12 Iconic Foods You Must Try While Visiting New York City


First time in New York City or just looking check out some of The Big Apple's most iconic foods? Well, this is the list for you. I have included some destination spots for tourist and some of my personal recommendations.

Katz Deli

Katz Deli has been a staple in New York City since 1888, and their pastrami sandwich is the star at this establishment, but they also offer corned beef and brisket. Their pastrami takes 30 days to cure and worth the $23 price tag. Grab a friend and split a sandwich because they aren't skimping on portion sizes. Come hungry, my friend!

Tip: Want to experience this NYC tradition minus the long line? Check out their Dekalb Market Hall location in Downtown Brooklyn.


Home to the first pizzeria in the United States it is a no brainer that New York pizza makes this list! Only in New York City is it acceptable to buy a dollar slice and walk down the street and eat it, and no one will look twice at you.

Some of my favorite places to grab a slice include Artichoke Pizza, 2 Boots Pizza, Champion Pizza, Joe's Pizza, or Patsy's Pizza.

Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia is a world-renowned bakery that first started in 1996 in New York City in the heart of the West Village neighborhood. The two most popular items at Magnolia Bakery has to their banana pudding and their pastel-colored cupcakes. Although Carrie and Miranda on Sex and the City were sitting outside of Magnolia stuffing their face with cupcakes…what they should have been eating was the banana pudding. Don’t get me wrong the cupcakes are the perfect combo with a dense cake and airy frosting, but not more memorable than the banana pudding. With an ideal ratio of pudding to vanilla wafers and the whipped texture makes this item you EASILY unforgettable.

Soul Food

Soul food in New York City is always in high demand because who wouldn't want comfort food that sticks to their ribs? One of the most popular soul food restaurants is Sylvia’s, which is located in Harlem, and her empire has expanded beyond her restaurant and into major grocery stores. Some other great options in Harlem include Melba's, Cove Lounge, and Charles Country Pan-Fried Chicken as well. If you happen to be in Brooklyn, then be sure to plug Peaches into your GPS.

Halal Guys

I am pretty sure when Drake wrote “Started From The Bottom” he was talking about Halal Guys. In 1990, they started their business from a hot dog cart that grew into an international food chain in which is now their bright yellow take out bags are easily one the most recognizable bags in the city.

New York-style Cheesecake

I mean is there any other style of cheesecake that really matters? When most people think about cheesecake in NYC they immediately reference Juniors. Let’s not forget that Diddy had the cast members from Making The Band walk to Brooklyn from Manhattan to get him a slice of this famous cake. If you are asking what cheesecake is worth walking for I will tell you it is Eileen’s Cheesecake located in the NoLita neighborhood of Manhattan.

Hand-Pulled Noodles

New Yorkers love their Noods, and with so many options Xi'an Famous Foods is on tongues of a lot of people with multiple locations throughout New York City and a fast-casual concept so they can have you in and out in a New York minute.

Tip: My order always consist of [N2] Spicy & Tingly Beef Hand-Ripped Noodles and dumplings.

Shake Shack

To truly enjoy Shake Shack you need to go back to where it all started and enjoy a burger at their first location in Madison Square Park while taking a gander at the Flatiron Building.

NYC Bagel

Come to New York City and order Bagel and Lox for breakfast, and instantly, your life will be changed! They can be ordered at most breakfast spots throughout the city but check out Black Seed Bagels and Russ & Daughters (Oprah's fav) for an unforgettable experience. Don't let the wait scare you. Anything worth having, is worth waiting for.

Lobster Rolls

Some things are just better on the east coast, and one of those things is lobster rolls. Check out my full list of some of the best lobster rolls the city has to offer.


Oysters are one of the first iconic foods of New York City and were plentiful in the 1700s and 1800s. Check out Sagaponack or Mermaid Inn for a great happy hour that includes oysters.

Chopped Cheese

I wouldn't be keeping it real if this uptown tradition was not on the list. This sandwich consist of ground beef, onions, and topped by melted cheese and served with lettuce, tomatoes, and on a hero roll. The best in the city is said to be Harlem’s Blue Sky Deli (Hajji’s) located in East Harlem.

What iconic New York City food can you not live without? Share it in the comments!