Where We Ate in NYC

New York Dining Guide Our trip to NYC for Thanksgiving a few weeks ago was a whirlwind! Every time we visit, it goes by in the blink of an eye. There is always so much to do and see and a plethora of amazing restaurants and bars to enjoy. Our trip was filled with a lot of friends and family time, eating, drinking and being merry in the spirit of Thanksgiving and all of us being together! Needless to say, New York City is a culinary mecca and we visited some awesome restaurants that I wanted to share with you to add to your foodie bucket lists.

Empellón Taqueria – West Village 

Our first night in NYC, Ciaran and I met up with my best friend from high school and her boyfriend for dinner and drinks. We kicked off our reunion with champagne at Wilfie & Nell, a cosy neighbourhood bar right next to Empellón. The music was great and it had a really fun atmosphere. It was the perfect place to grab drinks before our dinner! Empellón was AMAZING. We were blown away at the incredible tacos. There isn’t a huge Mexican food scene in London, so whenever we go back to the USA, I try to eat as much Mexican as I can. We ordered up nearly the entire taco menu and none of it disappointed! Delicacies such as lobster with sweet corn and epazote tacos, fish tempura with cabbage and lime mayo tacos, duck carnitas with habanero honey and skirt steak with onion tacos are all highlights on the menu – the duck being the star of the show. If you love Mexican food (and in particular tacos) I highly recommend Empellón – in fact, I loved it so much, I tried to work in a trip back there before our visit was over.

Octopus tacos with celery and salsa verde. @wanderingeater #empellon #tacos

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Miss Lily’s, Soho 

The next morning, we met up with our British friends who recently moved to NYC (check out Roxanne’s fitness blog here!) for brunch at Miss Lily’s in Soho. This lively Jamaican style diner was so much fun. Before we went, both my sister and our friends we were with the previous evening said how fun it was and how great the food is and they were right! The menu includes renditions of Caribbean island specialties including jerk chicken, escovitche fish, oxtail, curried goat, all seasoned with fiery jerk spices. It was so colourful and bright inside, with island music playing – I felt like I was transplanted to Jamaica. Definitely a fun one for brunch with a group of friends!

Good Enough to Eat, Upper West Side 

On Sunday, my sister and I took my dad to Good Enough to Eat near her apartment for brunch. This farmhouse-style casual American restaurant felt like home to me. It was so nice and cosy in there and reminded me of how much I miss traditional American food from time to time. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with all dishes made from scratch. You can tell how much care goes into each dish and so can the rest of NYC because there was a queue around the block! Be sure to book ahead – rest assured, it is worth the wait! I was delighted to see that they had pumpkin French toast on the menu, so of course I went for that while my dad and sister ordered an omelette and a traditional American breakfast (toast, eggs, bacon). I would definitely make a return visit to Good Enough to Eat next time we’re in NYC.

Sahadi’s, Brooklyn 

Sahadi’s isn’t a restaurant, but I feel that it needs to be on the list purely for its awesomeness. It is a Middle Eastern market in Brooklyn with the BEST bubba ganoush and hummus I’ve ever had! Middle Eastern food is one my sister and mine’s favourites so she took me here to explore and buy a few things for Thanksgiving. As we stepped in, it definitely had an old-world feeling to it. It was bustling with people getting their last-minute shopping done and we had to grab a ticket and wait for our number to be called to order. The family who started Sahadi’s is originally from Lebanon and opened the market in 1948 – selling all sorts of delicacies you won’t find in a regular grocery store including cheese, olive oils, ethnic items, more than 30 speciality dishes, a variety of olives, spices, candy, etc. It was a truly incredible experience that it’s no wonder Sahadi’s attracts people from all boroughs of New York. I am now on a mission to find the equivalent of Sahadi’s in London – if you have any ideas, please leave a comment below!

Westville, Chelsea 

My mom and I had a whole day together during our trip, which was so nice to be able to spend some real quality time with her. We jumped in a cab over to Chelsea and ate a really cute restaurant called Westville before walking the High Line. Open for brunch, lunch and dinner, Westville has all sorts of delicious American dishes on the menu from salads, sandwiches and burgers to bigger plates of steak and fish – there’s truly something for everyone. If you are with a really picky eater, I would recommend Westville because there really is an option for anyone! I was feeling quite large after all the food at this point, so I opted for a healthy kale salad 😉

Kale-ing us softly 😋🍴#kalesalad #westvillenyc #yummy 📸@madesimplebysarah

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Carragher’s Pub & Restaurant, Times Square 

Ciaran is an avid Liverpool fan, so of course we had to make a pit stop to Carragher’s Pub & Restaurant, a Liverpool pub owned by Jamie Carragher himself. The pub had so much character  with an awesome atmosphere – it was decorated for Christmas and looked super festive. They stream all of the soccer games so if you are a British expat living in NYC, this bar is for you! They have a great happy hour with $5 pints too and a huge beer selection. We loved it so much, we took my mom and dad back for a second visit to grab a few drinks after walking around all day. As for the food, it’s pretty good as far as pub grub goes! Think burgers, appetisers, wings, chips, Mac n Cheese. There’s also some traditional British dishes on there too like Shepherd’s Pie, Bangers and Mash and Fish & Chips, so you’ll no doubt feel right at home if you are a British expat 🙂

BAGELS, BAGELS, BAGELS 

You can’t go to NYC and not have a New York bagel! Rise and shine and walk into any bagel shop you can find to get your carb fix. It’s one of the things I enjoy the most when I go to NYC – there’s nothing better than starting your day with a delicious bagel, fresh cream cheese and a coffee.

New York City has the best bagels in the world #HeavensHotBagel #LES #NYC #HappySunday

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Table d’ Hôte Restaurant | Upper East Side

My mom and I wanted to spend a little time together before I left to go back to London and went for a nice long (and healthy) brunch at Table d’ Hôte, a charming French restaurant on the Upper East Side. My older sister lives right around the corner from this restaurant and always raves about it so we decided to check it out for ourselves and absolutely loved it.

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We were warmly welcomed by the owner and sat at a table by the window. The restaurant itself is small, cosy and intimate with rustic farmhouse decor. It was decorated with pumpkins and beautiful yellow and orange mums outside for autumn. I loved it! It would be the perfect place for a romantic date or a get together with friends.

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Our lovely server brought us 2 glasses of crisp Sauvignon Blanc to start and warm bead with delicious butter.

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We mulled over the fantastic sounding menu – Grilled Octopus with cous cous, fennel salad and lemon confit, Foie Gras Torchon, poached figs and bricohe and Duck Confit were some highlights amongst a menu full of French-rustic delicacies. However, after a Thanksgiving day full of gluttony, we decided to be healthy and ordered the Spring Mix Salad with a sweet champagne vinaigrette (my favourite) topped with Manchego Cheese.

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The salad was perfectly filling and light at the same time and anytime I can find champagne vinaigrette – I go for it. We both agreed that the next time we’re back in New York, we’re going back to this little gem for dinner to try some of the other incredible sounding dishes with my sisters.

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We chatted and sipped on another glass of wine and our server brought us some biscuits to finish off our healthy salads. The service was impeccable and we couldn’t stop raving about how cute the restaurant was. If you’re in New York and looking for restaurant suggestions, look no further than this cosy spot!

Table d’ Hôte

44 E 92nd St
b/t Madison Ave & Park Ave
Upper East Side
New York, NY 10128
United States
 

Table D'Hote Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Heaven’s Hot Bagels

New York City has the best bagels in the USA, hands down. Sure, there are great bagels in other states and countries, but there is something unique about bagels made in NYC. The soft water that runs throughout the city does play a pivotal role in the taste, but how the bagels are made actually has more to do with NYC’s bagel supremacy. I found out that the city’s bagelries poach the bagels prior to baking them – the dough simmers in a pot of water before entering the dry heat of an oven. This process makes the bagels soft inside and changes the flavour of the cooked bagel. A lot of other bagelries outside of NY skip the poaching step, hence the differences in consistency and flavour. Bottom line, every time I visit New York, I end up eating a bagel a day because you can’t get bagels like them anywhere else.

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This time around, we spent a few days on the Lower East Side and found a little gem aptly called Heaven’s Hot Bagels. This cosy little spot serves some top notch bagels and sandwiches for a steal! The staff is so friendly and the prices for the value make Heaven’s Hot Bagels one of the few places in NYC that is still happily affordable. If I lived in NYC, I would be a regular at this little place.

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Toasted Cinnamon Raisin bagels are my personal favourite and their homemade cinnamon, walnut and raisin cream cheese was delicious. I picked one of these up every morning we were in NYC – best way to kick off the day along with a large coffee.

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Ciaran opted for the ultimate cheesy, gooey and decadent hot pastrami sandwich on a toasted plain bagel with mustard and American cheese – heavenly.

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If you’re on the Lower East Side – make a pit stop at Heaven’s Hot Bagels! (Tip: They’re cash only).

283 E Houston St
b/t Avenue B & Attorney St
Lower East Side
New York, NY 10002
United States

Heaven's Hot Bagel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Clinton St. Baking Company

We are back in New York City for the week to see my family for Thanksgiving and it feels great to be here with all of them! Both of my sisters and my Dad are wrapping up work before breaking up for the holiday and Ciaran went to a business meeting, so I got to explore on my own. We’ve been staying on the Lower East Side, which has been awesome, as we’ve gotten to explore a lot of New York that we might not have ventured to otherwise. The LES is a quirky area with some top notch restaurants and bars, including Clinton Street Baking Company. We walked past it a few times and noticed that it always seemed to have massive queues – almost always a telling sign it’s a good place!

I made my way around the corner and into the cosy brunch spot. It’s so popular, there was a queue so I grabbed a coffee and waited inside. It was well worth the wait. The atmosphere was bustling with all sorts of people from all over the world. The restaurant itself is quite small and there’s a a seat at the bar for 2 people and a window seat too. Tango-type music plays in the background and the servers were incredibly friendly. The cafe sells all different types of pies, pastries and little delicacies that made my stomach grumble just staring at them.

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After about 30 or so minutes, I took my seat at the window and glossed over the menu. Every single dish on the menu sounded fantastic – Fried Chicken & Waffles, Buttermilk Breakfast Sandwich, Po’Boy Catch of the Day, etc. I wished I had a few more foodie friends with me so we could sample a few different ones! As I looked at what everybody else had ordered, I figured I couldn’t go wrong with whatever I chose. Being indecisive, I asked my server what her favourite was. “Hands down, the Blueberry Pancakes.” she adamantly said and that was that.

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Clinton Street Pancakes are unlike any other pancakes. A beautiful golden stack of pancake goodness appeared just a few minutes after I ordered – topped with fresh Maine blueberries and a side of Warm Maple Butter. I had never tried Maple Butter – which is not to be confused with Maple Syrup. Maple Butter is thick, gooey and added a savoury element to the sweet, fluffy and light flapjacks, making these anything but ordinary pancakes. I drizzled the maple butter on top of my pancakes – it smelled divine. Bite after bite, the pancakes just melted in my mouth. Hands down, best I’ve ever had. If only I could package up that famous maple butter and bring it back to London with me.

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It is no surprise that these amazingly delicious pancakes have been voted the best in the city by the New York Magazine, Conde Nast Traveller and Lonely Planet. Also, fear not if you can’t make it in for brunch – they serve the legendary flapjacks up for dinner too! Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?

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Clinton Street Baking Company 

4 Clinton Street (Between East Houston and Stanton) 

New York, New York 10002

Sarabeth’s – New York City

When we were in New York City a few month’s ago, we visited ‘legendary’ Sarabeth’s for brunch on the UES. We both love brunch and read some great reviews about Sarabeth’s from Time Out, Yelp, Tripadvisor etc. We also heard it was basically a brunch institution with some awesome pastries and coffees. Since we were staying right around the corner, we decided to give it a go.

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We kicked off our brunch with some fresh OJ’s, coffee and Avocado Toast with Burrata to start.

sarabeths-2I love Avocado toast as much as the next person and it was absolutely delicious and elevated with the burrata. While it did taste great and was filling, I admittedly felt the price point ($18) for two pieces of avocado toast was a bit on the expensive side. I realise it is NYC and the UES nonetheless, but I still thought it was a tad overpriced for what it was.

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After finishing off our Avocado toast, we opted for something a bit sweeter – the Fat & Fluffy French Toast with strawberries sounded great. Four thick cut, perfectly golden pieces of french toast topped with powdered sugar. It tasted just as French Toast should – light, airy and melted in your mouth. However, I have to admit there wasn’t any special wow factor about them and again, for the price, we both agreed we could have gotten something a bit more unique elsewhere.

We finished off our coffees and decided to head towards Central Park to relax at the Boat House.  I wanted to love Sarabeth’s and wish it would have lived up to the rave reviews, but sadly it fell flat for me. While the food itself tasted absolutely fine for brunch, I didn’t feel there was enough pizazz  to justify the prices of each dish.

We’re heading back to NYC next week for Thanksgiving and we’re planning our bucket list for places to try while we’re there. Any brunch suggestions are welcome! 

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Sarabeth’s Upper East Side

1295 Madison Ave at 92nd St.

NY, NY, USA 

Sarabeth's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wallflower NYC

On Tuesday night, we ventured over to West Village for some aperitifs before dinner. After reading about hit neighbourhood cocktail bar Wallflower NYC in my Wallpaper* NYC Guide, I knew we had to head there to try a few of their amazing-sounding cocktails.

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The bar itself is an unassuming enclave of brilliant libations located on W. 12th Street. The menu is filled with quirky cocktail names such as the Scarlet Letter, Lady Grey, Dapper Cap and Cornelia to name a few. It was hard for us to decide which tipples to choose from as all of them sounded marvellous. After staring at the menu for about 5 minutes and uhming and ahhing over which ones to choose, we finally decided on the Shush & Scarlett Letter.

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The Shush was made with pineapple and chipotle infused Vodka and brought the heat. It was delicious. The Scarlet Letter was just sweet enough and the the sparkling wine was the cherry on top.

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I’m a sucker for anything coffee flavoured, so to cap off our visit, I ordered the Happy Days, made with Cruzan Black Strap Rum, Coffee Beans Infused Cynar, Cream, Cacao Nibs infused Maple Syrup, Egg White and Left Hand Stout. WOW. This cocktail is quite possibly one of the best I’ve ever had. Wallflower hand-infuse all of their alcohols and the level of care and craftsmanship that goes into creating these cocktails is staggering. A winner in my book!

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Ciaran ordered a special cocktail ‘off the menu’ – ask for one if you ever visit. It was very strong and very delicious.

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I loved how quaint and intimate the interior was. The atmosphere was great and it truly felt like a neighbourhood hangout. We will definitely be back again next time we’re in NYC, and this time we’ll for sure have dinner there. Thanks Wallflower NYC for the wonderful hospitality and brilliant cocktails!

Wallflower NYC

235 W. 12th Street

New York, NY 10014