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Katz’s Delicatessen
Photograph: Courtesy Katz’s Delicatessen

The essential food in NYC

Our definitive checklist of the best food in NYC is here. Gear up for 100 amazing dishes and drinks, New York.

By Time Out contributors

Whoever said you can have too much of a good thing clearly wasn’t a New Yorker. Our list of the essential NYC dishes and drinks every Gothamite needs to taste has all the good things, such as late-night sammies at New York delis, the snootiest egg caviar at an UWS fine-dining mecca and everything in between. Those staples—the tastiest New York pizza and the best bagels in nyc—are well represented, but we’ve thrown in some surprises, too. Caution: Don’t read this while hungry.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Essential food in NYC

Original hot dog at Nathan's Famous
Photograph: Virginia Rollison

Hot dog at Nathan’s Famous

Restaurants Hot dogs Coney Island

The traditional wiener served at this 102-year-old Coney Island establishment, which now has hundreds of franchises around the world, is the edible equivalent of an arcade token: It is imbued with memories of childhood. This dog—topped with crunchy, piquant sauerkraut and onions and cushioned by spongy white bread—is best enjoyed at its original home, accompanied by the tinny music from boardwalk games and the roar of Luna Park. $4.50

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Joe D.

Baked Alaska at Delmonico’s

Restaurants American Financial District

Fire and ice join forces in this strange but iconic Delmonico’s dessert, in which meringue-encased ice cream is soaked in overproof rum and flambéed before serving. $13

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Jayson S.

Meatballs in marinara at Rao’s

Restaurants Italian East Harlem

If you count yourself among the lucky few who score a seat at this notoriously exclusive spot, do two things: snap a photo for proof and get the meatballs. $19

Pierogi at Veselka
Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

Pierogi at Veselka

Restaurants Contemporary European East Village

Have you ever been drunk? Have you ever stumbled through the East Village? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you know why Veselka’s Ukrainian dumplings made the list. Four for $7

Nom Wah Tea Parlor
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

Pork buns at Nom Wah Tea Parlor

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

This nearly 100-year-old dim-sum parlor is not a place where you need a few more minutes to look at the menu. Walk in and ask for these babies before you sit down. Make your priorities known, because while you’re busy being shy and polite, bolder New Yorkers are eating your pork buns (which routinely run out). The char siu–roasted pig filling is mixed with caramelized onions and stuffed into flour-baked dough before the whole bun is given a final preservice steam. $4.95

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