One of the best parts of living in NYC is the DINING!
I’m telling you — the restaurants in this city are second to NONE, and recently here this summer, I have been dining out A LOT. Between my birthday, having visitors in town, dating, and just summer fun — I’ve been taking note on my favorite spots to hit.
SO. Tonight I’ll be sharing those with you, along with some tips for going out to dinner with food allergies!
It’s covered in flowers, and just breathtakingly beautiful. Plus the food was phenomenal. Get the frozen Aperol Spritz. Yes, you read that right. I mean…
OK – I lied. THIS is HANDS DOWN *THE* cutest spot in all of Manhattan. It’s a Parisian macaroon and dessert bakery and restaurant in Soho that has been plucked out of a fairy tale. I took my mother, I’ve been with a good friend.
It was founded in 1862 in Paris, and it was such a hit that they brought it to Soho, naturally. So it is as authentic as it gets. Get the avocado toast, the macaroons, and some sort of eclair with a mimosa or high tea. I promise, it is worth the splurge!
3. Extra Virgin
Patio dining at it’s finest. I’m telling you, in the late summer and early fall, sidewalk dining is *where it’s at* in NYC — especially in the Village, the people watching is off the chain. Extra Virgin is one of those staples of the West Village. Definitely stop in, and get the sea bass!!
If you’re a coffee snob ((I am not, but my friend is)) — HIT UP THIS PLACE in Chelsea! It’s right next to Chelsea Market, so you can stop by both! But it’s got truly gourmet eats, you can watch the roasting process, and there’s a swanky bar for both coffee and drinks. Everything is mahogany and oil rubbed copper. PRO TIP: Go during the week, because during the weekend, the line literally wraps around the block to get in. (There’s even a bouncer!)
5. Chelsea Market – Donuts and Crepes (Or literally anything!)
SPEAKING of Chelsea Market — if you are a foodie, make your way to Chelsea Market, STAT! It is literally filled with gourmet food outposts that deliver options from Ethiopian, to hand pulled Chinese noodles, to crepes, to Oprah’s favorite brownies, to Mediterranean street food, to vegan sushi, to Asian-Mexican Tacos, to Lobster rolls, to fresh donuts! ((You get the idea yet?!)) It is outrageous. Get there. And get you some.
6. CoCo Ja’Dore
This place in Meatpacking is *tres cute* ((Are you noticing a theme??)) But it’s as though it was made for Instagram. There’s a pink flower wall when you walk in. It’s right next to Bagatelle on a cobblestone, picturesque street. The food was delicious! I got branzino and it was delicious!
OK this one was TOTALLY out of my comfort zone!! I went here for a friend’s birthday! And it was SO FUN! There’s so much fanfare and hoopla when they bring this cooked duck to the table and carve it in front of you. Everyone had a great time. Plus it’s BYOB with NO CORKING FEE. I had the sea bass, and let’s just say I was terrified when it came out looking at me!! haha But I demolished it and it was superb!
Sometimes when you’re shopping, you start craving carbs. There’s nothings humble about the baked goods in this hole-in-the-wall bakery on Union Square. Their baguettes were even named the #1 baguette in the city. Plus, public bathrooms, which — in NYC, is a God-send.
This is one of my hidden secrets, that I can’t believe I’m letting you in on. Because I don’t want it to get too popular! It is on the pier in Tribeca on the Hudson River, overlooking the One World Trade building and the Statue of Liberty! The wine is phenomenal, the food is top notch, and you’ll really impress your guest, because this place is not “off the beaten path” — because, hello…it’s Manhattan… BUT, it’s definitely not in a very trafficked area. PRO-TIP: Make it a romantic evening and plan to take a walk at sunset along the water before or afterwards 🙂
Lastly, whether you go for brunch, dinner, or simply a glass of wine and a pastry — GO TO BALTHAZAR! It’s right in the heart of SoHo, and the food is a delicious as it is cute. It’s a cafe straight out of Paris, and I promise, it is worth the trip downtown!
So I had to add this one to the list because I ate here yesterday with my friends and it was so cute. The atmosphere was just darling – it was a like a sidewalk cafe in Paris. (Are you noticing a theme here?? haha) Pro-Tip: sit at their beautiful marble top-bar with huge antique glass mirror, and get the profiteroles.
So there you have some of my favorite spots I’ve eaten at so far this summer!
Now for my dining out tips with dietary restrictions!
As you know, the Specific Carb Diet has been my literal saving grace, and has healed me from my Ulcerative Colitis! But, it does make going out to eat a bit of a challenge. Not impossible! But it takes some finessing.
Here are my tips:
If I know where we’re going ahead of time, I like to call the restaurant the day before, or morning of, and just give them a heads up that — Hey, one of the diners tonight has some dietary restrictions, and then just give them a heads up.
2 THE SERVER IS YOUR BEST FRIEND
Piggybacking on #1, your waiter is truly your best friend. He or she is the link between you and the chef. SO a) treat them kindly, b) TIP THEM WELL, and c) communicate with them your situation.
3 KNOW THE MENU
Again, I like to look up the menu before we go, just so I can get an idea of what I’m going to ask for ahead of time. Here’s what I look for: Scan the entire menu — but not just for “headlines” — but for the “go-withs.” Even though you might not be able to eat the meatloaf, you might notice that it is served with brussels sprouts! Make a note! Or you see that there are options for a baked potato with the steak! Make a note! Because…..
4 DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK
This is literally what I do at every restaurant. I just ASK FOR WHAT I WANT. I am super polite, and say — I notice that there are brussels sprouts on the menu. Would it be possible to please have a salmon fillet with the brussels sprouts? Or something like that.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and ask for what you want! Heck! The last restaurant, I was able to get a beautiful salad with LOBSTER on top of it instead of the chicken. So, let it be known — the sky is the frickin limit, people!
5 CHOOSE A RESTAURANT WITH A HEAD CHEF ON PREMISES
So this one goes hand in hand with #4, but by choosing a place where there is an actual executive chef in the back — compared to say, an Applebees where there’s just a set menu and that’s it — makes a huge difference. Because it is their restaurant. And they want every single diner to be well taken care of. So, you could say to you waiter — these are my food allergies. Could the chef please prepare something for me? And they have always been more than happy to do so, and I’ve actually gotten some of the most delicious creations ever!
6 BE THERE FOR THE COMPANY
Lastly, and most importantly, if there’s one thing I’ve learned going out to eat on the SCD, it’s that at the end of the day, the food is secondary to the company. Sure, it’s nice to have a special meal, but it’s the people you’re sharing it with that truly makes it a special occasion. I always eat something pretty substantial before I go, and I just plan on making myself a hearty snack when I get home — so that way, I can just focus on being in the moment with my friends and loved ones 🙂
So there you go! Hopefully those tips were helpful! And do try out those awesome restaurants! They are some of the best eats I’ve had yet in Manhattan! Especially Laduree!! Oh my gosh, GET THERE!!!!!
What are some of YOUR favorite restaurants??! This could be fun! Share your city and your favorite spot to eat in the comments section!
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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