Alicia Keys sang about New York being a concrete jungle where dreams are made. That, we must add, includes gastronomical dreams. A melting pot and a patchwork-quilt of nationalities, cultures, and ethnicities, New York City’s food culture is continually evolving. They’ve got the basics covered, with the Italian, Chinese, Mexican and not forgetting, fast food. However, it gets really interesting when the fusion of different cuisines takes place. If you are heading to the Big Apple, get ready to select bookmark this article. Be sure to choose among the best green hotels and vacation rentals as well, so you’ll have a place to stay. We’ve taken up the challenge to check out this food-saturated megacity and bring you this list of the best cafes in New York City.
1. Kat's Deli
Kat’s Deli is the talk of the town and has been so since 1888, serving up what is known to be the best pastrami in New York. It was made more famous when the show, When Harry Met Sally, was filmed on the premises. Serving fundamentally Jewish food, you’ll have to get a ticket upon entry, head to the counter, make your order, pay up (cash only), get your order, and grab a vacant seat. If you are unsure about what to order, the safest bet is pastrami on rye. They are very generous with their portions and you’ll find that the content on your bread looks akin to a charcuterie board.
Address: 205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002, United States
Website: Kat’s Deli
Opening hours: Mon - Wed: 8am - 10.45pm; Thu: 8am - 2.45am; Fri: 8am - 12am; Sat: 24 hrs; Sun: 12am - 10.45pm
2. Rustic Table
If you are looking for a retreat in the city, Rustic Table is where you should hide from the glaring lights. Famed for its Mediterranean food, you’ll want to dig into their Feta and Zataar scone and Shakshuka. Don’t forget to sip on delectable Israeli wine too. If you’re vegan, there are plenty of vegan options for you to choose from. Snuggle up on the communal rustic table made of re-purposed wood from the 1900s. It accommodates up to 14 people, and you might just find yourself in an interesting conversation. Be sure to make a reservation if you plan to pop in during meal times as crowds pick up quickly.
Address: 504 W 42nd St Between 10th &11th Avenue, New York City, NY 10036-6204
Website: Rustic Table
Opening hours: 7.30am - 3.30pm (daily)
If your artistic senses are tingling and you just need to get out to experience something different, allow us to guide you to Bessou. Serving Japanese American comfort food in a setting fit for a Marie Kondo worshipper, at the nook of a shoppers paradise, Bessou is the perfect place to wind down and sip on sake by the glass. Creative food is something to be expected here. Choose from small dishes such as Blistered shishitos and green beans and Salmon crispy rice, or opt for large dishes such as Curry miso branzino and Soy koji steak platter when dining here. Once your tongue gets a taste, we’ll be sure you’ll come back for more.
Address: 5 Bleecker St, New York City, NY 10012-2445
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 5.30am - 11pm (closed on Mon)
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4. The Black Flamingo
We’re open 8am-2pm on July 4th. Come enjoy the garden and our refreshing Gazpacho! . . . #theblackflamingocoffeePosted by The Black Flamingo on Wednesday, 3 July 2019
Cross over to Red Hook at Brooklyn and park yourself in a dark spot at The Black Flamingo. The walls are painted black and contrasted by dining chairs that are painted gold. Though the interior can be a little too dark and gloomy for some, their coffee is all you need to light up that spark within you. They cover the basics from espresso to chai latte. Non-coffee drinkers, they have a selection of teas that includes ginger lemongrass to Persian nectar. You don’t have to stay in the gloom indoors because there is a thriving garden at the back where you can sit for a good chit chat. This little-known haunt also serves up a good selection of sandwiches and pastries.
The Black Flamingo
Address: 281 Van Brunt St, 11231 Brooklyn, New York
Website: The Black Flamingo
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 7am - 6pm; Sat - Sun: 8am - 6pm
Go on a gastronomical ride by paying a visit to Kopitiam (meaning coffee shop in the Hokkien dialect). Their menu consists of the outcome of the multiculturalism enjoyed in Malaysia that mixes Chinese, Indian, and Malay cuisine, with a hint of Portuguese, Dutch, and British influences, thanks to colonization. Don’t miss the Nasi Lemak, made from coconut milk with a dollop of spicy sambal curry mixed with nuts and dried anchovies, Pan Mee, akin to flat ramen in anchovy broth, and ondeh-ondeh, fragrant sweet potato rice balls covered in fine coconut shavings that serve a burst of palm sugar in your mouth with every bite.
Address: 151 East Broadway, New York 10002
Opening hours: Thu - Tue: 9am - 10pm (closed on Wed)
With seven outlets sprawled across NYC since opening their first outlet at SOHO in 2014, you can safely say that their divine North American and French spread is widely favored by many locals and tourists alike. Let your eyes be greeted with white brick walls and hanging plants upon entry, as your tongue delights on food served according to family-inspired recipes. This cafe bakery has slightly different offerings in each outlet, but if you are heading to their SOHO outlet, give their Tawni salad and Mediterranean Breakfast Plate a try. Do not miss out on the cookie, because it’s one of Oprah’s favorite things.
Address: 239 Centre St. New York 10013 (between Grand & Broome)
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 7am - 6pm; Sat - Sun: 8am - 6pm
Benvenuto to AlMar, a cafe open all day to cater to your Italian breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, or dinner cravings. Strategically situated in DUMBO and at close quarters to the Brooklyn Bridge, be sure to pop by before or after you walk the bridge. This Italian place is the real deal. You could walk in with your eyes closed and still identify it as an Italian cafe because the smell of freshly baked bread and olive oil will submerge your lungs. Take a seat on the vintage style armchairs and take your orders. They’ve got a selection of mouth-watering pasta and aperitifs. However, if you are looking to get a good picture for the gram, be sure to make an “egg in a cloud” part of your order.
Address: 111 Front Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 8am - 10.30pm; Fri: 8am - 11pm; Sat: 9am - 11pm; Sun: 10am - 5pm
Get adventurous at Tsismis, a new cafe in the neighborhood serving an American-Filipino fusion fare. The name has its roots in the Spanish word ‘chisme’, suggesting it as a place to yackety-yak. Who wouldn’t when there is a selection of fine wine, Filipino-style hot choc, and teas with flavors from Southeast Asia? The relaxed setting is accentuated by stoplight colors of red, yellow, and green on their light fixtures and dining chairs. At the center is copper decorated with plants, eye-catching indeed. If you are at a loss on what to order, our suggestions include Pinoy Caesar, Kale Laing, and Chicken Adoboa La Vieja. It may look unlike what you expect, but your tastebuds will be pleasantly surprised.
Address: 143 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002
Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 5pm - 10pm; Sat: 12pm - 3pm, 5pm - 11pm; Sun: 12pm - 3pm, 5pm - 8pm (closed on Mon)
9. Jack's Wife Freda
Are you one to watch your waistline? Then Jack’s Wife Freda might just be the one for you. They serve a wide range of options for vegetarian, vegan, and those who are gluten-intolerant. It is open all day, but we suggest you stop by during brunch and have your fill of delicious (but still healthy) comfort food from the Mediterranean region. This cafe is inviting, probably because it is unassuming, with menu scattered with cute doodles and the shopfront emanating a cartoonish vibe. Their food is far from a plaything though, with their famed Green Shakshuka, Greek Salad, and Rosewater Waffle, the powerhouse brunch menu will be hard to forget.
Jack's Wife Freda
Address: 224 Lafayette St, New York City, NY 10012-4027
Website: Jack’s Wife Freda
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 8.30am - 11pm; Fri - Sat: 8.30am - 12am; Sun: 8.30am - 10pm
If you are big on green and look it, you’ll fit in like a glove in Dimes. If you aren’t, pay this healthy food hub a visit anyway because you might just change your mind. Your first impression will probably be based on the symphony of colors “un-coordinated”, odd-shaped furniture, and probably the hipster community it attracts. Unlike the usual dairy-pumped brunches, Dimes has mastered the art of making cold healthy bowls delectable. Their fruity choices include two types of acai bowls and matcha pancakes with granola. If you prefer savory food, they’ve got power bowl black beans and salads on their menu. As you wait for the food to arrive, don’t bury your face in the screen, take time to people watch. After all, you are in one of the hippest and most fashionable parts of town.
Address: 49 Canal Street, Lower East Side, New York, New York 10002
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 11pm; Sat: 9am - 11pm; Sun: 9am - 10pm
Explore NYC one cafe at a time
How do you enjoy the big city the best way you can? It is not just about visiting all the touristy sites around and about the different boroughs. Instead, take time to enjoy the energy that is buzzing about by not being part of the energy. Take time to omit yourself from the bustling crowd, sit by a cafe’s window sill, soak up the flavors of what you are eating and just people watch. Take in the majesty of its architecture, the howling sirens, and the blinking stoplights. You’ll then see the essence of what makes up New York City. For more food scenes, have a look at some brunch buffet spots and secret restaurants.
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