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Brenda’s Favorite NYC Restaurants

Todd English Food Hall at the Plaza Hotel.

Because I spend a lot of time in New York City, Ann, one of our readers, asked me for a list of my favorite restaurants. I’m usually on a frantic schedule and windup eating somewhere, unplanned, near my next appointment. Since there are so many restaurants in New York City, the competition means regardless where you go, odds are most of them are wonderful. That said, I would stay away from Times Square. It’s not the real New York City, just the one for tourists.

In no particular order, here are some of my favorites!

  • FELIDIA’S is owned by Emmy-nominated TV series chef and best-selling cookbook author, Lidia Bastianich. Their homemade pastas and wine by the glass are outstanding. Last time I was there, I sat in a little alcove next to Billy Joel and his wife.
  • THE TODD ENGLISH FOOD HALL is a European inspired specialty food hall on the bottom level of the Plaza Hotel. With almost two dozen eateries to choose from, you can sample a little bit of everything.
  • Speaking of the Plaza Hotel, buy some chocolates in the Food Hall, then take them upstairs to the CHAMPAGNE BAR. Enjoy them on one of the velvet sofas with a “Central Perk,” a decadent Coffee Bailey’s. There’s also the PALM COURT where you can have Afternoon Tea and scones or a Hemingway Daiquiri under the stained glass ceiling.
  • The BERGDORF GOODMAN RESTAURANT is on the Seventh Floor of my favorite store in the world. With grand views of Central Park, the restaurant is open for lunch, tea, cocktails and dinner. Sit at a banquet table along the windows or one of the oversized “whisper chairs.” All of the chic women of NYC eat there, so if you want to know what’s in vogue… Reservations recommended. 212-872-8977
  • ABC COCINA is by Michelin star Chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Dedicated to whole food and inventive menus, the restaurant is a magical environment located within ABC Home, a multi-floor uber furnishing, jewelry and kitchen store. Plan to spend a couple of hours exploring! ABC KITCHEN is a sister restaurant and next to, but different from, COCINA. Reservations are suggested for both, or just explore until a table’s ready.
  • JOJO’s is one of my new favorites! Recently I had dinner there twice in one week! No wonder I love it! It’s by the same Chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who did ABC COCINA and ABC KITCHEN, and it’s made the “Best” lists for over 20 years. This elegant two-story, tiny gem is a jewel box. Even if you have a drink and an appetizer, sit in the plum-colored, velvet banquets and admire the green and white striped wallpaper, gold crown moldings and the wall sconces in the little room on the first floor. That is… if you can drag yourself away from the charming little bar!
  • ROSA MEXICANO has several location, but I like the one near Lincoln Center. I’m a Texas girl and a tough critic when it comes to Mexican food, but Rosa’s hits the mark! Their margaritas and made-to-order guacamole, at your table, are divine! You might want to schedule lunch or dinner there after a visit to the Guggenheim: It’s just a short cab ride from the other side of Central Park.
  • LE PAIN QUOTIDIEN “the daily bread” locations are scattered all around the city. I’ve eaten at them all. Fresh salads, soups, avocado on burnt toast and bakery items are served at long, communal pine tables. The food is wonderful, and the prices are even better!
  • NUMERO 28 PIZZERIA has several locations in the city, but menus vary. I’m still fantasizing about the prosciutto, arugula and pine nut pizza I had in the East Village!
  • SAL’S PIZZERIA is on Court Street in Brooklyn. After a photoshoot and interview, my friend Jennifer and I had planned to eat at a Thai restaurant, but our noses took us to Sal’s instead. Months later, I was talking with someone in the airport about best NY pizza places, and I mentioned Sal’s. A guy, who wasn’t part of our conversation, chimed in and said, “People come from all over to eat at Sal’s!”
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7 thoughts on “Brenda’s Favorite NYC Restaurants”

  1. Born and raised in New York and I’ve never heard of any of these! But they look amazing just the same. 🙂 I’m definitely homesick when I read about NYC.

    • You’re kidding! And here I thought all of you native New Yorkers would find this a big yawn. LOL! Brenda

  2. I was at The Plaza for tea this summer and spent a moment in the Champagne Bar ( While waiting for the women’s room!), but I had no idea that there was a whole other world below me! Cool!!! I’m going to check it out.

    • I didn’t know either until my friend, Mark Grischke, told me. He’s our photo stylist for Style Inspiration Interviews with women like Marla Ginsberg. Mark and I had lunch downstairs, then nearly OD’s on chocolate in the Champagne Bar. Here’s a photo he took that day. xoxox, Brenda

  3. Love these suggestions! This past November during a NYC trip I went to Sarabeth’s for brunch – awesome! And I love to visit Eataly – for the food and the shopping.

  4. Brenda, thanks so much of these NYC recommendations. I’ve been to a few you mention but will have to add some of the other to my “NYC Eats” bucket list. So many great restaurants to try there.

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