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The Upper West Side location of Shake Shack

West 46th St. is the theater district’s Restaurant Row

The original Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island

Spice Market

New York’s Little Italy

Daniel is a perennial number one critic’s pick

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New York City - dining capital of the world





  • Dining capital of the world
  • Ethnic culinary diversity
  • Get it to go
  • Hidden gems
  • Top gourmet picks
  • Fierce competition
  • Recommendations from those in the know
  • map

Lots of great cities claim to be the dining capital of the world, but none have the “street cred” of New York in that regard. Paris? Sure, for French food. Rome? Everything comes down to pasta and tomatoes. London? Be serious.

From its bagels to its pizza to its prime steaks and Peking duck, no city offers the variety New York does. Its ethnic diversity (particularly in the borough of Queens) has evolved into a culinary explosion that allows tourists and residents alike to experience Afghanistan’s delicacies for lunch and the exotic delights of Zimbabwe for dinner. Not only will you be surprised at what foods you’ll discover, you’ll also be amazed at where you’ll discover them—from food carts selling Middle Eastern meats to food trucks with wiener schnitzel on the menu, this city that is always on the go demands that their meals be too.

And while the tres elegant Daniel and the new Spice Market may be on your list of must-try-before-you-die restaurants, don’t overlook the banh mi sandwiches in the hole-in-the-wall Sau Voi Corp. in Chinatown or be dissuaded by the long line of burger lovers waiting to get in Shake Shack. New York is a foodie’s paradise, with prices fluctuating from surprisingly low to outrageously high—and decor, service and accoutrements ranging just as wildly.

Leave Room for Dinner


In the dog-eat-dog world of New York restaurants, you’re only as good as the last meal served. Competition is fierce here, and that translates into a glut of riches for visitors. Because so many of the world’s greatest restaurants are here, it would be foolish not to plan ahead for some memorable experiences. (And maybe one-room service dinner can be allowed, after a particularly exhausting day.) Just be sure to leave some meal slots open to new discoveries.

Here’s a tip: Whenever you find yourself in a conversation with one of the locals, be sure to ask for a recommendation for lunch or dinner. The Zagat dining guide is a great resource to have, but in New York the greatest source of restaurant wisdom to be found comes right from the 8 million people who live and work—and eat—in the city every day.