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Your go-to list for trying New York’s most iconic food

March 25, 2020

Created and refined in the city, New York citizens are impressively dedicated to their classics. Keeping loyal to the original recipes whilst at the same time constantly improving; authenticity meets innovation. Family-owned restaurants still thrive in a fast-paced city and are still the places to go to try the best of the best. Within this guide I’ve covered bagels, pizza, cheesecake and I’ve thrown in a couple of amazing bakeries. Save this list and consider it the hottest places to go to try all the New York classics.

Bagels

Sadelle’s
Restaurant | Downtown Manhattan | $$-$$$ | Instagram: @majorfoodgroup
Suitable for vegetarians, vegans & GF | Best for brunch
Sadelle's | Picture credit: @Juliettelaura

Bagels with a little bit of Broadway’s razzle dazzle. Here serves the classic New York Bagel with elegance, precision and picturesque perfection. If you are looking for marble countertops, flattering lighting and waiters in bowties, Sadelle’s is your answer. Quality, fresh ingredients in a light and airy venue, this restaurant is ideal to take a seat and enjoy one of New York’s classics at your own pace. Sadelle’s sells delectable food from breakfast to candlelit dinners, but they are particularly known for their House Salmon bagels, with thinly cut fresh salmon, cucumber and more to be paired with your own choice of bagel.

The Bagel Store
Bakery & Deli | Brooklyn | $ | Instagram: @thebagelstore
Suitable for vegetarians | Best for take out

After temporarily closing, The Bagel Store is making a swift comeback. Home of the rainbow bagel, this particular spot serves the classic New York bagel with a twist. With a multi-coloured bagel, choose from a range of different flavoured cream cheeses. Served over the counter and to take out, this is also a great spot to fully embody how a New York local would grab a lunchtime bite.

Pizza

Joe’s Pizza
Pizzeria | NYC | $ | Instagram: @joespizzanyc
Suitable for vegetarians | Best for lunch

Founded by Pino “Joe” Pozzuoli, an Italian immigrant from Naples, in 1975 this is New York locals and tourists dependable spot for a slice of authentic street style, New York pizza. Served by the slice or as a whole pie, their timeless menu has never gotten old. As confirmed by Kim Kardashian herself, Joe’s Pizza is perfect for somewhere to depend on for a slice of authentic pizza.

Keeping up with the Kardashians

Artichoke Basille’s Pizza
Pizzeria | NYC | $ | Instagram: @artichokepizza
Suitable for vegetarians | Best for take out

Artichoke Basille’s Pizza opened their first store in New York City’s East village in 2008, and have since not stopped expanding across New York but the whole of the U.S. This established pizza spot is constantly being name dropped as a top tier pizza spot in NYC, of course there is Artichoke but also crab pizza and vodka?!  Despite their success and long lines, Artichoke Basille’s Pizza still feels has the character of your usual authentic, independently owned small business. If you missed it whilst you were there, not to worry, grab a slice at the John F Kennedy airport before you depart!

Screamers Pizzeria
Vegan Pizzeria | Brooklyn | $ | Instagram: @screamerspizzeria
Suitable for vegetarians & vegans | Best for small groups and couples
Screamers Pizzeria | Picture credit: @screamerspizzeria


The best way to eat New York pizza authentically is by the slice. Of course, full pizzas are an option, but the slices are honestly quite large. At Screamers Pizza you can enjoy classics such as margherita and pepperoni or go all Americana and try a Mac and Cheese pizza, or one with tater tots on top. Oops, forgot to mention, these are all VEGAN! Yes, the vegans are not missing out on this New York delicacy.

Cheesecake

Junior’s
Restaurant & Bakery | NYC | $$-$$$ | Instagram: @juniorscheesecake
Suitable for vegetarians & GF | Best for large groups

Established in New York in 1950, Junior’s claims to bring the world’s most fabulous cheesecake. That we will let you decide for yourself however there is no denying that Junior’s is on the best places to go for an authentic slice of cheesecake. Their classic formula hasn’t changed since it was first perfected in 1950 and their premium ingredients make these cheesecakes amazing. The restaurants themselves are quintessentially American, offering up your stereotypical meals of Double Cheeseburgers, French fries and milkshakes – it’s fair to say that this is a place to INDULGE.

Eileen’s Special Cheesecake
Bakery | SoHo | $ | Instagram: @eileenscheesecake
Suitable for Vegetarians | Best for dessert
Eileen’s Special Cheesecake | Picture credit: @eileenscheesecake

Get in line because Eileen’s Special Cheesecake is unmissable. Produced fresh every morning, consider this the closest you can get to buying homemade New York Cheesecake. Buy a full-sized cheesecake or a selection of adorable mini circular ones, these cheesecakes are made with fresh, quality ingredients from the recipe of Eileen herself. Currently, her two daughters have carried on running the store making it a beautiful spot to support a female-run business!

Bakeries

Levain Bakery
Bakery | Upper West Side | $ | Instagram: @levainbakery
Suitable for vegetarians | Best for cookies and couples
Levain Bakery | Picture credit: @levainbakery

Levain Bakery was born by two people wanting to make the best version of a classic. Here, a cookie whose recipe has been refined and perfected to its maximum quality, is served. For a perfect ratio of a gooey, chocolatey, sugary, deliciously warm cookie make a visit to Levain Bakery and give their well-loved cookies a try. These cookies are well worth, you get your money’s worth and one cookie will keep you going for the rest of the day. Choose from chocolate chip, peanut butter, dark chocolate & sea salt and oats.

Martha’s Country Bakery
Bakery | Brooklyn | $ | Instagram: @marthascountrybakery
Suitable for vegetarians, vegans & GF | Best for sweet gifts

Martha’s country bakery is the perfect location for fitting in with the locals. It’s humble surroundings, outdoor seating, and especially delicious baked goods make this spot perfect for somewhere to relax and enjoy some decadent, home-made sweet desserts. Serving up some sweetly decorated cupcakes, vegan cookies and gluten free options, you are spoilt for choice.

As always, supporting small and local businesses is one of the best ways at keeping your travel a little more sustainable whilst at the same time fitting in with the locals! With this list all your New York classics should be covered, wherever and whenever you are hungry.

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