Giada’s favorite places to eat, drink, and play in the city that never sleeps.
New York is one of the best restaurant cities in the world, with more places to eat than you could ever hope to try. Every time I make it out there for an appearance on the Today Show or for meetings, I make it a point to try somewhere new – but it’s still hard to keep up! And I’m a creature of habit, so I always have to make time to visit my old favorites, too. It adds up to a lot of great meals!
Of course, I do other things besides eat. Jade and I love to catch a show on Broadway (we saw Matilda last fall, and I managed to get tickets to see Hamilton before it blew up), and the new Whitney Museum is on my to-do list, as well. Walking along Fifth Avenue is such a quintessential New York experience, but I also love the High Line for more of a cool, downtown vibe. The elevated park that runs down the West Side was a railroad line that was abandoned for decades until local residents came together to turn it into a beautiful, modern oasis from the city streets.
In Brooklyn, waterfront parks like Brooklyn Bridge Park have amazing views of the Manhattan skyline (there’s also a gorgeous 1920s carousel there that kids can ride all year round). And I love browsing the cute shops on streets like Smith Street in Carroll Gardens, which has a great neighborhood feel you don’t find in Manhattan.
Here’s where I have to stop when I’m in town:
138 Lafayette St.
Classic French food has become trendy again thanks to Le Coucou, but my favorite meal there is the low-key breakfast. The eggy “comme un clafoutis” is the ultimate pancake upgrade!
80 Spring St.
It’s a New York power lunch destination for good reason – this Paris-styled bistro serves simple French staples like steak frites in a room that makes everyone look good.
211 Waverly Place
I love this trattoria for feel-good Italian food like pasta, meatballs and arancini di riso in a cozy, red brick-lined room with plenty of sidewalk seating in good weather.
51 Grove St.
This adorable West Village restaurant owned by two great female chefs, Rita Sodi and Jody Williams, is open all day, serving farmers market-inspired rustic Italian food.
For wood-fired, Neapolitan-style pizza, Motorino is the best in the city, with a flavorful crust and simple, impeccable toppings like fior di latte and mozzarella di bufala.
5 Beekman St.
In the gorgeous Beekman Hotel, Tom Colicchio’s latest restaurant is a tribute to Golden Age New York, with a great calamari salad and out-of-this-world praline sundae.
This is a chic spot for healthy food like quinoa bowls and cold-pressed juice. Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean they can’t serve a great dessert! I especially love the mint chocolate sundae.
157 Duane St.
One of the only spots for Laotian cooking in the city, Khe Yo is known for its sticky rice, great pho, and market bowls, but to me, the real star is the delicious crispy Brussels sprouts.
1 E. 55th St.
If I’m in the mood for a cocktail somewhere chic and cozy, I love the Polo Bar. With its cozy leather booths, polished wood, and equestrian artwork on the walls, it’s just what you’d expect from Ralph Lauren.
I take my cappuccino very seriously, and this Scandinavian cafe serves one of the best in the city. And their sheep-heavy decorating scheme is seriously cute!
200 Fifth Ave.
For a quick espresso and arancini around midday, I love Eataly, a destination for everything Italian, with prepared food, groceries, and housewares. It’s so popular, they’ve even opened a few in Italy.
167 W. 74th St.
This tiny French bakery on the Upper West Side is easy to miss, but trust me, it’s worth it for the giant, dark-chocolate chip cookies. If I had to choose my last meal, it’d be these cookies.
Jacques Torres Chocolate
If it’s cold out, you’ll find me at Jacques Torres sipping a cup of seriously spicy hot chocolate from the wizard known as Mr. Chocolate. It really hits the spot.
567 Union Ave.
My favorite meal the last time I was in New York City was here – chef Missy Robbins’ modern Italian cooking, from pastas to desserts, is absolutely incredible.
514 Union St.
You may think shuffle board is just for cruise ships, but you don’t know how fun the game can be until you’ve played it at this hip bar.
221 Smith St.
The owners of the classic cocktail destination Clover Club also own this bar with a Latin American focus. It’s the perfect place to sip some interesting tequilas, my favorite.
Ample Hills Creamery
I love the lineup of interesting flavors at this local ice cream shop, like Coffee Toffee Coffee and Oh, Fudge, a dreamy chocolate made with coconut milk and a splash of rum!
156 Atlantic Ave.
When I’m browsing the shops on nearby Smith Street, this is the place to pop in for a quick caffeine pick-me-up.
Article by Giada De Laurentiis