NEW YORK — With more than 25,000 restaurants, the number and diversity of dining options may seem overwhelming to New York City visitors.
The Big Apple has such a significant culinary scene that New Yorkers could eat three times a day — each meal at a different restaurant — without repeating an eatery for 23 years.
So, The Sentinel has narrowed down five New York dining experiences fit for foodie travelers. Some are as iconic as the Empire State Building, while other suggestions will take you off the tourist-beaten path to where the locals dine.
Grab a slice of the pizza pie
Introduced to New York by Italian immigrants, New York-style pizza has a thin crispy crust and a sauce-to-mozzarella ratio that has been perfected over the decades.
It all started in 1905 at Lombardi’s, the city’s first pizzeria. Today, the NoLita establishment still serves classic Margherita pies and regularly earns a spot on “best of New York” lists.
Nearly 110 years after Lombardi’s opened, pizza has become one of the — if not the most — accessible foods in New York. Pizza is not just found in the Little Italy and Bensonhurst pizzerias; you’ll find pizza parlors throughout the five boroughs.
In addition to the convenience of finding pizza in New York, many by-the-slice shops are open late, fulfilling post-drinking snack-to-go needs in the city that doesn’t sleep. Artichoke Basille’s Pizza is a late-night hotspot among Chelsea clubbers. And, at $1 per slice, New York-style pizza is easy on the travel budget, too.
Start the day with a bagel
Whether you load it up with cream cheese and lox or keep your bagel plain and simple, eating this breakfast food is as quintessential of a New York experience as strolling through Central Park.
Bagel shops are not nearly as abundant as pizzerias — only 163 are listed on the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s website versus more than 1,000 pizza places. However, if bagel shops were evenly spaced throughout the city, you could find one every 2.88 square miles.
Expect to wait in line, but for a fluffy bagel — in a flavor such as pumpernickel, garlic, onion or whole-wheat everything — smeared with a gargantuan dollop of schmear, head to Murray’s Bagels. The original shop is in Greenwich Village, but the bakery has added two more locations in Manhattan.
Sip and share at a Manhattan wine bar
In a city where, especially as a tourist, you’re frequently in a crowd, the quiet escape of a wine bar can be a welcomed respite. Often intimate spaces with romantic mood lighting or alfresco seating, Manhattan’s wine bars are best suited for small groups or twosomes.
Many wine bar menus feature small plates, cheese plates and desserts for sharing. At Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar, pair chocolate-covered strawberries with a glass of bubbly, or at the Drunken Horse, a cozy wine bar that serves Turkish mezze, share hummus and cheese cigars — feta-stuffed filo-dough rolls that are lightly fried — and conversation around the fireplace.
Brunch like a local
A weekend in New York wouldn’t be complete without brunch.
If you favor sweet over savory, the decadent waffles, crepes and French toast topped with whipped cream and berries are served until 3 p.m. at Norma’s at Le Parker Meridien. Pair your delectable breakfast with a personal French press pot of coffee or a cappuccino.
Get a taste of Brooklyn
Food flea market Smorgasburg is the place to taste a variety of food and beverages from local and regional caterers, restaurants and vendors each weekend in Brooklyn. Try maple-syrup lemonade, Ramen burgers or cheese pops (fancy cheeses on a stick)!
On Saturdays, the market sets up at East River Park, along the Williamsburg waterfront.