one of each (yeast, cake and filled).  Their custard filling is really light and nummy.   Crème Brulee filled donut, Tres Leches and Blackout Cake are the 3 most popular flavors.  They have 2 locations, one in Chelsea and the other in the Lower East Side.
  3. Cold Cream Green Tea from Pressed Tea: A lot of their teas are great but the cold cream tea (green tea) stands out from the rest.  It’s an iced green tea with milk foam that has a hint of salt.  I’ve never tried anything like it and that says a lot, given I’m from Taiwan (world capital of tea shops)!
  4. Good Morning Sunshine Bars from Baked: rice chex, salted peanuts, peanut butter, and milk chocolate.
  5. Fried Chicken Banh Mi with Fresh Pickled Veggies and Aioli from SoBar at the UrbanSpace Meatpacking Market
  6. Donuts and Cheese Balls from Tous Les Jours: I need to do a separate post on this bakery.  The donuts and cheese balls both have a mochi-ish interior.  Apparently their Azuki Bean Shaved Ice with Mochi Rice Ball and Fresh Fruit is great but it’s meant for sharing.  If anyone wants to try it with me, let me know 🙂
  7. Fried Chicken with “Secret Sauce” from Family Recipe
  8. Scallion Pancake from Shun Lee:  Their pancakes are smaller and thicker than normal with very crispy edges.
  9. Roasted Rork/Roasted Duck Over Rice and Banh Mi from Hing Won: My favorite Chinese restaurant in Midtown – they also have a random corner dedicated to making banh mi.
  10. Strawberries Veloce (vanilla gelato with balsamic vinegar and strawberries) and The World Famous Nutella Panino with Vanilla Gelato from Bar Veloce: I personally like the Chelsea location better but the East Village space (smaller) is also very cute.
  11. Chocolate from Vosges Haut Chocolate: Love everything about this chocolate shop.  They can give you a taste of any chocolate bar before you purchase.  I first came to this place for the Mo’s Milk Chocolate Bacon Bar and now I also love the Barcelona Bar.  Chocolate Bar in the West Village is my second favorite chocolate shop.
  12. Bagel with Scallion Cream Cheese from Nussbaum & Wu Bakery: Many different cream cheese flavors.  This place brings back a lot of happy college memories.
  13. Shroom Burger from Shake Shack: My favorite fast food burger in NYC.  I also like their custards but if you go, make sure you don’t order both at the same time because the custard will be slightly melted by the time you get to it.  If you’re bringing out-of-towners and don’t want to wait in line, consider going to locations other than the Madison Square Park one because that’s also the busiest (although a great experience to be in the park!).
  14. Regular & Black Label Burgers from Minetta Tavern: I asked the waiter to give me a blind taste test of the 2 burgers.  Our conclusion was that the Black Label tasted meatier than the regular one.  Both are nummy.
  15. Cookies from Levain Bakery: Don’t make me pick a favorite flavor!  Their other baked goods are great too.

  16. Momofuku Milk Bar: Compost cookie/corn cookie/crack pie/bagel bomb….basically I like everything here except for their soft serves.
  17. Chocolate Chip & Banana Walnut Bread Pudding from Blue Ribbon Bakery Kitchen
  18. Frrrozen Hot Chocolate and Humble Pie from Serendipity3
  19. Soft Serve with Sriracha Sauce from Big Gay Ice Cream Truck
  20. Coffee from La Colombe Torrefaction: Best coffee in NYC (gasp!).  I love their beautiful blue cups and mugs.  The Noho/Astor Place location is the biggest, followed by the Tribeca location, and finally the Soho location.
  21. Frozen Yogurt with Mochi from Pinkberry & Red Mango: I was addicted to Pinkberry/Red Mango (I personally like Red Mango better because it’s creamier) when it first came to NYC.  I would go every single day (sometimes twice a day).  At first they didn’t have the mochi displayed on the counter so people were constantly asking me what it was.  By the way, there’s a Red Mango location in the NBC Experience Store at 30 Rockfeller Plaza on the second floor.
  22. Mexican Corn from Café Habana
  23. Beef Wellington from Dylan Prime
  24. Fried Chicken & Waffles from Buttermilk Channel
  25. Pancakes and Waffles from Clinton St. Baking Company
  26. Excellent Pork Chop House: I like all their dishes – pork chop or chicken leg over rice, minced pork lo mein, wonton with spicy oil and chicken soup.
  27. Braised Suckling Pig and Raviolo Al Uovo from Maialino: I need to try their Sunday night 5-course pasta tasting for $55.
  28. Mac and Cheese on a Hot Dog from Ditch Plains: So good for you!  Their West Village location is cozier than their Upper West Side space.
  29. Al Di La Trattoria: excellent pastas, cute and romantic spot.
  30. Asia Dog: Love their creative flavors.  I often go to Summer Stage at Central Park just to eat their hot dogs (and listen to some free music).
  31. Knife Shaved Noodles from Golden Mall in Flushing
  32. Banh Mi Saigon: I am a big fan of food served in random places.  Banh mi in a jewelry store is awesome.
  33. Foie Gras Soup Dumplings from Annisa
  34. Pasta with Sea Urchin, Pasta with Tobiko, and Spaghetti from Parmesan Wheel from Basta Pasta
  35. Ke Sal Mari (dungeness crab and leek wrapped in spinach crepes with a light mustard sauce) & shaved ice dessert at Woo Lae Oak (closed).
  36. Japanese Style Chicken Wings from Kasadela: Fried twice, first time to lock in moisture. Second time for crispiness!
  37. Kati Roll Company: one of my favorite Indian food items.  One location in Greenwich Village and another in Midtown West.
  38. Pearl Oyster Bar: fried oysters and lobster rolls.
  39. Tuna Steak Don (seared tuna steak with garlic sauce) at Soba-ya
  40. Pandebono from Calle Ocho: According to Serious Eats, it’s like “mochi meets bread.”
  41. Wango Tango Wings and Abita’s Purple Haze from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
  42. Schnitzel & Things: order any schnitzel you like and make sure you try the different condiments (Spicy Sriracha Mayo) and sides (Roasted Beet and Feta Salad, Austrian Potato Salad).  You can order from the truck ahead of time to beat the line or visit their store in Midtown East.
  43. Salted Crack Caramel Ice Cream from Ample Hills Creamery: they now have pretzel and chocolate chip cones available.
  44. Salty Caramel Ice Cream on a Pretzel Cone from Steve’s Ice Cream: you can buy their pint-sized ice cream at grocery stores but I think the best thing about them is their pretzel cones.  They can be found at the UrbanSpace Meatpacking Market.  Apparently they’re opening stores in Midtown and Boerum Hill.   (PS. I didn’t love their Bourbon Vanilla ice cream.)
  45. Briyani Cart: chicken briyani with egg and kati rolls.
  46. Vatan Indian Vegetarian: take off your shoes and sit cross-legged at one of their booths to enjoy their all you can eat meal served on silver trays.
  47. Bonchiri (chicken butt) & Neck Yakitori and the best rice prepared in an earthenware pot from Yakitori Totto
  48. Kuma Inn: Sauteed Chinese Sausage with Thai Chili-lime Sauce.  Their menu indicates their signature dishes that you should order.  BYOB with a corkage fee ranging from $1 (beer) to $10 (1.5 L sake).
  49. All the juices from Liquiteria especially the Skin Trip (carrot, spinach, cucumber, parsley, aloe vera & Liver Kidney Lymph Detox).
  50. Budachigae “army stew” (must get the big wok size) from Kun Jip
  51. Cheese Kimbap from Woorijip: cheese makes everything better.
  52. Scallops, Beefsteak Tomato and Bacon Taco from Empellon Tacqueria
  53. Fusilli with Red Wine Braised Octopus and Bone Marrow from Marea
  54. Pasta tasting menu at Babbo: You can switch out any pasta with the Black Spaghetti with Rock Shrimp and Spicy Soppressatta (so good!) and the Orecchiette with Sweet Sausage and Rapini.
  55. Anything from Babycakes: One of my favorite bakeries in NYC.  I love the grandma’s kitchen decor.  You can be vegan and not miss out on all the delicious baked goods!
  56. Dominique’s Kouign Amann (DKA) from Dominique Ansel Bakery: I had this pastry at Maison Georges Larnicol in Paris and I thought I would never see it again….until Dominique Ansel came to the rescue.  Apparently these are the best from Brittany, France.
  57. Cakes from Lady M Cake Boutique: cute spot with sandwiches, salads, and other pastries.  Their most famous is Mille Crepes which comes in Original, Green Tea, and Marron (I’ve never tried the Coconut, Strawberry, Chocolate, or Chocolate Banana).  Their Checkers Cake and Banana Mille Feuille are also very good.  They just opened new location in the Plaza Food Hall in May 2012.
  58. Fat Witch Bakery: I am impartial to the white chocolate one but all of their flavors are nummy!
  59. Koronet Pizza: Jumbo pizzas that need to be folded in half to eat.
  60. John’s Pizzeria: When I went on Scott’s Pizza Tours, this was my favorite pizza on the tour of Manhattan pizzerias.  In Brooklyn, I like Grimaldi’s.  The trick there is to order your pizza to go and eat it under the Brooklyn Bridge.
  61. Bee Sting Pizza (fresh mozzarella, tomato, and spicy sopressata with honey drizzled on top) from Roberta’s: Great pizzas, ambience and venue.
  62. Rooted private dinner with Elise Kornack: Elise and Anna hosted us in their Brooklyn apartment’s backyard.  Elise is the winner of Food Network’s Chopped and worked at Aquavit and The Spotted Pig.

  63. Chez Jose at Whirlybird: Inspiring vegetarian dishes that had a lot of acid, flavor and texture.  Jose’s girlfriend, Pamela Yung, does a bread CSA.
  64. Paul Qui Dinner at City Grit: Paul Qui was one of my favorites from Top Chef.  He used some really inventive flavors in his dishes.  The most interesting dish for me was the Pork Jowl with Corn where the pork had the most intense buttery texture/flavor (although it’s too heavy for me to eat all the time).

  65. Private dinners at 4 Course Vegan: $45 BYOB vegan meals at Chef Matteo’s  apartment in Williamsburg.  Even though the chef moved to Sonoma, the club continues via Vegan Secret Supper (on my to check out list).
  66. Zucchini and Yellow Squash Spaghetti at Caravan of Dreams: My favorite vegan restaurant in NYC.  Awesome vegan food at very affordable prices.
  67. Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare: I went when it was still BYOB and $70/person, now it’s $225!
  68. Eleven Madison Park: I went before the revamped menu in September 2012.  Previously, there were 4 courses where you choose the main ingredient from their menu and they will prepare it to their choosing.  I jokingly asked if I could have the protein prepared with a Chinese black bean sauce and they were seriously going to try to make it for me.  They had great service throughout the night.  Here’s the menu: Eleven Madison Park Tasting Menu
  69. Le Bernadin: I went to a talk where the Bentel & Bentel architect talked about how they revamped the space to make it newer and fresher.  I’d like to go back and try the lounge menu.
  70. Jacques Torres Chocolate: Chocolate Chip/Peanut Butter Cookies (ask them to warm it up for you) and the Wicked  Hot Chocolate.  Wicked is spiced with hints of chili peppers…it tastes just as it’s described, only a HINT of spiciness.  The texture of the hot chocolate is sublime.  Make sure you request their homemade whipped cream on top.  Often times I have a bunch of whipped cream/chocolate leftover on the bottom of the cup so I’d bring it home and put some almond milk in it and heat it up again.
  71. Blue Hill at Stone Barns: I guess this is not technically NYC but the Farmer’s Feast was so awesome!  The barn atmosphere is cool.
  72. Falafel and salads from Taim Falafel and Smoothie Bar
  73. Brunch at Fred’s: they serve complimentary muffins/bread basket with strawberry butter.  Their walls are filled with pictures of dogs.  Definitely my kind of spot.
  74. Taiwanese food from Gu Shine Taiwanese Restaurant in Flushing: This was the first restaurant I ate at in New York.  My parents came to NYC for a business trip and stayed in Flushing to save money (I’m sure it was also nice to be so close to good Chinese food).
  75. Amazing vegetarian tasting menu at Kajitsu:  I went before Chef Masato Nishihara left.  We ordered the sake pairing which was nummy but I didn’t like how the waitress only told us the name of the sake and provided no other info.  Apparently they’re thinking of moving from the East Village to Midtown.
  76. Sake Bar Hagi: I love the basement location near Rockefeller Center.  I love how you can see pictures of the food on the menu that indicate “best sellers”.  There are many nummy dishes at good prices: grilled yellowtail collar, croquette, soft shell crab, red bean cake and sesame ice cream, etc.
  77. Trattoria Zero Otto Nove: this is one of the best restaurants on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.  We had great pizza and pastas.  Arthur Ave is like Manhattan’s Little Italy but less crowded and without all the tourists.
  78. Bo Ssam Feast at Momofuku Ssam Bar
  79. Sakagura: again, love the location in the basement of an office building.  They have good lunch specials and 200 different sakes.  Here are some things you can order: Deep Fried Shrimp Balls with Sliced Almonds, Stewed Diced Pork, Fried Chicken, Uni Soba, meat grilled on a stone plate, Black Sesame Crème Brulee or Coffee Jello.  Make sure you go to their bathroom to use the Totto toilet.
  80. Arroz de Pato (duck confit, chorizo, black olive and orange rice) and Sea Urchin Toast (with cauliflower purée, mustard seed, shiso, and lime) from Aldea
  81. Gramercy Tavern: I was invited to a special tasting menu dinner and wine pairing with Richard Coraine, who is the COO of Union Square Hospitality Group (thanks Kenny!).  Richard was such a nice guy and I really enjoyed learning about his experiences.  I remember having a Channing Daughters Mudd West Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc that night which I loved.
  82. N: super duper cute and cozy.
  83. Dell’Anima/L’Artusi: all their dishes and pastas are good.  At L’Artusi, order the Roasted Mushrooms with Pancetta, Fried Egg and Ricotta.  I’m really looking forward to their next restaurant!
  84. Apricot Thyme Scone from Ovenly: their other baked goods are amazing too.  If you can’t go to their Greenpoint location, a lot of coffee shops in Manhattan and Brooklyn carry their goodies.
  85. Hiroko’s Place: Love the homey Japanese food and the living room-esque décor.  It feels like you’re eating in someone’s house.  I love their cheese casserole dishes, omu rice, curry dishes and English Royal Milk Tea.
  86. Numpang: all their sandwiches are great.
  87. Corn Crème Brulee from Quality Meats
  88. Soba Salad from Soba Nippon: It’s not cheap though.  They grow their own buckwheat and soy in a farm in Canada.
  89. Alta: You can order “The Whole Shebang” which is everything on the menu (46 small plates) for $480.  There’s also a private room available where you have to walk through the kitchen.  Located in a townhouse in the West Village, very cute.
  90. Arepas (order the Curiaras where you get to taste 3 different flavors, their best flavors are De Pabellon, La del Gato, La de Pernil), yoyos (sweet plaintains with white cheese) from Caracas Arepa Bar: their Williamsburg location has a nice outdoor area.
  91. Gelato from Sorella (you can also have gelato, sandwiches and coffee to go at their take out booth next door, Stellina): Chunky Sorella (salted caramel gelato with chocolate fudge and chocolate covered pretzels), Pazzo (peanut with salted peanut brittle), Bananimal (banana gelato with caramel swirl and animal crackers), Buttercrunch (brown sugar gelato, butter crunch toffee, and milk chocolate ganache).
  92. Txikito/El Quinto Pino: both are great.  I really like the Lengua (crispy beef tongue with mustard española, cornichons) from Txikito and Uni Panini from El Quinto Pino.
  93. Bacon and Steak from Peter Luger
  94. Famous Halal Cart on 53rd & 6th: Best chicken and rice. At first I thought, “Why bother with random pieces of lettuce in the chicken and rice platter?”  The lettuce actually contributes a lot to the dish, adding crunch and cutting some of the heaviness.  I go to the one at the southeast corner of 53rd street & 6th ave (same food, less people) during the day (open from noon to midnight).  They have another cart on the southwest corner of 53rd and 7th Ave (open from 11:30 am to midnight).  At night, they can be found on the southwest corner of 53rd and 6th ave (8 pm to 5 am).
  95. Korilla Truck: Korean BBQ Tacos, Bacon Kimchi Fried Rice, and cool sauces (Korilla Sauce and Korean Hot Sauce).
  96. Street food from Red Hook Food Vendors
  97. Sushi of Gari: You can special request the following sushi (Foie Gras Sushi, Seared Abalone with Uni Sauce, Seared Toro, and Salmon with Tomato) and Baked Oyster (with rice stuffed in shell).  According to my friend Rich, who is a Japanese food enthusiast, Chef Gari is in on Wednesday’s only. They just opened new location in the Plaza Food Hall in May 2012.
  98. Lobster Sashimi and Green Tea Crème Brulee at Blue Ribbon Sushi
  99. Per Se: still one of my favorite dining experiences ever.  The second time I went, my BFF treated me to a WOW wine: 2008 Kistler Cuvee Elizabeth Bodega Headlands Vineyard (thanks Ro!) in the most amazing Riedel wine glass ever.  It was like drinking out of a fish bowl.
  100. Freemans Restaurant: Seared Scallop with Creamed Corn, Charred Red Onion, and Green Tomato Relish and Artichoke Dip.  Cute restaurant with lots of taxidermy.  It’s located at the end of a nondescript alleyway.
  101. Banana Pudding from Magnolia Bakery: I think their Banana Pudding is better than their cupcakes!

About thenummylist

Blog about eating, drinking, and everything related written by Icy Liu.

One comment

  1. Mick

    Wow that’s a ton of good food! Excellent Pork Chop House and Golden Mall are two of my favorites. Super cheap and tasty Chinese food served in a no nonsense atmosphere is always a winner.

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