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  • Writer's pictureAshley Billone

NYC Guide: Food & Drinks (2021)

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

*But first, let me take a pic of my food 📸*

Back in 2020 I had a blog post that highlighted the best restaurants and bars throughout NYC. As restaurants have been slowly opening back up, I've gone back to some of my favorite spots. Sadly, there have been some changes with restaurants and bars closing during the pandemic and new ones popping up.

With that, I've updated my list and sharing with all the foodies out there!

(The below restaurants/bars are organized by neighborhood)


*Photos taken by Ashley Ramey and appear in order: Cacio y Pepe, Hutch & Waldo, Loeb Boathouse, Milano Market, Pho Shop, Ralph's Coffee, Tacombi and Tal Bagels.

Anita La Mamma Del Gelato: This place is a gold mine on the UES. We waited in a long line to see if it was worth the hype and it WAS. The portions are very generous and the flavors are so rich and delicious.

Cacio y Pepe: This location just opened up on the UES and lucky me, it's right by my apartment. You can video the whole experience of the pasta getting tossed directly in the cheese wheel.

EJ's Luncheonette: This diner is a staple on the UESe and has affordable and quality options for brunch!

Hutch & Waldo: A trendy indoor / outdoor Australian coffee shop with great breakfast! Super dog friendly, too 🐶.

Loeb Boathouse: An upscale American restaurant located in the middle of Central Park with beautiful views 🛶.

Milano Market: An authentic Italian spot with hand made pastas, bread, sauces and more. If you're a sandwich lover, this is a must stop! *Note: It's more of a deli, so there's no seating.

Mimi's Pizza: We have been doing trial and error with pizza places near our apartment and Mimi's has the best pizza by far on the UES (if you know of another spot, let me know)! 🍕

The Penrose: This has become another neighborhood favorite of ours. My favorite things to order are the fried pickles with aioli sauce and their beyond burgers (and pretty much the whole appetizer menu) 😋.

Pho Shop: I cannot get enough of this place. It's one of those casual and affordable hidden gems. 🍜

Pil Pil: This small and cozy location offers a fun Spanish ambiance where you can enjoy tapas and drinks with friends for happy hour.

Quality Eats: Dubbed a steak-centric restaurant, this spot has options for veggie and fish lovers too (There's also a location in the West village).

Ralph's Coffee: Located at the Ralph Lauren UES store, grab a cup of coffee and pastry! The indoor seating is currently closed off, but there's outdoor seating available and someone from the staff will bring you your order.

San Matteo Pizzaria e Cucina: This is another pizza spot that is a favorite of mine on the UES. The pizzas are made in a brick-oven, so the dough always turns out crispy and smokey.

Tacombi: The UES spot is their newer location and there's another one located in the West Village. They offer very fresh and authentic Mexican cuisine and the margaritas are fuego 🔥.

Tal Bagels: This is one of my favorite bagel spots that is ordered through Uber Eats on the regular.


*Photos taken by Ashley Ramey and appear in order: Amali (left) and La Pecora Bianca (center and right).

Amali: We had our wedding rehearsal dinner here so it will always have a special place in my heart. They serve quality and delicious Mediterranean food and have a wide selection of wines. If you're ever looking to host a private party, they have a beautiful space on the second floor with your own bathroom and wine bar.

La Pecora Bianca: (There's a location in NoMad and a new one opening on the Upper East Side)

Lavo: 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.

Polo Bar: A restaurant by Ralph Lauren, you're bound to have a chic and unforgettable meal here. I've only gone for dinner but their whole menu is great!

The Smith: This is a great spot to meet friends for a fun and casual lunch on the weekends. One of four locations in NYC, this one is my favorite.


*Photos taken by Ashley Ramey and appear in order: Maiden Lane (left) and Village Square Pizza (center and right).

Maiden Lane: A very small indoor/outdoor restaurant that serves small plates and drinks that you can order through a window. There is some outdoor seating and is a casual vibe.

Village Square Pizza: Located in the East and West Villages. I found out about this place on TikTok (as one does these days) and it looked soooo good so we had to try it out. This is hands down some of the best pizza I have ever had! If you're a pizza lover, this is a must!


*Photos taken by Ashley Ramey and appear in order: Aria Wine Bar, Bea, Elise Rooftop and Vida Verde.

Aria Wine Bar: Located in the theatre district, this is a cute and intimate place to grab a good meal and drink before heading to a show.

Bea: Hand-crafted cocktails, delicious Italian cuisine and a courtyard area where you can watch black and white movies projected on the wall.

Elise Rooftop: Located just blocks away from Times Square, you can enjoy cocktails and small bites on the rooftop and listen to music (both live and DJ'd) 🏙.

Haven Rooftop: This has been one of my favorite rooftops for the past couple of years. Though it's located blocks away from Times Square, it's not touristy. You have the option of sitting outside or in a covered area on the rooftop area. The drinks are affordable too (considering the location)!

La Grande Boucherie: One of four locations, this is the biggest of them all. You feel like you're entering a Parisian market and the food is amazing.

Nobu Fifty Seven: One of my favorite spots to get sushi and located blocks away from Central Park 🍣 .

Quality Italian: 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.

Vida Verde: 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. It's a multi-level restaurant with two bars and a little outdoor patio.


Bar Pitti: Known for its authentic Italian cuisine and hub for celeb sightings. Once you're seated, the waiter brings over a small chalkboard filled with specials for the day. *Important note: This place is cash only. If you are a first timer and didn't know (like us), there's an ATM in the restaurant!

Don Angie: I recently went here for the first time and it will definitely not be my last. I ordered the Chrysanthemum Salad and Straccino Gnocchi and I'm still dreaming about it. The outdoor setup is also the nicest I've sat in, too.


*Photos taken by Ashley Ramey and appear in order: ABC Cocina (left and center) and Cosme (right).

ABC Cocina: 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).

Cosme: Upscale Mexican cuisine with an eclectic menu and great drinks.


Pastis: 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).

Rosemary's: 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.


*Photos taken by Ashley Ramey

Kahlo: 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.


*Photos taken by Ashley Ramey and appear in order: La Parisienne Cafe (left and center) and Osteria Della Pace (right).

La Parisienne Cafe: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.

Osteria Della Pace (Eataly Downtown):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.

Oyster House (Pier A Harbor House): 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.


*Photos taken by Ashley Ramey and appear in order: 1803 NYC (left and center) and Loopy Doopy Rooftop (right).

1803 NYC: 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)!

Antique Garage: 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.

Loopy Doopy Rooftop: Beautiful rooftop views, small bites and Instagrammable hand-crafted cocktails.

NoMo SoHo: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.


*Photos taken by Ashley Ramey and appear in order: Brass Monkey (left) and RH Rooftop (center and right).

Brass Monkey: 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.

RH Rooftop Restaurant: This place quite literally has it all - The rooftop views, chandeliers, chic furniture and amazing food and drinks.


Mr. Purple: 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.

Russ and Daughters: Dubbed one of the best bagel/deli locations in NYC. We went once and while I personally don't think it was worth the hype, it was a fun experience going.


*Photos taken by Ashley Ramey and appear in order: Ladurée (left) and Pizza Beach (center and right).

Ladurée: A chic and upscale Parisian bakery with beautiful indoor and outdoor options to dine and live your best Marie Antoinette life.

Pizza Beach: 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!


*Photos taken by Ashley Ramey

Pietro Nolita: 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.


*Photos taken by Ashley Ramey

The Crown at Hotel 50 Bowery NYC: Located on the Lower East Side, 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.

*If you have favorite or recommendations, please leave them in the comments section!

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