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10 Restaurants You Need to Try in NYC

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Senior PR major and TogoRun intern Minji Hwang reflects on her semester as a Newhouse NYC student and shares her favorite restaurants in NYC. Spring 2015 Newhouse NYC students: Listen up! 

There are more than 45,000 places to eat in New York City. If you’re an indecisive soul like me, you will have a hard time deciding where (and what) to eat. Here is a list of 10 restaurants and dishes you need to try out while you’re having the semester of your life in the Big Apple.

  1. Cup & Cup / Take 31 (Korean/lunch/dinner): This modern, hipster-esque Korean restaurant that goes by Cup & Cup by day and Take 31 by night is literally right next to Fisher Center. Don’t speak Korean or don’t know what to expect? No worries—the staff speaks English and there is an English menu that explains what’s in each dish. At Cup & Cup, they serve food in cups (mugs), have talented baristas that can draw you cute bears in your green tea latte and have good lunch deals for $10 (but bring cash!). At Take 31, it’s a vibrant scene with excellent, creative Korean dishes!
  • Address: 15 East 31 St.; between 5th and Madison Ave.
  • Recommendation: Bulgogi and green tea latte lunch special ($10 at Cup & Cup)
  1. Warique (Peruvian/lunch): If you’re in the mood for some amazing Peruvian food, or if you find yourself on the Upper West Side, do yourself a favor and eat at Warique. With the friendly staff, incredible food, and very affordable prices during lunch hours ($9.50 for one appetizer and one entrée between 11:30am-4pm, Monday through Friday), you will be happy. If you still have doubts, the restaurant was recently recommended by Michelin Guide New York City. Enough said.
  • Address: 852 Amsterdam Ave.; between 101st and 102nd
  • Recommendation: Arroz chaufita con pollo ($14)
  1. The Smith (American/brunch): This famous restaurant/bar has three locations, but I can only speak for the one in the East Village, where you can easily get to from the dorm by taking the 6 to Astor Place. I went there with my roommate Hannah for brunch once, and the food, the atmosphere, and the people (waitstaff and customers alike) were all great. The food in particular was so good (and good-looking!) that we kept getting asked what we were eating by people around us.
  • Address: 55 Third Ave.; between 10th and 11th
  • Recommendation: Potato waffle benedict ($16)
  1. Mr. Broadway (Kosher/dinner): Whether you keep Kosher or not, Mr. Broadway is an excellent choice. With a healthy selection of Mediterranean, Chinese, and Japanese dishes, the restaurant can satisfy your cravings for shawarma, lo mein, or California rolls. You can also order in from your room for delivery—perfect for when you don’t want to go outside in the rain!
  • Address: 1372 Broadway; between 37th and 38th
  • Recommendation: Shawarma tacos ($11.95)
  1. The Coffee Shop (Brazilian/American/brunch): For a nice, delicious brunch with live music and people watching, get yourself to The Coffee Shop. It’s super easy to get to—hop on any subway line that will get you to 14 St-Union Square. They get really busy, but you will be happy when you get your food. Seriously.
  • Address: 29 Union Square West; between 15th and 16th
  • Recommendation: Hangover sandwich ($11.95)
  1. Gaonnuri (Korean/dinner): Are you in the mood for a fancy Korean dinner with a view overlooking Manhattan? Then definitely try Gaonnuri (pronounced gah-on-nu-ri). You’ll feel special from the moment you step into the building—you take a special designated elevator to the penthouse on the 39th floor where you’re greeted by the friendly waitstaff in suits, and wine and dine under the dim lights.
  • Address: 1250 Broadway; between 31st and 32nd
  • Recommendation: Dolsot bibimbap with galbi ($12)
  1. Midnight Express Diner (American/brunch): The day will come when you are tired of the awesome burgers from Shake Shack on 86th and 3rd, or when you want some really good chicken noodle soup or an amazing banana Nutella crepe. Worry not. All will be ok when you reach Midnight Express Diner. You can also go to Stargate on 89th and 3rd (another diner great for breakfast and brunch), but Midnight Express Diner has crepes that are definitely worth the extra couple blocks.
  • Address: 1715 2nd; between 88th and 89th St.
  • Recommendation: Nutella banana crepe ($8.75)
  1. Le Pan Quotidien (Bakery/café/lunch): Originally from Belgium, this international bakery/café operates in 17 different countries including the U.S. and has 31 branches just in Manhattan. So take your pick, and walk into one for some freshly baked bread and Belgian hot chocolate (or anything else from their wholesome menu). The Madison Avenue store is the original LPQ in New York City, and it’s just a block away from Central Park and has free Wi-Fi.
  • Address: 1131 Madison Ave.; between 84th and 85th
  • Recommendation: Avocado toast ($9.95)
  1. El Cantinero (Mexican/dinner): This Mexican restaurant is filled with festive décors, lively atmosphere, and good food. Located in right off the 14 St-Union Square stop on the 6 line, this restaurant is also noted for its little dance floor upstairs and happy hour specials.
  • Address: 86 University Place #1; between 11th and 12th
  • Recommendation: Nachos ($11)
  1. Beard Papa’s (Cream puffs/anytime): Simple and easy, this is the place to go if you want some yummy cream puffs and mochis. So good.
  • Address: 2167 Broadway; between 76th and 77th
  • Recommendation: Éclair cream puff ($2.45)
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