New York City Dining and Food

New York City dining offers fabulous opportunities for delightful culinary experiences. The city's dining choices are immense and wide-ranging, making NYC a great destination for food enthusiasts.

Name almost any type of cuisine you can think of – French, Ethiopian, Greek, vegan…and New York City has it. So let the taste buds rejoice in the fun that awaits!

Classic New York City Foods

New York City pizza

What do New Yorkers eat? What foods are unique to New York City?

The city is a true melting pot of different backgrounds, cultures, and ethnicities, and the New York City dining scene certainly reflects that.


There are still "New York City staples" like pizza (introduced by the Italians) and bagels (brought over by Eastern European Jews). To find out more about popular New York City foods and learn about their origins, see New York City Food.

Where to Eat in New York City

The places and ways to enjoy food are nearly as diverse and varied as the food itself. New York City dining offers everything from upscale restaurants to sidewalk stands, and everything in between.

  • Restaurants - There are thousands to choose from!
  • Delis - Good for a quick and casual bite to eat. They typically offer made-to-order sandwiches, salads, and hot food bars. Delis also function as small grocery stores, with snacks, bottled drinks, and packaged foods for sale.
  • The Street - Street carts and vendors may have started with pretzels and hot dogs, but they now serve up an impressive variety of foods including kebabs, empanadas, falafel, chicken and rice, ice cream, and cupcakes.
  • Coffeehouses - Perfect for a morning cup of joe or a much needed afternoon break.
  • Bakeries - It's hard to resist the cupcakes and cookies at the city's many bakeries. Thousand of popular restaurants. Fo

Helpful New York City Dining Resources

With thousands upon thousands of options, where do you even start looking for a New York City restaurant? Of course you can walk along the street, stop at each restaurant and read the menu until you find something that suits your taste. This can actually work well.

But if you are looking for something specific (with regard to type of cuisine, price range, or anything else), you may want to be more methodical about the process.

Narrowing the Selection - Choosing where to dine has a lot to do with how you answer these three questions:

  1. How much money do you want to spend?
  2. What type of cuisine do you want to eat (Mexican, seafood, pizza, Japanese, etc.)?
  3. What area of town do you want to dine in (if you care)?

The sheer volume of restaurants can be overwhelming. Pondering these things beforehand will go a long way toward narrowing down the extensive selection of New York City dining options.

Choosing a Restaurant

There are lots of useful resources for choosing a restaurant and the following are two of our favorites. Both of these websites allow you to search based on the three criteria listed above.


    We are longtime fans of Menupages, an enormous database of New York City restaurants. On this website, you can view menus and read reviews for loads of NYC eateries. You can also research a specific restaurant by typing the restaurant name into the search bar.


    This website is great if location is a concern. It nicely presents the options on a Google map of New York City. You can sort by popularity and price. Urbanspoon also gives reviews by both critics and individuals who have been to the restaurant.

Making Reservations


    Want to make reservations? Forget spending hours calling lots of restaurants. OpenTable makes it easy. This useful website lets you search through New York City restaurants and make reservations instantly and for free. No calling necessary. You can specify the number of people, click on a time, and enter in your contact information. This is especially helpful when dining with a group because OpenTable will filter out any restaurants that cannot accommodate large parties.

Editor's Note
It's can be challenging to seat a big party at a New York City restaurant. That's why, when my family visited for Christmas one year, I reserved a table for eight through OpenTable. My favorite thing about OpenTable is that when I specified that I wanted to reserve a table for eight, the website only brought up restaurants that could accommodate eight. It took a lot of the guesswork out of trying to figure out which restaurants could seat a crowd.

Famous New York City Restaurants

When considering your New York City dining options, you may want to consider going to one of New York City's famous restaurants.

There are lots of well-known NYC restaurant establishments, made famous by TV, films, or celebrity patrons.

Perhaps you will want to eat a Magnolia cupcake like Carrie and Miranda from Sex and the City, tackle a pastrami sandwich at Katz Deli, the site of Meg Ryan's famous "you know what" scene in When Harry Met Sally, or indulge in thin crust New York style pizza at Lombardi's, America's first pizzeria.

Where to Shop if You're Eating In

Grand Central Market

Eating in New York City is about more than just fancy restaurants!

The city has a number of quality markets that can help you address all your foodie needs. You can buy fresh ingredients for preparing a meal, stop in for a snack, or purchase foods already prepared.

If you want more than just a grocery store, check out our compilation of New York City Markets.

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