New York City
She not only picks the perfect restaurant for the right occasion, Sara also wins “best order” every single time.
Sara and I have been working together since 2011. Sara is a foodstylist by trade but she is the engine behind the recipes on JessicaSeinfeld.com and my last two books. She also takes our photos. I would not still be doing this without her. We share a similar food and life sensibility, which is why I trust her list to death. She and I eat together almost every day, but her NYC list is almost all brand new to me, which shocked me. She seems to have a whole other life without me. I am all over it.
I think this taco stand makes the best taco in the city. They make the tortillas to order. The marinated pork is divine, along with their salsas.
Chelsea Market | 75 9th Ave (at W 15th St), NYC 10011
Times Square | 229 W 43rd St (nr. 7th Ave), NYC 10036
TriBeCa | 136 Church St (nr. Warren St), NYC 10007
This is my go-to restaurant for Mexican comfort food and has never let me down in 15 years. The jalapeño margarita and enchiladas (verde or mole) provide much happiness. So do the chips.
Lower East Side | 253 Broome St (nr. Orchard St), NYC 10002
Refined but casual. Perfect Mexican food.
LIC | 5-48 49th Ave, Queens 11101
This modern Mexican corner cafe is hip and friendly. The food is high-minded but simple. I love the chilaquiles with a poached egg and their overproof margarita.
NoHo | 372 Lafayette St (at Great Jones St), NYC 10012
I like going to this convivial spot in the summer when the doors are open with lots of outside seating. It’s great for large groups. The food is straightforward and high quality. Happy hour is a plus.
East Village | 29 E 2nd St (at 2nd Ave), NYC 10003
I love this hard working hole-in-the-wall of a “factory”. I pick up the handmade, fluffy tamales with extra green sauce to take home.
Lower East Side | 34 Ludlow St (nr. Hester St), NYC 10002
I often go here for happy hour for the delicious guacamole and smoky margaritas, but they do so much more in this friendly and vibrant spot.
West Village | 113 7th Ave (nr. Christpoher St), NYC 10014
I am charmed by this Middle Eastern relaxed spot in the village. Drop out and have pita made to order with amazing mezze, kebabs and a glass of Lebanese wine.
West Village | 90 Bedford St (nr. Grove St), NYC 10014
It’s a really good falafel.
Rice rolls (cheong fun) are a Cantonese-style street food. At Joe’s, he grinds the rice for the rolls on premises daily. The noodles are made to order, filled, rolled and then doused with chili oil, if you like (which I highly recommend), yielding a silky, bouncy and satisfying eating experience. It’s addictive. And absolutely the best value in town at $4 a roll (which is a plateful).
Flushing | 136-21 Roosevelt Ave, Queens 11354
SoHo | 265 Canal St (nr. Lafayette St; Canal Street Market) NYC 10013
Upper West Side | 422 Amsterdam Ave (nr. W 80th St), NYC 10024
East Village | 36 St Marks Pl (nr. 2nd Ave), NYC 10003
Stop into this old-school Italian meat store for an Italian hero or chicken cutlet sandwich. And take some sausages home with you.
Greenwich Village | 260 Bleecker St (nr. Cornelia St), NYC 10014
Manousheh is a cozy spot where Lebanese flatbreads are baked to order with sweet or savory toppings. My favorite is the avocado, za’atar, cherry tomato, mint, olives, cucumber, and labneh - think Middle Eastern burrito.
Greenwich Village | 193 Bleecker St (nr. Macdougal St), NYC 10012
These are intense and very satisfying ramens. The restaurant downtown has many more options than ramen and is a sit down restaurant (they take reservations). The Gotham Market location is more of a quick-service counter.
Lower East Side | 25 Clinton St (nr. Stanton St), NYC 10002
Hospitable and cool, I like to go to their East Village location. They serve delicious Moroccan-inspired food – tagines, couscous. But I love it for breakfast.
East Village | 101 St. Marks Place (nr. 1st Ave), NYC 10009
Williamsburg | 133 Wythe Ave (nr. N 8th St), Brooklyn 11249
The chicken Milanese sandwich here is sooo good. So is the chocolate chunk caramel cookie. But so are their breakfast sandwiches and crullers. They do everything well here. It’s mostly stand and eat and drink.
Gramercy | 103 E 19th St (nr. E 19th St), NYC 10003
Upper West Side | 375 Amsterdam Ave (at W 78th St), NYC 10024
A lot of love went into creating this neighborhood cafe, from the handcrafted furniture and locally sourced food to the handmade (and for sale) ceramics. The coffee is delicious, too.
West Village | 482 6th Ave (nr. W 12th St), New York 10011
This bakery/café is a constant for me. I usually go for the canotto (brioche stuffed with mascarpone and prosciutto) or the bomboloni. The breads are some of the best in NYC. The Roman-style pizzas and sandwiches are great to grab and go, but it’s better to sit and enjoy with a cappuccino.
Hell’s Kitchen | 533 W 47th St (nr. 11th Ave), NYC 10036
Chelsea | 236 9th Ave (nr. W 25th St), NYC 10011
SoHo | 103 Sullivan St (btw. Prince and Spring), NYC 10012
West Village | 249 Bleecker St (nr. Cornelia St), NYC 10014
Go here for fantastic coffee, a slice of olive oil cake or an “eggie” sandwich, and a bohemian vibe. Or go in the evening for wine, mixed drinks, and small savory plates. Best of all, there’s a “no laptop” rule.
East Village | 81 E 7th St (nr. 1st Ave), NYC
Trust me and go for the best grilled cheese sandwich there is (with tomato, red onion, cilantro). The chocolate cake is really good, too.
Hell’s Kitchen | 672 9th Ave (nr. W 47th St), NYC 10036
Chelsea Market | 75 9th Ave (at W 15th St), NYC 10011
Brooklyn Heights | 311 Henry St (nr. Atlantic Ave), Brooklyn 11201
A very casual café with excellent dumplings made with the freshest organic ingredients. Don’t miss the scallion pancake and the street-cart greens.
Nolita | 380 Broome St (nr. Mulberry St), NYC
East Village | 179 2nd Ave (nr. E 11th St), NYC
Refreshing café culture is happening here. I like this tiny spot on 8th St. for coffee and an egg sandwich in the morning, and as the day wears on, it turns into a wine bar. The location in the Lower East Side is roomier.
Greenwich Village | 1B W 8th St (nr. 5th Ave), NY 10011
Lower East Side | 137 Eldridge St (nr. Delancey St), NY 10002
West Village | 10 Morton St, NY 10014
I love to sit outside here in the summer months with a Negroni and a plate of arancini.
West Village | 51 Grove St (nr. 7th Ave), NYC 10014
The hype is worth it. The buns, small plates and noodles are consistently excellent. Plan to wait, as they don’t take reservations downtown, unless it’s for the fried chicken dinner, which is something really special. Their latest (and more high-end) outpost just opened in The Shops at Columbus Circle where they take reservations for dinner but not lunch.
East Village | 171 1st Ave (nr. E 11th St), NYC 10003
Columbus Circle | 10 Columbus Cir (Time Warner Center), NYC 10019
Stop into this special and (very) tiny spot for Spanish tapas.
Chelsea (temporarily closed) | 401 W 24th St (nr. 9th Ave), NYC 10001
Babu Ji is a fun and hospitable place with thoughtful and scrumptious Indian street food, curries and tandoori dishes. The butter chicken is insanely good.
Greenwich Village (temporarily closed) | 22 E 13th St (nr. University Pl), NYC
I always tell friends to go here. I like the one in the West Village best. The Katz egg roll is an absolute must.
West Village | 529 Hudson St (nr. Charles St), NYC 10014
Upper West Side | 2170 Broadway (nr. W 77th St), NYC 10024
It isn’t the easiest place to get to, unless you live in Red Hook. But this authentic barbecue joint is worth the hassle. Go for lunch or dinner. Make it fun and take a ferry!
Red Hook | 454 Van Brunt St (at Reed St), Brooklyn 11231
Ilili serves authentic Lebanese-Mediterranean food in a very grand and lively setting. This place is not shy. It’s fun to go with a larger group so you can sample all of the amazing mezza.
Flatiron | 236 5th Ave (nr. E 27th St), NYC 10001
Morning can quickly turn into night at this all day classic Italian bar. Start off with an espresso and a bomboloni, then let the day slide into cocktails and wine with panini and snacks.
West Village | 52 Grove St (at 7th Ave), NY 10014
This a cozy all day neighborhood spot where you can get a poached egg in the morning, a burger for lunch, and branzino for dinner. And a glass of wine or a cocktail anytime.
West Village | 234 W 4th St (at W 10th St), NYC 10014
Go any time of day or night to this European inspired gem. Everything is perfect here.
West Village | 42 Grove St (nr. Bleecker St), NYC 10014
This delightful French café is a complete escape from the noisy outside world.
SoHo | 53 Howard St (at Mercer St), NYC
Café Cluny is a quaint bistro that is friendly and breezy. I always end up getting the frisee salad aux lardons (salad with blue cheese, croutons, bacon and poached egg).
West Village | 284 W 12 St (at W 4th St), NYC 10014
This Italian dream is both a dining experience and market. Go for baked eggs and a cappuccino in the morning. Stay through lunch for pizza and wine. Dinner is exceptional as well – crispy artichokes, pasta, roasted short ribs. For home, stock up on housemade salumi, breads and gelato.
NoHo | 53 Great Jones St (nr. Bowery), NYC 10012
See Jessica’s page for pizza. My only addition is Roberta’s (even though it’s a schlep). The pizza crust is perfectly bubbly and charred with delicious topping combos. The kitchen turns out amazing food, but I never veer from the pizza and the romaine salad with candied walnuts and mint. Open lunch, dinner and brunch on weekends. Go when you can.
Bushwick | 261 Moore St (nr. Bogart St), Brooklyn 11206
The Mercado Little Spain is bustling with food stalls that serve Spanish specialties like empanadas, paella, tortillas, patatas bravas, and churros. It’s a mostly stand and eat kind of situation unless you can snag a table. There are sit down restaurants, wine bars, and cocktail bars as well, and a coffee shop with pastries. Go! It’s fun!
Hudson Yards | 10 Hudson Yards (on W 30th St), NY 10001
I think this is the best cookie I’ve ever had.
Upper West Side (temporarily closed) | 167 W 74th St (nr. Amsterdam Ave), NYC 10023
Upper West Side | 351 Amsterdam Ave (nr. W 77th St), NYC 10024
Harlem | 2167 Frederick Douglass Blvd (nr. W 117th St), NYC 10026
I love dropping into the “Cacao Bar” in the back of this charming chocolate shop for a quiet hot chocolate in winter.
SoHo | 484 Broome St (nr. Wooster St), NYC 10013
My desert island ice cream is Davey’s mint chip. Most of the flavors here are classic and made in small batches of the highest quality. They also serve sundaes, milkshakes, and ice cream sandwiches.
East Village | 137 1st Ave (nr. E 9th St), NYC 10003
Greenpoint | 201 Bedford Ave (nr. N 6th St), Brooklyn 11211
Williamsburg (temporarily closed) | 74 Meserole Ave (nr. Guernsey St), Brooklyn 11222
This old-fashioned parlor serves high quality ice cream, sundaes, floats, sorbets, and vegan soft serve. They have new wave as well as old-school flavors - the caramel ice cream with salted pretzel is my favorite.
Greenwich Village | 88 W Houston St (nr. La Guardia Pl), NYC 10012
Lower East Side | 2 Rivington St (nr. Bowery), NYC 10002
This Italian bakery and cafe has been around since 1894. If you’re visiting New York City, it’s a must. So are the cannoli and pine nut cookies among a sea of cookies and cakes. I always take some anise toasts home to go with my morning coffee.
East Village | 342 E 11th St (nr. 1st Ave), NYC 10003
Ferrara Italian bakery dates back to 1892 and is in the heart of Little Italy. Go for the cannoli, sfogliatella or gelato and take some Torrone home with you.
Little Italy | 195 Grand St (nr. Mulberry St), NYC 10013
Go for the DKA. That’s all I have to say.
SoHo | 189 Spring St (nr. Thompson St), NYC
This place, established in the early 1960’s, comforts me. It’s not fancy or gourmet, though they do offer trendy flavors. Sit down at a stool along the counter and have a humble but perfect glazed or chocolate donut with a cup of black coffee. Don’t be put off by the muffins in the window.
West Village | 203 W 14th St (nr. 7th Ave), NYC 10011
Greenwich Village | 740 Broadway (nr. Astor Pl), NYC 10003
The pastries at this small cafe are sublime. The buttermilk doughnuts and the pastry cream filled, vanilla bean and sugar dusted brioche doughnuts are beyond words. I’m also a sucker for the shortbread cookies. Good news for those not living in NYC…you can order them online.
West Village | 28 Greenwich Ave (nr. W 10th St), NYC 10011