I am completely and utterly OBSESSED with New York. It is by far my favourite City in the world and each time I visit I fall a little more in love. One of the best bits of NYC is the incredible selection of restaurants - it's simply a foodie heaven.
The above shot was taken whilst still in good old blighty whilst having breakfast at Giraffe but it gives you a hint as to what food may feature rather heavily...!
So read on and find out my top brunch, lunch and dinner recommendations in New York.
4 Clinton Street New York, NY 10002.
This little gem is easy to miss if you don't know where to look, so keep an eye out for the big green flag and the bright red door nestled among the otherwise inconspicuous array of shops. Another sign that you’ve come to the right place will be a small gaggle of people in a queue snaking along the sidewalk, yup, the Clinton Street Restaurant is so popular that there is often a wait to find a table. I went twice during my visit and there was a short queue each time but you simply pop your name on the list and can either stay and wait or go for a little wander to pass the time.
It’s worth noting there’s the Clinton Street Restaurant and the Clinton Street Bakery on the same street or you may wander into the Bakery looking for brunch…which is exactly what I did! They expanded after the Clinton Street brunch became infamous and so the Clinton Street Restaurant is the place to go for a sit down meal. If there's a queue I strongly suggest once you've put your name down walking the 30 seconds to the bakery and buying yourself a delicious hot chocolate or a small sweet treat to enjoy whilst you wait - but be sure not to take too long as if you miss your name when it's called you're straight to the back of the queue!
This intimate eatery shines for one main reason - the absolutely flawless brunch line-up. From the signature (voted the best panckes in New York City no less!) blueberry pancakes made with lots of love (and butter), to its mouth-watering omelettes with lashings of melted cheese and all the toppings you could wish for. On top of the best pancakes, Clinton Street has racked up numerous other best-in-NYC-type awards (best muffins, best biscuits, best brunch, etc.) and the praise is well deserved.
On my first visit I opted for the buttermilk pancakes, which were golden, fluffy pancake perfection, with a side of double smoked bacon topped with a drizzle of warm maple butter. I can certainly see why Clinton Street’s pancakes have been named the best-in-NYC! On my next visit I opted for a mouth-watering cheese-feast of an omelette (goats cheese and monterey jack to be precise) and again was left amazed at the delicious-ness.
For brunch-on-a-budget and some good old American comfort food Clinton Street is the way to go. It’s also a great place for solo travellers as there are a number of single seats at the bar, meaning you can skip the queue and slide right in.
Central Park,E 72nd St, New York, NY 10021.
For lunch with a side of incredible views and a dash of the WOW factor, look no further than The Loeb Boathouse in Central Park. Established in 1954 and offering simply stunning views of both the park and the adjacent lake, The Loeb houses a bar, express cafe and a restaurant. So whether it's a quick drink, a light snack or a leisurely lunch this really is the ultimate destination.
Just a short stroll into New York's most well-known and beloved park takes you to this understated urban oasis. During my visit in February it was bitingly-cold but the sun was shining as I made my way to my table at the Lakeside Restaurant. Taking my seat and shaking off my heavy winter coat I sat gazing out at the stunning scenery, watching as the rowboats bobbed idly by the side of the frozen lake. An elegant yet relaxed dining experience, the Lakeside Restaurant boasts an impressive menu and knowledgeable waiters but beware it is often very busy so the service can be slow.
A friend had raved about the Crab Cakes and insisted I must try them so I opted for the ‘Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with Cucumber, Tomato, and Onion Salad with Caper Remoulade Sauce’ washed down with a delightfully fizzy and fruity Prosecco and Peach Puree Bellini. The presentation was flawless and the food delicious. Melt-in-the-mouth and perfectly flavoured, I simply cannot fault the food and the dish was one of the best I have ever tasted.
Prices err slightly on the expensive side so this is more of a celebration/occasion lunch (perfect for proposals and they do weddings and parties too). An absolute must-visit during your trip to New York, even if you only pop in and sit in the Lounge in one of the sumptuous armchairs nestled round the cosy fireplace and enjoy a glass of red or a cocktail.
228 West 52nd Street, NY 10019
In 1927, America is in Prohibition and right in the heart of New York City, Gallagher's opens as a Speakeasy on 52nd Street, instantly becoming the place to be for New York’s gamblers, sports figures and Broadway stars. In 1933 the prohibition ends and Gallagher’s becomes Broadway's first steakhouse. With its trademark combination of smoky steak, classic cocktails and ‘wait staff that never forgets a name’ Gallagher’s still reigns supreme in 2016 as New York’s favourite steakhouse and shoots straight to the top of my list as my absolute favourite dining experience in NYC.
Before heading on over to Broadway to see Jersey Boys (SEE IT. IT’S AMAZING) we ambled rather aimlessly around Times Square and the theatre district looking for somewhere to dine that wasn’t a fast food chain. The sight of the blood red and gold facade and twinkling chandeliers of Gallagher’s caught our eyes so we decided to take a peek inside. As soon as we entered we were greeted by the sight of a vibrant, buzzing restaurant and welcomed by the friendliest waiters I have ever experienced. With comfy booths, intimate tables and walls adorned with pictures of stars and sports figures - many of which were actually taken at Gallagher’s - the atmosphere attracts the rich and famous and remains ‘the place to be in the theatre district’.
Moments after being seated we realised we were in fact dining right next to Kelsey Grammer (AKA Frasier Crane!) and this celeb spot made a wonderful evening even more memorable. I subtly asked our waiter his advice on how to approach Kelsey without disturbing him (Gallagher’s, whilst retaining a homely, friendly feeling is still a fancy restaurant) and he glided over and had a quick word. Minutes later Kelsey stood up and made his way over to our table, introduced himself and began chatting away with us, even posing for photos before making his way back to his booth. I’m not sure who was more smiling harder, my friend and I or the staff at seeing the two British girls giggling in the corner.
Every single waiter was a delight to talk to and chatted with ease with all of the patrons and imparted their knowledge and suggestions regarding the various options on both the menu and the wine list. I opted for a glass of Merlot and one of the specialties, the Grilled half Chicken with Lemon and olive oil served with caponata (I know, I know - a steakhouse and I order chicken!) which was exquisite. It’s really no surprise to me that the restaurant features in the 2016 Michelin guide.
The prices also err on the expensive side but in my opinion are absolutely worth it given the quality of the food and drink, the ambience and the brilliance of the staff. Gallagher’s is now a firm favourite of mine and I can’t wait to pay it another visit on my next trip. Whether you’re shopping in Times Square or seeing a show on Broadway I cannot recommend Gallagher’s highly enough.
Hey baby I hear the blues a-callin'...
Jennifer Rosellen x