Congratulations! You’ve made it to NYC, started to unpack, and have had your first few days of new student orientation. What’s next? Finding out where to eat, of course. Thankfully, some of our returning students have already scoped out the area for some prime eating locations.
Vegan and Vegetarian Friendly
Located on the Upper West Side, Cafe Blossom is an innovative vegan restaurant creatively bringing vegan and vegetarian diners’ fresh, new and delicious food. With a few other locations in the city, having started in 2005 with a location in Chelsea, the restaurant brings animal-caring and healthy cuisine to everyone, whether you are vegan or not. Their fresh organic ingredients come from local farms and all dishes are animal free. Cafe Blossom offers a casual, fun dining experience.
There are several locations in the city, from 5th Ave and E 106th st. to Union Square. This Middle Eastern Restaurant specializes in freshly made authentic falafel and other vegetarian dishes. It provides quick service, so is a great place to grab lunch on the go or order for delivery. You must try their famous “Maoz Sandwich,” which is a pocket of pita bread, filled with falafel and/or vegetable schwarma, lettuce, vegetables of your choosing, and delicious sauces. You can also add hummus or babaganoush and your choice of sides, such as Belgium fries or soup. Listed on Yelp as inexpensive, this place is definitely worth checking out.
Having served the UWS for over 25 years, this restaurant is a delicious option for all food lovers, especially vegetarians. With a long list of vegetarian options, this family-run restaurant has a very comfortable yet elegant atmosphere. Eating here is not only a great experience for your tummy, but exposes you to a beautiful culture and unique way of eating. All of the dishes are served with homemade Ethiopian bread and eaten with your hands. Silverware is available, but it does take away from the authentic Ethiopian experience.
Harlem Public, a lively bar/restaurant in Harlem offers two amazing dishes – a hamburger with peanut butter on top, and a grilled cheese with guacamole and Doritos. They also have creative and yummy drinks and a fun atmosphere. This is a great place to go with friends after exams to unwind, and it’s only two subway stops south of Mailman.
S’MAC has only one thing on its menu: macaroni and cheese. Endless iterations served up by a skillet range from cheeseburger to masala to Cajun-inspired. For those with allergies, gluten-free, vegan, and lactose-free varieties are available. This East Village location is a bit afield from campus, but what beats mac-n-cheese as comfort food?
Cookie connoisseurs flock from far and wide to the New York institution, Levain Bakery. Located at two West Side Manhattan locales (2167 Frederick Douglass Blvd and 167 West 74th St), Levain Bakery dishes out legendary, delectable, half-a-softball-sized cookies that will rock your dessert world. Whether you are partial to double chocolate, oatmeal, peanut butter chocolate chip or the classic chocolate chip walnut, you absolutely cannot go wrong.
Located in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, Soco is a restaurant that gets southern food right. The mac-n-cheese will send your mouth to heaven and the cornbread (my personal favorite) will have you body rolling in your chair. From pecan crusted pork chops to chicken and red velvet waffles, its hard to go wrong with anything on the menu. Do make a reservation before you go, and don’t let the long trip scare you — this is definitely worth it.
This Mexican restaurant in Washington Heights serves some of the best guacamole in this city. Their happy hour runs from 4-7pm Mondays through Thursdays, and includes flavored frozen margaritas for $5. My favorite are the steak burritos, which are always well-seasoned and a delight to my taste buds.
After taking a stroll through Fort Tryon, be sure to visit The Parkview. This cash-only restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, serves drinks in mason jars (because all drinks taste better in mason jars), and plays up the modern-rustic atmosphere. Easily accessible off the A or 1 train at Dyckman Street, Parkview is definitely one to check-off your brunch bucket-list.
The chicken and rice guys. If you haven’t heard of them yet, they are a staple food truck group scattered all around Manhattan. We are lucky to have our very own right outside of Hammer: No Pork in My Fork, who serve Middle Eastern-inspired plates and sandwiches. In addition to their meals, they also have coffee, pastries, and donuts. My personal favorite is the chicken plate. It comes with a generous serving of rice and chicken with their famous white sauce (hot sauce is also available), a falafel, fries, and splash of salad. Another favorite among many friends is the eggplant sandwich. This truck is trustworthy and open for business year-round.
As soon as you smell the delectable aroma down the street, you’ll know where the truck is parked. Warm and sweet waffles with ice cream come together with strawberries, bananas, chocolate syrup, and Nutella to form a little piece of heaven. This well-known and well-loved food truck can be found by Lincoln Center, by the south end of the Great Lawn in Central Park, and in numerous other locations around the city. If you happen to see it and are in the mood for a sweet snack, stop by – you won’t regret it.