The sheer attraction of being surrounded by the world’s melting pot makes choosing the Big Apple as your next vacation simple enough. Of course many come to see the world-renowned landmarks, but who said food has to be a sustenance factor on vacation? When visiting a metropolis as lavish as New York City, food is a landmark of its own that is worth just as much time as the line to get to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
Visiting New York City doesn’t mean you have to have a carte blanche dining budget or a food connoisseur’s tongue either. Welcome the world of palette mazes in a jungle of taste the nations and an exponential upgrade to your foodie experience while enjoying your next vacation in Manhattan.
Top 5 Restaurants in Manhattan
The Italian foodie culture in New York City includes a notorious competition for the best cuisine in the city. Fine wines, fresh mozza, and pasta are the staple of any authentic Italian meal, but locals know best. Although Osteria Laguna offers a generous menu epitomizing the Venetian experience, its renowned bread baskets are a fantastic tribute to this casually elegant neighborhood trattoria. Tipping the pricier side of the menu, yet worth every penny, Osteria’s Venetian delights consist of homemade pappardelle pasta in braised lamb ragu to succulent seafood risotto and wood-fired wild mushroom pizzas. Locals and critics alike agree that Osteria’s genuine Italian flavorful dishes make you feel a stones-throw away from gondola rides in Venice making this Italian gem instinctively bravo!
As New York City’s oldest authentic Mexican restaurant, El Parador Café doesn’t need sombreros and maracas to upsell its award-winning Mexican cuisine. Since 1959, its success has been rooted in its warm atmosphere and culinary excellence with a tequila menu as expansive as the food menu. Locals rave about the cuisine because it is rich with authenticity, but boasts the flair of a sophisticated New York hot spot. During the day, the tables are filled with foodies savoring the restaurant’s famous guacamole and margaritas. Executive chef Jose ‘Alex’ Alejandro, continues to surprise his following —old and new—with world-class renditions of fish tacos and shrimp ceviche, and an equally appetizing vegetarian menu. At night, the classy vibrancy of a New York City lounge fiesta serves endless varieties of margaritas accommodating an urbane crowd looking for a down to earth time in a luxurious environment. Zagat-worthy is an understatement for El Parador and is a sure-said Must Do while in New York.
During the Prohibition, the Black Duck’s longstanding brush with the law for liquor trafficking and a rebellious skipper by the name of Charles Travers, came to an end by patrol gunfire at sea. These rumrunners were at the forefront of the speakeasy phenomena of the Twenties, loved by the public and detested by the police. Black Duck has a menu as enticing as its inherent criminal story. Although the menu isn’t palatial in variety, the quality is larger than life serving up decadent duck confit tacos, a criminal surf and turf combination of wasabi tuna and espresso filet mignon, or a prix-fixe menu at a $38 steal. Locals also enjoy the prohibition-style contemporary bistro with live jazz weekend nights as well as Sunday vintage movies—James Bond and the like of course—with dinner packages unique to the rest of New York.
Of course who can forget the trendy collage of organic fusion eateries that make up the majority of modern foodie culture? Fusion and organic foods don’t always have to have miniature towers of foods that are hard to pronounce or bouquets of garnishes decorated to the nines. Although it depends on the creative nature of the chefs, fusion foods can be quite the pungent experience when paired with organic purpose—a runway of different styles. Among the top organic American fusion restaurants is Riingo, a popular hotel restaurant run by Chef Jose Diaz whose green tea specialties create the buzz. Ranging from green tea doughnuts to green tea chicken or lobster fetuccini and the gourmet cheese-layered Angus burger, Chef Diaz showcases a variety of traditional organic American meals kissed with fused flavors making Riingo a specialty of its own.
Who can forget the ultimate American classic: bar foods? Mustang Harry’s is the quintessential American sports bar and restaurant that keeps everyone pledging to a star-spangled palette. At its prime during Happy Hour, Mustang Harry’s has a large variety of American food: shepherd’s pie, wings, burgers, and so much more, including an impressive list of crafted beers. Be sure to check out the calendar of events at Madison Square Garden during your trip because this location is only seconds away. And what’s a true American experience without “liking” Mustang Harry’s on Facebook? Do so, and get a free draft beer!
While going to New York City is as American as it is a multicultural experience, dining should never solely be put on the sustenance level. It’s so much a part of the attraction in this metropolis as it is the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Strawberry Fields. So bon appétit foodies on your next vacation!