21 Things You Must Eat in NYC Before You Die

Your official checklist

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Fact: There are 8.2 gazillion things to eat in New York City, but not all bites are created equal (we’re looking at you, soggy dollar-slice pizza). Presenting the 21 things every New Yorker should eat at least once in her lifetime.

The 22 Most Amazing Doughnuts in NYC, Ranked

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Hibiscus Doughnut At Dough Doughnuts

It’s tangy, it’s sweet and it’s the most Instagrammable food in NYC.

Locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan; 347-533-7544 or

Cheesecake At Junior's

Sure, it’s totally touristy, but there’s a reason this creamy, not-too-sweet cheesecake has been an NYC must-have since 1950.

386 Flatbush Ave. Extension (at Dekalb Ave.), Brooklyn; 718-852-5257 or

Bagel With Lox At Russ & Daughters

If you can even get a number at this shop, order an everything with lox and scallion cream cheese. It’s life changing.

179 E. Houston St. (at Orchard St.); 212-475-4880 or

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Ricotta Gnudi At The Spotted Pig

Grab some bread to eat with these airy pillows of deliciousness--mopping up the mind-blowing sauce is half the fun.

314 W. 11th St. (at Greenwich St.); 212-620-0393 or

Fried Chicken Sandwich At Fuku

You’ve got the crispiness of the chicken, the soft doughiness of the bun and the crunchiness of the pickles. Is there a better sandwich on earth? (No. The answer is no.)

163 First Ave. (at Tenth St.);

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Breads Bakery

Chocolate Babka At Breads Bakery

This Eastern European Jewish cake became an NYC staple in part thanks to Seinfeld. Whatever you do, don’t get cinnamon.

Three locations in Manhattan; 212-533-2253 or

Pastrami On Rye At Katz's Delicatessen

This sammy will set you back about a million dollars (OK, $20), but it’s twice as big as your apartment. Definitely worth getting at least once.

205 E. Houston St. (at Ludlow St.); 212-254-2246 or

Old-school Pizza At Di Fara

You’ll have to travel to the ends of the earth and wait all afternoon for this delicately handcrafted pie, so just go with it and make a day of it.

1424 Ave. J (at E. 15th St.), Brooklyn; 718-258-1367 or

New-school Pizza At Roberta's

Try the Bee Sting, a sweet, spicy and salty combo of pepperoni, honey and chili flakes. It’s not traditional, but it’s becoming a new classic.

261 Moore St. (at Bogart St.), Brooklyn; 718-417-1118 or

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Falafel At Mamoun's

Whether you go with a platter or sandwich, you can’t go wrong. These fried balls just can’t be beat.

Two locations in Manhattan;

Manhattan Clam Chowder At Oyster Bar

History lesson: This tomatoey version is nothing like the creamy New England-style chowder, but it’s been served in Grand Central Station for nearly 100 years.

89 E. 42nd St. (at Park Ave.); 212-490-6650 or

Potato And Cheese Pierogies At Veselka

Best of all, you can get them 24 hours a day, fried or boiled.

144 Second Ave. (at Ninth St.); 212-228-9682 or

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Lobster Newburg At Delmonico's

This tasty lobster in cream sauce was originally introduced to Charles Delmonico in the 1870s by a wealthy sea captain. Sir, we’re forever in your debt.

56 Beaver St. (at S. William St.); 212-509-1144 or

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Buttermilk Channel

Chicken And Waffles At Buttermilk Channel

It’s Beyoncé’s favorite place to go for brunch. Need we say more?

524 Court St. (at Huntington St.), Brooklyn; 718-852-8490 or

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Minetta Tavern

The Black Label Burger At Minetta Tavern

It’s drenched in clarified butter, so you know it’s good.

113 MacDougal St. (at Minetta Ln.); 212-475-3850 or

Carne Asada Tacos At Los Tacos No. 1

There’s no seating at this Chelsea Market taco stand, so make sure you have something to grab onto when the carne asada makes you weak in the knees.

Chelsea Market; 75 Ninth Ave. (at 15th St.); 212-256-0343 or

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Beecher's Handmade Cheese

Grilled Cheese At Beecher's Handmade Cheese

You can get it any way you like it (even with mac and cheese inside), but we recommend keeping it simple with Beecher’s Flagship cheddar.

900 Broadway (at 20th St.); 212-466-3340 or

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The Salty Pimp From Big Gay Ice Cream

It's just not summer until you’ve had one of these bad boys.

Two locations in Manhattan; 212-414-0222 or

Macaroni And Cheese At Root And Bone

…And it’s just not winter until you’ve had a bowl of this.

200 E. Third St. (at Ave. B); 646-682-7076 or

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Ippudo NY

Akamaru Modern At Ippudo Ny

The combo of melty red miso and garlic oil in this ramen bowl is addictive. Slurping is highly encouraged.

65 Fourth Ave. (at Tenth St.); 212-388-0088 or

The Gyro Platter At Halal Guys

What began as a humble cart in Midtown is now available all over the world. See the stand where it all started. Extra sauce, please.

53rd St. and Sixth Ave.;

purewow author


From 2016-2019 Carolyn Kuang-chen Stanley held the role of Editor covering food, travel and all things nyc.