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Nom Wah Tea Parlor claims to have the longest running dim-sum shop in NYC and since 1920 this restaurant has been serving these delectable little dumplings at this address. For a bit of history, this storefront is located on the Bloody Angle, one of the city's most notorious alleys in which many Chinese gangs shed blood throughout the 19th Century. Despite the mayhem which then existed, today, Nom Wah diners eat classic siu mai and drink hot jasmine tea, just as it was done along the Silk Road hundreds of years ago.
In 1897 Gennaro Lombardi started selling tomato pies to workers from a humble storefront on Spring St. In 1905, he transformed it into what would become the first pizzeria in the United States. The original location closed in 1984, but the family reopened this pizzeria in 1994, right down the street. Inside, the magnificent, brick-oven pizza comes to your table the same way it did over a century ago. It's simple, crusty and much beloved by the locals and tourists. Needless to say, wait times on the weekends can be quite long and a line of people usually curves around the door. The ovens use classic ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes, real Mozzarella di Bufala and if you are looking for a slice, look elsewhere because Lombardi's has historically never sold them.
Located near the waterfront in Brooklyn, the now legendary Grimaldi's offers excellent pizzas. Cooked in a brick oven, the crusts emerge crispy and pleasantly charred. The toppings always consist of only the freshest ingredients, including their delectable sausage, vegetables and mozzarella cheese. No reservations are taken, so be prepared to wait outside along with hordes of faithful customers, who consider this to be the best pizza in New York City.
From its humble beginnings on East Houston Street, Russ & Daughters has grown to be a Manhattan legend. The iconic NY deli now boasts multiple locations that attract diners from far and wide. The Russ & Daughters cafe at Orchard street is just a few blocks away from the original store where it all started. The cafe offers a menu rife with traditional Jewish delicacies alongside a few creative renditions. Their smoked fish and bagels are definitely a must try, although their infused caviares, babka, potato latkes, lox, matzo ball soup and other deli-style dishes are just as delicious. Fashioned to resemble a modern day diner, the cafe is just as charming and friendly as its offerings are delicious. Try the egg cream if you're looking to pair your meal with something other than coffee.
The menu at Jane's is filled with familiar American dishes and the kitchen only uses locally sourced ingredients from around New York state. Most of the dishes add a contemporary flair to this familiarity: like roasted organic chicken in foccacia with Merlot-mustard spread or the Montauk fluke dressed up with bright tomatoes and sauteed shrimp. The wine list accompanies all dishes quite well and the grapes are chosen by season, rather than region. The seasonal fruit Martinis such as the infused Bartlett pear served in the summer and cider in the winter make anytime a great time to visit.
For more than a 100 years, this huge cafeteria-style Jewish deli has been delighting New Yorkers with their pastrami and brisket sandwiches alongside their scrumptious "kosher-style" meals. The humble eatery, with Formica tables lined up in rows, may not be the ideal place to take a date (unless you want to remind him or her of eating in a school lunchroom), but if you are craving a giant sandwich served with perfect pickles or a couple of kosher hot dogs, there is perhaps no better place than Katz's in the city. There is table service, but most people take a ticket at the door and give it to the counterman when placing their order; they then pay on the way out.
Food connoisseurs believe that the quality of a meal is determined by that of its ingredients. With this philosophy in mind, Blue Hill forms part of a growing trend of like-minded restaurants in New York that insist on using the choicest produce in their kitchens. Dan, David and Laureen Barber inherited the family's farm in Massachusetts from whom it gets its name and inspiration. Its fascinating history is synthesized in the landmark building in Greenwich Village that this place calls home. The creative menu includes marinated beet salad, Berkshire pig's belly, venison liver terrine, grilled celery root risotto and Hudson Valley chicken. Epicureans can dine in the elegant and sophisticated seating area for a five course seasonal tasting menu with artisanal wine.
Since first opening in 1954, 2nd Avenue Deli Restaurant has become one of the best-known names on the world-renowned Manhattan Jewish Deli scene. The menu consists of time-tested favorites like Corned Beef Sandwiches, Matzo Ball Soup, and Pastrami served in a dining room surrounded by Yiddish memorabilia. Though the original location on 2nd Street was closed down in 2006, it has since reopened at a new location on 33rd Street with its original menu still intact. You won't regret traveling those extra blocks for a taste of this Manhattan landmark.
Starting out as a humble food cart more than a decade ago, The Halal Guys today has become somewhat of a street food icon in the bustling Manhattan metropolis. Originally targeted at night-owls and workers looking for cost-effective food at unearthly hours, the food stall today attracts New Yorkers in droves thanks to their ever-popular chicken and rice with a dash of their spicy sauces. Falafels, pita, gyro and a few other choices complete the limited menu. As the name suggests, all of the food is halal. Though available at limited times during evenings and through nights, The Halal Guys have managed to give the busy intersection of 53rd Street and 6th Avenue, a heavenly aroma and food identity of its own.
Ask a New Yorker where to get the best hot dog, and chances are good the answer will be Gray's Papaya. This legendary hot dog joint serves up long, filling hot dogs heaped to your taste with delicious toppings like, carmelized onions, sauerkraut and chili. If you're wondering why Papaya is in the name, they also serve up a great selection of fruit juices, including papaya. If you're looking for a way to fill your belly quickly on the Upper West Side without emptying your wallet, head to Gray's Papaya.
One of the reasons why NYC is one of the greatest cities on earth is that it has Barney Greengrass. This institution of smoked fish and caviar is the New York deli that can truly be called the "Sturgeon King" in all five boroughs. In addition to fish roe, you can find white-fish salad, onion & eggs, sandwiches, salads and of course, billowy bagels. Also try their pickled herring, sable carp, baked salmon and if you can't make it to NY, they also have a mail-order catalog for home delivery. Since 1908, Barney Greengrass has conveyed that old-world charm to locals and tourists alike in this part of Manhattan and let's hope they continue to do so for 100 more.
Home of the Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, Nathan's Famous has been serving mouth-watering hot dogs since 1916 at its landmark location in Coney Island. What started as a nickel hot dog stand has grown to a nationwide franchise, but hot dog aficionados swear that no other hot dog can compare to the original Nathan's! Maybe it's the sea air or the old-school atmosphere; no one knows for sure, but one bite into these crunchy all-beef dogs will win over the greatest skeptic. The fries (with or without gobs of cheese or chili) are to die for!