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Food spots you didn’t even know existed for your next NYC trip

Because let’s be real, college students can’t always visit the Michelin-rated restaurants

Bagels from Black Seed bagels are Montreal style, which means they are woodfired and typically boiled in water with a touch of honey.
Bagels from Black Seed bagels are Montreal style, which means they are woodfired and typically boiled in water with a touch of honey.

Sure there are pictures of monstrous milkshakes from Black Tap, mouth-watering cheese pulls from your Instagram feed, pasta havens and of course notorious sprinklings of salt from Salt Bae, but what about all of the places you haven’t hit on your NYC trip? 

We will start with the bagels, of course. During my time at school in New York City last year, I made it my mission to compile New York’s best bagels. It’s no secret that pretty much any New York City bagel causes your taste buds to explode, but I’m talking the real deal. For your classic BEC (bacon, egg and cheese), Tompkins Square Bagels is just the spot. The bagels are perfectly fluffy, with a nicely finished outside. A notable feature of this spot? They also make their own cream cheese and feature countless flavors including pumpkin for the fall. 

Bagel Bob’s can’t be glossed over, either. You won’t get a bagel and egg sandwich here, but this is the spot for locals, as their bagels are some of the best in the game. These bagels are light and airy, but fulfill the perfect “larger than average” bagel desire when fueling for a long day walking around the city.  Bob’s, found centrally in Greenwich Village, is definitely a good location when walking from Times Square to Soho, part of a typical day’s trek.

My personal favorite? Black Seed bagels. I have to admit, these bagels aren’t New York bagels. They are Montreal style. What could this mean? These bagels are woodfired and typically boiled in water with a touch of honey. Honestly, words cannot do justice to this magical creation. With multiple locations throughout the city, there is sure to be one within walking distance of wherever you are throughout the day.

Black Seed has perfected the art of a bagel sandwich, with the cheese pull, runny-but-perfect egg, avocado and whatever else you could possibly dream about smashed together on a fresh-out-of-the-oven bagel. And, it is worth noting these bagels are smaller than your average New York-style bagel too, leaving you without that bagel hangover that sometimes follows. 

Pizza is a must too, of course. Hitting up Joe’s for a classic slice is never a bad idea to get your classic, larger than average New York-style ‘za. Prince Street Pizza will give you the greasy, square slice of your dreams. But my two personal favorites probably aren’t on your radar — PN Wood Fired Pizza and Roberta’s. Being a neapolitan-style pizza connoisseur, I can confirm these places are the MOVE for good slices without breaking the bank at a five-star restaurant, with prices around $14 to $20 for a full pizza.

PN Wood Fired Pizza is a gem tucked into the Flatiron district, a district worth visiting for its ambience and style. What makes it unique is their emphasis on quality ingredients without the burden of paying a million dollars. The menu features non-refined, non-enriched, fine-imported Italian organic flour. You choose your dough from a selection of over eight options, and the sauces and cheeses taste like they were crafted in the backyard. You can also get deliciously crafted and fresh homemade pasta, as well as other entrees here.

Roberta’s is your classic, cozy spot in Brooklyn. The vibes here scream hipster and give you that alternate experience you’re looking for at least once on your trip. Not to mention their pizza is completely fresh, deliciously chewy and a local favorite. 

You’ll want a healthy fix during your time in the city too of course. Dig Inn provides that with their emphasis on seasonal, healthy ingredients that never lack in flavor. Some favorite fall and winter options include the sriracha brussel sprouts, lemon-roasted broccoli, Vermont cheddar mac and cheese and sweet potato chunks. This bowl-style place is definitely the new Chipotle on steroids and has various locations throughout the city so you will always have a place to stop.

Two Hands is the perfect brunch spot. This Australian café has two locations and features a diverse, amazing menu that is perfect for your Instagram, too. Order a big slice of banana bread with a decadent espresso mascarpone on top, then make your own egg plate which features the softest scrambled eggs and sides of your choosing and/or an amazingly crafted smashed avocado toast.

While in the city, you’ll want to end your food tour with ice cream. OddFellows Ice Cream Co. and Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream are just the spots. Now, I’m a huge ice cream critic, so I don’t settle for basic — the best flavored and best crafted only. 

OddFellows features some of the most innovative, eccentric flavors I have ever tried with amazing quality. Some crazy flavors in their archive include Buttermilk Honey Blueberry and Purple Rice, in addition to classics like vanilla. They also have a Coffee and Cream shop where they sell affogatos, which is ice cream and espresso. Did someone say ice cream for breakfast?

Morgenstern’s, on the other hand, is amazing in its own sense. This little black-and-white- themed shop often has a line out the door, and for good reason. Boasting original concepts like multiple variations of chocolates, vanillas and caramels in addition to a mint chocolate chip made with fresh mint and chocolate chunks folded in before your eyes, this menu lacks for nothing. You can also get profiteroles, avocado ice cream toast and the “New God Flow,” which is a white-bread melted-ice-cream masterpiece. A must hit spot, for sure. 

So, the next time you and your friends find yourselves planning your next weekend trip to NYC, make sure you include these spots. You’ll be sure to feel fueled for your adventure, not to mention how happy you will be that you didn’t end up breaking the bank or feeling hopelessly lost in long lines at the cliché spots. You might even be able to say you ate “like a New Yorker” for a weekend.  

Isabel Salken is a Food Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at


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