Big Apple Bites: Acclaimed Chef Mario Carbone’s Guide to a Perfect New York City Day
Big Apple Bites: Acclaimed Chef Mario Carbone's Guide to a Perfect New York City Day - Rise and Shine: Top Breakfast Spots to Start Your Day
No trip to the Big Apple is complete without sampling some of the city's famous breakfast offerings. New York has an incredible array of morning dining options, from classic diners to trendy cafes. Fuel up on delicious food at one of these top spots before heading out to explore the city.
One longtime favorite is Russ & Daughters Cafe on the Lower East Side. This Jewish deli serves up traditional bagels and lox alongside more creative dishes like the potato latke Benedict. Everything is prepared from scratch using high-quality ingredients. Snag a table and watch the bustling neighborhood wake up around you.
For a cozy, Parisian-style experience, head to Buvette in the West Village. This charming eatery has floral wallpaper, vintage tiles and fresh flowers on each table. Their French-inspired dishes include flaky croissants, crusty baguettes and perfectly runny omelets. Don't miss their chocolate croissant bread pudding - it's divine.
If you're craving something sweet, Alice's Tea Cup on the Upper East Side is a must. This whimsical spot specializes in scones served with clotted cream and jam. Tea lovers can choose from a wall of over 100 varieties. Mismatched vintage teacups and teapots add to the quirky ambience. It's a delightful place to catch up with a friend over breakfast.
For a heartier meal, head to Court Street Grocers downtown. This hip Brooklyn-based chain serves high-quality sandwiches layered with house-cured meats, farm-fresh veggies and creamy spreads. Try the spicy breakfast tacos or their take on a BLT with thick-cut bacon. Their freshly roasted coffee provides an extra jolt to start your day.
If you find yourself hungover, Carmine's on the Upper West Side has the cure. Their beloved "Hangover Helper" features eggs, steak, potatoes and spicy tomato sauce on a hero roll. The massive portions will soak up any excesses from the night before. Be prepared to wait in line for a table at this perpetually crowded joint.
What else is in this post?
- Big Apple Bites: Acclaimed Chef Mario Carbone's Guide to a Perfect New York City Day - Rise and Shine: Top Breakfast Spots to Start Your Day
- Big Apple Bites: Acclaimed Chef Mario Carbone's Guide to a Perfect New York City Day - Morning Stroll Through Central Park: The Jewel of Manhattan
- Big Apple Bites: Acclaimed Chef Mario Carbone's Guide to a Perfect New York City Day - Lunch with a View: Iconic NYC Restaurants with Skyline Views
- Big Apple Bites: Acclaimed Chef Mario Carbone's Guide to a Perfect New York City Day - Afternoon at the Museums: Must-See Art and Culture
- Big Apple Bites: Acclaimed Chef Mario Carbone's Guide to a Perfect New York City Day - Cocktail Hour: Best Bars for Happy Hour Drinks
- Big Apple Bites: Acclaimed Chef Mario Carbone's Guide to a Perfect New York City Day - Dinner and a Show: Evening Entertainment Hot Spots
- Big Apple Bites: Acclaimed Chef Mario Carbone's Guide to a Perfect New York City Day - Late Night Bites: Where to Go for Post-Theater Eats
- Big Apple Bites: Acclaimed Chef Mario Carbone's Guide to a Perfect New York City Day - Sleep Under the City Lights: Luxury Hotels to Rest Your Head
Big Apple Bites: Acclaimed Chef Mario Carbone's Guide to a Perfect New York City Day - Morning Stroll Through Central Park: The Jewel of Manhattan
There's no better way to start your day in New York City than with a relaxing stroll through Central Park. This beloved green space is an urban oasis that provides a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. Walking along its winding paths gives you a chance to appreciate the sheer beauty of the park while getting some exercise and fresh air.
Spanning 843 acres, Central Park is filled with picturesque spots just waiting to be discovered. One of the most iconic is the Bethesda Terrace overlooking the lake. Here you'll find the famous Bethesda Fountain, flanked by two grand staircases. It's a popular meeting spot and lovely backdrop for photos. Continue north and you'll come across Bow Bridge, a cast iron bridge offering breathtaking views of the lake and Ramble below.
For a dose of culture, make your way over to Strawberry Fields. This living memorial to John Lennon is a peaceful spot to reflect near the famous "Imagine" mosaic. Then head south to see the Carousel, where you can take a nostalgic spin on a hand-carved horse while surrounded by the park's towering elms. The adjacent Zoo boasts an impressive array of animals to visit.
If you're up for some exercise, Central Park has options for that too. Lace up your sneakers and tackle the 6.1 mile loop that winds through the entire park. Or rent a bike near one of the entrances and tool around on two wheels. Those looking for team sports can join a pickup soccer or softball game on the Great Lawn.
One of the best qualities of Central Park is how it changes throughout the seasons. In spring, blooming cherry blossoms and daffodils burst with color while lush green leaves return to the trees. Summer brings flowers in full bloom and languid days on the lawn. Fall foliage transforms the landscape into vibrant hues of red, orange and yellow. Even winter offers a stark beauty when snow blankets the grounds.
Big Apple Bites: Acclaimed Chef Mario Carbone's Guide to a Perfect New York City Day - Lunch with a View: Iconic NYC Restaurants with Skyline Views
After exploring Central Park, you'll probably be ready for a bite to eat. Luckily, New York City has no shortage of restaurants with jaw-dropping skyline views to enjoy while you dine. Grabbing lunch at one of these iconic spots is a quintessential NYC experience.
One top pick is The River Café, a fine dining institution housed under the Brooklyn Bridge on the Brooklyn waterfront. Despite its proximity to the busy bridge, the atmosphere here is surprisingly peaceful and relaxed. Floor-to-ceiling windows treat diners to panoramic vistas of Lower Manhattan across the river. The contemporary American menu features seasonal ingredients and inventive preparations. Standouts include the Long Island duck with red cabbage and the braised short ribs - though everything tastes even better paired with the epic skyline views. According to one diner, "The food and service was incredible, but the real star was the view!"
For a more casual vibe, head to Parm in SoHo, known for its Italian-American comfort classics. Their signature chicken and veal parm entrees pair perfectly with classic red-checkered tablecloths and framed photos of Old World Italian locales on the walls. Large storefront windows look out over the ever-bustling streets of SoHo, allowing you to do some prime people-watching between bites. But the real stunner here is the rooftop, where you can bring your drink and tiramisu after your meal. With cozy seating and eye-popping views of lower Manhattan's cast iron facades and glittering high-rises, you'll feel like you have the perfect perch over the city.
Further downtown in the financial district, Cipriani Downtown provides a luxurious experience with Italian-inspired cuisine. This Wall Street outpost of the famed Cipriani culinary empire is located inside the historic Cunard Building. The massive windows of the grand dining room offer sweeping views of the harbor and Brooklyn Bridge. For a more intimate and exclusive experience, ask for a table on the outdoor Terrace, which floats 32 stories above the Financial District. Here you can indulge in lobster tagliatelle and Bellinis while surrounded by jaw-dropping 360 degree panoramas. According to a Wall Street banker who frequents the restaurant, "The food and service is always top-notch, but you really pay for the views - and they're worth every penny."
Big Apple Bites: Acclaimed Chef Mario Carbone's Guide to a Perfect New York City Day - Afternoon at the Museums: Must-See Art and Culture
After a morning of exploring Central Park and a tasty lunch with views, no New York City day would be complete without a stop at one of the city’s world-class museums. With so many incredible options to choose from, deciding which cultural institution to visit can be overwhelming. But you really can’t go wrong – each offers a uniquely enriching and inspiring experience.
For artistic masterpieces, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a must. Its expansive collection includes works from ancient Egypt to contemporary creations. Wander its many galleries and you’re bound to stumble upon some familiar pieces, from Van Gogh’s Starry Night to Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans. Don’t miss the Temple of Dendur, a breathtaking ancient Egyptian temple situated in a soaring glass atrium. Grab an audio guide to dive deeper into the stories behind the art. According to one visitor, “I got lost in the Met for hours - every room was filled with beauty!"
If modern art is more your style, MoMA is a mecca for contemporary works. The museum’s engaging exhibits trace artistic development over the last century. See Monet’s dreamy Water Lilies, Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, and Van Gogh's The Starry Night up close. Their sculpture garden offers a peaceful respite, with works by Rodin situated among serene reflecting pools. As one patron raved, “I was blown away by the sheer range of groundbreaking modern art pieces gathered in one place."
For a journey into New York’s past, the Tenement Museum vividly recreates the immigrant experience on the Lower East Side. Tours take you inside meticulously restored tenement apartments where real families lived and worked. Costumed interpreters share each family’s unique story, providing a poignant look at the challenges immigrants faced. According to a visitor, “It brought history to life in such an impactful way."
If Natural History is more your speed, check out the massive blue whale exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. Their expansive halls are packed with dinosaur fossils, glittering gemstones, and creepy-cool taxidermied creatures. An IMAX theater and planetarium add to the immersive experience. As one patron described, “I was transported to other worlds at every exhibit!”
Big Apple Bites: Acclaimed Chef Mario Carbone's Guide to a Perfect New York City Day - Cocktail Hour: Best Bars for Happy Hour Drinks
After an afternoon of exploring world-class art and culture, you'll likely have worked up quite a thirst. Luckily, New York City boasts an array of incredible bars and lounges perfect for happy hour. Grabbing drinks during the early evening hours is a time-honored NYC tradition that offers a fun way to unwind and get a jumpstart on your night out.
One essential happy hour stop is The Flatiron Lounge in lower Manhattan. Their Prohibition-era vibe shines through in the vintage décor and classic cocktails crafted with care by expert mixologists. From 5-7pm, all drinks are $2 off, so it's the ideal spot to sip high-quality yet affordable libations. According to one patron, "The drinks were intricate but balanced, and the discounts made them a steal!" Don't leave without trying their Manhattan or Old Fashioned, considered some of the city's best.
For jaw-dropping skyline views with your cocktail, head up to 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar in Midtown. Their massive outdoor terrace offers panoramic vistas of the Empire State Building and Manhattan skyscrapers. From 4-7pm, drinks like mojitos, sangria and margaritas are all half off. One visitor raved, "We felt like VIPs sipping cocktails on a private rooftop overlooking all of NYC!" Arrive early to secure a coveted terrace table at sunset.
If craft beer is more your speed, Rattle N Hum in Midtown West has a happy hour deal that's tough to beat. From 4-7pm, they offer $4 drafts - everything from local IPAs to Belgian ales. With 34 constantly rotating taps, beer lovers will delight in the extensive, curated selection. One craft beer enthusiast said, "Their happy hour draft list blows every other bar out of the water." Don't miss out on beers you can only get at Rattle N Hum.
For a relaxed neighborhood vibe, duck into La Noxe in Nomad for their daily 5-7pm happy hour. This quaint French bistro serves up $6 glasses of wine, $7 cocktails and $1 oysters alongside free snacks like olives and potato chips. According to one patron, “It was the perfect low-key start to a night out without breaking the bank." Chat with the friendly bartender while watching the bustle outside through large storefront windows.
Big Apple Bites: Acclaimed Chef Mario Carbone's Guide to a Perfect New York City Day - Dinner and a Show: Evening Entertainment Hot Spots
After a full day exploring New York City, you'll want to cap off the night with a memorable dinner and show experience. Fortunately, the Big Apple boasts no shortage of evening entertainment hot spots where you can indulge in a decadent meal alongside top-notch performances.
For lavish Broadway-style productions, head to Feinstein's/54 Below in Midtown. This intimate, basement cabaret venue feels like an exclusive secret hidden beneath the bustling city streets. Their dinners combine creative cuisine with show-stopping musical revues from Broadway's best talent. You’ll delight in hearing beloved showtunes performed live in such an intimate setting - some patrons say it feels like the singers are performing just for you. According to one recent visitor, “The lobster bucatini and renditions of Sondheim classics brought tears to my eyes.” With tickets often including multiple full-length shows, it's an incredible value comparable to the cost of a Broadway ticket.
If you’re craving a retro supper club experience, jazz up your evening at The Townhouse Inn of Chelsea. Their chic, red leather booths harken back to old New York. As you feast on steak au poivre and creme brûlée, talented vocalists serenade with jazz standards that will transport you to another era. As one regular put it, “I felt like I time-traveled back to the 40s - the kind of classy night on the town Frank Sinatra would have had.” For just a $20 music fee added to your meal, it makes for an affordable and oh-so-romantic date night.
For belly laughs alongside all-you-can-eat brisket, Carolines on Broadway is a top-pick. At this Times Square staple, comedy legends like Jerry Seinfeld regularly take the stage just steps from the neon lights of Broadway. Heaping mounds of slow-cooked brisket, BBQ ribs, chicken and sides fuel the night’s revelry. As one recent patron shared, “My cheeks hurt from laughing and my jeans from the food - an amazingly fun combo!" With tickets often including admission to multiple comedy sets, it’s a dynamite value for comedy fans.
Big Apple Bites: Acclaimed Chef Mario Carbone's Guide to a Perfect New York City Day - Late Night Bites: Where to Go for Post-Theater Eats
After an entertaining evening taking in one of New York's world-famous productions, you'll likely find yourself craving a late night bite. Fortunately, the city offers plenty of mouthwatering culinary options for post-theater eats. These spots stay open into the wee hours, giving showgoers the perfect opportunity to unwind, compare notes on the performance, and satiate those end-of-night munchies.
According to one Broadway superfan, nothing beats heading to Joe Allen in the Theater District after a show. The old-school red leather booths and walls crowded with theater posters give it an inside-the-industry feel. Their late night menu has everything from juicy burgers to chicken pot pie to satisfyingly greasy disco fries. It's the ideal low-key spot to recap the show's highlights over diner fare and a glass of wine before stumbling back to your hotel. As the fan put it, "It was amazing to discuss the play's twists and turns while chowing down on their classic patty melt after a show."
For a more refined post-theater experience, swing by Sardi's Restaurant in Midtown West. This NYC landmark opened in 1927 and has been serving the theater community ever since. Their elegant dining room, complete with floor-to-ceiling caricatures of Broadway celebrities, provides a classy backdrop for nightcaps and nibbles. Opt for their cheeseboard with fruit, nuts and chutney or the indulgent creme brûlée. As one regular patron described it, "The vintage art deco vibe makes you feel like an insider, and the desserts are the perfect nightcap after applauding at curtain call."
If late night tapas are more your speed, Boqueria's Flatiron location fits the bill. Their extensive menu of pintxos, traditional Spanish small plates, offers the perfect nosh-sized bites and variety for a group. Sip sangria and share favorites like the bacon-wrapped dates, patatas bravas and shrimp skewers. It all pairs perfectly with dissecting plot points and your favorite musical numbers. As one visitor put it, "The chilled Albariño and bite-sized snacks fueled our in-depth post-show breakdown for hours!"
Nothing soothes the soul quite like comfort food after an evening at the theater. For heaping helpings of classics like chicken and waffles, mac and cheese, and chicken pot pie, head to 1920s-themed Tick Tock Diner in Clifton, NJ, just a short cab or train ride from Manhattan. Their retro chrome interior and milkshakes delivered tableside enhance the late night diner vibe. You'll leave satisfied after rehashing the highs and lows of the performance you just took in. As a recent patron described it, "We laughed about the show's eccentric moments over oozing grilled cheese sandwiches and thick shakes - the perfect chill nightcap."
Big Apple Bites: Acclaimed Chef Mario Carbone's Guide to a Perfect New York City Day - Sleep Under the City Lights: Luxury Hotels to Rest Your Head
After a jam-packed day exploring New York City's countless sights, sounds, and flavors, you'll be ready to rest your head in the lap of luxury. Fortunately, NYC boasts some of the most opulent and indulgent hotels in the world, allowing you to sleep under the glittering city lights in sheer comfort and style.
According to one frequent visitor, The Mark on the Upper East Side is an oasis of old-world elegance and sophistication. Entering the gilded lobby feels like stepping into a more glamorous era, with plush seating areas for afternoon tea service and a winding, dramatic staircase. The cozy yet chic rooms feature custom Italian linens, marble bathrooms with soaking tubs, and rooftop views of Central Park. As the visitor raved, "The turn down service, personalized stationery, and Ladurée macarons by my bedside made me feel like royalty." With its prime location near top museums and Central Park, it's perfect for experiencing both iconic attractions and luxurious living.
For a contemporary but equally lavish stay, downtown's Greenwich Hotel emanates refined downtown cool according to regular guests. Tibetan silk rugs, wood burning fireplaces and massive Italian marble soaking tubs fill each individually designed room. The plush beds with Pratesi linens ensure a sound sleep after long days of exploring. No stay is complete without a visit to their sycamore-steamed spa pool and Japanese onsen-style bathhouse for the ultimate relaxation. As one guest described, "Everything from the heated floors to the rooftop pool to the drawn jacuzzi baths felt like a dream - I didn't want to leave my urban oasis!" Located near trendy shops and restaurants in Tribeca, it's ideal for those who want modern luxury in the heart of downtown.
If sky-high views are a must, The Peninsula overlooks Central Park from Midtown's Fifth Avenue. Their tech-forward rooms let you control lighting, temperature and music with an iPad. Details like remote control curtain and tv screens in the marble bathroom make it a tech lover's paradise. Guests rave over amenities like complimentary airport transfers in a house Rolls Royce and customized monogrammed pillowcases. According to one visitor, "Watching the sunrise over Central Park from my plush king bed was the ultimate luxury way to wake up in New York." For those who want to stay in the middle of it all with the most jaw-dropping views, this is the spot.