Burgers, shakes, sodas and pretty much all the classic fast food staples can be found at this revered burger joint in Madison Square Park. In addition to addictive burgers and shakes, the Shack offers a leafy outdoor setting for its patrons to watch the city go by. The surprise here is that they serve booze with your burger; from beer, to reds and whites available by glass and bottle, grab one and try to find a spot on the grass. What's more, they're dog-friendly and they have a few things on the menu as well for your pooch. During the spring and summer, the line outside can be inexorably long, however there are other locations around Manhattan which are only a cab ride away.
The name of this restaurant comes from the founder Brian Shebairo trying to say the name of his friend and co-founder Chris, while eating a hotdog. An absolute must for those who love franks, Crif Dogs has upped the ante with its handmade, naturally smoked wieners. They also serve some amazing burgers and shakes, but most come for the dogs. Try the Spicy Redneck, a bacon wrapped masterpiece topped with cole slaw and jalapenos.
Totonno Pizzeria, founded in 1924 by Anthony "Totonno" Pero, features some of the best coal-fired brick-oven New York-style pizzas around. Few places can boast fresher ingredients than the homemade mozzarella, sauces and toppings they feature here. In addition to traditional Margherita and Neapolitan pizzas, they have bianca pizzas (without sauce) and combination pizzas with a variety of toppings, as well as pasta dishes. Appetizers include salad, mussels marinara and calamari.
Since 1973, Gray's Papaya has been a New York favorite on the West Side. With two locations, both spots merit an obligatory visit, especially if you're broke. So what if it is just a hot dog joint? Founder Paul Gray (formerly from Papaya King), has fed thousands of New Yorkers, in addition to many celebrities and tourists. The special is two juicy dogs served with your choice of onions, kraut, mustard, ketchup and a foamy papaya drink for some of the lowest prices around. The place is standing room only, but then again these dogs are meant to be eaten on-the-go.
This tiny Israeli restaurant serves some of the best falafel to be found in the city. Limited seating in the restaurant can be an issue, so when the weather is nice, take your food outside to the benches out front. The falafel platter is a favorite, and the sauces are sure to please. Wash it all down with some refreshing iced tea, fresh lemonade or a smoothie.
Paulie Gee's has made a name for itself for having some of the best pizzas at affordable prices in New York. Taste is the winner in all of the pizzas made crisp and light from fresh dough, with a dash of flavorful sauces. Another feature is the plenty of vegan options, including faux meat. Try the Delboy or ricotta da vita pizzas, or any of the well seasoned salads. They also serve coffee, wine and beer. The owner Paulie Gee is friendly and can often be seen interacting with customers and asking for their feedback.
Located on 8th Avenue, Da Tommaso Ristorante is a cozy Italian restaurant. Visit this restaurant to treat yourself with delicious meals from the Italian cuisine. The menu includes authentic dishes like pastas, antipasti, salads and soups. The light-colored walls are lined with paintings and wine racks. The restaurant’s friendly staff and homely ambience exudes a warm and cozy feel.
If the idea of vegan sushi does not rock your boat, take this-the vegetable sushi at Beyond Sushi are absolutely delicious. Chef Guy knows how to make the most of his fruit-and-vegetable palette, and more importantly, what to make of it. As if creating Sushi were an art, their sushi rolls come with layer upon layer of surprise. The menu is creative and extensive, to say the least. You can start off with side salads or noodle salads, and then commence on serious sushi business and call for something like Spicy Mang or Green Machine. They serve desserts to conclude the dining.
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.
Two pizza superstars, Roberto Caporuscio and his mentor Antonio Starita join forces to bring Midtown this mind-blowing and authentic Neapolitan pizzeria. Crust, sauce, cheese and oven are the way they have always been since pizza came to New York, bursting with flavor and authenticity. As for toppings, diners can choose to go the traditional route or get more creative. Their 50 different pizzas range from plain burratta mozzarella to the "Pope's Pizza" topped with butternut squash, zucchini, roasted peppers, smoked buffalo mozzarella and basil. Don Antonio also serves a delicious selection of appetizers, paninis and salads.
Empanada Mama's red and green storefront bursts out from the dingy grays of 9th Avenue, beckoning visitors in for its huge assortment of handmade empanadas. Founder Socrates Nanas has created forty different varieties of this international favorite, stuffing shredded pork, beef or vegetables into wheat or corn husks before a light fry renders them golden and delicious. Clever variations on this staple item include the Polish (sauerkraut and kielbasa) and the Cheeseburger (ground beef and shredded cheese). If the signature dish isn't your thing, Empanada Mama offers an assortment of arepas, a South American corn patty stuffed with pork, beef, chicken or vegetables as well as a number of soups, salads and dessert items. Open all day, every day, Empanada Mama is the perfect stop for a quick bite on the go.
This bar/grill located at the edge of Hell's Kitchen serves New American food and drinks within a convivial atmosphere, even though it's usually filled with non-locals in the tourist Theater District. The kitchen prepares familiar favorites like sliders, pizzas, sandwiches and burgers while the bar slings handcrafted cocktails until 4a most evenings. Open for weekend brunch, lunch and dinner, West End is a nice spot before or after a show.