1. Momofuko Noodle Bar (East Village)

David Chang, David Chang, David Chang. If you haven’t heard about this man, you haven’t watched a single food show or went out to eat in America in the last 5 years. He’s a modern day food god. All of his restaurants are different and the noodle bar is the one that set off the ramen explosion in America, imo. Noodle Bar was the first place I ever had “adult ramen” (ie: not top ramen). Back then it was one of the only spots in NYC to grab a bowl and now the city is saturated with ramen joints. Very important: One cannot possibly leave this restaurant without an order of his famous pork buns.

2. Hill Country (Manhattan/Brooklyn)

The South ain’t the only place one can get some great barbecue. For that mouth-watering. Texan style dry-rub BBQ look no further. Manhattan’s local favorite.

3. St. Anselm (Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

This is the quintessential Williamsburg restaurant. Everything in the entire space has been crafted to perfection. Think of this as your small, local steak house that happens to have a Michelin Star. St. Anselm comes from the brilliant mind that brought you Fette Sau (see: “Ten places Real New Yorkers Eat”). Ridiculous wait. No reservations.

4. Pok Pok (Brooklyn)

Andy Ricker is a Thai food savior. He is cooking straight-up, authentic Thai food for Thai palettes. There’s no watering down for Americans here. Expect to sweat, but also be transported to a village in the north of Thailand where grandma is making you some Larb. Andy and his food are as real as it gets.

5. Lil Miss Korea (Koreatown, Manhattan)

This is the spot to get your Ktown BBW on. It occupies three floors in one building and is open for 24 hours. it’s a Michelin Guide “selection” for 2015 as well, so there’s really no excuse for you NOT to go.

6. Levain Bakery (Upper West Side)

A neighborhood institution for the Upper West Side and a “foodie” destination for the rest of the world. They ship their cookies worldwide! These cookies are super thick and crispy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. Chewey, gooey, cookie heaven.

7. Lil Frankies (East Village)

You won’t find any big name chefs here. You will find classic, non-fussed Italian fare like pastas and brick oven pizzas.
It’s a small escape to Italy in the big city. Cash only.

8. Five Leaves (Greenpoint, Brooklyn)

Brunch. Cramped. Hipsters. People watching. Delicious. Awesome.

9. Brick Lane Curry House (multiple locations)

In NYC there are so many horrible, sloppy, tasteless Indian food places in every neighborhood. It’s quite sad. After trekking to India and experiencing what India food should taste like, now I will only go to Brick Lane for my Indian food fix. Their lunch buffet in the East Village location is filled with variety, incredible flavor and a very fair price. No brainer.

10. Spotted Pig (West Village)

While you’ll find this on everyone’s “where to eat” list when they visit, you’re gonna have to battle for a table. Arguably, the first gastropub in the United States, The Spotted Pig has rose to legendary status.

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