A Food-Lover’s Guide to Manhattan Eat This Town! Markets, farms, artisans, and best shops for cooks

updated Jun 6, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

City: New York City, Manhattan
Population: 1.6 million
Local specialties: Bagels, bread, smoked fish, cheese, and local produce

Most people come to New York City to eat… in restaurants. And man, there are a lot of great restaurants. But the city is a wonderful place to cook, too, even if you are fighting a postage stamp-sized kitchen and the absence of a car to haul home your groceries. The millions of food lovers (visitors and natives) running around in New York, plus the traditions brought over from many immigrant populations, means, quite simply, that this city is full of flavor. There are butchers and bagel stores that take you back in time and farmers’ market vendors that make a huge city feel like a small town. It’s a lot to digest (so much, in fact, that we’re saving Brooklyn for a separate guide). We’re passing on our favorites—places we visit and can recommend firsthand—but we know New Yorkers are an opinionated bunch, so give us your picks.

Foods You Must Try

• Apples
• Bagels, bialys, and knishes (We love Absolute, H&H, Murray’s, and Ess-a-Bagel)
• Smoked and cured fish (lox, nova, and sturgeon)
• Pickles (Try Guss’, Pickles & Olives, and Rick’s Picks)
• Pizza! We know, it’s more of a restaurant food, but we couldn’t ignore it. Our favorites: Totonno’s, Patsy’s, and Lombardi’s.

Farmers’ Markets

• Union Square Greenmarket
-This is the largest in Manhattan and is open year-round. However, there are dozens of markets around the city, especially in the summer. To see a list of all Manhattan greenmarkets, visit:
Council on the Environment of New York City

Food Halls

Chelsea Market, where you’ll find Ronnybrook Farms Dairy and Buon Italia, among many other specialty stores.
Grand Central Market
• Arthur Avenue Retail Market (Yes, it’s in the Bronx, but we’re including it here in case we don’t get to a full Bronx guide.)
Essex Street Market, home to Saxelby Cheesemongers.

Best Grocery Stores

Westside Market
Garden of Eden
Dean & Deluca
• Kam Man Food Products- a great Chinese grocery on Canal Street
• JAS Mart- Japanese groceries around the city

Specialty Shops of Note (Food)

Murray’s Cheese
Russ & Daughters– appetizing store with a huge array of smoked fish
• Faicco’s Pork Store on Bleecker Street
• Joe’s Dairy on Sullivan Street- a historic deli and cheese shop
Kalustyans– spices!
Blue Ribbon Bakery
• Di Palo’s- Italian foods on Grand Street
Il Laboratorio del Gelato
Despaña– foods from Spain
• Florence Meat Market- read about it and other neighborhood butchers here
• Pino’s Prime Meats on Sullivan Street
Lobel’s Prime Meats
Otomanelli Brothers– meat market
• Rafetto’s Pasta
BAKERIES. A quick note on bakeries… There are a lot in this city, each one cuter or more nonchalantly cool than the next. A few that we like:
Levain (monster-sized cookies)
Buttercup Bake Shop
-Hungarian Pastry Shop (across the street from St. John the Divine Cathedral)
Silver Moon
Billy’s Bakery
Babycakes (Vegan!)
Amy’s Bread
The City Bakery

Specialty Shops of Note (Cookware & Tools)

Independent Food Artisans

• Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery (he invented No-Knead Bread)
• Ronnybrook Farms Dairy (mentioned above, in Chelsea Market)

About The Kitchn’s Food-Lover’s Guides

We focus mainly on home cooking here at The Kitchn, and we know that one huge source of inspiration is travel. We want to give you ideas for things to eat and places to visit even when you’re away from your home kitchen. We want to inspire your inner chef and introduce you to the best spots for food-lovers in a dozen or so major cities.

These guides don’t deal with restaurants; there are plenty of other resources for that. These are the spots for food-lovers and cooks: the markets, specialty cookshops, and best small-batch artisans. If you’re traveling in one of these cities this summer, we hope these guides help you find something inspiring. And if you live here, maybe you’ll find a new resource to inspire your daily cooking!

We need your help, too, with these guides. Each city’s thread will have at least some recommendations, but of course they will be incomplete. So we need your insider help. Tell us where the best markets, food shops, jam-makers, brewers, butchers, independent groceries, bakery supply stores, and quirky, strange, out-of-the-way food experts are. What are your favorite places to shop, as a cook?

(Images: Flickr members aturkus and biskuit, licensed for use under Creative Commons; Elizabeth Passarella)