You don't have to go more than a block or two.
You’ve got your list of New York City landmarks to check out, but you don’t want to waste a single meal while visiting the Big Apple. Luckily for you, there’s good food all over NYC, even in the most touristy areas and you rarely have to walk more than a block or two away from the landmark itself to get to some of the more locally-loved spots. So, get out your map and your camera, and let’s hit the town from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Met.
If you're near the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a must-see for art lovers, spanning from antiquity through the 20th century with non-stop blockbuster exhibitions. It’s also the southernmost stop on Museum Mile, which is comprised of seven top NYC museums on 5th Avenue between 82nd to 102nd Streets. If you’re strolling down from the Guggenheim museum, stop into Bluestone Lane, (2 E. 90th St) housed beautifully inside a church) for a stellar avocado toast and flat white. Or head one block east to the famed brunch at Sarabeth’s (1295 Madison Ave) for scrambled egg popovers and lemon ricotta pancakes.
You can also take advantage of the excellent restaurants located inside the other museums in the area, including the legendary lox and bagels at Russ and Daughters (1109 5th Ave.) at The Jewish Museum and the Austrian delicacies at Cafe Sabarsky (1048 5th Ave.) at the Neue Galerie. Eat like a local at Lexington Candy Shop (1226 Lexington Ave.), which is virtually unchanged since its opening in 1925, or E.A.T. (1064 Madison Ave.), a takeout/sit-down hybrid from NYC food legend Eli Zabar. For a more upscale approach, head to Madison Avenue for a cocktail in the exquisitely illustrated Bemelmans Bar (35 E. 76th St.) at the Carlyle Hotel and an elegant Italian meal at Sant Ambroeus (1000 Madison Ave.).
If you're near Rockefeller Center:
Whether you’re ice skating in the winter or having a drink outside in the summer, there’s always something to do at Rockefeller Center, which sits near other luminary landmarks like Radio City Music Hall and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Within Rock Center itself, grab a glass of wine and small plates at Morell Wine Bar (1 Rockefeller Plaza) or dig in for a mega-burger and fries at Bill’s Bar and Burger (16 W. 51st St.). You can also head downstairs into the concourse that runs below the Center for a top-notch cup of coffee and fresh pastries at Blue Bottle Coffee (1 Rockefeller Plaza, Concourse Level).
Finding healthy and delicious food while on the go can feel daunting, but The Little Beet (135 W. 50th St.) makes it easy to eat well in both ways. For those who want something more decadent, they can go next door to Melt Shop (135 W. 50th St.) for all sorts of takes on grilled cheese. Upscale dining fit for expense accounts abound in midtown, but the bar area at The Modern (9 W. 53rd St.) offers the restaurant’s two Michelin star cuisine at more approachable prices.
If you're near Times Square:
The neon. The skyscrapers. The crowds. Times Square can be total sensory overload, but grab a highly photogenic cone from Ice & Vice’s I Scream! Kiosk (Broadway mall between 43rd St. and 44th St.) as you head for a side street for your meal. The menu may be short and sweet at Burger & Lobster (132 W. 43rd St.)—that’s basically what they serve but the one pound lobster with fries for $20 is worth the trip. The elegant dining room at The Lamb’s Club (132 W. 44th St.) is power lunch-ready, but one of their burgers ordered in the sumptuous bar area is the perfect high-low moment.
If you are looking for an exclusively fine dining moment, Charlie Palmer is pulling double duty at restaurants across the street from each other. Choose from the quiet and plush Charlie Palmer at the Knick (4, 6 Times Square) for a drink or dinner, or settle in for a serious food experience at Aureole (135 W. 42nd St.). For those looking for something lighter than a multi-course meal, get a sushi selection at the dependably good Haru Sushi (229 W. 43rd St. #221) or go for rolls with a view at Blue Fin (1567 Broadway).
If you're near the Empire State Building:
Though it was once restaurant-challenged, the food scene has quietly built up around the Empire State Building. A wave of chic hotels opening nearby in recent years has helped to up the ante with Laurent Tourondel’s Italian L’Amico (849 6th Ave.) in the Hotel Eventi and April Bloomfield’s pub The Breslin (16 W. 29th St) in the Ace Hotel. Near the Ace are several fast casual favorites that can get mobbed at lunchtime but with good reason. Try the seasonal and inventive salads at Sweetgreen (1164 Broadway)—you can order ahead on their app—or the newly opened Made Nice (8 W. 28th St.), from the team behind Eleven Madison Park.
If you’re lagging after a day of tiring sightseeing, get a pick-me-up with a matcha latte at the Instagram-ready Cha Cha Matcha (1158 Broadway) or a coffee and croissant at the cozy Cafe M (315 5th Ave.). Manhattan’s Koreatown neighborhood sits adjacent to the Empire State Building and offers an array of top-notch restaurants, including the modernist Her Name is Han (17 E. 31st St.) for Korean home cooking and the bustling Bae Kjeong (1 E. 32nd St.) for traditional BBQ.
If you're near the National September 11th Memorial:
New York’s far downtown area has undergone a renaissance in recent years. Brookfield Place (230 Vesey St.) is across the West Side Highway with an array of to-go eating options upstairs at Hudson Eats, including Num Pang, Black Seed Bagels and Blue Ribbon Sushi. Downstairs is French food hall, Le District (225 Liberty St.), where you can perch at the wine bar for oysters and a glass of bubbly or take your crepe outside to eat while staring across the Hudson River to New Jersey. For the original NYC food hall experience, head to Mario Batali’s Eataly (101 Liberty St., 3rd Floor) inside the stunning Calatrava-designed Oculus. There you can choose from smoothies to pizzas to fresh pastas while gazing out from the third floor windows.
Refuel with margaritas and tacos at charmingly kitschy El Vez (259 Vesey St.), or go deep into classic Italian-American favorites like eggplant subs and red sauce meatballs at Parm. Settle in for familiar favorites at newly opened The Wooly Public (9 Barclay St.) in the iconic Woolworth Building, or gaze at the sunset while imbibing on a cocktail with a popsicle in it (the house specialty) at the Loopy Doopy Bar (102 North End).
If you're near the Brooklyn Bridge:
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge can work up an appetite. Once you’re on the Brooklyn side, stroll down to the Brooklyn Bridge Park for a fresh lobster roll at Luke’s Lobster (11 Water St.) or a ShackBurger and concrete at Shake Shack (1 Old Fulton St.) opposite it. Dumbo has become famous for its dueling pizzerias, located next to each other. Choose between a to-go pie with charred edges at Grimaldi’s Pizza (1 Front St.) or sit down for a full meal at Juliana’s Pizza (19 Old Fulton St.), the shop opened by Patsy Grimaldi more than a decade after he sold off Grimaldi’s.
If you’re hitting that mid-afternoon slump, get a slab of frosted layer cake to eat in the airy space of One Girl Cookies (33 Main St.) or check out the newly opened Feed Shop & Cafe (55 Water St.), from the Feed organization that works to fight hunger around the world. Cecconi’s Dumbo (55 Water St.) is also new to the neighborhood, bringing an injection of glamour to the once-gritty area with panoramic views and a decadent Italian menu.