Destinations

20 Unique Things To Eat In NYC That You Simply Cannot Miss

New York City, where millions of dreams come to life everyday. All you have to do is believe and the city helps you in making them come true. Here, you’ll find people from all walks of life, from investment bankers, to engineers, to actors and what not. All of them blend in together like true New Yorkers and this is what New York is made of.

NYC… Where Dreams Are Made!


Having lived in New York for almost three years, this city is very close to our hearts. There’s so much to do here. From fun outdoor fests, to charming parks, to beautiful architecture, to happening bars and restaurants, the city has it all for your every kind of mood.

It is rightly said, if you haven’t lived in New York, you haven’t lived really. By now you all must know that – We heart NY!

couple chinatown, sunglasses new york city nyc summer
We love New York!

So, let’s just stop the NY boasting and get to our favorite spots for unique eats in New York.

1. Matcha Lava Cake at Spot Dessert Bar NYC

You see, people with a sweet tooth can get why it is so important to dig out the best desserts of every place before visiting. For us, without sweets, we aren’t really connecting with the city. We aren’t really able to capture the true essence of the place. And, hence we have Spot Dessert Bar.

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If I had to tell you that one place which checks all boxes in terms of flavor and looks, then Spot Dessert Bar it will be. It has two locations in Manhattan, one in East Village and the other in Koreatown, and both have a very different ambience. If you’re looking for a date-night kind of a spot then head over to their East Village location as the other one is in a food court in Koreatown, which is also nice but has a casual appeal.

We’ve been to Spot Dessert Bar so many times that we have tried all their menu items (seasonal and regular) over and over again. But our favorites are (in order of deliciousness) their matcha lava cake, spot big orange and the harvest.

spot dessert bar matcha lava cake, big orange, matcha cookie the harvest nyc
Delicious Matcha Lava Cake and Big Orange
spot dessert bar matcha lava cake, big orange, matcha cookie the harvest nyc
The Harvestlayers of berries, soft cheesecake, oreo crumbs, earl grey milk tea served with raspberry sorbet

Just try them once, both your mouth and eyes will thank you later!

Just look at that matcha lava flow…

2. Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie at Levain’s Bakery

This might look like a small little bakery located on a street corner in the Upper West Side, but don’t go by its looks. They have BIG cookies (almost the size of your head), which are even bigger on flavor.

Even though they offer a variety of flavors from oatmeal raisin, to snickerdoodle, to double chocolate, our favorite remains their chocolate chip walnut cookie. It is so crispy on the outside, yet so gooey in the middle, and the warm melted chocolate chips blending together so perfectly with the chopped walnuts will keep you yearning for more, one after another.

levain bakery chocolate chip walnut cookie new york nyc
Look at that gooey chocolate ooze out!

And oh, by the way, be prepared to stand in line for this delicious goody, for at least an hour! Well, good things in life don’t come easy!

3. Artichoke Pizza at Artichoke Basille’s Pizza

If you’re a cheese lover and love some (rather a lot of) ooey-gooey cheese on your pizza then Artichoke Basille’s is your kinda place! Their pizza slices are huge and have a thicker crust as compared to the other NY pizzas but lesser than the Chicago deep dish. The bread used in the crust is so fresh that it will almost melt in your mouth (along with the tremendous amount of cheese, of course).

artichoke basil pizza nyc

Apart from the cheesiness, artichoke pizza hits the spot in terms of unique flavors as well. The subtle flavor of artichokes roasted in garlic, spread over alfredo sauce and loaded with abundant amount of gooey cheese just makes life perfect again!

artichoke basil pizza nyc delicious cheesy

Cheese lover or not, you have to try this one-of-a-kind pizza at least once in your lifetime! (And for us, we have to try it at least once every year!)

4. Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate at Jacques Torres

If you dream about peanut butter every single minute of the day, if the flavor of peanut butter gives you the happiness that nothing else can, then welcome – you’re a true peanut butter lover, just like us!

Imagine the cold snowy days of NYC and you’re roaming on the beautiful streets of Midtown. What’s that one thing you’d need? A warm indulgent cup of hot cocoa and what better place to have it than from this acclaimed chocolatier’s shop itself.

jaques torres peanut butter lover hot chocolate

Head over to the underground shops at Rockefeller (around 53rd and 6th Avenue) for this heart warming treat. Their simple hot chocolate is great as it is, but being peanut butter lovers we have to add peanut butter to almost everything. And when they asked if we wanted to add a dollop of peanut butter to our hot chocolate for an additional 70 cents, we exclaimed “Hell yeah!” And that was the best hot chocolate we’ve ever had.

jaques torres peanut butter lover hot chocolate

To tell you a secret, we’ve even flown from West Coast to East just for this little cup of hot chocolate. Shhh.4

5. Varieties of Rice Pudding at Rice To Riches

Only in New York can we have a dessert shop that serves only and only one thing – rice pudding, and that too hundreds of varieties (ok, maybe a little less) of that!

This cute little shop, located in Nolita, is a perfect spot to hangout with either friends or family. Come here for your evening chit chats and try as many combinations of their velvety smooth, bold on flavors, rice pudding varieties.

rice to riches nyc rice pudding flavors

Our favorites were the butter pecan and the chocolate hazelnut. And both the flavors are completely on-point!

rice to riches nyc rice pudding flavors hazelnut chocolate butter pecan
Butter Pecan and Chocolate Hazelnut Rice Pudding, yum!

A word of advice though – out of the so many times we’ve visited Rice To Riches, we’ve been able to have their butter pecan flavor only once. Because at other times, it was just not in season. So, make sure to call in advance to know if they have butter pecan that day or not. Otherwise, decadent chocolate is always an option!

6. Oven Baked Pancakes at Le Barricou

Located in the heart of Brooklyn, this French restaurant serves some amazing breakfast food.

While all of their menu items sound tempting, make sure to try their oven baked pancakes. They’re so huge, they can feed a party! They’re so fluffy and light, they simply dissolve in your mouth without chewing! Prepared made to order, it takes 40 minutes to bake them. Have patience, good things take time to make, all right!

la barricou oven baked pancakes
So fluffy like clouds!

Another item worth trying at Le Barricou is there Croque Madame. The question of whether it is the most authentic french croque madame sandwich or not is debatable but one thing we can assure you of is that it is really delicious and you won’t find this kind anywhere else.

7. Matcha Cream Puff at Bibble & Sip

Bibble & Sip is a cute little bakery in Hell’s Kitchen that serves some delectable sweet treats. But, what you absolutely need to try is their matcha cream puff.

Now, these aren’t your normal cream puffs. These are huge and these are filled with the best matcha cream you’ll ever taste! With a crisp craquelin on top and a velvety matcha cream inside, it is definitely a flavor bomb!

Be prepared to wait in line, as is the case for almost any great place in New York.

8. Pastrami Sandwich at Katz Deli

A legendary deli where people line up daily just to have a taste of their monstrous pastrami sandwich.

katz deli pastrami sandwich nyc

There’s no more explanation needed for this amazing sandwich, just go have it okay, you’ll know!

We also love having their split pea and ham soup on cold winter days of New York. It’s like a bowl of coziness, straight up!

9. Crack Pie & Cereal Milk Soft Serve at Milk Bar

Now, this pie is really crack! And after you have a bite of it, it will make you crack! Yes, it is this addictive. It’s astonishing how such simple elements like brown sugar, cream, corn powder and vanilla extract when combined together can make such a delicious treat. I have never had a pie like this in my life.

crack pie milk bar christina tosi nyc new york

In fact, every time someone visits us from New York, that’s the gift they have to get for us. Yes, not any expensive souvenirs, not any branded items, but only this one thing – this Crack Pie!

crack pie milk bar christina tosi nyc new york
This is the exact excitement both of us feel!

They also have another item which will take you back to your childhood. It’s their cereal milk soft serve. The moment I took a bite, I was transported back to my school days – rushing to get to school in time and hence just gulping down the entire bowl of cornflakes at once. It’s just so true to its flavors!

crack pie milk bar christina tosi nyc new york cereal milk ice cream

They have multiple locations throughout New York, so choose which ever location suits you best.

crack pie milk bar christina tosi nyc new york
Oh, and their corn cookie is amazing too!

10. Don Huevo at Bodega Negra

Who doesn’t love some theater along with their food? We know we do!
And I’m not talking about “the actual theater” here, but the performance that this decadent chocolate dessert puts up. If you’re like us who loves to hunt for unique desserts in every place you visit, then this should be on top of your list.

As the hot caramel is poured over the milk chocolate dome, it falls apart like petals and uncovers the gooey dark chocolate cake hiding underneath a perfect scoop of horchata ice cream. This is sure to melt your heart away!

Located in Chelsea, Don Huevo at this hip restaurant is surely an instagram worthy treat! While you’re here make sure to try their warm – freshly made tortilla chips as well.

11. Cream Art at Sweet Moment NYC

This adorable little cafe located in the heart of Chinatown is sure to leave you with lots of Sweet Moments in your day. You’ll have a wide variety of Asian inspired treats to choose from. From black sesame red bean shaved ice tower, also known as Bingsoo, to melon bingsoo, to matcha waffles and more, the choices just seem endless. But, what really caught our eye was their Cream Art drink.

It is just a cold coffee or a tea based drink, that is topped with cream. Sounds simple, right? But the real innovation lies in this very cream topping. Really! You get to choose from chocolate, matcha, red velvet, taro or thai cream. After you make your choice, that’s only half work done. The “art” part of this cream art is still left. Now, please your eyes as the barista makes this one-of-a-kind creation for you!

sweet moment cream art, beautiful!
We just couldn’t resist so we took the Red Velvet, Matcha and Thai Cream Art!

Honestly, the drink is nothing exceptional in terms of flavor but just look at it. It looks so pretty and colorful! Sometimes we’ve got to do something for the eyes too, you know!

12. Gelato at Amorino

Now, whether gelato is the best form of frozen treat or it’s ice cream or sherbet, the answer is arguable. Well, it’s not a tough task for us because we enjoy all forms of frozen treats! But what makes Amorino stand out is its presentation.

Their gelato is perfectly creamy and smooth, but the effort they put in to carefully make beautiful petals from it is commendable! It’s definitely another insta-worthy spot in NYC.

amorino pretty gelato folded like a petal beautiful colorful

13. Hit Me Cake at Catch NYC

What if I told you that you could officially smash hit and destroy a dish at a fine dining restaurant without being chided by them? Yes, it is the Hit Me Cake from Catch NYC.

A scrumptious four layer dessert prepared by placing a slab of chocolate brownie, topped with roasted white chocolate ice cream, followed by devil’s food cake and finally a slab of liquid “klondike”, is definitely a fun dessert. Get ready to hit it and let all the fun flow! By the way, hit hard!

Go on! Hit it hard!

14. Ube Soft Serve at Soft Swerve

Ube is the new black! And I’m not even kidding. These days almost everywhere we go, we find places serving ube products. Be it ube cheesecake, ube cookies, ube tarts, they’ve got it all. Sometimes it’s just purple food coloring and not even real ube, but Soft Swerve in NYC has mastered the flavors of ube in their soft serve! You have to try it to understand what the real flavor tastes like.

soft swerve variety soft serve matcha lychee sorbet
I can’t wait, so I’m going to dig in.

This cute ice cream shop in Lower Manhattan also has some unconventional flavors such as lychee, earl grey tea, winter melon, matcha and more. Be sure to try them as well.

PRO TIP – Get a swirl of two flavors to get some colorful insta-worthy photos!

15. Flowering Hot Chocolate & Cookie Shots at Dominique Ansel Bakery

Even though Dominique Ansel Bakery has other locations in Los Angeles and London as well, but we wouldn’t miss this one hell of a bakery each time we’re in New York. Why, you ask? Because of two things.

One, because of their flowering hot chocolate.I mean where else can you find a thing like that? Remember my point about theater with food? Yeah, we love it! The flower shaped marshmallow blossoms as you delicately place it on top of the steaming hot chocolate. A perfect treat for a cold New York night!

Flower shaped marshmallow blossoming over the hot chocolate…

And two, because of their milk and cookie shots. Honestly, I haven’t tried anything like this before. I mean what a concept. Crispy chocolate chip cookies made in the form of shot glasses become soft and gooey as warm milk is poured into them. That’s the definition of a perfect cookie – the right balance between crispiness and chewiness!

Milk and Cookie shots

And oh, you have to try their cronuts! But do note, they are only available for a couple of hours after their opening time. Yeah, they sell out that fast daily. (By the way, do check out our review of this bakery at its London location as well, in our article here.)

16. Cuban Sandwich at Margon

This is definitely the best cuban sandwich in New York! Don’t go by the looks of this place, it is a very simple looking Cuban restaurant located in the heart of Midtown, but what they serve in the form of their cuban sandwich is a complete flavor bomb!

margon best cuban sandwich nyc
margon best cuban sandwich nyc

Tell you a little secret to enjoy this sandwich even more? Get this packed up and head to Central Park. Have a little picnic of your own and do some people watching as you enjoy this delectable delight. Trust us now and thank us later!

17. Almost Any Bagel at Murray’s Bagels

Your trip to NYC is incomplete without having a New York bagel with almost an inch thick of cream cheese slathered in between.

The question of where you’ll find the best bagel in New York is debatable because different people have different opinions. Some say you’ll find the best bagels at Russ & Daughters, some say Ess-A-Bagels have the best ones, we say it’s Murray’s! But the truth really is, you can walk into almost any bagel shop in NYC and it will not disappoint you!

We personally like their bagels the best because of the unique cream cheese flavors we get there. We enjoy a nicely toasted everything bagel smeared with sun-dried tomato & roasted garlic cream cheese the most!

bagel cream cheese murray's fresh food nyc

Also, when you’re in New York, you have to try a Bagel & Lox from somewhere at least once.

PRO TIP – Get the bagel toasted!

18. Banana Pudding at Magnolia Bakery

Do you dream of creamy luscious sweetness generously blended with crisp wafers and gooey bananas? We do too!

And Magnolia Bakery is here to make your dreams come true! You cannot leave New York without trying their legendary banana pudding. We can bet you will not find a banana pudding even half as good anywhere else.

magnolia bakery banana pudding nyc new york

19. Almost Anything Chocolate at Max Brenner

Too much chocolate is like having too much love, it can never be enough! And this restaurant follows this principle to a tee. From appetizers, to cocktails, to main course, to… well of course desserts, everything is about chocolate at Max Brenner.

A perfect place to celebrate with your loved ones or just enjoy a casual dinner, this place fits into all domains.

Now, one thing that you absolutely have to try when you visit is their Classic European Fondue. As you’ll roast the marshmallows and brûlée the bananas, and dip them into warm cups of decadent dark, milk and white chocolate sauces, it is sure to bring out the child in you! The child who always wanted to eat more chocolate but was never allowed to. This is your chance now, eat away! It’s the experience that elevates its taste even more!

fondue max brenner chocolate dark chocolate caramel
Classic European Fondue

You must also try their italian thick hot chocolate – so thick and luscious, it’s unbelievable; and their classic chocolate martini – I’ve never tasted anything like this before, simply yum!

hot chocolate max brenner hug mug thick
Three Italian thick hot chocolates for me please!
max brenner chocolate martini marshmallow
Classic Chocolate Martini

While you’re here, and if by chance you need some break from the decadence, there is this one non-chocolate thing on their menu that is simply the best in all of New York – it’s their Pressed Cubano Waffle Sandwich! Perfectly crispy on the outside and utterly cheesy on the inside, it is bang on in terms of flavor! Do yourself a favor, just try this okay!

max brenner waffle cubano sandwich nyc new york
Pressed Cubano Waffle Sandwich

20. Dark Hot Chocolate with Homemade Marshmallow at City Bakery

Well, by now it must be pretty evident that we love our hot chocolate! You see, you need it to brave the frigid cold. Hot cocoa gives you the warmth that coffee can’t. That cozy sort of a feeling, if you know what I mean!

The hot chocolate you get at city bakery isn’t your normal hot chocolate. It is way more indulgent, it’s way more thick! It’s like drinking a dessert. But, one thing that makes this bakery stand out is their homemade marshmallow! It’s a monster marshmallow as big as the size of your mouth and it just melts the moment you bite into it.

city bakery hot chocolate homemade marshmallow city bakery nyc  new york
Look at this marshmallow bigger than the size of your head!

We recommend you try their dark and decadent hot chocolate topped with their homemade marshmallow. It’s amazing! Trust us.


While we just chill here, we heard there’s a new cafe in town – Blue Strips Cacao Shop! Let’s go check it out!

As innovation in food keeps on growing so rapidly in New York, new places serving unique foods keep on opening with the blink of an eye. In fact ten new spots might have opened up as you were reading this article! It is just not possible to fit all the NY eats into one post. (Check out this amazing article by Christine Amorose to know about more such great places). So, we will be back with more unique things to do and eat in New York. Why don’t you stuff yourself with these scrumptious treats till then!



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72 replies »

  1. Yep, I’m a New Yorker and I can vouch for so many of these places and more. NYC offers a veritable selection of gastronomic experiences and, if you walk everywhere, the calories are burned quickly while you consume… Yummy! 🙂

    Like

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