kitchen

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NYC GUIDE

to drink & eat at the best spots in Manhattan. 

A few years ago, I started keeping a list of my favorite restaurants and bars I was going to around Manhattan and finally want to share some of them with you! I wanted to share the pizza places, the boujee places, the hole-in-the-wall places, the chic places and the charming places. There's something for everyone and I hope you enjoy the list!

 

*The list below are all places I've been to and included my take on the restaurant. I will continue to add to the list as I find new locations!

I've never been to New Orleans, but I got a taste of what it's like at this restaurant. Located in Tribeca, 1803 serves the best from the South - from seafood to spicy-filled skillets. The floral wallpaper and high ceilings is a great vibe to enjoy Sunday brunch with friends (and snap a pic, duh)!

If you're not a fan of pink, then I wouldn't recommend this restaurant. If it is your fav color, then you've come to the right place. The interior is filled with quirky patterns of pink throughout (even the bathroom) and the Italian cuisine is better than expected. In the neighborhood of Little Italy, you won't miss this building as the exterior is decked out in pink. 

Whether you're visiting for a few days or want a fun new place to try out, I highly recommend Vandal. As soon as you go through the doors, you know you're in for an experience. Located in Nolita, you and your friends can share tapas or grab delicious drinks in one of the uniquely decorated rooms. Did I mention there's a speakeasy in the basement? 

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Italian

This Italian restaurant has two locations - Midtown and NoMad. While I've only been to the midtown location, I can say that this is a great spot if you have family in town or are meeting a group of people for dinner. With Italian classics such as calamari and homemade pasta - there's something for everyone on the menu.

Dubbed as industrial-chic, this upscale Italian restaurant is located in midtown right off of 5th avenue. You can enjoy a great Italian meal during the day and evening and stay for drinks and a DJ in their downstairs nightclub. 

Grouped in the Quality Meats and Quality Eats family, Quality Italian will not disappoint. This is a great place to go on a date or grab brunch with a small group of friends. The decor is gorgeous, and the food and drinks are just as good. This modern dig is located on 57th street near Central Park.

This hidden gem is tucked away near the World Trade Center. Not only do they serve delicious upscale Italian cuisine, they have glass windows all around so you can enjoy the view and gold accents throughout the restaurant. 

Located in lower Manhattan, this low-key pizza place gives off major beach vibes. With bistro-lit ceilings and a projector playing old-school movies on one of the walls, you and your friends can enjoy a stress free (and low price) meal - not to mention the food is so good!

American / Seafood

Mediterranean

Farm to Table

French

Rooftops

Mexican

Located near Hudson Yards and the High Line, this is a must go-to if you like Mexican cuisine. One of my favorite parts of this spot is how intimate it is. There are authentic touches of Mexico and of course, Frida Kahlo. The food is delicious and the Diego and Frida cocktails are a must if you go.

This is a great spot to grab a drink or small bite with friends after work. It has a fun and authentic Mexican vibe with two floors and a little rooftop area. 

Previously known as Salvation Taco, this restaurant/rooftop is one of my favorite spots in Manhattan. Also located in Murray Hill, you can find this delicious Mexican restaurant next to POD 39. The rooftop is located within the hotel, so you need to walk through the lobby and take the elevator up. It’s a pretty small setup compared to other rooftops, but the authentic touches with brick arches and bistro lights make drinking spicy margaritas a little sweeter.

Located in Battery Park, this place has the views, great seafood, drinks and outdoor dining. In the colder months, you can sit inside in the main bar area (more low key and informal) and in the summer months you can enjoy seafood and view of the Statue of Liberty. There is a more upscale sitting area on the second floor.

This tri-level restaurant is located in the heart of the Meatpacking district. Each area of the space offers a unique dining experience - with an open kitchen and dining concept. This is a place you'll want to have on your roster of restaurants - especially during Restaurant Week.

I recently went here and was not disappointed. Located in midtown on Park Avenue, this unique menu changes when the season changes. For some inside scoop...every night after 8:30PM, they have an unlimited amount of wine with dinner pairing for $69 per person. It. is. worth. it. 

This restaurant is located in the middle of SoHo, where you can drop by for lunch in the midst of walking around and shopping. In the summertime, they open the ‘garage door’ where you can enjoy some fresh air and live music on the piano for some light jazz. 

Located inside the NoMo hotel (and right across the street from Antique Garage), this space gives off a rustic yet modern aesthetic - with lots of greenery, chandeliers and a glass roof. Their hand-crafted drinks and food have hints of Mediterranean influence as well. 

I’ve only been to the location on 5th avenue, however there are two other locations around the city. This is a great spot if you’re looking for good Mediterranean food and wine in a low-key setting.

Rumor has it that this restaurant is one of Meghan Markle’s favorites and I can see why. Located right near Union Square, this restaurant is dubbed as an upscale farm-fresh eatery - serving Latin fusion in a glam space. They also have a vegan section of the restaurant located in the back (ABCV).

This farm-to-table Italian restaurant is one of my favorites in the West Village. The rooftop is quite literally a garden, where they grow some of their produce. Talk about a hidden gem in NYC.

This posh farm-to-table restaurant is located inside 1 Hotel across the street from Central Park. With exposed brick and an open kitchen, you get the full experience by one of the best-named chefs in the city. 

While there are three location throughout the city, I would recommend the West Village spot. Between the intricate flooring and old school setting, you’ll get a taste of French culture in the heart of NYC.

This chic Parisian restaurant is one of the hottest spots in the West Village. With some of the best food I’ve eaten, you’ll leave with a stomach full of wine and decadent bites (I highly recommend the Tuna Crudo).

This tiny French cafe is the place to be for weekend Brunch. With an adorable atmosphere and perfectly executed chocolate croissants, you better get in line because the wait is always out the door. 

If you're curious if this restaurant looks as chic as it sounds, you're right! This French-inspired restaurant in the Meatpacking District was founded by a group of women who know how to through a party in NYC. Grab your girlfriends and enjoy a dinner out while admiring the bold and vintage touches throughout the space.

Located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan (by Chinatown), this rooftop bar arguably has one of the best views. It’s on the 21st floor inside the hotel and you’ll admire the view as soon as you step out of the elevator. Enjoy the aesthetic (both indoors and out) as you sip on some frosé. 

I’ve been going to this restaurant/bar and it’s definitely one of my favorites. It’s not fancy by any means, but it’s located on one of the best blocks in the Meatpacking district. There are three floors to enjoy the huge space - the third floor being the rooftop. It offers nice views of the Hudson river, bistro lights and seating.

This rooftop is located in Murray Hill and is close to Grand Central. A hot spot in the summer, there’s almost 360 views of midtown and a lot of space to walk around and enjoy your drink. 

This rooftop is just a block away from all the hustle and bustle that is Times Square. Normally I try to stay away from that area, but I love this place! Part indoor and outdoor, you get great views while sitting in a lounge area surrounded by Ivy - not to mention you can get a bucket of beers to share with friends at a very reasonable price.

While this is definitely one of the more higher end rooftops that I’ve been to, the view is totally worth it. Located on the Lower East side, you can enjoy views of all Midtown while hanging out next to the Infinity pool. Mark this as a must go-to for when summer arrives.

Vegetarian Mexican Casserole 

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes |

Total Time: 40 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium red onion, diced

  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

  • 1 cup canned corn kernels

  • 8 oz enchilada or tomatillo sauce

  • 14 oz diced fire roasted tomatoes

  • juice of 1 lime

  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese

  • 2 cups cooked white rice

  • 1 can black beans, drained

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder

  • 3 teaspoons cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

  • 1 teaspoon salt & pepper

  • 1/2 cup Mexican cheese

  • sour cream, for serving

  • tortilla chips, for serving

​DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook rice according to instructions. For this recipe, I used Jasmine rice.

  2. While rice is cooking, heat a large heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and sauté the red onion, garlic, and bell pepper for 8-12 minutes, or until onion becomes translucent.

  3. Add the corn and fire roasted tomatoes and stir an additional 3 minutes.

  4. Add drained black beans, 2 cups of cooked rice, lime juice, enchilada sauce, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, cream cheese, and 1/2 cup of Mexican cheese.

  5. Top additional Mexican cheese and sour cream. Serve with tortilla chips.

Spicy Jalapeño Margaritas

How to make the perfect crowd pleaser drink in less than five minutes!

Serves: 1  | Prep time: 5 minutes

INGREDIENTS: 

Tequila of your choice (I use 1800 silver or Casamigos)

One lime

One jalapeño (fresh)

Jalapeño Limeade juice (From Trader Joe's)

Chile Lime seasoning (from Trader Joe's)

INSTRUCTIONS:

 To start, use lime to get the glass rim wet (I've found that salt sticks to the glass better with lime over water). 

Dip the wet rim in the chile salt mix and rotate until rim is covered with garnish. 

(Optional): Put some ice cubes in the cup after the rim has garnish.

Pour a single or double shot of tequila in the cup.

Fill the remaining of the cup with the jalapeño limeade juice.

Cut the jalapeño and remaining lime to top off the drink.

(Optional): You can sprinkle additional chile salt in the drink if you want a little more spice.

Enjoy & drink!

Spicy Lentil Soup

About two years ago, I got my first slow cooker and soon after, I realized what all the hype was about. You throw your choice of ingredients into the pot and hours later, something delicious is ready! 

 

One of my favorite soups that I've made over and over again has been my spicy lentil soup. Now, this isn't a recipe that I've found on my own, however I mixed some recipes that I came across (a la Pinterest) and put my own twist on it.

 

Depending on the time you have, I prefer buying all the vegetables fresh and chopping them up. I have also been pressed on time and bought the pre-chopped veggies and the results are just as great! If you're wanting to try it out this winter season, take a peak below!

Serves: 6 | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 8 hours (on low heat) or 4 hours (on high heat) in slow cooker

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 Cups Low Sodium vegetable broth (or chicken)

  • 1 Cup Water

  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil

  • 3/4 Cups dried lentils (rinse first)

  • 3 Garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 Cups onion, chopped

  • 2 Carrots, peeled and chopped (I like using colored carrots for a pop of color)

  • 1/2 Cup celery, chopped

  • 2 Teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 Teaspoon curry powder

  • 1/2 Teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/2 Teaspoon dried basil

  • 1 Large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes (I also include 1/2 cup of the sauce)

  • 1 Cup chopped collard greens or kale

  • 1/2 lemon juice

  • Pinch of salt, pepper and red pepper flakes

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