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
• 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.
• 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
• 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
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)
-The City Bakery
Specialty Shops of Note (Cookware & Tools)
Independent Food Artisans
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?