The Standard Guide to Essential NYC Dishes

Whether you're just visiting New York City or you call yourself a local, these are the top twelve dishes to have on your list.

The Minetta Burger at Minetta Tavern

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“Best burger” is a tough title to claim, but Minetta Tavern does so effortlessly with their house rendition. Served with cheddar, caramelized onions, and pommes frites, the Minetta Burger has the perfect ratio of components that leaves eaters satiated instead of incapacitated. While we prefer the classic version, more indulgent diners may opt for the restaurant’s Black Label Burger, which is made with prime dry-aged beef cuts and topped with caramelized onions. 

Kao Pat Puu at Uncle Boons

Choosing your favorite dish at Uncle Boons is a lot like picking your favorite child: you’re not supposed to do it but deep down everyone has one. In this case, our loyalty lies with the Kao Pat Puu, the traditional crab fried rice served with egg, cilantro, and lime. They don’t hold back on the lumps of sweet, fresh crab that make for a delightful contrast to the crisp, fried rice. 

Chicken Enchiladas from ATLA

ATLA’s menu suggests that you have to pick between green and red chicken enchiladas topped with white onion and crema. Instead of making such a difficult decision, order them “divorciadas,” meaning half and half. When they arrive at your table, expect a bright juxtaposition of both color and flavor. 

Tortilla Española from Marlow & Sons

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Although the menu at Andrew Tarlow’s beloved Marlow & Sons changes daily, the tortilla española thankfully never goes away. This Brooklyn version of a Spanish omelette made with egg, potato, and onion is served with aioli and black pepper. You’d be wise to order your slice as soon as you sit down since the kitchen only makes a limited number each day.

Mussels Escabeche at Estela

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If you’re lucky enough to find yourself at Estela, chef Ignacio Mattos’ first restaurant on Houston Street, capitalize on your good fortune by ordering the mussels escabeche—plump, pickled mussels resting on top of aioli-slathered, chargrilled bread in green, parsley broth. The four bites on toast possess skillfully layered dimensions of flavor that can be likened to that of a perfect piece of nigiri. 

Clam Pizza at Pasquale Jones

Pasquale Jones’ clam pie has the power to make even the most diehard New Haven pizza fans question their allegiance. For their clam version, chef Ryan Hardy has made simple alterations—marinating the clams in garlic and trickling cream over the pie—that make a whole lot of difference. To finish, a gentle squeeze of fresh lemon on top provides a welcome touch of acidity that balances out the creaminess of the pie. 

Chicken for Two at The Nomad

It’s hard to talk about The Nomad without bringing up the chicken for two, a staple dish that’s been on the menu since the beginning. The apex of flavor lies between the skin and the meat of the chicken where chef Daniel Humm stuffs foie gras, black truffles, and brioche crumbs. For dramatic effect, the whole roasted bird is shown to the table, carved up in the kitchen, and brought back ready to be devoured. 

Potato Darphin at Wildair

At Wildair, hashbrowns are called potato darphin and they’re topped with plump, custardy uni and spicy jalapeño. Don’t wash down this delectable dish with water—the Lower East Side neo bistro is known for its extensive list of natural and low-intervention wines. 

Khachapuri at narcbar

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Michelin-starred chef John Fraser’s take on khachapuri, a traditional Georgian flatbread, offers a new take on the trifecta that is eggs, cheese, and bread. For the dish, a yeasted dough base topped with ricotta, mozzarella, and feta cheese is oven-baked and finished with a poached egg. Since narcbar is open until 2am, chances are you’ll be able to eat this exactly when you most want it.  

Corn Husk Meringue at Cosme

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Growing up in Mexico City, Cosme chef de cuisine Daniela Soto-Innes’ father brought a bag of broken meringues as a peace offering for being late to pick her up from school. Drawing from this childhood memory, Soto-Innes came up with the corn husk meringue: a complex dessert that consists of savory corn mousse and burnt vanilla ice cream nestled between a broken meringue. Capture each element carefully with your spoon before taking a bite. 

The Classic at Russ & Daughters Cafe

Amongst the ever-changing culinary landscape of the city, the over 100-year-old Russ & Daughters makes a strong case for tradition. So it’s only fitting that “The Classic,” a bagel served with Gaspe Nova smoked salmon, cream cheese, tomato, onion and capers, at their Orchard Street cafe is a standout offering. 

Steak at Peter Luger

This list would not be complete without quintessential New York steakhouse Peter Luger’s dry-aged steak, which comes in orders for one, two, three or four. Naturally, each portion size feeds twice as many people as the number suggests. Order the steak medium rare with side of their special German fried potatoes and use their Luger’s Own sauce liberally. 


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