New York City Guide
New York is one of those cities, like Paris or Rome, that I get absolutely high on. The atmosphere, the people, the diversity. And, of course, all those places I’ve seen a million times in films and TV shows.
It’s packed with amazing coffeeshops, restaurants and things to see/do, and I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’ve seen/tasted everything there is to see/taste in the city = always a reason to go back!
I was in New York for the second time back in March, and I just realized the other day that I never actually got around to collecting my best tips to the city in a guide for the blog. So I finally sat down and did something about it. If you’ve already read some of my NYC restaurant/coffeeshop reviews you might find this post a bit repetitive here and there, but for your convenience I’ve collected those recommendations and added a couple more 😉 So voila:
Blue Bottle Coffee is by far my favorite coffeeshop in New York – and it’s definitely on my all-time top 5 of coffeeshops in general. Blue Bottle was born in California in 2000 when two people decided that they didn’t want to drink bad coffee on overly roasted beans anymore. And so they started to roast and serve their own coffee and made a vow only to sell coffee less than 48 hours out of the roaster. Read more about the story of Blue Bottle Coffee and their coffee here. We visited the coffeeshop right next to the Chelsea Market and later the one at Rockefeller, but they’re all over the place!
Some would argue that Australia is the mother of specialty coffee, so it isn’t so strange that New York is home to a bunch of Australian coffeeshops. Bluestone Lane is one of them. It has various locations on Manhattan and in Brooklyn, but we went to their collective café in the West Village, which is different from their other coffeeshops in that it’s bigger and houses more all-day-breakfast and lunch guests. The space is awfully charming, and you might have to wait a bit to get seated on weekends as the café is a very popular brunch spot! Carina wasn’t thrilled with the coffee, but I was very pleased! Find out more about Bluestone Lane here.
.. And then there’s Toby’s. Again, we chose to visit the one in the West Village, because the West Village is just my favorite neighborhood of Manhattan. Like so many coffeeshops, this one is quite hip with 80% of its customers sitting behind MacBooks, working/studying. The space is cozy – with a little nook that has a couch in it, and seating in the windows, from where you can people-watch.
Butler Bakeshop is situated right by the Williamsburg Bridge, a couple of minutes walk from the Bedford Avenue subway station. Only regulars/locals seemed to stop by for their morning coffee when we went – no tourists, which is always a good sign – and we tried hard to blend in, until, of course, I took out my camera, which pretty much gave us away. Butler get their beans from Intelligentsia, and in the kitchen is Ryan Butler, a Michelin starred pastry chef (sadly we didn’t taste any of the pastries – next time!)
Stumptown reminds me a lot of danish Coffee Collective who also buy their beans directly from the farmers – it’s called direct trade, and it’s very interesting just how much of a difference there is between this and fairtrade (fairtrade is bullshit when it comes to coffee, really). Many New York coffeeshops serve coffee on the beans of Stumptown, and when you’ve tried their roasts, you can understand why. Read more about Stumptown here.
The best burger in New York, I bet. And I do think it lives up to its reputation. You’ll be waiting in line for sure, but it’s worth it – and the staff is very efficient, so don’t let the long line scare you off! Yumm. (if you’re a vegetarian like myself, I promise the veggie burger is delicious too!)
Café Henrie has long been a favorite amongst bloggers and instagrammers – but mostly for their picture-perfect brunch. So when I went for dinner in the café I didn’t quite know what to expect. The place is absolutely adorable: kind of diner-inspired, pink and retro. Perfect for Instagram, really – but in daylight (my photos didn’t turn out well in the the poorly lit room, as you can see). The food, however, was super delicious. Not very filling, but good! I had the cabbage that was prepared like a steak in an extremely delicious sauce (I still don’t know what that was exactly, but oh my god, it was tasty!) I can definitely recommend the dinner, but would go for brunch next time I’m in town!
I hadn’t tried ramen before I came here, and boy was this a good place to get introduced to the delicious, asian comfort food! Not only is the veggie noodle broth incredibly tasty, the vibe is as you’d imagine it to be in a proper, japanese ramen kitchen – fast-paced and always packed 😉
Two of the things I enjoy most in cities are (1) specialty coffeeshops and (2) vegan/vegetarian restaurants! So I was particularly excited about my visit at By CHLOE and, of course, this gem! Le Botaniste, located a few blocks from Midtown and a stone’s throw from Central Park, is all about healthy, plant-based, organic food. The prices are fair: Sushi is 8.95$, and the large Tibetan Mama Rice bowl was 13.05$.
THANK YOU, by Chloe, for not just being yet another fancy, expensive clean-eating, raw-food, annoyingly healthy restaurant, but for serving greasy, delicious fast-food that make meat-eaters think twice!
I’m a vegetarian, and so I’m always happy to discover places like this one! The place (we visited the one in Bleecker Street) was super cozy and down-to-earth. The prices aren’t bad: around 10$ for a burger and 6-10$ for a salad.
Also do pop by Sweets by Chloe next door, where you can enjoy vegan sweet treats!
(Markets, experiences, shops and bars)
This urban food court is a must-visit when in New York. Situated in Chelsea, right where the High Line begins, it’s home to a bunch of delicious, little foodshops and coffeeshops. Try to get their early on the weekend as it tends to get very busy during the day.
The High Line
The High Line is an elevated urban linear park on a disused railroad spur inspired by the promenade plantée in Paris. It has lots of greenery, benches and awesome city-views. Perfect outdoor activity in Manhattan!
The Staten Island Ferry
If you ask a New Yorker what to do as a tourist in the city, they’ll tell you to take a round-trip on the Staten Island ferry. And it really is a perfect tourist attraction (that isn’t really a tourist attraction, but a way for Staten Island residents to get to and from Manhattan) as it’s the perfect opportunity to see the island of Manhattan and get some good photos from a little distance. You also pass by the Statue of Liberty!
You should’ve seen my face when I stumbled upon this place on our stroll through Greenwich Village (my favorite NYC neighborhood). I was “summoned” by the beautiful notebooks, pens and general interior of the McNally Jackson Store as we passed by, and I fell even more head-over-heels in love as I wandered around the store, mesmerized. I regret not spending more time there, though (then again, I could’ve spent hours there, and really, we had other stuff to do). Later I read that McNally Jackson is one of New York’s few successful independent book- and stationary stores. The Greenwich Village location is quite new, while the Prince Street SoHo one has been around for some time, but I can definitely recommend going to the Greenwich village location if you’re as much of sucker for aesthetic stationary, cute notebooks and brushed pens as I am!
On my birthday last year we went for cocktails at this hidden speakeasy bar called Little Branch. It’s located on the corner of a building (very hard to spot) where you’re greeted by a bouncer. The bartender asks you what drinks you enjoy and what flavors you’re drawn to, and then he makes you a custom cocktail. Absolutely phenomenal! The best cocktails I ever had. A little pricy, but definitely worth it!
My friends who live in Bushwick took us to Yours Sincerely one night, and it really is one of those hip(ster) Brooklyn hotspots that you have to know. Here they serve cocktails on tap (!!!) served in geeky beaker glasses. They’re not that expensive. Around 8-10$ for a cocktail and 4$ for a sample shot.