Momofuku Ssam Bar. (Photo by Noah Kalina.)
Babbo – Nestled on a quiet side street in Greenwich Village, Mario Batali’s classy flagship restaurant delivers rustic, full-flavoured Italian. Don’t miss the sweet-potato-filled half-moon pasta with sage leaves…or the mint love letters with spicy lamb sausage. Can host private parties as a corporate business venue.
Momufuku Ssam Bar – David Chang is one of the stars on the New York scene, filtering Korean influences through his idiosyncratic, globally inflected sensibility. The downtown space is breezily casual (no reservations; guests sit on bare-wooden stools at bare-wooden tables and a long eating bar). The food is unfussy and sophisticated. Private room available.
The Spotted Pig – April Bloomfield and her brigade cook gastro-pub fare with passion and conviction in this riotously popular, two-level space jammed with homey tchotches. The sheep’s-milk ricotta gnudi are justifiably renowned and the tart studded with Armagnac-soaked prunes is no hardship, either. Contact the events manager to arrange private parties for corporate meetings.
Katz’s Delicatessen – Opened in 1888, this is New York’s oldest, and best, deli, a bustling, fluorescent-lit barn of a place on the Lower East Side. When the pastrami sandwich is on, it is otherworldly, and the tongue sandwich ranks a close second.
Di Fara – This hole-in-the wall, on Avenue J, in Brooklyn, is widely considered the source of New York’s best pizza slice. Case in point: The Margherita pie, with its razor-thin crust, dollops of tangy mozzarella, sweet, homemade tomato sauce and fragrant basil leaves. Take the Q train to a little slice of heaven.
Barney Greengrass – Located on Amsterdam Avenue, at 86th Street, this New York institution (founded: 1908) serves peerless smoked sturgeon and equally beguiling smoked sable (black cod). The adjoining restaurant exudes Old New York charm, in spades.
Fine & Schapiro – For over 80 years, this intimate kosher deli, on the Upper West Side, has been satisfying demanding New Yorkers. The pastrami sandwich is very good, and the atmosphere (ladies of ‘a certain age’ out for a weekend treat; caterwauling families) is almost as delicious.
Beard Papa’s – Odd name, terrific specialty: Sublime cream puffs, boasting a pie-crust-inspired outer shell cradling a choux-pastry inner shell filled with satin-smooth cream custard. There are three New York locations of this Japanese chain.
Grom – Two New York branches of this venerable Italian ice-cream maker dish up what may be the city’s best gelati and ices. The pear sorbet, spiked with Poire William liqueur, is outstanding, as is the bitter-chocolate gelato.
La Maison du Chocolat – The formidable Paris chocolatier dispenses its jewel-like creations in three charming New York boutiques. Particularly good are the dark chocolate-raspberry ganache truffle and the praline-packed, dark Rocher.