Every city has its own distinct vibe and flavor. If we were going on a road trip to find the best local specialties around the country, these are the New York City spots we'd make sure to check out. For more celebration of hometown cuisine, check out the new movie Chef, starring Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson and more, in theaters May 9. And for more stories, check out www.zagat.com/cheffilm.
According to our most recent survey, the No. 1 pizza in the city can be found at this neighborhood charmer in Carroll Gardens, serving up old-fashioned brick-oven pies with that thin, crispy, distinctly New York crust.
This roving food market – which pops up in Williamsburg on Saturdays and Dumbo on Sundays – features stands from some of the city’s best vendors, as well as appearances by popular food trucks. It’s a food lover’s dream, with a veritable smorgasbord of options, from hand-pulled noodles to ice cream sandwiches to lobster rolls (and everything in between). Make sure to bring cash – and a big appetite.
David Chang was one of the high-profile chefs who helped Jon Favreau get into character for his role as chef Carl Casper in Chef, giving him advice based on his own time in the kitchens of his wildly popular Momofuku empire, which began with Momofuku Noodle Bar in the East Village and has since expanded across the globe. Noodle Bar, which has been around for 10 years now, is still a popular haunt for foodie hipsters, thanks to its mouthwatering ramen, pork buns and – of course – soft-serve ice cream in unique flavors like pretzel and cereal milk from nearby Momofuku Milk Bar.
Though it may be slightly past its prime, Keith McNally’s buzzing SoHo brasserie remains the epitome of see-and-be-seen dining in the city, with the occasional celebrity still breezing in for a business breakfast from time to time. Everything about the place – from the belle epoque decor to the Parisian-cool atmosphere to the towering raw bar – screams New York chic, and it’s still hard to get a reservation here after 17 years on Spring Street. (If you can’t get in, check out the dreamy pastries and lattes at the bakery next door.)
Some of the best bagels and lox in the city can be found at this Lower East Side smoked fish legend, serving sable, caviar, herring and more since 1914.