Whether it's museums, Broadway shows or department stores, everyone who visits New York City arrives with a hit list. If you're an eater, your list will be a mile long and then some. The opportunities for good eating are endless, from nostalgic diners and hole-in-the-wall Jewish delis to street food and stalwarts of the NYC dining scene. Here are a few more spots to add to the pile, including some off-the-beaten-path local favourites …
1. Cheese slice at Patsy's Pizzeria
Options abound for a classic NYC slice, but for a taste of the traditional, head to Patsy's Pizzeria for a slice cooked in a coal-fired oven. It's said Patsy's introduced pizza by the slice to the Big Apple way back in 1933. They're all about keeping it simple - dough slathered with a fresh tomato sauce and topped with mozzarella. This place churns out the pies so chances are your slice will be ultra-fresh. Lean on the counter, fold your slice in half and savour the perfection of acidic tomato hitting creamy cheese and the tangy chew of bread. Dust the flour off your fingers and order another.
Eat it at Patsy's Pizzeria, 2287 1st Avenue, Manhattan. Open 7 days 11am until midnight (11pm on Sundays).
2. Cheeseburger at JG Melon
JG Melon's cheeseburger hasn't moved from the lists of "Top Burgers in NYC" for decades, and once you get a taste you'll see why. The perennial favourite features a plump patty dripping with American cheese on a plain white bun accompanied by pickles and slices of red onion. It's what every good burger should be - savoury and juicy mouthfuls punctuated by the sting of red onion and the sour vinegariness from the pickles. Order a portion of the cottage-fried potatoes and wash it all down with a beer. This Upper East side institution personifies old-school NYC. No gimmicks, just great food.
Eat it at JG Melon, 1291 Third Ave, Manhattan. Open 7 days, 11.30am until the small hours.
3. Indonesian dish of the day at Warung Selasa
If you find yourself in NYC on a Tuesday do yourself a favour and hightail it to Queens. At the back of an Indonesian grocery store, chef Dewi Tjahjadi dishes up mouthwatering Indonesian food from her minuscule "Love Kitchen", so named because it's so minute it can fit only two people. The menu of this pop-up changes from week to week and US$10 will get you a plate piled high with food, vibrant and intense with the flavours of Java.
On our visit we ate tender, spicy braised beef, kale cooked in a turmeric-laced curry sauce, grilled chicken, a creamy soy-braised egg and coconut rice topped with fragrant serunding (grated, fried coconut). Perch on a stool at one of the two foldout tables, slurp on a Teh Botol (Indonesian sweet iced tea) and dig into what is undoubtedly some of the best Indonesian food in New York City.
Eat it at Warung Selasa, Indo Java, 8512 Queens Blvd #1, Elmhurst, Queens. Every Tuesday, lunch and dinner.
4. Street food at Queens Night Market
Eat your way through the borough of Queens and you'll travel the world. The sheer cultural diversity of this neighbourhood is staggering and virtually any craving you have can be satisfied, whether it's Nepalese momos (dumplings) or Peruvian anticuchos de corazón (beef heart skewers). If you have limited time in the city, the Queens Night Market is where you can eat your fill from the borough's most popular street vendors. The night market is representative of its community and you'll find everything from fragrant and delicate Cambodian fish amok and smoky, spicy Jamaican jerk chicken to gooey Japanese takoyaki and souped-up Indonesian kueh (sweets). Get a taste of local life and while away a few hours eating and drinking at this NYC gem.
Eat it at The Queens Night Market, New York Hall of Science, Flushing Meadows, Corona Park, Queens, most Saturday evenings between April and October. Check queensnightmarket.com for dates.