The New York City Foodie Guide
Oh New York, home to way-too-many gastronomic pleasures—whether you want to learn how to make canapé, or just eat your heart out, we’ve rounded up our favorite foodie destinations.
Acme Smoked Fish30 Gem St., Greenpoint | 718.383.8585
In business since the '60s, this old-school, family-run operation has cracked the code on how to smoke fish in an all-natural way. Their line, Blue Hill Fish, is so popular that they've opened up a West Coast office to keep up with demand. If you can make it to Greenpoint on a Friday morning, you can snag smoked goods at half price until 1pm. Cash only.
Amy’s Bread75 Ninth Ave., Chelsea | 212.462.4338
Amy’s started out in Hell’s Kitchen back in 1992 and in the intervening years, her business has gone gangbusters, supplying many of the city’s gourmet shops with their wonderful bread and pastries. Head to any of the stores—our favorite is still the largely unchanged original—to pick up a French baguette, olive twist, or one of their delicious pastries to go. As a huge bonus, they offer bread-making classes at their Chelsea Market location where you can learn how to make everything from foccacia to thin-crust pizza.
Balthazar Bakery80 Spring St., Soho | 212.965.1785
As the crown jewel of restauranteur Keith McNally’s downtown empire, Balthazar channels all the charm and style of a Parisian bistro—booths and antiqued mirrors included. Dining here feels like an event, and as such it draws big crowds for its Coq Au Vin, Moules Frites, and burger. We actually like its adjacent bakery best, where you can take perfect croissants, loafs of bread, and coffee to go.
Brooklyn Kitchen100 Frost St., Williamsburg | 718.389.2982
This incredible kitchen store will lure you in, but the classes will convince you to stay. Offering everything from Vitamix blenders and Pillivuyt roasting pans, to homemade ramen broth, farm fresh eggs, and exotic cuts of meat, the provisions part of the operation draws people from all over the city. Meanwhile, you can learn how to make homemade pizza with the Roberta’s crew, pickle with McClure, or take a class in doughnut or dumpling making.
Beechers900 Broadway, Flatiron | 212.466.3340
While it’s pretty hard to screw up a grilled cheese sandwich, the oversized, overstuffed versions here are made using Beecher’s own cheese, a lot of which is made right on site (watching the cheese makers do their thing through the massive windows is nothing short of mesmerizing). The main café is ideal for weekday lunches and the Cellar downstairs is a more dressed-up small-plates-and-wine restaurant. And if you need a hostess gift but are short on time, the nuts, jams, small but mighty selection of wine, and of course, cheeses, pack up nicely.
Clover Grocery259 6th Ave, New York | 212.255.5383
This newly-opened market marries two of our favorite sensibilities: chic design and clean eating, a duo that is an extension of its sister restaurant, Café Clover (located on the same block). We love it for grabbing a kombucha or organic almond milk on-the-go–or, perhaps even better, perusing the refrigerator for ready-made selections from the café, including its sprouted rye berry bowl and fresh gazpacho. With several well-stocked shelves offering pantry staples like soaps to sea salt to gluten-free flours from familiar names like Sun Potion and Moon Juice, this is like your favorite neighborhood market, only better.
Chelsea Market75 Ninth Ave., Chelsea | 212.652.2110
Located in the old Nabisco building just north of the Meatpacking District, you’ll find a warren-like maze of restaurants and specialty shops. There are many hits, but we like Los Tacos No.1 for authentic Mexican and Num Pang for an Asian-inflected sandwich. And, if cooking a special meal at home is an option, we’d pick up our bread at Amy’s, dairy at Ronnybrook, fresh groceries at the Manhattan Fruit Exchange, and crustaceans at The Lobster Place (they also do great pre-made rolls). You’ll also find Bowery Kitchen Supply, Chelsea Thai Wholesale, Kingdom of Herbs, and Posman Books, where the offerings are more suitcase-appropriate.
Dépanneur242 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg | 347.227.8424
This grocery store and café, which specializes in artisanal, local goods, was one of the first signs that Williamsburg was cleaning up its act and becoming more like Soho and less of a hipster hangout. Selling gourmet treats, house-cured meats, some pretty spectacular sandwiches, pastries, and of course, Intelligentsia coffee, this is a local favorite and a good stop for lunch on the go in the neighborhood. In the store, you’ll find cheese bags, really nice olive oils, cordials and syrups, and salt water taffy.
Eataly200 5th Ave., Flatiron | 212.229.2560
This is kind of foodie nirvana, care of Mario Batali. Essentially Costco-sized, this Italian gourmet grocery store stocks aisle after aisle of the best artisanal ingredients, including truly fantastic fresh pasta. Throughout the space (which also includes cookware), you’ll find plenty of places to sit down and eat. While there are several gussied-up Batali restaurants upstairs, including a rooftop birreria, we find the best way to experience Eataly it is to grab a seat at one of the many bar-size specialty eateries scattered across the main shop floor. Understandably, they offer an excellent array of gelato.
Fairway Market480-500 Van Brunt St., Red Hook | 718.254.0923
Beyond being one of the more perfect independent grocery stores around, Fairway is the perfect New York cross section: You'll see young families, old ladies in fur coats, students looking for good food at good prices, and just about every New York "type" you can think of. Beyond the cultural experience, the Red Hook branch in particular boasts the square footage, plus a frozen-foods department you can actually walk into (there are jackets you can borrow to go in), an amazing cheese selection, and a free parking lot.
Kalustyan’s123 Lexington Ave., Gramercy | 212.685.3451
As serious home cooks attest, Kalustyan’s may just be the best international food stockist in the world. Operating out of the same Lexington Avenue location since 1944, they stock every spice, grain, cracker, and chutney in the world from India to Italy, along with just the right implements, whether it be a tortilla press or a tagine. The sheer size of the honey aisle alone is enough to drop jaws. It’s a foodie mecca, not just for the seemingly infinite varieties of foods and international kitchen tools, but for the outstanding sandwiches and middle-eastern/mediterranean nosh served at their cafe upstairs.
Marlow & Daughters95 Broadway, Williamsburg | 718.388.5700
Andrew Tarlow’s burgeoning Brooklyn food empire (Diner, Reynard, Marlow & Sons) also includes this quality, nose-to-tail butcher shop. Besides house-made sausages and great cuts of steak, you’ll find all the fixings, from gourmet olive oil to mint sauce and side salads. The breads and sandwiches, courtesy of She Wolf Bakery, make this a favorite takeaway pit-stop, too
Murray’s Cheese Shop254 Bleecker St., West Village | 212.243.3289
Murray's seems to import every conceivable cheese in production for public consumption, and has a staff that can happily walk you through (and sample) all of them. There are cheese cave tours offered for those who want to learn even more and delicious sandwiches—or melts—for anyone who wants more than just a few hunks of the good stuff. While they supply most of Manhattan with their cheese plate offerings, they also ship across the states. There's also an outpost at the Grand Central Market.
Melvin’s Juicebox130 W. Houston St., Greenwich Village | 646.588.5375
We were Melvin Major acolytes back when he started making fresh, organic, juices at LifeThyme, a favorite Greenwich Village health food shop. He’s since picked up and started his own spot. Today, the city is flooded with juice bars, but when we can, we like to hit Melvin’s, as he’s a total original.
Zabar’s2245 Broadway, Upper West Side | 212.787.2000
Come here for the bagels, and the rugelach, and the chocolate babka, and the smoked fish, and we could go on and on. This Upper West Side specialty grocer, which has been operated by the Zabar family (out of the same location) since the 1930s, is still the place to stock up on old-school Jewish delicatessen fare. It’s one of those classic city shops that’s as worth it for the goods as it is for the characters who shop there regularly.