There are many good restaurants in NYC. There are even plenty of fantastic ones. And then there’s Aska. Launched in 2012 by Swedish chef Fredrik Berselius, Aska (“ashes” in Swedish) won a Michelin star only one year later. After reopening in a larger space in Brooklyn, the restaurant promptly received its second Michelin star. The menu features Scandinavian dishes made with seasonal ingredients sourced from urban farms and producers from the Northeastern U.S. region. Centered on seafood, the dishes feature fresh herbs and edible flowers in picture-perfect meals that are bursting with flavor. With only 10 tables, an evening at Aska is perfect for a special occasion, although any visit here will be memorable.
Cozy and welcoming, Cafe Clementine is a great choice for a healthier, light lunch. The seating is limited to counter barstools, with a table in the middle of the cafe also available. You can grab a window seat if you find a free one to have a view while you’re enjoying your breakfast or lunch. The menu includes various sandwiches made with fresh ingredients, seasonal soups, and freshly baked goods, including cookies made with Valhrona chocolate.
We strongly recommend a dive into the 2 Dive 4 restaurant. Recently opened in Queens, this tapas-style restaurant offers a delicious menu with Spanish, Puerto Rican, Asian, and South American influences. Here you can also get specialty drinks, including a basil infused organic vodka. Plus, design lovers will no doubt enjoy the restaurant’s inspired décor that references co-owner Ismael Tirado’s love of diving with custom steel finishes and lighting sourced from Indian shipyards. Art, photography, graffiti, and a large mural complete the cool urban setting.
Opened in 1998 by Rawia Bishara, Tanoreen transformed from a cozy, ten-table storefront into a warm, acclaimed restaurant that makes customers feel like home. The menu is Middle Eastern and Palestinian but also features Mediterranean influences and imaginative twists. Here, culinary heritage meets delicious, hearty, home-style cooking. Go with friends, because Tanoreen is all about sharing good food with good people.
Nestled in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Aeon Bookstore is a new shop that welcomes book lovers in a friendly, relaxed space. The store specializes in the underground facets of culture, offering access to an expertly curated yet still inclusive selection of books, records, and tapes. Here you can find used and new tomes in genres that range from art and philosophy to the occult, visual arts, and social sciences – to name a few.
Located right under the Manhattan Bridge, on the second floor of the East Broadway Mall, 2 Bridges Music Arts is more than just a ‘hidden gem’ bookstore. Apart from new and used books in an array of genres, here you can also find an incredible selection of specialized records and tapes that range from experimental music to rare anthropological recordings and ritual music from far away lands. Plus, the shop also hosts art exhibitions and cultural events, making it a must-visit place for book, music, and art lovers alike.
A treat for Thai food lovers and foodies in general, Pinto serves a modern menu that complements authentic Thai staples with creative twists. The dishes burst with flavor, whether you want to go for a classic green curry or a salmon with a sweet and sour sauce. Vegetarian and vegan options are also available, along with a good selection of Thai wine and beer. Cozy and elegant, Pinto is ideal for lunch with friends or date nights.
A quintessential NYC cafe, Little Canal is small but cozy and welcoming. White brick walls, vintage furniture, and music coming from a record player give this place a cool, laid-back vibe. Take a seat in front of the large window overlooking the street to watch the world go by while sipping a cup of good coffee. The menu includes everything from espresso and other coffee drinks to pastries, sandwiches, and salads. And unlike most cafes, Little Canal remains open in the evening, when you can order wine, beer, and a bite to eat from the dinner menu.
Stylish and creative, The Hidden Pearl manages to bring something fresh to New York City’s kaleidoscopic bar scene. And you only have to walk in to see why. The chic decor features shades of blue, brass accents, and leather and bronze seating – all flooded in natural light. The menu takes customers on a flavorful trip to tropical Japan, whether it’s through bourbon infused with miso and sake cocktails to small bites that offer modern twists on traditional Japanese food. A hidden gem, indeed.
Specialty food shop. Coffee shop. Bakery. Sandwich heaven. Charcuterie and artisanal cheese nirvana. Craft beer destination. Neighborhood hub Peck’s Food defies the one label classification and embraces them all. Which means that everyone will find something good here to chow down and guzzle. Or simply enjoy slowly, if that’s more of your thing.
For a taste of Paris, drop by Café Paulette. Named after the owner’s grandmother, this charming bistro offers dishes which are actually based on family recipes. Apart from the great breakfast menu that includes a range of croissants and pastries, the bistro serves several classics for dinner, such as ratatouille, steak au poivre, and escargots. But don’t forget to also try the organic wine, to truly dine like the French.
Friendly atmosphere, Toby’s Estate coffee, and Dough pastries. What more can you ask for? This cozy coffee shop opened in 2015 and has quickly become a neighborhood favorite among the locals. Apart from the classic espressos, they also serve delicious lattes, cold press coffee, and Thai ice cream.
Rocket Pig’s famous sandwich is famous for all the right reasons. Chef Ralf Kuettel spent years perfecting the recipe, creating a masterpiece. Designed as a meal, not a snack, and featuring ingredients that stimulate all of your taste buds, this sandwich is the real deal. Nestled in a fresh ciabatta roll, the smoked spice-rubbed pork swims in red onion jam and mustard, with an optional hot sauce also vying to get to the party. By the first bite one forgets the name of all other sandwiches in town…
Located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the recently opened Regina’s Grocery makes our heart skip a beat. Why, you ask? Because here you can buy homemade sandwiches made daily by – wait for it – a real Italian grandmother. Not only do the sandwiches come with finger-licking ingredients that include smoked ham, olive spread or roasted peppers, but they also have names like Uncle John and Cousin Vinny. Safe to say, you’ll probably feel like home here, whether you’re Italian or not.
A gourmet pantry where you’ll find a wide range of finger-licking products, from artisanal cheeses and chocolate to Italian salumi, dried pasta as well as housemade gelato and sorbet. But even if you don’t need to stock up on high-quality ingredients, you should definitely stop by Bklyn Larder to taste one of their renowned sandwiches!
A literary landmark, Rizzoli was established in 1964 in New York and has become a cultural destination for local and international book lovers. The self-proclaimed “most beautiful bookstore in New York” is, in fact, not just beautiful, but stunning. Cast iron chandeliers, murals, vaulted ceilings, and an expansive Diocletian window that fills the interior with natural light are some of the reasons you should visit Rizzoli. Besides the breathtaking range of illustrated books, literary titles, foreign language books, and European magazines, of course.
The first Bookmarc store opened in 2010 in New York, before the concept spread to London, Tokyo and Paris. As you’d expect from the renowned Marc Jacobs brand, in this elegant bookstore you’ll enter a world of refined style and culture as you browse through fine art, photography, fiction, music, and pop culture titles, as well as a range of rare books.
Three Lives is a haven for book lovers and a place where a strong sense of community permeates the shop that is defined by its owners not as a bookstore, but as a “living space.” It was also called by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham “one of the greatest bookstores on the face of the Earth,” so you can rest assured you’ll find something special here.
If you love cooking, cookbooks, or simply the atmosphere you can find in cozy neighborhood shops, you must pay a visit to Bonnie Slotnick. The Italian cookbook section changes constantly, but it usually fills at least four shelves. Here you can also enjoy reading in the back garden when the weather’s warm and you can even bring your dog, as pets are welcome!
Launched for the Brooklyn community with the help of the same community, the Greenlight Bookstore is filled with a charming local vibe. Apart from the huge variety of hand picked books, at this warm and welcoming bookstore you can attend special readings with both celebrated and indie authors.
This independent bookshop offers an array of books organized in distinct ways (fiction in country categories, for example), specialty magazines, quirky greeting cards, good coffee, and an intimate ambience all in one. The décor is also creative and has whimsy accents, with books hanging from the ceiling.
Stepping inside Borgatti’s, you will find yourself in what can only be called ‘pasta heaven’. Fresh, handmade fettuccine with flavors that include mushroom, squid ink, basil, and spinach are joined by some of the best cheese ravioli in the city. Opened in 1935, the shop is run by the third generation of the family and has become a foodie destination for locals. The selection off products is limited, so everything is as fresh as possible and made to perfection.
At Vosges Haut-Chocolat, exotic flavors, innovative combinations and craftsmanship blend with high quality ingredients and a passion for chocolate. This translates into gorgeous creations that taste as good as they look. Try the Collezione Italiana of truffles made with Taleggio cheese, wild Tuscan fennel pollen, Sicilian sea salt, and Piemonte hazelnuts.
There’s plenty of fish in the sea, but the freshest can be found at Citarella. That’s because the company has eliminated the middle man over 30 years ago and works directly with fishermen to bring only the best fish and seafood to the Citarella shop. But even if you’re not a big fan of fish, you can drop in for the great selection of gourmet food.
Blue Apron Foods is a gourmet food shop that features locally sourced products but also a carefully selected range of specialty products from all around the world. Treat yourself to breads and cupcakes from local bakeries, high-end charcuterie, artisanal cheese, delicious sweets, and locally roasted coffee.
Fueled by a passion for cheese and high quality food, Murray’s Cheese Shop offers an impressive selection of cheeses from all over the world to its customers, as well as a range of meats and specialty foods. Here you’ll find authentic, artisanal cheeses from Italy, Wales, Greece, or Vermont, to name a few. And if you’re looking for something truly special, try their range of cave aged cheeses, matured in state-of-the-art caves in New York.
At Di Palo’s you’ll discover the authentic flavors of Italy. Cheese, cured meat, sauces, pasta, and olive oil – they are all handcrafted in various regions in Italy and selected during frequent trips to the country. Opened since 1924, Di Palo’s is now run by the fourth and soon the fifth generation, but has always maintained its original mission, of bringing a slice of Italy to the heart of New York.
If you love chocolate, definitely visit Cacao Prieto. It’s a chocolate heaven filled with 100% organic, in-house handmade chocolate and cocoa-based liquors and rums. The family-owned business is one of the few chocolate companies in the world directly involved in every step of the manufacturing process, as the Prieto family has farmed organic cocoa in Dominican Republic for more than 100 years.
The Meadow is a neighborhood food shop where you can find craft salts from all over the world, a wide range of artisan chocolate made with the highest quality ingredients and creative flavor combinations, gorgeous flowers, a vast selection of cocktail bitters, and Himalayan salt blocks hand-picked from 600 million year old salt deposits in Punjabi. But prepare yourself – you’ll never see salt in the same light after a visit to The Meadow.
A must-visit place for all book lovers, the Strand is a legendary bookstore opened in 1927 and run now by the second and third generation of the family. 2.5 millions of books await behind the doors of the bookstore, and they range from new items to vintage treasures and much loved used books. The Strand declares that all book lovers are welcome. We’d say that even if you’re an e-book fan, you should drop in. Who knows, you may find a hidden gem or even fall in love with books all over again.
The Steven Alan brand is timeless and understated, providing expertly tailored clothing made from high quality materials and a wide range of accessories. Apart from the Steven Alan collection, you can also find products created by renowned brands and designers, like Acne Studio, Shinola, Comme des Garçons, or Vault by Vans.
Established in 1838, C.O. Bigelow has been operated by the same family since the beginning. As the oldest apothecary in the US, the store is a destination in of itself, but the products make the trip truly special. From handmade remedies to premium grooming products and a curated selection of formulas and products from all over the world, you can discover the spirit of age-old apothecaries translated to modern day New York.
This is the largest Muji store in the US, and it lives up to that label. Stepping inside, you’ll be swept into a Muji wonderland. Here is where you can create your own diffuser or perfume by using 48 different scented oils, embroider your new products at the embroidery station, or customize your purchase with stamps. At the store you’ll also discover the largest section of Found Muji products in the US, which showcases traditional items from various places all around the world.
Launched in 2007, Monocle transformed from a global affairs magazine (which is now published ten times a year from the London HQ) to a well-known brand with stores in London, Tokyo, Singapore, Toronto, Merano, and of course, New York. The shop in NYC measures a cozy182 square feet and offers the complete Monocle range which includes clothing, bags and travel items, books and music. A cool atmosphere is also included, free of charge.
Matter opened in 2003 in NYC and soon became one of the most respected voices in the world of design, discovering the next great thing with an impressive talent for finding talent. The brand’s own collection aims to put contemporary American design on center stage, celebrating independent designers and the very best manufacturers. At Matter, international designers and promising talents share the same space and offer visitors a special journey into the wonderful world of design.
Mykita has stores in numerous cities, from New York and Paris to Tokyo and Berlin, where customers can discover a vast range of premium glasses with minimalist frames and German lenses. The NYC flagship store has a striking and bright contemporary décor that combines mass-produced objects, displaced from their original context, custom designed furniture, and lighting effects. It’s a beautiful space that looks and feels like a stage or art installation.
The eyes are the window to the soul, so if you want to make the right impression (or just look chic), you’ll need to get the perfect set of frames. At Warby Parker you’ll be welcomed by professionals who are ready to make you see clearly again or look more stylish than ever. The company was founded by friends who shared a noble goal: to bring eyeglasses to those who can’t afford them and make designer eyewear accessible. Remember, for every pair of glasses sold at Warby Parker, a pair is donated to someone in need.
Opening Ceremony was founded by two friends who left their jobs in corporate fashion to open a place where they could share their love of art, fashion and travel. The name comes from the modern Olympic Games, which also inspired the concept of the brand. While promoting iconic US designers and artists, Opening Ceremony also showcases international designs from a different country each year, bringing an exotic flavor to NYC. The two stores are located next to each other; the more recently opened shop offers stylish menswear created by renowned designers, while the original store features womenswear, a bookshop, and shoe gallery over four levels.
At KITH Brooklyn you’ll find urban style and designs filled with a New York charisma. But if we’d have to describe the brand in one word, we’d use cool. Opened in 2011, the company has three flagship stores where you can browse through premium products from the KITH label and a curated selection of apparel and footwear from other brands for men, women and kids.
Worth and Worth was founded in 1922 and is currently one of just three remaining custom hat makers in the US. Handmade from the finest materials and custom designed, the hats created by the brand make a bold statement and allow the wearer to express his or her personality in a chic way. Here you will find a hat for any occasion and designs seemingly plucked from vintage films or taken straight from the sunny coasts of Italy. We tip our hats to Worth and Worth.
If you want to immerse yourself in the surfing lifestyle while strolling through the heart of New York, you have to check out Saturdays Surf NYC. Where else would you find handcrafted surfboards and hand planes alongside books, apparel, art and grooming products? To top it all off, you can also stop for a coffee here, as the baristas are some of the best in the city.
Shinola believes that American manufacturing is the way forward to a future where excellence, skill and craftsmanship revive the beauty of industry and bring communities together. And this is not just a ‘feel good’ statement on an About Us page. They put their money where their mouth is. Shinola proudly designs and makes its handcrafted leather goods, watches and bicycles in Detroit. The New York flagship store is located in Tribeca – go there for high quality products with a red, white and blue heart.
These guys really know their coffee. For instance, did you know that coffee has twice as many nice-smelling organic molecules than red wine? We didn’t either. But at Stumptown Coffee the beans are roasted to perfection, so you can smell and taste hints of jasmine, chocolate, orange, or cloves. Plus, they are passionate not only about the quality of their coffee, but also about sustainability and supporting local producers.
Culture Espresso has been waking up NYC residents with great coffee since 2009. Like all the best coffee places, this one puts value on the quality of the beans, working with one farmer or coffee roaster at a time. Here you can also sink your teeth into some delicious chocolate chip or oatmeal cranberry cookies. Which are baked in house. Do we need to say more?
If you love Nordic design just like we do, don’t forget to take a trip to Búðin. This cozy coffee place was opened by three friends that wanted to combine their love of coffee, a passion for the Nordic aesthetic and their Icelandic heritage in a New York City context. Here you’ll find high quality specialty coffee, draft beer, and houseware created by Scandinavian designers. Oh, and Búðin means ‘The Shop’ in Icelandic and it’s pronounced as “Boo-th-in”.
Toby’s Estate Coffee believes that each cup of coffee, beyond its flavor and aroma, has the potential to tell a story. Beans are ethically sourced from around the world and roasted by the Toby’s Estate Coffee team to perfection. Go to the shop for a cup and to browse the selection of coffees sourced from Brazil, Burundi, or Colombia.
At Ninth Street Espresso, quality is king and simplicity is queen. Opened in 2001 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, this place brought the concept of specialty coffee bar to NYC. The simple menu focuses on providing fantastic tasting coffee and nothing more, in a refreshingly honest way. Since 2013, NSE has started roasting its own beans and now you can buy their coffee beans online.
Named after the first coffee shop opened in Vienna in the 17th century, Blue Bottle Coffee has the same goal as the original, which is to bring great coffee to its customers. The first US Blue Bottle opened its doors in California in the early 2000s, but now you can get the same aromatic cups of coffee in New York and even in Tokyo. Good to know: the coffee is sold within 48 hours of leaving the roaster, so it has the optimum flavor.
At Bluestone Lane you don’t go for ‘wake me up’ coffee, you go for ‘wow, this is a damn good cup of coffee’ coffee. Premium organic and fair trade beans are roasted by artisans to produce aromatic cups bursting with flavor. Bluestone Lane declares that it wants to “enlighten” New Yorkers’ palate. If there’s great coffee involved, we’re all for it.
Abraço is the place to go to if you want to enjoy a good cup of coffee and a bite to eat while listening to music in a warm and lively atmosphere which is also kid-friendly. The coffee shop is inspired by Spanish and Italian bars, which is a major plus in our book, and offers flavorful coffee along with house made sweet and savory treats.
When you’re in a need for a coffee fix and you’re also really hungry, you can’t go wrong with El Rey. Here you can order a cup of joe roasted by the coffee artisans at Parlor Coffee and a delicious brunch while enjoying the light, airy ambience of the interior. If you’re planning to go to El Rey this summer, you can also cool down by ordering the Mexican iced mocha which is made with a bit of Aleppo pepper and mint.
La Colombe values high quality coffee and the art of roasting the beans perfectly as much as it cherishes ethical trading, creating long-lasting relationships with local farmers, and providing free coffee to the neighborhood homeless shelter. If this isn’t coffee with a soul, we don’t know what is. But even if you’re heartless, you can still go for the great coffee. Everybody wins.
Located in Chelsea, Joe Pro Shop/HQ is more than just a place where you can order an aromatic cup of joe. Here you’ll enter a coffee making wonderland where you can buy various types of equipment and also learn how to use your new machine to brew your own cups of good coffee. Plus, there’s also a vast selection of coffees from various North American coffee roasters to choose from.
Cafe Lalo opened in 1988 and has offered fine coffee to its customers in a distinct European ambience since the beginning. Vintage French posters, art, exposed brick walls, elegant chairs and expansive windows create a comfortable, early 20th century vibe in the middle of NYC. Here you can sip on a cappuccino or espresso, choose from the numerous cakes and desserts, and lose yourself in thought as you listen to some jazz.
Relaxing and welcoming, Qathra Cafe is a wonderful choice if you’re looking for good coffee and good food with a difference. The owner James works closely with local businesses to provide high quality products to his customers. Most of the food is sourced from farmers’ markets and local bakeries, while the coffee comes from a small business managed by a mother and son who buy the coffee directly from Nicaraguan farmers, roast the beans in Williamsburg, and sell them directly to James.
If you’re looking for an authentic Italian cafe experience, put Zibetto Espresso at the top of your list. This coffee place opened in 2006 with the goal to bring a piece of Italy to NYC. The coffee beans are roasted and blended in Italy, while the espresso machine is made by La Cimbali, a manufacturer who has been producing state of the art espresso machines for over 100 years. The ambience is spot-on, so make sure you pay a visit while you’re in the neighborhood. And don’t worry, even if this place is packed, there’s always seating available at the counter.
The guys behind Brooklyn Roasting Company love coffee. Like, really love coffee. They taste their coffee before they decide to buy it from the local farmers, again before the beans are shipped, and yet again after it’s roasted. That’s dedication (blended with an undeniable love of coffee). The Brooklyn Roasting Company also offers organic, fair trade, and Rainforest Alliance certified coffee and uses refurbished equipment and recycled materials. And it’s in Brooklyn, which we think makes it even better.
Go to The Brooklyn Barge for the views and linger for the laid-back summer vacation atmosphere. This repurposed barge is located on the waterfront in Brooklyn, but you may have already guessed that by the name. What you may not know is that you can get a great hot dog here, a few drinks, and get emotional as you take in the beauty of the Manhattan skyline at sunset.
Devoción has a noble mission. First, it wants to promote high-end Colombian coffee to the rest of the world. Second, it aims to support the local farmers living in the country’s most troubled areas, paying them fair-trade and above prices for their beans. So keep this in mind when you order a cup of coffee here. Also note that the décor of this former warehouse in Brooklyn is simply gorgeous. Think dark leather sofas, exposed brick, antique wooden furniture, plus a two-story vertical garden with 150 native coffee plants.
A restaurant that takes the charm of old-school diners (including the bar stools and counter), and filters it through a cool, Williamsburg lens. Some might say hipster, we prefer to say cool. The menu changes everyday and it’s written by hand by the waiter/waitress on your table. The burger is reportedly one of the best in Brooklyn and you’ll always find it on the menu.
The Llama Inn has a perfect name. No, don’t expect to find llamas staring at you as you nervously eat your meal. What you should expect is a warm atmosphere typical of traditional inns and great food inspired by Peruvian cuisine. The décor is creative and chic: a large artwork made with colored yarns adorns one wall and plants hang from the ceiling. This is a place to go with friends and maybe even make some new ones.
Rustic and warm California meets refined and urban New York on the plates at Upland, named after the city in San Bernardino County. Here you’ll find great food with seasonal ingredients and dishes that let veggies take the spotlight. You’ll also get a treat at Upland: the décor features patinated copper, oak, leather, custom-blown glass and is designed by the Roman and Williams studio. You’ll also see murals created by celebrated artist Wayne Pate.
Barbuto offers rustic Italian food made with seasonal ingredients. That makes the menu change regularly, so you have the opportunity to taste something different every time you go to this West Village restaurant. The open kitchen and the large windows create an airy, laid-back atmosphere, ideal for meals with friends.
Urban Italian food, soul-warming cooking and a welcoming tavern spirit combine at Locanda Verde. Located in TriBeCa, the restaurant’s popularity has continuously increased ever since it opened in 2009. It’s so popular, in fact, that getting a reservation is an accomplishment in of itself. Prepare yourself for celebrity sightings (possible) and for delicious dishes (guaranteed).
Raoul’s is a must-visit restaurant that is part of SoHo’s history. This French restaurant opened in 1975 and has become the ultimate New York bistro, welcoming movie stars and mere mortals with the same enthusiasm and fantastic food. If you go there, order their famous ‘Steak au Poivre’, which has been on the menu since the beginning.
Root & Bone brought authentic, finger-licking Southern food to East Village. The dishes pay homage to the heart and soul of rural America and provide a fresh twist on traditional recipes. On the menu you’ll find ‘Drunken Deviled Eggs’, ‘Grandma’s Daisy Angel Biscuits’, or ‘Crispy Fried Bucket Of Bird’, which you can order half bird or whole bird. If there’s a place in New York where you can order a whole chicken that looks classy, this is it.