Why it’s worth it: After a nice walk on a brisk day or before heading to the Barclay’s Center, you’ll be craving a steaming bowl of unsophisticated and delectable ramen. Naruto Ramen offers a limited menu, that definitely doesn’t try too hard.
Vibe/layout: This is not important. Don’t take your parents here or go on a first date here. This is for serious ramen go-ers only.
Ideal meal: 6/6 of our crew devoured the signature dish, Naruto Ramen ($9). The noodles have great consistency and the right density, while the soup offers a lot of depth in the soy sauce flavor.
Address: Park Slope, 276 5th Ave (between 1st & Garfield)
Why it’s worth it: When wandering around downtown, this handcrafted Jewish delicatessen is the perfect pit stop for a Sunday afternoon in the city. Noah Bernamoff, Jewish/Canadian owner, started curing and smoking meats in his apartment while attending law school…and voila! From a hobby emerged Mile End Deli, a hot spot known for its Quebec-style smoked meats in the heart of NoHo.
Vibe/layout: This ‘straunt rocks the minimalist black and white theme, with white diagonal subway titles, a black wood-paneled ceiling, concrete floors and a glossy black counter in the back. This is not your homey date spot, but your shiny sandwich/poutine go-to with your homies.
Ideal meal: Craving a sandwich? Get the reuben ($13). Craving an adventure? Order the poutine ($9/$12). The gooey cheese curds smothered in rich and meaty gravy sprinkled over hot fries will leave you wishing the chairs were beds and that Mile End Deli had the same hours as Katz’s.
F.Y.I.: This is the second location, the Manhattan offshoot, of Mile End Deli in Brooklyn.
‘Straunt tip: In the area, but too hangry to wait for a table at Il Buco, Il Buco AV, Gemma or The Smile? Mile End Deli is your answer.
Why it’s worth it: The rough warehouse exterior of Roberta’s offers no clues as to the delights inside. Buzzing with swarms of hipsters and foodies, Roberta’s is trek-worthy and offers the best pizza in town.
Vibe/layout: Housed in a former garage, this ‘straunt manages to take an industrial-rustic space and turn it into an inviting hipster-vibing hotspot, featuring a large outdoor patio/garden dining area and a backyard studio (for Heritage Radio Network broadcasting). The exposed rafters, wood-paneled walls and rough wooden community tables, dressed with mismatched chairs and paper napkins, set the casual and fun tone of our favorite Bushwick eatery.
Ideal meal: The soft, puffy crust and house-made fresh mozzarella on the famous original (tomato, mozzarella, caciocavallo, oregano, chili, $14) put this Neapolitan-inspired pizza in the record books.
‘Straunt tip: Roberta’s does not accept reservations, and when your pizza is this good, there will be a wait, so grab a drink at The Narrows bar to pass the time!
Why it’s worth it: There is nothing fast here. Every dish, every moment is prepared one at a time. Nothing fancy. Nothing large. Just right. Heidi’s House is a charming UES gem, perfect for simple, well-made comfort food, a glass or two of wine or beer and/or a round of Battleship, Chess or Scrabble.
Vibe/layout: This narrow watering hole draws locals in with its original tin ceilings, frayed cloth napkins, Robert Frost quotes, jazz music and simplicity. Made up of just four tables and twelve bar seats, Heidi’s House maintains a quiet glow of friendly conversation.
Ideal meal: The Macaroni & Cheese ($13) is melt in your mouth delicious. The gluten-free and homemade spiral pasta is a cheesy, carby overload, served piping hot in an individual black skillet. Just. Simply. Terrific.
F.Y.I.: All dishes are prepared individually by Chef Cipriano Pita to one’s liking and all the ingredients are from local vendors – meats from Ottomanelli’s, bread from Orwasher’s.
‘Straunt tip: No reservations, but call ahead to put your name on the list!
Why it’s worth it: The name “Bubby” may mean “Grandma” in Yiddish, but to many hungry New Yorkers it means brunch. Known for their all-day/night brunch and commitment to farm-to-table ingredients, Bubby’s is the best way to kick off your morning or cap off your evening. This family friendly, Southern comfort ‘straunt located in the hip neighborhood of TriBeCa won’t leave you hungry.
Vibe/layout: The gaudy floral wallpaper, white-washed walls, rough-hewn wood tables and place mats filled with food trivia lay the canvas for the country kitchen vibe of this friendly, cozy and simple ‘straunt. Bubby’s maintains a simple two-room layout, the back room for larger parties and the front room awash with light from large glass windows. If you’re looking for good ole home-cookin’ without innovations, Bubby’s is your place.
Ideal meal: We’ve taste-tested the eggs benedict ($22) and the matzo ball soup ($10)…but any dish is outshined by the buttermilk biscuits (which are heavenly) ($6) and Bubby’s notorious pies. The pies, which are baked fresh on site, are the stars of the show. The crust is tender and nicely flakey and our favorites include chocolate peanut butter and apple crumb ($9).
F.Y.I.: From the day Bubby’s opened in August of 1990 as a wholesale pie company, Bubby’s set the standard for traditional American food, cooking everything from scratch and using many traditional family recipes from the best sources of ingredients available.
Getting in: Do your best to make it past the delicious wafting scent of french fries and burgers, as you must walk into the Bleecker St Five Guys, go past the tables, the condiment stand, and the burger ordering station and make your way to the back staircase.
Vibe/layout: This impossible-to-find-unless-you’re-looking-for-it cocktail bar is hidden above a Five Guys, and features two massive vaulted skylights, a glass chandelier, several couches and vintage hourglasses. In addition, The Garret has a sunken private party room decked out with a taxidermied rhino head and copper ceilings. The best part about The Garret…besides the cocktails and the fact that you can snag a burger at literally any time: the pop-in breeziness…no reservations are needed.
Drinks: Signature cocktails are made from fresh ingredients right before your eyes, but we highly recommend the Sunken Santa (rum, pineapple, velvet falernum, St. Elizabeth allspice dram, angostura) ($14).
F.Y.I.: This speakeasy proudly displays the artwork of NYC based artists, including Bradley Theodore (the swans and skull paintings), Nick Bakita (the rhino head), Philip Mortillaro (the door) and Nathan Driver (painting).
Why it’s worth it: Although the name of this casual eatery promises lunch, Friedman’s Lunch also serves brunch and dinner with a focus on seasonal comfort food and an extensive list of great gluten-free items.
Vibe/layout: Despite the noisy neighborhood, the ‘straunt is clean, modern and spacious and the atmosphere is warm and cozy . The ‘straunt sports a rustic, brick-and-wood theme with a large bar and a number of booths and table seats available for large groups.
Ideal meal: Grilled cheese sandwich (Gruyère and white cheddar with caramelized onions and bacon on ciabatta) ($13) & tomato soup ($3)
People behind Friedman’s Lunch: Vanessa Phillips and Tryg Silverson are the husband and wife team behind this ‘straunt and because Vanessa has Celiac Disease, Tryg set out to create as many gluten-free, yet delicious, dishes as possible.