A Local’s Favorite NYC Restaurants!

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!

1. Serra

This is my absolute favorite restaurant I’ve been to this summer. It’s on the rooftop of Eataly in midtown, and it is ADORABLE! It’s that perfect mix of romantic and whimsical.

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!!

4. Starbucks Reserve Roastery

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!

7. Peking Duck House

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!

8. Breads Bakery

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.

9 City Vineyard

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 🙂

10 Balthazar

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.


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.


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…..


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!


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!


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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84 responses to “A Local’s Favorite NYC Restaurants!”

    • Thanks so much! Yes! Chelsea market is so unique! You can spend hours in there! Hugs and love xox

  1. I’m not really big on fancy restaurants, to be honest. I prefer a lot of food for cheap. And being in the suburbs of a large city that has (but is trying to shed) a reputation for being slow-paced and boring, this isn’t exactly the place one will find much fine dining, at least not outside of the city center itself (which is 13 miles away). There was a little mom-and-pop Mexican restaurant about half a mile from my house where I always used to take out-of-town guests and friends who were from elsewhere in my region but not my neighborhood. It closed for good in 2015, and I found out just in time to get one last burrito. (I wrote about that experience here: https://highwaypi.wordpress.com/2015/05/17/exit-55-one-last-burrito/)

    A couple years ago, I started going to a different mom-and-pop Mexican restaurant. It was good. But then I went there on a date in June 2018, and that fell apart a few weeks later, so I kind of had a bad association with that place. I went back again about a year later, and I had a bad service experience there, so I need to start looking for a new mom-and-pop Mexican restaurant. The suburbs aren’t a good place for mom-and-pop restaurants in the first place, though.

    • Chelsea Market is definitely a great spot for cheap eats! Same with food trucks!! I love mom and pop restaurants. They can definitely be hit or miss for sure. I love supporting local restauranteurs though!! Hugs and love xox

  2. I’m roughly 1,600 miles away and have about .40 cents to my name so at the moment I’ll have to take your words on those restaurants, lol.

    But as a food service worker (mostly short order and cafeteria style) I did want to commend your list at the end and encourage others to follow it as well. It was great advise and helps even at joints that aren’t as high end. Just as everyone breathes, everyone eats as well. There’s no need for it to be unpleasant. So thank you.

    • I feel ya there. And I love that – everybody eats. That is so so true! And you know what? Being kind to the servers and staff is so SO important. 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  3. Coffee snob here, and bingo with the Starbucks Reserve Roastery!!! My son took me there when I visited him this summer. Now we have a whole new list to try. Thank you!!!!

    • Oh awesome! Isn’t it just an exquisite shop?! All the copper and mahogany?! It’s just beautiful! And i don’t even drink coffee!! Haha

  4. Caralyn, this is the first article of yours that I’ve hated. I mean, I gained five pounds just looking at the pictures!!! If Mary Poppins was here right now, I would have gotten her to poof me into any one of those pictures like she did in the movie! I felt myself wanting to go into a food coma!

    Seriously; good stuff. If Julie and I ever get back there, we’ll have to check out at least one of those!

    • Hahaha oh my gosh you’re too funny! Mary Poppins – that’s funny. I think if I were to pick one of these for you – it would be Boucherie — you and Julie at a table outside under the awnings. Good conversation. People watching. Terrific food. Next trip to NYC!! Hope your week is off to a great start!! Hugs to you and your girls! Thanks for stopping by! Xox

      • Having a great week; flew to LA on Saturday to spend several days visiting my long-time high school chum/Best Man/song collaborator, Rick. Which is why I’m on here so late tonight! Toured the USS Iowa, saw the space shuttle Endeavor, spent some time at a couple beach towns, and walked around downtown this afternoon. Whew! Lots o’ walking but seeing a TON of history!!!

      • Oh that’s so fun! Wow – sounds like some amazing sightseeing! Glad you’re having fun!!!

  5. definitely one of the perks of working in the NYC area… I am a bit more partial to the little pop ups in red hook these days but manhattan has things around every corner, try Novita on 22nd and park, one of the cutest little places right off gramercy park, I recognized most of your list but definitely picked up a couple of tips !

    • Ooh pop ups are fun too! I will definitely try Novita! Thanks for the recco! Hugs and love xox

  6. You are certainly right about that. NYC has such a wide variety of restaurants. Looking forward to going back and definitely staying much longer. Happy Dining

  7. This post had me wishing I was on holiday in NYC right now…
    You’re a girl after my own heart. This article appealed to my inner foodie. Appealed to my outer one as well. LOL.

    Thanks for the information. Now if ever I do visit NYC, I won’t be able to tell anyone about the Empire State or the Statue of Liberty, but I will be able to tell them about Peking Duck House. 😛

    • Aw thanks! Yeah I am a foodie through and through! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

    • It really does! Oooh I will have to check it out! And what a great name 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  8. Those sound like some really nice places to eat 🙂 Maybe someday, lol. We live in a very rural area and have limited dining options, plus we don’t eat out a lot anyways. But our favorite place to go when we do is a little hole-in-the-wall place that only does take-out. The woman runs it out of her house and it’s not on the main road so it’s hard to find. She makes pizza, subs, mexican food, pies, cakes, etc. It’s hands down the best food we can get out 🙂 God Bless!

  9. Well now. I will be able to look like a New Yorker when I visit. Each of these eateries seem to be the best of whatever a person would be looking for. Keep up the great Blogging.

  10. I love New York ❤️❤️❤️. I actually want to visit Laduree mainly because I want to try their Macarons. Happy Belated Birthday. God bless your new age 🙏🏿. All that your heart desires, may it be granted unto you. I hope you had a lovely one. Thank you for sharing 😊.

    • Thanks Karen! I do too!! Ooh yes they are truly known for their macarons! It is SUCH a special place. Thanks for saying that! 🙂 same for you! Big hugs my friend xox

  11. These look delicious! I love bakeries, so I suddenly feel I must hit up NYC sometime 🤩

    I live in Southern Utah, and one of my favorite restaurants is called The Pizza Cart. They have the BEST gelato. I actually just wrote about it: https://furse.family.blog/2019/08/19/cedar-city-utah-the-pizza-cart/

    For more upscale dining, St. George has this amazing place called Cappeletti’s. It’s an Italian restaurant owned by an Argentinian lady. They display a lot of local artwork, treat you like family, and the empanadas, melt-in-your mouth steak, and hazelnut-crusted prawns are all to die for!

    • Thanks Jenny! Yeah these are a real treat! Ooh pizza and gelato!! I mean. Is there a more perfect combination than that?!? And daaaang – those prawns sound amazing 🙂 thanks for stopping by and sharing those gems! Hugs and love xox

  12. Excellent read and yes I am hungry as always. That picture of the fish was scary but you said you ate it so I trust you. I need to check out these spots the next time in NYC. Thank you for sharing and I appreciate the piece on food allergies. I am not afraid to look at menus ahead of time and also to ask questions. Eating without pain in awesome.

    • Thanks so much Ada! Haha yeah I was pretty frightened when they brought it out but I polished it off! Hugs and love xox

  13. My immediate response is… I hate restaurants 🤨
    But actually, I love nice food and wine and good company…

    I should jump on a plane pronto!
    I am however in Melb., and doing paperwork, etc. for career
    Oh, to be in NYC

  14. Since you’re such a foodie, you should make an appearance on the “Worth It” youtube channel and show case some vegan options in NYC.

    • Oooh I’ve never heard of this show! But I will definitely look into it! Thanks for the awesome idea!! Hugs and love xox

  15. I’ve been fighting anorexia for over two months, some of which was in hospital. I’m a fifteen year old still struggling…can you give me any advice?? No matter what people say, I still feel ugly a lot of the time, and I think it’s partly cause my body proportions haven’t leveled out yet, though the bloating’s gone.

    • Aw thank you Amanda! So glad you enjoyed it! there are some really yummy options in NYC! hugs xox

  16. I drooled over my keyboard. I think the only place I’ve actually been to is Peking Duck House. But, all of them are on my list when I take Al to visit! We can’t wait to try them all! I told him to be prepared to eat our way through the city.

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