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Food and drink in New York

Is New York the greatest food city on Earth? Quite possibly. First, there are the local classics (think bagels, pizza, and pastrami sandwiches). Then, there’s the contemporary, cutting-edge restaurant scene. But that’s only the beginning. From craft cocktails and beers to indulgent desserts and boozy brunches, it’s best to arrive hungry. Very hungry.

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Breakfast and brunch

In New York City, brunch is more a way of life than a meal. Best when long and leisurely, and accompanied by bottomless pitches of Bloody Marys or Mimosas, breakfast or brunch with friends is the best way to begin the day like a local. A word of warning: some of the most coveted spots see long queues on the weekend, so be an early bird (or opt for a casual bagel-and-lox breakfast instead).

Five great New York breakfasts

New York coffee

Java, joe, cawfee – whatever you call it, steaming mugs of caffeine are what fuels the ‘city that never sleeps’. But these days, deep in the third wave coffee revolution, visitors have more than just endless cups of diner brew to choose from. Seek out tiny espresso specialists and craft coffee locales for perfectly frothed flat whites.

Jonathan Rubinstein: Where to get a great cup of coffee in New York

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Mexican eats

Americans prize good Mexican food, and savvy New Yorkers know there’s more to the cuisine than build-your-own-burrito bars. Instead, follow foodies to street food carts slinging moreish tacos, homey taquerias in the outer boroughs, stylish downtown cantinas, and other authentic spots (you’ll recognise them by their lack of kitschy sombreros).

Dos Toros Taqueria: The best street food in New York

New York cocktail bars

Without New York, we wouldn’t have had a cocktail revolution. Thanks to the city’s neo-speakeasies, lost recipes have been revived, techniques have been refined, and all those sugary, bottled mixes have (thankfully) been removed from bars everywhere. Pay tribute at these classic craft cocktail bars before venturing to contemporary standouts the likes of The Dead Rabbit.

Mix masters: A guide to the best cocktail bars in New York

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American craft beer

These days, there’s no escaping craft beer – and that’s a good thing. The rise in local microbreweries means more (and better) beer for all. No New York beer crawl worth its salt would skip local legends Brooklyn Brewery, while newer breweries like Other Half are welcoming the latest generation of suds-swillers. And then there are the legions of bottle shops, beer bars, and growler fill stations to further tempt visiting hop-heads.

Where to drink craft beer in New York

Big Apple desserts

Have a sweet tooth? You’ll do just fine in New York, where desserts of all stripes are among the city’s most popular dishes. Though the cupcake was once the king of pastries in the Big Apple, these days it’s all about the artisan chocolatiers, the hot cocoa experts, the pie enthusiasts, and the doughnut – and Cronut – specialists.

The Big, Sweet Apple: Doughnuts, NYC Style

Image credits: Dos Toros © Dos Toros, The NoMad Bar © Francesco Tonelli, Dough Loco © Liz Barclay