If you ate somewhere different for lunch and dinner, every day for the rest of your life, you still could not eat at every restaurant in New York City.
In the weeks leading up to my departure, I had dinner with a friend when she, knowing how much of a foodie I am, asked me to write down a list of restaurants I’ve been to during my time in the city. I thought to myself, wow I wish I kept track of that when I first got here because it would be so awesome to reflect upon that years down the line but I’ve been to way too many restaurants, there’s no way I could remember. Upon further convincing, I sat down a few weeks ago and seriously went on Google Maps, Yelp, and the deepest corners of my brain and jotted down every restaurant by neighborhood that I could remember. It was tough and arduous, but an incredibly enjoyable experience. Every entry brought back the memory of the delicious (and sometimes not delicious) food, which period of life it was in, what the hell kind of person I was like at the time, and last but certainly not least, the people I got to share those meals with. If you live in New York City now, I’d highly highly highly recommend start keeping a list of your own because by the time you’re ready to leave this great city, you look back on your list and think, wow I really did go to a lot of restaurants, I really did a lot of shit in New York because let’s be honest, the restaurant scene is a huge part of life here. Trust me, you’ll be proud of it in a few years when you realize you’ve been to more restaurants than most cities have restaurants period. I know as I head to South Africa, while the restaurant scene will never be able to match that of NYC, I will be on the prowl from day 1 for the best eats in the city and wherever else I travel to, like the Asian Anthony Bourdain that I am.
No where else in the country, maybe even the world, will you find the quantity and diversity of food this city has to offer. You can seriously find any type of food here, and it won’t be more than a 30 minute subway ride away. I haven’t been to the nicest, fanciest and most exclusive of restaurants in NYC like Per Se, Daniel, La Bernadin, Megu, or other big time midtown/uptown Michelin star restaurants, maybe some day when I’m rich and famous, but that’s not what eating out in NYC is about (don’t get me wrong, some of the most expensive restaurants are fucking amazing). There are seriously tens of thousands of restaurants here; it’s just about getting out there, sampling different types of cuisines in and out of your comfort zone, enjoying the good company of your friends, and just experiencing the good things in life. Similarly, food tastes differently to everyone and the 4.5* rated restaurant on yelp might taste like a 2.5* to you, it’s all up to you to discover it!
So without further ado, I present to you my New York restaurant list, filled with about 300 different places in my 4.5 years in the city. Let’s be very clear that this list isn’t one for which spots to hit up if you had 48 hours here, it’s simply just a list of every restaurant I can remember going to. I’ve made sure not to include bars where I went primarily to drink, delis, chain restaurants like Chipotle, Hale and Hearty, Cosi, Pret A Manger, Dessert restaurants, and most cheap pizza slice spots. I’ve also rated every restaurant but I wouldn’t read too deep into that. Thanks to the invention of Yelp, Facebook images, and general worth of mouth, I’ve managed to evade most of the subpar places around the city. Enjoy!
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