This past weekend I went to NYC to celebrate Halloween! While exploring the city, I was constantly reminded of my mission to eat. From Brooklyn to Manhattan, I made sure that I stopped by some of the best restaurants in NYC to get my ghoulish grub on.
After a two-hour flight and an hour in airport traffic, I was STARVED. The only thing on my mind was food and my only mood was pizza. I wanted to stay near the Brooklyn Pier so I found a little, hidden place called Sottocasa Pizzeria. Sottocasa is an authentic Italian pizzeria in Brooklyn that serves a variety of delicious pizzas, antipastis, and desserts. I mean this place actually had real Italians working and eating at the restaurant, which basically validates its authenticity.
For dinner I ordered the Barbatietole and Reginella pizza. Barbatietole is an appetizer of roasted beets, apples, and goat cheese. I was expecting for my beets to be warm, not cold, so I was a bit unsatisfied with my order. I loved the flavors of the sweet apples and tart goat cheese, but my taste buds could not get with the taste of the cold beets. However, the pizza was absolutely delicious! It was a little watery because of the fresh tomatoes, but that was expected. I also loved that Sottocasa was not stingy with the mozzarella. Every bite was so cheesy! I am a HUGE tomato-basil fan, and I could taste the true flavors of the fresh tomatoes and basil. For dessert, I ordered the Hazelnut Affogato which reminded me why I fell in love with Nutella years ago. The chocolate gelato topped with hazelnut spread and almond shavings was the perfect decadent dessert for the occasion.
Sottocasa also had great service! The waiters were so kind and the food came out swiftly. Their prices weren’t too bad either. With pizzas ranging from $13-20, they were very fulfilling.
Milk and Honey
Before I hit the city, I stopped by Milk and Honey for brunch in Brooklyn. This self-serve, coffee shop and all-day brunch spot had a warm ambiance filled with rays of sunshine. Their cast iron egg dishes were basically another name for Shakshuka. I ordered the “Three Eggs in Hell” which I think needed a bit more salt, but had a good balance of spice for the vegetables hidden under the cheese and eggs. I was not a impressed by the french toast. After trying real Canadian maple syrup, I can taste when syrup is not of quality. I honestly wish the restaurant tied the concept of their name into their food more. Milk and Honey is such a warm and welcoming name. Rather than serving generic maple syrup covered french toast with mixed berries, they should have made a specialty milk and honey based batter for the brioche bread and topped it with seasonal fruit and light honey. I just think that the restaurant has more potential with their concepts than they think.
Since the restaurant was self-serve, I could not say much about the servers, but the food came out quickly and the prices were not bad at all. Coffee and tea were at average prices of $3-5, and brunch options started around $9.
Chick’ nCone – The Gansevoort Market
Chicken’ Cone is found in the Gansevoort Market in Chelsea, New York. This little market is full of small restaurant stands including the one and only, Chickn’ Cone!
New York City likes to hype up certain foods such as colorful bagels, mac n’ cheese, churro ice cream sandwiches, among other various foods. However, the food does not always match its hype. Except this place. Chick’n Cone takes a funky NYC twist on chicken and waffles that is actually worth the hype!
These fried chicken bites were not heavy at all. Stuffed in a fresh waffle cone, these chicken bites made the perfect snack and meal. I ordered the Buffalo bites and my friend ordered the Yella BBQ. These bites were prepared in sauces fresh to order! The buffalo was tangy with a spicy kick and the yella bbq tasted sweet and savory similar to honey bbq and Chickfila sauce. I will say that I have had better cajun fries, but their specialty of fried chicken in a waffle cone was superb.
The customer service I received at Chick’n Cone was great! Every time someone received their order, they congratulated customers for trying their cone. The prices of Chick’n Cone were also very cheap. The chicken cone itself is $8, but the combo is only $12.
Chelsea Market Gelato – The High Line
After Chickn’ Cone, my friend and I were in the mood for something sweet so we explored the Chelsea Market to see what desserts we could find!
The Chelsea Market and the High Line are staples that you have to visit if you are in NYC. If you are from Atlanta then you must be familiar with the Belt Line as well as the Ponce City Market. The Chelsea Market and the High Line are practically the same thing. Both sites were old railroad tracks that were converted into a walking trail that connects to a market full of restaurants, clothing stores, and stationary shops.
Of all the cool coffee shops, chocolatiers, and dining halls, my friend and I selected this cute gelateria for some gelato. L’Arte del GELATO was serving up some sweet and simple Italian flavors. I ordered the mascarpone and dark chocolate gelato, which was rich and creamy. The gelato did not instantly melt, but rather kept its texture. The flavors of the mascarpone and chocolate constantly complemented each other with each spoonful.
There were no complaints about the customer service here, and the prices of the gelato were pretty standard for ice cream prices. My cup of gelato only cost me about $6.
One cuisine that I just have to eat whenever I come to New York is Italian. It’s much easier for me to find authentic Italian food in NYC that is actually worth the price. Before coming to NYC, I did my research on this place and came to see that they have multiple traditional and new Italian dishes made of fresh, house made pastas.
My friend and I started with the Burrata followed by the Ragu and Cacio e Pepe. The burrata was divine. The tomatoes were bursting with flavor and the buratta was oozing cheese. The light flavors of olive oil, salt, and pepper combined with the cheese and tomatoes were so simple yet satisfying. In the south it is quite difficult for me to find ragu that is of quality and made only with beef. This ragu was the best that my tastebuds have had in years. It didn’t lack beef nor did it lack tomato sauce. The beef came across with a salty flavor at first but was toned down by the fresh rosemary. It was the perfect combination of fresh ingredients atop papardelle. This was also my first time trying cacio e pepe and it was worth the excitement! I had been wanting to try cacio e pepe for a while so I made it my mission to find an Italian restaurant in NYC that serves it. The flavors of the cream and fresh pasta almost tasted like gnocchi.
The service of the restaurant was super accommodating. Similar to Sottocasa,this place was also ran by Italians. The food arrived quickly and the waiters were not pushy. Since I was eating Italian, the prices were expected to be steep. Antipasti’s ranged around $15 while entrees ranged around $20. I will say that the food was absolutely worth every penny!
Cafeteria a posh, chic, and fun restaurant in Chelsea, New York. Open 24/7, Cafeteria is the place to come to for brunch, lunch, dinner, and fourth-meal.
My friend and I were starving Saturday morning so we decided to go to Cafeteria for brunch. We started with their mac trio and substituted the mac with bacon for a vegetarian option. The mac was so creamy, cheesy, and full of flavor. I could really taste the difference in the trio. The fontina mac had a tart flavor while the truffle one had hints of savory mushroom flavors. Unfortunately, the restaurant was super busy, so when we got our mac n’ cheese it wasn’t that hot and my cheese was not “ooey-gooey,” boomerang worthy. I am a sucker for fried chicken, especially for brunch. I ordered the fried chicken and waffles and I must say, for NYC brunch, Cafeteria’s chicken and waffles were impeccable. The last time I had fried chicken for brunch in NYC it was not that great, but Cafeteria definitely killed it! The juicy hot fried Tabasco marinated chicken on top of the warm, fluffy waffle were the perfect brunch combination served with a side of hot sauce and syrup.
Yes, the food was great, but the service was a downer. The waiters took forever to attend guests after being seated and the food took an outrageous amount of time to come out. My friend got a little light headed waiting because she was hungry and 30 minutes after our order had been placed we asked when the mac n’ cheese would come out? The mac came out 10 minutes later, and it was not until another 10 minutes later we got our food that seemed fully prepared.
Cafeteria’s menu ranges from roughly $11-30. Smaller entrees such as pancakes and build your own omelettes are on the inexpensive side, but if you’re feeling chicken and waffles or a burger, then entrees start to get pricier. However, the portions are large and you have to factor in New York prices, which end up giving you somewhat of a bang for your buck.
Later for dinner we stumbled upon a restaurant that we should have just never entered. Pinto Garden was overpriced, bougie, and just not good Thai food. I have had better food truck Thai! While waiting for my order to arrive I received a clay pot with a few pieces of romaine and colorful cauliflower. I ordered oysters (not pictured) and Pad Thai, both of which were not good. The Oysters tasted off, and the fried onions on top did not make them any better. The Pad Thai lacked flavor and the noodles were too sticky. The only good part about the entree was that you could taste the freshness of the shrimp. The menu here was also a bit misleading. My friend ordered what seemed like it was a stir fry rice dish, but received a plate of white rice surrounded by steamed vegetables.
Even though the food was lacking, the service was great! When my friend was shocked about her entree, they were more than happy to replace her meal. The restaurant was still bougie and expensive. Appetizers were around $15 and the entrees started around $17 and up.
Max Brenner’s is a famous chocolate shop and restaurant in Union Square of New York. Specializing in all candies, desserts, and drinks, Max Brenner’s is the dream chocolate fix.
I have been dying to try Max Brenner’s every since my first trip to New York. I always make the plan to go, but then something pops up and I don’t go. I ordered the Spectacular Melting Chocolate S’mores Sundae and my friend ordered the Baked Cookie Dream. Before anyone tells me that the sundae was haram (Islamically unacceptable), it actually was not. I asked the waiter if the marshmallow was kosher and he said that the marshmallow fluff had no gelatin. Both dishes were mouthwatering, sweet, and scrumptious. After my sundae I still wanted more ice cream! The combination of marshmallow, chocolate ice cream, and Max’s specialty chocolate graham crackers were heavenly. I was even given a side of hot white chocolate that hardened when I put it on my sundae. How cool?! The cookie dream was a delectable decadence too, topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup.
Max Brenner’s had good customer service, but I will say that you NEED reservation before going or else you will wait two hours. I booked my reservation using the Open Table app two hours ahead of time and was seated right away. The prices of desserts ranged from $5-25, so there were plenty of options for chocolate lovers.
While out celebrating Halloween, my friend and I stopped by Fry 375 for some Belgian Cut french fries! These fries were perfect for that late night fulfilling snack. We ordered their regular Belgian-Cut fries with sides of sriracha mayo and garlic aoili. These hot fries were nice and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The fries also did not cost too much either. Since they were specialty fries, they cost us around $5-7 and additional $1 for extra sauces and spices.
So after our long night celebrating Halloween, my friend and I hit up Coppelia in Chelsea for some authentic Cuban fourth-meal, aka my favorite meal. There was a short line to get in but once you entered, you felt like you were in an exclusive speakeasy. Everything about the restaurant was classy from the restaurants dim light booths to its 1920’s style bar tops.
I ordered the Huevos Rancheros which hit the spot! I have never had huevos rancheros as good as the ones at Coppelia. I got my eggs scrambled and layered over a cripsy corn tortilla on top of a bed of rice and beans and all covered in queso fresco and PICKLED ONIONS. I literally inhaled my entree. I ordered the Mexican Hot Chocolate (not pictured) and it was so refreshing for that chilly night. The best part was that I could taste the cinnamon and spices in the hot chocolate.
Another major plus about this restaurant were the prices! Majority of the items ranged from $4-12. Full entrees like Arroz con Pollo were $20 and up, but the breakfast and lunch options were at unbeatable prices. Even the service was great. I recall waiting in line and a guy with seven guests tried to bump up line because he was a “big tipper,” but both the body guard and restaurant manager refused to let him pass because there was already a line of hungry guests waiting. The food came out speedy quick and the servers were super chill. After eating at Coppelia, I had to admit, it was by far the best meal I had during my time in NY.
Overall, my trip to NYC was extravagant. I enjoyed trying new restaurants and just eating everything in site. In two and half days, I conquered various regions of Brooklyn and Manhattan and ate at 10 different restaurants! NYC is one of my favorite cities to visit I never pass up an opportunity to go. I hope you all enjoyed this post and try some of these restaurants that I reviewed.