Best of NYC
August 28, 2013 5:07 PM   Subscribe

Can you tell me your suggestions for where to go for the best versions of specific food items in New York City?

I'm looking for suggestions for "best in New York City" (specifically Manhattan) for the following food items. (If you have other specific food items you want to share "best of" information about, that's fine too.)

- Chocolate souffle
- Creme brulee
- Crepes (savory and sweet)
- Waffles (savory and sweet)
- Gourmet cheese
- Candy
- Chocolate
- Madeleine cakes
- Pizza
- Ice cream
- Vegetarian and vegan cuisine
- French cuisine
posted by Dansaman to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (22 answers total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
Chocolate = Jacques Torres
posted by nathancaswell at 5:12 PM on August 28, 2013 [4 favorites]

Oy, what are you trying to do: start a war?

I keeeeeeeed.

I am going to weigh in on pizza, just to get the war started on the right foot: DiFara's.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:12 PM on August 28, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best cheese is Bobolink Diary at the Union Square and Lincoln Square Greenmarkets. Best general cheesemonger is Murray's, though Fairway's prices are sometimes slightly better, the service, knowledge and quality is better at Murrays. Various specialty places are better for certain kinds of cheese, like feta, which you should buy in Queens at a greek place. Murrays has recently selling really good olives as well at a reasonable price.
posted by Jahaza at 5:30 PM on August 28, 2013

My favorite pizza is Singa's, but that's because I like Greek/New England style pizza.
posted by Jahaza at 5:31 PM on August 28, 2013

Not on your list, but notable still.
Carrot cake: Lloyd's Carrot Cake has two locations one in the Bronx and one in Manhattan. The cakes come in two varieties: with raisins and nuts and without raisins or nuts.
posted by sciencegeek at 5:46 PM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

There are lots of great veggie places, but if you can track down the Cinnamon Snail vegan food truck while you are there, order one of everything. They post their daily location on facebook and twitter. So good.
posted by katinka-katinka at 5:50 PM on August 28, 2013

There are really fun, amazing french fries with tons of sauce options at Pommes Frites.

You'll get some of the best croissants (almond or raspberry almond are particularly amazing) in the world, rivaling the best in Paris, at Mille-Feuille.

The best chocolate cake I've ever had is at The Dutch.

Chocolate Souffle - Bouchon Bakery Cafe
Crepes - Pates et Traditions; try the crepe cake at Lady M's
Gourmet Cheese - Murray's cheese or Bedford cheese
Chocolate - Chocolat Moderne or The Meadows (for a one-stop chocolate variety shop)
Pizza - Juliana's in DUMBO for standard NY pies; Franny's for Neapolitan; Artichoke Basille's for square
Ice cream - Ample Hills for ice cream; Grom or Amorina for gelato
Vegetarian - Dirty Candy; Cinnamon Snail; Blossom; Taim
Madeleines - the fresh ones at Dominique Ansel
Candy - Economy Candy, Sugar & Plumm
posted by shivohum at 5:50 PM on August 28, 2013 [3 favorites]

Ice cream: Ample Hills Creamery in Brooklyn. They have a flavor that several local magazines have referred to as being like crack. (In a good way.)

Pizza: by reputation, Grimaldi's in Brooklyn. I always seen lines out the door. By my own experience: I have a soft spot for Two Boots. Although, let's be honest, each person's favorite pizza place is gonna be whichever is their local by-the-slice place that's always open at 3 am and they need something to eat before they go home to sleep.

French cuisine: well, it depends on whether you're talking little informal bistro stuff or the whole haute cuisine. For bistro stuff - there is a small-ish chain (as in, there are about 4 or 5 of these in the city) called "Le Deux Gamin" or some derivation thereof; they're pretty damn good for basic stuff like crepes, quiche, simple salads, omlettes, you know, the basic stuff you can get in a small bistro for a quick and cheap meal. For the haute side - there is only one such restaurant I've ever been to, so I can't speak to whether it is better than others. But that restaurant was Bouley. It was indeed worth the hype.

Oh, and guess what, I ate at Bouley for free, suckas.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:54 PM on August 28, 2013

Amorina for gelato

Sorry, Amorino
posted by shivohum at 6:00 PM on August 28, 2013

- French fries - Montmartre's skinny fries with onion powder, mustard powder, salt, and sugar, or the Breslin's thrice fried fries
- Chocolate souffle - Minetta Tavern
- Creme brulee - Tertulia's creme Catalan, they crisp the top with a metal brand they put in their oven
- Crepes (savory and sweet) - I don't think NYC does this very well
- Waffles (savory and sweet) - Wafels & Dinges if you can get them to make you a fresh one
- Gourmet cheese - Second Murray's
- Candy - this is a really broad category and I'm not sure what you mean here, a good selection of pre packaged stuff? Or homemade like Roni-Sue or Liddabit?
- Chocolate - Kee's for creative flavors, La Maison du Chocolat for more refined
- Madeleine cakes - second Dominique Ansel
- Pizza - Di Fara, Motorino, Totonno's
- Ice cream - vanilla soft serve at Chikalicious Dessert Bar, salted caramel goat milk soft serve at Victory Garden, olive oil gelato at Otto, anything with chocolate at Grom
- Vegetarian and vegan cuisine - Craft does amazing things with vegetables
- French cuisine - if you mean brasserie food, Balthazar
posted by kathryn at 6:25 PM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Vegetarian -- Cinnamon Snail or VP2, or Red Bamboo
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:27 PM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Pizza: DiFara
Vegetarian/Vegan: Blossom

Bonus! Vegan Ice Cream: Klein's Kosher Ice Cream
posted by ocherdraco at 7:15 PM on August 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Doughnut Plant, for works of pastry amazement.
posted by gregglind at 7:25 PM on August 28, 2013

Chocolate (truffles) - Kee's
Chocolate (sorbet) - The Chocolate Room
posted by 168 at 8:06 PM on August 28, 2013

Chocolate cookies (enormous and more like a cake consistency) from Levain are mindblowingly good.

Buddha Bodai has the best veggie dim sum.

I really like Eight Turn Crepe which just opened in SoHo--Japanese rice flour crepes. I got matcha/chocolate truffle--really good!

DiFara's is real good for Sicilian pies (and near to my house) but I think Totonno's in Coney Island is better for round pies (gasp!).
posted by mlle valentine at 8:16 PM on August 28, 2013

Pizza: Arturo's on West Houston Street.

Classic place, one of my favorites.
posted by just_another_crowd at 9:39 PM on August 28, 2013

I had the best pizza of my life at Totonnos in the upper east side.
posted by wabbittwax at 10:20 PM on August 28, 2013

As you can see, Manhattan has so many outstanding dining options that people rarely agree on "the best."

How much are you willing to spend? For a one-of-a kind experience that would check off your souffle, gourmet cheese and French cuisine requirements in one impossibly elegant, luxurious and yet humbly accommodating restaurant, consider La Grenouille.

You can also do pizza and ice cream around the corner from each other at Joe's and Cones in the West Village.
posted by STFUDonnie at 5:48 AM on August 29, 2013

Ignore Jacque Torres, it's well made factory chocolate.

You want the very best best best? I give you the recommendation given to me by a 70 year old veteran of hand made chocolate mines, Kee's
posted by The Whelk at 7:26 AM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

The prime rib sandwich at Eataly's rosticceria is not to be missed. It is simple perfection.
posted by thinkpiece at 7:27 AM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hi! I have places that I like in all your categories, but I'll only answer the categories for which I've actually tried a lot of places and can guarantee if not the best, at least a truly excellent experience!

- Gourmet cheese


- Madeleine cakes

Dominique Ansel, of cronut fame. Does 10 mini madeleines, baked to order. They come out of the oven, and you eat them warm.

While you're there, do try the DKA (Kouign Aman) - it's a buttery caramelized croissant that is absolutely amazing

- Pizza


- Ice cream


- French cuisine

Bouley's lunch menu is incredible value - five courses, fifty dollars.
Jojo on the upper east side is delicious and has a very cosy setting.
posted by Riton at 11:05 AM on August 29, 2013

I guess I'd also add Pure Food and Wine for vegan stuff; everything is raw and amazing, but expensive, I think.
posted by katinka-katinka at 2:55 PM on August 29, 2013

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