So maybe when I planned my spring break trip to New York last year, I built my itinerary around all of the places I wanted to eat. New York is one of those cities that is a melting pot of cuisine and you can tour the world without ever leaving the island. I was craving classic French dishes, so most of the places I ate at were reminiscent of the French cafes I dined at every afternoon living in Paris.
1. LT Burger | Bryant Park ($15-25)
If you eat no where else while in the city, which is highly doubtful, you must make a beeline for LT Burger. And when you do, order the smoked gouda cheese fries (best split between 2-3 people.) They will change your life. LT Burger does upscale burgers right in a modern, casual atmosphere. Finish off your Americana meal with a tall milkshake. Afterwards take a few laps around the block to walk off your dinner.
2. Tartine | West Village ($15)
It is no secret that brunch is my favorite meal, especially a French brunch. And since NYC is the epicenter of casual (and not-so-casual) brunch cafes, you must take part in this tradition at least once. If you find yourself needing to get away from the crowds of tour buses, you can find a moment of calm in the West Village. And while you are there, you must eat at Tartine. I recommend the brioche French toast, croque madame or omelette. Brunch is served with orange juice and coffee all for $15.
3. L'entrecote | Midtown East ($27)
Another one of my French favorites, but trust me on this pick, this ain't your mother's steak frites. After eating at the restaurant in Paris more times than I care to admit, eating at L'entrecote was a wonderful nostalgic moment for me, but everyone will enjoy this French steakhouse. There is no menu. Everyone receives salad and steak frites with their famous sauce. And then when you think the meal is finished, they bring you a second helping of steak frites. If that doesn't brighten your day, I don't know what will. Follow it up with profiteroles and espresso for dessert.
4. Donut Plant | Lower East Side (multiple locations)
A day of sightseeing will make even the most seasoned traveler hungry for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. Donut Plant's wide variety of donuts will give you the perfect pick-me-up to continue on to your next destination. With all natural ingredients in a selection of yeast, cake and filled donuts, your sweet tooth will be satisfied. And dozens of locations all over Manhattan, you are never far away from one.
5. Chelsea Market | Meatpacking District
The food concourse has a little bit of everything from crepes to thai, and artisanal cheese to tacos with every other speciality item you can imagine. The foodie in your group will thank you for making a pit stop.
6. Pret a Manger | Midtown ($4-15)
If you need a sandwich and coffee on the go, stop by one of the many Pret a Manger stores, located primarily in Midtown. Their prepackaged handmade sandwiches with all natural ingredients make a perfect lunch, especially if the weather is nice and you wish to eat in a park. They have minimal indoor seating and are not the best option if you are seeking shelter from rain or cold.
7. Le Grainne Cafe | Chelsea ($5-15)
You didn't think that my dining guide would only include ONE French bakery/cafe? Of course not. Le Grainne Cafe is located in Chelsea only two blocks away from the Highline and is the perfect place to start your morning off right. Aside from their menu, they have a wide variety of a la carte items to help you build your perfect breakfast. My suggestions always include a cafe au lait and almond croissant. All other selections are up to you. If you are in the mood for something more savory, try the french onion soup or one of their many savory crepes.