For a better-than-IHOP 24-hour diner, look no further than the Ukranian establishment of Veselka to curb your pierogi craving. You may recognize this spot from Ocean’s 8. My go-to is the meat platter with borscht and their chicken soup is perfect when you’re under the weather.
I can’t resist a cocktail bar with a backyard and even Elsa’s bathroom is built for selfies. My drinks of choice are The Handsome Grandson, Glassine Stamp, and Pain Killer. Elsa has a sister bar in Greenpoint called Ramona that shares the same menu sans the backyard.
Goods for the Study
This is hands down my favorite stationery store in New York. They have 2 locations now—their original space on Mulberry with cozy side-by-side storefronts separating stationery and writing instruments and their larger 8th Street location near Washington Square Park.
Hello, udon heaven. I love the hot niku udon and during the blazing summer I opt for the cold ja ja udon. If you’re into mackerel, you have to try the sabazushi. Raku has 2 New York locations: East Village which is more intimate and SoHo which has space for larger groups.
Located on the edge of Koreatown, nonono specializes in yakitori and their tapas-style dishes make it a great spot for groups. My go-to picks are the chicken oyster and kinoko cream yakitori, salmon tataki, and teba gyoza. If you’re going with a party of 4+ make a reservation.
Designed and created by the Japanese American sculptor and designer Isamu Noguchi, this 2-story museum is located in Queens and is one of my favorites in New York. The first Friday of every month is free, otherwise $10 admission.
Run by a husband and wife team, abraço used to be a small hole-in-the-wall counter that now has a built out coffee shop. He heads up the coffee while she runs the bakery. Don’t miss out on the olive oil cake and order your iced latte with a dash of simple syrup. Cash only.
Roman and Williams Guild
This space is a mecca of design—furniture, tabletop, home accessories, library, flowers—built and outfitted from head to toe by this interior design duo. You’ll find true artisan treasures here and want to sit for a cup of tea at La Mercerie Café.
Ruchki da Nozhki
My favorite local nail salon never smells of chemicals and uses natural products. It’s on the pricier side but they have mani + pedi specials Monday thru Wednesday. It gets busy on the weekend, so make an appointment!
Print is not dead (yet). There are literally stacks on stacks of international and rare publications at Iconic. It’s hard to walk out of there empty handed. They’re open 24-hours and have 3 locations on Mulberry, Bowery, and Lafayette.
I love asian-flavored ice cream, especially the fish shaped cones with matcha green tea and black sesame ice cream swirl from Taiyaki. They have locations in Chinatown, Flushing and Williamsburg.
Still House is a quaint and minimalistic home wares and jewelry shop. They now have an in-house jewelry collection where I got my wedding ring. Keep an eye out for Gracie, their shop dog, hanging around.
This Colombian coffee company pays attention to supply chain, sustainability, and design. Devocion’s Williamsburg location is usually bustling with tourists taking photos against their vertical garden wall, but their newer Downtown Brooklyn and Flatiron locations are reliably quieter with local crowds.
This Italian American restaurant opened in late 2017 and is still packed on weeknights so you best get a reservation. Their swirled lasagna lets each diner feel like they got the coveted charred corner slice. The unique plates here are the Chrysanthemum Salad and Stracchino Gnocchi. If you love Frankies, you’ll appreciate what Don Angie brings to the table.
For Brooklynites looking for a Russ & Daughters alternative, say hello to Shelsky’s for all your lox bagel cravings. The quality of their fish justifies the price. My most ordered is the Member of the Tribe—toasted on a sesame bagel, scallion cream cheese, tomato and onion. If you like pickled fish, try the Brooklyn Native.
I’m not trying to start a pizza debate, but I stand behind the quality, flavor and friendliness of Paulie Gee’s. Their Greenpoint restaurant doesn’t take reservations, but they have a slice shop a few blocks down. If you’re lucky enough to dine in, chances are Paulie himself will make sure you’re enjoying your ‘za. Try Hellboy.
My favorite soba in the city has got to be cocoron. They specialize in buckwheat noodles served in a warm soup, chilled, or dipping style (shown above). I usually order the Mera Mera or Pork Kimchee dip soba. 2 locations on Delancey and Kenmare. Cash only.
đi ăn đi
Meaning “let’s go eat” in Vietnamese, đi ăn đi was opened by Vietnamese Houstonians bringing in new modern dishes to the New York scene. Their menu rotates, but is always serving something fresh. Go in a group so you can try a variety!
An intimate Japanese speakeasy located up the stairs above Village Yokocho, Angel’s Share is both a perfect solo drinking and date night spot. Get a seat by the window to people watch. All their drinks are amazing, but favorites are Night Train and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.
This upscale korean bbq spot will let you leave without meat smells clinging to your clothes. Going with a group? The butcher’s feast is a great value. Undercote is their cocktail lounge downstairs which serves a limited food menu.
This Boerum Hill design boutique is perfectly placed outside the F/G Bergen stop and has a simple coffee bar and sells everything from kitchen accessories and bathroom toiletries to large format publications.
Cash-only burger joint open late. Classic and consistent, you will not regret going here after a night out or just when you want a solid burger. Their fries are cottage style, which aren’t my preference but I think their chili is where it’s at.
Located on the 11th floor of Sister City, Last Light has sweeping views of downtown Manhattan and seating on the roof. There’s a live DJ on select nights and their snack menu is great for sharing. Need a full meal? Floret is just downstairs.
Whitney Museum of American Art
For the modern art fans, the new Whitney Museum located at the base of the High Line is a stunner—great if you are hitting up all the touristy sites in Chelsea. On Fridays from 7-10pm it’s pay-what-you-wish, otherwise $25 admission.