Hollywood is the best thing that ever happened to New York restaurants and dive bars. Make a movie in your place and suddenly you've got tourists out the door, reservation sheets cluttered with names, and you're a "Must Visit". But the more I have visited these "Must See" sites (que fake orgasm pic in the When Harry Met Sally diner), the more I realize how overrated they are. I want to share some places where you're not only going to get to hang with bonafide New Yorkers but also get the best, because I swear there are betting things than Serendipity's massive sundae. So instead of making your vacation full of checks on some proverbial tourist list, here's what's really hot in New York today.
Best Places to Eat
The Little Owl | 90 Bedford Street, New York, NY 10014
Recently, this quaint Greenwich Village restaurant has been the talk of the town. It has always been a staple but it seems like more and more people are getting wind of how amazing their pork chops and meatball sliders really are. With seating for only 20 people this Mediterranean-inspired spot is just as cozy as it is exclusive. Located on a quintessential corner in the Village, you will get an authentic experience that is pleasantly causal and enchanting. Make sure to make reservations well in advance!
House of Small Wonder | 77 N 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211
The first "small wonder" you will have when arriving to this place will be finding the door. But don't worry, once you climb through the small entrance you will be enchanted by the tiny little cafe basking in natural sunlight. What's more, you'll even find a real tree growing right in the middle of the place. jutting out of it's clear roof. This modern Japanese brasserie offers an interesting selection of food, from high quality croissants to Japanese-inspired rice tacos. This is a great place to grab brunch in Williamsburg and if you are put on the Wait List, just head to East River Park two blocks down and watch the boats pass by while waiting.
The Smith | Various locations: East Village, Lincoln Center, Midtown
This is a pretty classic New York restaurant where you can grab quality food, in a nice yet casual environment while saying hello to people you may know in the bustling restaurant. It's loud, open, and always packed, but for good reason. The open and semi-outdoor layout makes this a great place to spend a summer evening after work laughing and shaking off some stress with friends and colleagues. The way to do The Smith "right" is by ordering a bunch of their delicious starters or even just a couple for yourself instead of an entree. Keep in mind, this is not a salad-type-of-place... you might need to sacrifice a few calories and enjoy their famous fried chicken or meatball starters, but I promise it's worth it!
El Vez | 259 Vesey Street, New York, NY 10282
Having just opened a couple months ago, this Stephen Starr Mexican-American joint is making a serious splash in New York. The elaborate decorations complete the infamous experience-based dining we know and love from Starr Group. Located in Battery Park this place is the epitome of what's supposedly "up and coming"...apparently Battery Park has seen some crazy real estate booms, which have pulled in some A-List restaurants. Make sure to try their famous "Bazooka" Limon Guacamole, as a Mexican-American I can say is actually pretty delicious!
What to Do
Spend an early afternoon at Smorgasborg | This Brooklyn "flea food market" is a fun, adventurous, and delicious gastronomical experience by the East River. With over 100 vendors you might find yourself walking up and down the aisles of international fare for an hour before you decide which dish you want to commit. You could spend the whole day at Smorgasborg because it is right next to the East River Park, where you can lay out on a nice day and then walk a couple feet to the fair for some snacks.
Dance the night away at Midsummer Night Swing | This late June, early July event put on by the Lincoln Center is an absolute blast. This is where you can leave all your inhibitions aside and bring out your romantic side yearning for the 1920s. Exactly as the name suggests, there is live music and dancing from 7:30pm to 10pm and get this: there's even a group dancing lesson from 6:15pm to 7pm. This is a fun NYC summer staple you've got to try at least once!
Attend a summer concert | New York is one of the best cities to find outdoor, free, and quality music concerts. For people who aren't from the city, this idea of free outdoor music may evoke memories of a crowded fair or a bunch of kids running around but summer concerts in New York are totally the contrary. Instead you will usually find cute picnic set ups complete with bottles of wine and a fun, laid-back attitude running throughout.
Highlights include SummerStage, the City's preeminent concert series taking place in all five boroughs; Celebrate Brooklyn!, with free shows at the Prospect Park Bandshell; the weeklong Northside Festival, in which indie rock and film take over Greenpoint and Williamsburg; River to River, 11 days of free performances in Lower Manhattan; theGovernors Ball, which boasts an A-list guest list (Outkast, the Strokes, Jack White, Skrillex, Vampire Weekend); 4Knots Festival, the Village Voice's free concert at the South Street Seaport; Aretha Franklin at Radio City and Morrissey at Brooklyn's Barclays Center. (Info courtesy of: http://www.nycgo.com)
Where to Stay
Of course, staying in a hotel automatically makes it impossible to truly acclimate to the local New York lifestyle. Instead, why not enjoy your own private estate (or luxe apartment) so you can really feel like you're living the fabulous city life. Apartment get togethers and coming back to a stunning place is essential, why do you think New Yorkers are the most people to order Take-Out in the world? Take a look at our amazing New York event venues and stay tuned for the more to come!
Have you found your own New York hotspot? Why do you love it?