The quote from Bill Cunningham "Fashion is the amor to survive the reality of every day life," stuck in my mind as I explored the streets of Soho. I loved the style that surrounded me, the luxury stores and the high end french boutiques that lined the streets. I could sit having coffee at La Colombe and people watched all day. Long walks in central park in the summer time, live music, and rooftop bars, 3 am pizza .. what isn't to love about New York City.
I spent just over a month getting to know this crazy, big city and I wasn't ready to leave by the end of my stay. Here are a few of the places I fell in love with during my stay. Now please note if you don't like frose' stop reading now as I pretty much sipped my way around NYC… Anyone that knows me even just a little knows that I love food! I love eating out, emerging myself in the culture, trying new cuisines and I love discovering local places.
First Up - I am from Melbourne so assuming this blog will mainly be read by Australians I am starting with the most important thing! COFFEE! Everyone said coffee in American was awful but I found amazing cafes with equally as good coffee at home.
Ludlow Coffee Supply was my favourite little new york cafe! Blue bottle is always a great safe option as well in the states but ludlow was amazing in NYC! @ludlowcoffeesupply
Cafe Beit, sweatshop & bakeri all in Brooklyn
Lena NYC 1 west st Manhattan - french cafe so gorgeous!
Smorgasburg in Williamsburg- On Saturdays this is a great spot to try things from different places around the city. Loads of great food trucks are located on the lawn, theres a killer view of the city & incredible food its a perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Pack a picnic rug and you are set for the day. Make sure you try the dumplings & a ramen burger. When I went Momofuku noodle bar had a pop up and it was the best pork ramen! I have heard the pop up trucks change so if Momofuku isn’t there I would suggest checking it out another day.
Souvlaki GR in East Village - If you have been to Greece and loved the authentic Greek food than this is a great place to visit. The saganaki is one of the best I have ever had. It’s a great experience if you are looking for something different. As soon as I arrived it was like I was back in Mykonos, the staff are amazing and the souvlaki is second to none.
Jack's wife Freda - Okay now this is a serious MUST DO brunch spot in new york. And you can trust me of this because I’m originally from Melbourne which is the brunch capital of the world. I can recommend ordering almost everything off their menu but the rosewater waffles, avo toast & crouqe madame is amazing. Actually the crouqe madame gets a special mention! Country white pan bread, sliced duck prosciutto, cheddar béchamel sauce, melted greyer cheese & a sunny side egg on top .. are you hungry yet?! Also great coffee and like everywhere fab in New York on a Sunday expect to wait a while.
Beauty and Essex - Like I said before I do love the hunt to find something amazing. To enter Beauty and essex you have to go through a pawn shop. It’s a cool experience and serves up some amazing food! Aussies reading this yes your prayers have been answered they have avo on toast for brunch but the bagel & lox pizzetta is what brunch dreams are made of! The best meatballs, lobster mac & cheese, grilled cheese tomato soup dumplings & peanut butter pie to finish with. The food here is incredible. It is also the coolest bar!
Eataly - Like the name its self isn’t enough to convince you its worth your while .. It is an Italian heaven filled with multiple small restaurants awaiting your arrival. It has been running for 10 years now and everything is delicous. Eat the fried calamari from Le Verdure & also the cavolfiore alla bagnara (herbs, capers, lemon, olive oil, olives & fried cauliflower) Wood burning oven Pizza from La Stella, prosciutto from La Piazza, & you cant not finish the night off with a Gelato.
Miss Lily's - Jamaican restauran located in the East Village. I was lucky enough to have the 9 course authentic caribbean feast which included the best prawns I have ever tasted. If you love to eat like I do then every Monday for $25 you can eat all you want! The hot & spicy fish burger, chicken wings, jerk chicken is delicious but this place has the best corn in the city.
Root & Bone - For classic American style comfort food this place s great. Just trust me and order fried chicken from here. Its served up in a bucket & they do Macoroni and cheese enough said.
ABC kitchen - Salted Caramel Sunday I know I am doing this backwards but this was such a highlight! Wood oven roasted lobster was alright as well I guess … (THE BEST LOBSTER I HAVE EVER HAD!!!!!) The wild salmon with aspargas was delicious, I would recommend ABC for all your seafood needs whilst being away from the sea.
La'Esquina located soho, great mexican food & super cool speakeasy bar which is really, really fun on a Saturday night. They make awesome cocktails. I recommend staying true to the authentic mexican theme and order a margarita, you cant go wrong. They have seriously good tacos, almost as good as what I had in mexico. But take note and don't be fooled by the outside, make sure you get a table downstairs. Just make sure you book ahead or the wait will be crazy long.
Sushi Samba - This place is an eat and drink location for me. Happy hour for sushi & cocktails is between4-7 and Carlos makes the best cocktails. All the sushi was amazing and made fresh in front of you. The tempura prawn & tuna sushi were my top picks. Ask for Carlos behind the bar!
Buddakan - Order the hoisin glazed pork belly, served on home made steamed bad buns. This dish is life changing and I am yet to find any where else that does a better pork bun. You will not regret a visit here. Lobster Egg Rolls with shrimp was also delicious. It is a very romantic with chandeliers and low lighting. I loved the ambiance here, its a great experience if you are looking at doing something romantic and beautiful. - 75 9th Ave
Balthazar - The waffles here are SO good, as is the apple pie. The seafood platter well really seafood tower is the most outrage thing I had seen! (I didn’t get it but totally envied the table next to me!) - 80 spring st
The Leob Boathouse for lunch is romantic & magical. I can recommend champagne and oysters or procscitto with figs. Then afterwards you can have a go on the row boats. This was a really special place om New York and if your travelling with someone special it is totally worth going to. Or even alone, sitting having a coffee looking out to the water is breathtaking.
The polo bar for dinner - Settle in for the evening with an old fashion and enjoy a real New York vibe! There’s steaks and burgers, great pasta. I loved this place, just order the burger!
Bar Pitti PASTA, PASTA, PASTA!! This place is the best for Italian .. It is great for lunch or dinner. I went for lunch and sat outside so I could continue my people watching and it was amazing! I really recommend getting your pasta fix here!
Milk Bar Bakery go and buy the COOKIES! Ice-cream also so yum. @milkbarstore on insta! - West Village
Eleven Madison Park is rated as the number 1 in the worlds top 50 restaurants. You can pick between 5 course or 10 courses. I have only heard amazing things but have never been .. It is on the bucket list though! Friends have said its 10/10
The standard hotel / Le Bain - Located at the standard hotel Le bain is a penthouse discotheque. This place is so much fun! You can hang out on the rooftop until 10pm with a relaxed vibe drinking pimms, cocktail jugs and great beer. They then close at 10pm for one hour and reset for the night, opening up again at 11pm. One level below the roof top is the nightclub which features a pool. You are free to sit by the pool and drink bottles of champagne and swim! I personally preferred the rooftop scene it was young, chilled and had a great atmosphere. Le Bain is my favourite rooftop bar that I have been to!
The James - Amazing rooftop bar! Probably my favourite rooftop bar because it had a pool as well, which was open for everyone to use. Itwas the perfect spot to head after a really hot day in the city. I met some really great locals here as well as traveller’s. And if I didn’t include that I met Rohan Marly, who is Bob Marlys son in this post then I would be in trouble with my boyfriend. Everyone was super friendly, great staff and a relaxed vibe. I found lots of the rooftops in nye had a more of serious, after work atmosphere, but the James was super chilled. The music was the best and by the best I mean Beyonce and missy elliot .. Head here after spending the day in Soho. I loved it.
The Refinery- Used to be a millinery factory so I loved looking at this building. It is gorgeous. You can see the empire state from the rooftop, Is always pumping, such a great vibe there, amazing cosmos and the most insane view of the city!
Mr.Purple - If you are in New York over the summer then there is no doubt in my mind that you must go to Mr.Purpleat least once during your stay. The views from their rooftop are incredible and theres a pool! I would probably suggest avoiding the cocktails here. I tried a few and wasn’t a huge fan. They were very sweet, I would stick to beer and wine to be safe. Same goes with the food, not life changing. It is more a place to have a glass of wine at to admire the incredible view that NYC has to offer.
Please Don't Tell - For me this was more of a novelty, there something about searching for cocktails in hidden places that I just find more exciting than simply walking into a bar… You enter please don’t tell through a hot dog shop, dial one in phone booth and your world will be transformed.. I cant say too much else other than that its a really fun experience. PDT is a New York style bar, with exposed brick walls (my fav), animals and loads of amazing cocktails that you simply must try. Make sure you book or else you could be waiting for an hour to get in. My favourite drink is the planter punch. Which is cranberry, lime, banks rum all served up in a terra-cotta pot. There is great tapas style food here also but I would say mainly visit for a drink.
Free hold - There are $1 grilled chorizo & lime oysters (YUM!!!) They also have $5 wine, $3 beer and really good burgers! Ohh and there us a photo both! I loved hanging out here during the day. It has a really relaxed, cool vibe and a great spot to meet & chat locals in Brooklyn. I would recommend planning a Sunday afternoon here to just really take in the atmosphere. The court yard is great on a nice day and then you can move into the lobby bar that stays open until 2am. They serve coffee also in the mornings so if you are staying close by it’s a good place to start your day. Happy hour is Monday-Friday 12-7 & is 50% off the whole bar, pretty good!
Employees only - A very cool speakeasy bar in the West Village. Make sure you look for Jia behind the bar, he makes a mean Roselle! I can also guarantee a great hemingway daiquiri.. We got stuck in here during a big storm so I tried a few great cocktails actually and can recommend checking it out! All of the cocktails being served looked incredible. I loved sitting up on a bar stools watching the magic being made. The staff are super friendly if you describe what you like they are more than happy to make something to suit you. I had a really fun night here and found lots of friendly locals ready to chat over a few drinks.
Bottomless brunch on the weekend - Hard to suggest just one place for this as it’s pretty standard in NYC that $30 will get you brunch and unlimited mimosas on weekends.
10 degrees in East Village - This place is really fun, has a relaxed, fun vibe, really great music, good cocktails and an even better wine selection.
B Bar in east village - As well as having a great take away taco counter Bbar & grill is great for a casual drink.
The Jane is a fun place for a few drinks and a fun dance. It is super relaxed and there was a great care free vibe!
Catch NYC / food & rooftop bar - Monday night
Output rooftop bar has amazing view of the manhattan sky line
The Press Lounge - Amazing view of the city. It is worth heading up just see the view from the top. The drinks were disappointing I wouldn’t waste your time ordering a cocktail, stick to wine here. It was more of a mature age crowd, more corporate so really depends what you are looking for. Beautiful venue, the hotel is stunning and the views from the rooftop are really stunning.
Pod 39 rooftop bar - If you are walking past I would recommend going up to see the view. It is a great view and I loved the old, exposed brick on the rooftop. I had a bad experience here with the staff and I wouldn’t recommend hanging around for long .. But the view is stunning.
I love vintage & second hand shopping so this city was heaven for me… If I wasn’t caring only hand luggage this trip I would have gone crazy! Chanel everywhere! My favourite outlet/vintage/preloved stores were .. Whats goes around(there are a few around nye) Woodbury commons outlet, Duo in east village, WGACA & Buffalo Exchange. If you want to experience the high end luxury new york has to show then head to Dover street market & Soho in general I loved walking this neighbourhood stopping by all the stores.
I used airbnb in New York & had an amazing experience but have heard it can be a bit trickier than other cities. I would recommend staying in the following areas East Village in Soho, Meat packing district, Greenwich village & Brooklyn. Hotels I have head are fantastic are followed, please note I haven’t stayed at any of these though .. NOMO in Soho, it is about $450 a night, Crosby St Hotel, Merce Hotel , Roxy Hotel in TriBeCa (can confirm there is a good wine bar here.) The standard (also confirm good drinks list….) NoMad , Hotel Indigo I went here when I spent time at Mr.Purple which is on site. The hotel looked stunning, Bowery, Bryan Park Hotel, The Ludlow in the Lower East Side & The James Hotel
My biggest tip - Learn the subway system before you arrive. It can be overwhelming so its great to know where & how to get around. I used the Subway every day without fail, its so fast and the trains come often. I bought a month travel card which was great value. I did also used uber, never hailed a cab though..