No trip to the Big Apple is complete without tasting its signature dishes. From New York-style pizza to towering pastrami sandwiches, here are some classics you can’t miss.
If you want to start a fierce debate among New Yorkers, ask about the city’s best pizza. Nearly every street has a shop selling slices around the clock—from lunchtime to the early morning. For the full pizza experience, head to Little Italy and seek out traditional coal-oven, Neapolitan-style, or even Sicilian varieties.
Bagels and Lox
The hand-rolled, kettle-boiled bagel is a thing of beauty: crisp on the outside, with a tender interior. In New York’s traditional bagel shops, these fresh-baked breakfast items are sliced in half and topped with cream cheese and lox.
Bacon, Egg, and Cheese
New York City is fueled every morning by the noble bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. Whether you grab one from the corner bodega or sit down at a fancy brunch joint, this sandwich is the start of a good day (salt, pepper, and ketchup optional).
Pastrami on Rye
Made famous by NYC's kosher delicatessens, the hefty pastrami sandwich includes a pile of hand-carved smoked meat and mustard on rye bread—with a pickle on the side.
Burgers are serious business in New York, with a signature version on every steakhouse and tavern menu. You'll find special meat blends and vegetarian patties, toppings both classic and upscale (Roquefort cheese, anyone?), and buns ranging from potato rolls to brioche.
Head to Chinatown for one of New York's brunch traditions—delicous, a-la-carte dim sum. Graze on classic steamed dumplings and red-bean pastries, or try other specialties like congee soup and Peking duck.
Jessica Colley Clarke is a freelance writer and curious traveler based in New York City. Her stories have appeared in AFAR magazine, BBC Travel, The Daily Beast, and the New York Times, among other publications.