NEW YORK CITY RESTAURANTS YOU MUST TRY
There is an absolute Plethora of respectable establishments New York City Restaurants. Many can be quite overwhelmingly tourist-centred, especially around the big iconic sights of the city however, I feel I have found the right mix of affordable dining spots in the city, which are filled with locals as well as appeal to those visiting the city. Furthermore, a couple of these have very interesting ethical policies, which as a visitor, you may be interested in being a part of and certainly gets the be-lavie nod to sustainable tourism.
Dirt Candy is owned by Amanda Cohen, the James Beard nominated chef and owner of this fine award-winning Lower East side vegetarian eatery. It has been recognised by the Michelin guide, five years in a row and with a simple ethos to create innovative food that patrons crave, something that is done with vegetables that has never been done before minus the politics of because being veggie is good for you etc!
They don’t guarantee you’ll like it all but I can most definitely vouch that I DID and Dirt Candy will not take a tip from you as they believe that all their staff are professional who should receive a living wage therefore the menu prices have been raised by 20% so all staff from cooks to servers to dishwasher washers get recognition for the team effort.
This beautifully airy restaurant provides a fantastic dining experience for both non-meat eaters and veggie alike. Take a seat at the bar pre-meal or get down to the eating, I guarantee you’ll have a night to remember.
We opted to have the Vegetable Patch Tasting menu with wine pairing, which comprised of five creative courses.
One our favourite dishes was the Brussels Sprout Tacos, which comprised of Brussels sprouts tossed in Mexican bistek and served on a sizzling stone with iceberg lettuce wrappers and accompaniments so diners can make their own tiny bites that are one part Chinese sung choi bao and one part Mexican tacos.The accompaniments were smoked avocado, pickled red onion, cotija cheese, radishes, crispy brussels sprout leaves, tortilla strips, pickled jalapenos, salsa verde and cream.
Be-lavie’s Tip: Go with an open mind and you will be blown by the artistry and inventiveness of vegetables. It’s imperative to book as soon as possible if you know your plans as otherwise you will not get a spot and I’m not kidding! Yes it’s that popular and that good!
The Vegetable Patch $65 (tip included) and a further $50 for accompanying wines.
- Address: 8686 Allen Street. Lower East Side New York 10002
- Tel: 212-228-7732
- Contact: Website
- Read: Reviews
Tucked away in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, is a dining concept that literally just left me in awe. The clean white interiors, brick walls and pink neon lighting glistening on flowers provides a beautiful dining environment.
It ticks so many of my own personal values and beliefs in helping those less fortunate than myself. My research told me that the food; Vegan, was going to be good but I just hadn’t quite measured the enormity of outstanding until I tried that first morsel.
Many of the dishes on the menu have names, which may mislead you into thinking you may be eating meat such as Bratwurst but trust me you will be surprised by the flavours and concept of how the a la carte menu is bought together. Being a Vegan restaurant, all alcohol served is also plant-based.
PS Kitchen’s mission is to
- To donate 100% of their profits to sustainable economic development charities, both locally and overseas.
- To create jobs for the marginalised in New York City.
- To give New Yorkers healthy and delicious food that is kind to the body and the earth.
Currently PS Kitchen are donating their profits to the following; SHARE HOPE (Ethical-apparel company providing education and healthcare programs for >75% of women in Haiti’s garment industry); YUNUS Social Business (founded by Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus, YSB catalyses social ventures internationally); The Bowery Mission (USA’s third rescue mission; provides meals, shelter, and job opportunities in NYC); RESTORE (Restore’s mission is to end sex trafficking in New York and restore the well-being and independence of foreign-national survivors.) and also an organisation in Haiti to raise awareness and detection of ovarian cancer.
You can make donations via PS Kitchens website below.
Be-lavie’s Tip: Ensure that you book well in advance to guarantee a table and just to note the restaurant does Brunch on the weekends, lunch and Dinner service daily just in case you can’t get in for a dinner spot.
- Address: 246 W 48th Street. Hell’s Kitchen. New York, NY 10036
- Tel. +1-212-651-7247
- Contact: Website
- Read: Reviews
TINY’S AND THE BAR UPSTAIRS
This cute three story townhouse dates back to 1810 and is located in the heart of Tribeca. Much of the original materials have been restored and overlayed with whimsical American finish detail.
The space is decorated with pieces dating back 100 years. The rooms are finished with brick, two-tone antique wallpaper, original tin ceilings, salvaged wood panelling, custom banquettes and hand-made tile. It’s run by a trio of siblings and feels very homely, a feeling that is hard to come by in New York City. Quite possibly the most striking feature apart from the food, of course, is the pink exterior that definitely sets it apart from the adjoining facades! Tiny’s and The Bar Upstairs is open for breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner and of course drinks.
We booked it for an early pre-theatre dinner and started with the Basil lemonade and grapefruit juice followed by a delicious vegetable burger with a huge salad and the homemade meatballs with mozzarella and garlic toast.
Be-lavie’s Tips: I would strongly recommend booking, especially for dinner (starts around 5 pm) as it is very busy amongst locals. In fact we only saw locals here and got a great vibe from the Tribeca neighbourhood.
Eataly – il Pastaio Fresh Pasta Bar
If you have paid the Flatiron Building a visit, then you will know that Eataly is a deli-like eatery located across the road from it. This particular Eataly focuses more on the Italian food and drink and trust me this is a fabulous place for lunch or dinner or any meal of the day to be quite honest.
You can buy Italian produce, meats, cheeses, sauces, fish, you name it, it’s there. Additionally there are a number of bar style eateries inside that serve coffee, cake, pasta, fish dishes and there’s even a rooftop (however remember to book this one as it’s very chaotic-especially at weekends!!).
We decided to have dinner at Il Pastaio, a very cute Pasta restaurant and wine pairing place where they made the pasta from scratch (any of your choice) and found you a lovely wine to match. It was a great experience sitting opposite the open kitchen and watching the pasta being made, then tossed in a fresh sauce.
Dr C had the tomato Ragu spaghetti and I had the Basil pesto spiroli accompanied by a glass of Chianti of course.
Be-lavie’s Tips: No need to book, however at busy times like weekends this is a very popular spot so my advice would be coming early! Just grab a stool and pull up to the bar for service.
Beauty & Essex
Behind a kitsch exterior disguised as a well-curated Pawn shop (featuring exclusive jewels, memorabilia and fancy guitars), located in the Lower East Side, lies a beautiful restaurant full of demur, glamour and delicious food.
Walk through the powder blue door and enter a grand circular staircase wrapped around a two story chandelier.
Beauty and Essex had four dining rooms (one private), two bars and a lounge and women’s bathroom complete with a salon, champagne bar and antique perfumery style bottles.
That’s all I’m saying, if in NYC, you have to go and experience this place for yourself! The chef, Chris Santos was one of the pioneers of small plates and well of course we had to try out a few of his creations including a dessert! Standard!!!
Apologies about the photography, Beauty & Essex has very low lighting making for a truly romantic and atmospheric surround.
Excellent service, excellent cuisine and décor and fab music, what else does a girl need?! Well maybe a Prosecco bar in the ladies, but they had that covered!!
Be-lavie’s Tips: Ensure early booking as this place gets pretty busy on weekends. Dress to impress and I’m sure you won’t look out of place
- Address: 146 Essex Street, Lower East Side, New York, 10002
- Tel. +1 212 61450146
- Contact: Website
- Read: Reviews
OK, guys so technically this restaurant is a chain and has numerous branches in the states but I don’t think there is any one branch that is as iconic a place as a spot underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. This is Grimaldi’s original location and be aware that not all items on the website are available at the branch.
They don’t serve pizza by the slice but have a menu full of every combination possible as you can also build your own in sizes of small, medium or large! We bagged a seat upstairs so could see the open kitchen and coal brick oven cooking our pizzas. They also serve calzones, salads and desserts.
Be-lavie’s Tips: Grimaldi’s takes cash only and there is actually an ATM machine in the entrance if you’ve been caught short. I recommend walking over the bridge at sunset and see the lovely Manhattan views and follow that up with a delicious pizza. Unfortunately the day we went it was humid, cloudy and the heavens opened so no sunset! The weather may have let us down but the pizza remained loyal!
You’ve got my lowdown on New York City restaurants, tell me your favourites so I can try them out when I return…
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