Otafuku

Otafuku is a pretty simple operation, just a small room with a counter and a few stools along 9th Street in Manhattan. For all intents and purposes and a hole in the wall, you could pass by the store front and miss it. The spot does a simple menu of some very popular Japanese street food dishes near the very hip East Village neighborhood in Manhattan. You can count the items on the menu with one hand, and you’re supposed to be able to take them with you and eat. From the outside it doesn’t look like much, but it’s a great little dive with good food to offer.

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Taqueria St. Marks Place

St. Mark’s in Manhattan is home to probably some of the best concentrations of ethnic food in the city and so a lot of people like to come here to try something new. When you step into the Taqueria, there are a few expectations: this is not a Tex-Mex place that uses Americanized ingredients. It goes for something more genuine, and the front of the menu makes it clear. There are no nachos, no seven layer dips, no fajitas, and they say it three times so you’re clear. There are no “cute clay or adobe plates.” There are no “adorable red, white and green uniforms.”

This place is about representing a genuine culture. And it’s delicious.

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McSorley’s Old Ale House

Proudly proclaiming that “we were here before you were born,” McSorley’s Old Ale House has been a neighborhood bar in Manhattan since 1854. This Irish bar is very much an experience in the past. Maybe it’s the sawdust floors, or the old newspapers covering the walls. Or maybe it’s the rough charm of the barman who greets you with a brisk “light or dark ale?” before wordlessly setting a load of beer-filled glass mugs on your table. It’s a lot of fun really, this place is about the atmosphere. And it’s a memorable one.

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Artichoke Basille’s Pizza

In New York City, Pizza places are extremely common. There are probably a thousand of them. Pizza places that are open late aren’t particularly uncommon either. But it’s not difficult to find a pizza place that is so popular, even late at night, that it has its own bouncer. Such is the case with Artichoke Basille’s Pizza. This spot, both a dining option and a carry out line routinely out the door even as late as four in the morning on weekends, and its success has since meant it expanded to locations around New York and even opened a new spot in California.

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Bagels & Schmear

Toward the Flatiron district in New York City, you run into any number of different cafe and deli concepts. Relatively quiet but nonetheless a popular destination, this tiny restaurant does not only sandwiches but baked goodies, cookies cake and cannoli as well. Highly rated on review sites, it tends to be a place people head to for a quick bite between any number of things happening in this part of the city. All together, another good bagel shop that really makes for a straightforward and pleasant meal.

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The Lobster Place

The super hip neighborhood of Chelsea in Manhattan has become home to some of the neatest concepts in all of New York City. On a nice day, tourists and locals alike crowds the Highline to grab a nice view with a walk, and the restaurants in the area command ever higher prices. In the midst of it all, at the Chelsea Market touts concepts of all sizes. One of the bigger of these is The Lobster Shop, a seafood place where fish of all kinds cant be bought and the titular is crustacean is prominent in many a good dish.

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Green Symphony

While Manhattan is packed to the gills with greasy pizza, fatty junk food and sugary desserts, Green Symphony is a shrine to healthy foods. Featuring a convenience store of Protein bars, organic popcorn, teas and juices, kale chips and nutritional baked goods, this spot is visited by body builders, runners and altogether a fit clientele. You wouldn’t immediately notice it but the place has a menu of food beyond smoothies and chopped fruit.

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Cafe Zaiya

You see more and more hybrid food shops in New York City where there are unusual matchups of food. Not a gastropub in the real sense of the term, but more so a place where different kinds of food you might not expect can be found. And so, this Asian-themed bakery serves pastries, ice cream, sushi, sandwiches and other things all under one roof. So which thing really is the best reason to stop in to this low-key storefront near the Midtown area? Well that would be the baked goods, definitely hearkening to flavors and tastes in Asia. This is the place to go for something sweet if you don’t like things that are sweet.

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La Bagel Delight

Like any good bagel shop in New York City, La Bagel has a certain charm. The stand-up and take out tiny shop near the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn lets you place an order to-go while being serenaded by the gruff charm of the characters behind the counter. Most certainly, that’s a true New York experience. Bagel stands are all over the place in this city and any good New Yorker will have half a dozen suggestions when you go looking for one. But a stop like La Bagel is certain to be memorable.

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Joe’s Pizza

Not to be confused with the Greenwich Village institution that has since radiated out word with a few branch locations, Joe’s Pizza on Eighth Avenue is a pretty simple pizza spot. Like so many others in New York, this one purveys pizza by the slice at all hours, and taken for carry out or dining in. The experience with New York pizza is one that everyone should have. Places like this if that oh so distinctive local favorite its real charm.

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