Hello beautiful people and welcome back to my blog. How is everyone today? I hope you’re all feeling good, happy, excited and positive and I hope you all enjoy the weekend you have coming up, and that you’ve had a lovely week so far. ♥
As you may or may not know, I recently returned back from a holiday to NYC. I visited with my best friend Emily and obviously I loved it so freakin’ much I’m planning about 100 trips to return already. As I mentioned in my ‘Madame Tussauds NYC’ post, I have set the intention with the Universe to go back to NYC at least once every year, so I’m excited to see how this pans out. I have a few ideas / potential plans in the works already for near future visits, however I am totally open and willing for the Universe to surprise me with trips too. I’m so excited!!!
‘New York, these streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you, let’s hear it for New York, New York’. – Alicia Keys & Jay-Z ‘Empire State Of Mind’
For today’s post I have a little ‘where to eat in NYC’ guide for you. Emily and I were in NYC for just over a week (8 days), so of course we had the opportunity to visit a lot of different restaurants / cafes / diners etc. Here in this post, you’ll find my reviews of a handful of the places where we ate, so sit back and enjoy and maybe grab a snack or two because this post is a long one (and will surely make you feel hungry)! Enjoy!
Jennie’s Where To Eat In NYC Guide – 2019 Edition
Ellen’s Stardust Diner – If you go for dinner even just once in New York City (or for breakfast / lunch) make sure it’s to Ellen’s, ‘The home of the singing waitstaff’. Ellen’s is so much fun, whilst tables are pretty cramped (you practically make best friends with whoever’s sitting next to you whilst you dine there), that adds to the joy of it because the whole atmosphere brings people together. Whilst you dine, the waiters sing and dance, performing renditions of your favourite musical tracks (and even some pop) from Miley Cyrus’ ‘Party In The USA’ to Grease mashups and Beauty and the Beasts ‘Be Our Guest’, if you want your vibes raised and all the good energy, Ellen’s is the place to be (It’s also the perfect place to eat and drink before a night out because it will definitely put you in the party mood). When it comes to food, Ellen’s menu is pretty good. There’s a few vegan and veggie options, though sometimes I loved the food and other times I didn’t. On our first visit (out of two), I ordered a chocolate milkshake (the exact name I can’t recall, but it was the really chocolatey one with brownie pieces). This was yummy and I really enjoyed my drink, however I’d recommend you don’t ask for it to come with the souvenir cup because they don’t clean them out for you, so unless you’ve got a dishwasher in your hotel room (or you’re staying in an apartment etc) then this just isn’t the one. I had to throw my cup away because it was so grotty, and not only would I have only been able to wash it with pure water quite frankly I could not be bothered, we don’t do washing up on holiday LOL. I had a vegan burger on the first visit which I didn’t rate, and a rainbow cake for dessert which was a little too cold for my liking. On the second visit, I had the grilled cheese sandwich (with American cheese) which I’d rate a 6 out of 10, it was nice but it could have done with being a little warmer however the waffle fries it came with were a strong 10 out of 10. They were amazing and I’ve been craving them sporadically since I’ve been back! They were glorious. Emily ordered a vegan bolognaise which I tried a bite of and would definitely consider ordering myself next time I go, though she said it would have been better if it was just a tomato sauce on the pasta rather than fake mince also. Still, I’m grateful for the vegan option and it was definitely edible considering Emily finished the meal! For dessert on our second night we got an amazing ice cream cookie style dessert (once again, the exact name of the dessert I don’t recall and I can’t find a dessert menu for Ellen’s online anywhere), if memory serves correctly, the menu states this dessert is good for sharing. Do not share this huns. It’s so yummy, it’s much too good to share plus it’s not that big. Of course it’s big enough, it’s the perfect size for a dessert but for one person and one person only. I do not recommend sharing this unless you have a very tiny appetite! All in all I highly, highly recommend Ellen’s Stardust Diner and would say it’s an absolute must visit if you’re ever in NYC, whilst I say you definitely go more for the experience rather than the food, the majority of the food I had was still delicious (those waffle fries Oh My!), and the atmosphere and vibe is just SO MUCH FUN. I definitely plan on going back as much as I possibly can, and I definitely want to hold part of my Hen Do (bachelorette party) at Ellen’s. Heads up in advance though, because of Ellen’s popularity you do have to queue (bookings are only available for groups of over 20 people), we queued about half an hour give or take a few minutes before being seated each time. Really though, you can visit other restaurants and still have to wait that long (I’ve waited a good hour to be seated at the Hard Rock Cafe before) soooo I think it’s fair. Heck some people wait hours just to ride a 30 second roller coaster soo, I definitely think Ellen’s is worth the wait. I’d happily wait for longer than half an hour, it’s really that wonderful.
Olive Garden – I knew before coming to New York that I wanted to eat at the famous Olive Garden, best known for their scrumptious breadsticks which are COMPLIMENTARY. Heck yeah! As with Ellen’s, we ate at Olive Garden twice on our trip to NYC, both times for lunch. The food was prettttty good. On our first visit we only got three complimentary breadsticks and a salad with our meal but on the second visit we were given SO many. We were given around four free breadsticks each (and they are pretty darn big by the way, like a nice fat doughy breadstick with a hint of salt flavouring) and our waiter was still offering to bring us out more. I’d have said yes if I wasn’t so full up. For my first lunch I had a pasta dish (I don’t remember the name of the dish exactly because I wasn’t documenting my meals, but I believe it was the five cheese ziti al forno) with a marinara sauce which was a strong 7 out of 10, my only concern with the meal is that is was one of those where I wasn’t confident that it was 100% vegetarian. I think it’s because the sauce was quite tomato-ey, the texture was a little lumpy making it seem like there was beef in there. I know it must be physcological because there’s no way they couldn’t serve me a vegetarian dish when I specifically asked for one but I do get a little paranoid, and this put me off a little. The second lunch however was absolutely divine. I had a cheese ravioli dish with the marinara sauce (I can’t find the exact name of the dish online, but I know it was a cheese ravioli with the marinara sauce because I accidentally pronounced it marijuana sauce LOL). This was a strong 9 out of 10 and I would recommend this yummy meal plus the sauce was actually okay this time. YAY! Love that! As a pasta lover (I eat it almost everyday LOL), it’s no surprise that I love and recommend Olive Garden, and I’ll definitely be going back there next time I visit the US. SIDE NOTE: If you visit the Times Square venue ask to sit upstairs. The first time we ate there we were sat downstairs where it was absolutely freezing with no atmosphere, on our second visit we requested to sit upstairs where it was much warmer with more of a vibe, plus closer to the toilets and with a great view of Times Square. It’s a yes from me!
Dunkin’ Donuts – So maybe this is more of a where to drink rather than a where to eat because I had so many drinks from here whilst in NYC, treating myself to one frozen chocolate drink (size medium) almost every single day. They are just too good!!! Emily also loved Dunkin’s and along with our drinks, we both tried doughnuts each. The first one I tried from Dunkin’s was a glazed doughnut, which was a good enough doughnut but nothing spectacular, just your standard yummy doughnut which you’d except from a doughnut store. A 7.5/8 out of 10. The second doughnut I had was a Halloween themed one, with orange icing and spider decorative. This was not my cup of tea (or doughnut, should I say?). Emily tried a strawberry sprinkles flavour doughnut, which she enjoyed! Along with the sweet treats, I ate hash browns from Dunkin’s which were pretty decent and very moreish, and I got a banana most days too. Everything’s pretty reasonably priced here and they also do a plant based breakfast option, so I definitely recommend Dunkin’s if you want a quick, cheap, fun, easy and tasty breakfast, drink or snack throughout the day.
IHOP – IHOP, just like with Olive Garden, is another place I was eager to try when visiting NYC. The only problem is, it’s a little out of the way (depending on where you’re staying of course). Emily and I were pretty central in NYC with our hotel located right in Times Square, which made it really easy to get to pretty much everywhere. However, the IHOP is an hours walk away from Times Square, though it is located right next to a Subway station so depending on where you’re located, I recommend you get a Subway to the IHOP rather than walking because it is quite a trek. Worth it though. First of all let’s start with the oh so wonderful positives, the pancakes and the hash brown. YUMMY! I ordered the chocolate chip pancakes, being the chocoholic that I am, these were a must and they did not disappoint. Wow wow wow, absolute 10 out of 10. These pancakes are actually CHOCOLATE pancakes, like, they’re not plain old pancakes with chocolate syrup and chips etc, the pancakes are fully chocolate, which is everything. If you’re a chocaholic, I definitely recommend these pancakes. Now onto the hash brown, so the hash brown was slightly different to the hash browns I’m used too being that it was giant and a lot more stringy (in a good way), with delicious flavour and oh my it was Heaven!!! Possibly one of the best hash browns I’ve ever had, it was so so good and I definitely plan on getting this again in the future. So so good! However, the scrambled egg on toast, which I got to go with my pancakes and hash brown, was not the one huns, not the one at all. The egg was pure STANKY, that’s the only word I have to describe it. Emily’s egg was fine, so I don’t know what was up with mine but it was evidently a wrong’un, I will not be getting that dish again, but everything else was 10 out of 10, so if you’re prepared to accept that you may have to trek a little to get to your IHOP in NYC (or just get the Subway) then of course, I 100% recommend. Those pancakes were so worth an hours walk.
Brooklyn Bridge Diner – We stumbled upon this little diner when we reached the end of Brooklyn Bridge and took a right turn (but if you want to go here, don’t count on my very vague directions and just google map it LOL) and what a revelation! This was the cutest little place to grab a snack which gave me all the Brooklyn vibes and the food was so yummy too. Emily ordered a burger with chips which she said was really good and I even tried one of her chips too, and it was one of the best chips of the trip (LOL so extra), so I’d like to order those next time, but on this visit, I satisfied my sweet tooth by ordering the glorious Brooklyn Bridge Sundae. YUM! This sundae was so so yummy, made to perfection as it even came with strawberries. I believe the sundae is also supposed to come with nuts of some sort, (or some kind of ingredient I don’t like) so I asked for them to be removed when I ordered which was absolutely fine, so the diner is very accommodating. Isn’t the name of the dessert just so cute too? The Brooklyn Bridge Sundae. AMAZING! I really liked the atmosphere of this little diner and enjoyed what I ate a lot, so I’d definitely recommend eating here if you’re ever in Brooklyn and I myself definitely intend on visiting again when I can. 10 out of 10.
McDonald’s – Throwing in more of a where not to eat here rather than a where to eat, I do love a Maccies but I just have to give a heads up to all my vegetarian / vegan friends out there, NYC McDonald’s do not have any vegetarian options, except I believe for the bagel from the breakfast menu. When I visited McDonald’s in NYC I asked, ‘do you have any vegetarian options?’ and the server said no. I assumed she wasn’t including the chips here in this answer so I proceeded to order some fries anyway, now since I’ve been back I’ve spoken to Dannii who informed me that their fries are cooked in beef fat, so even they are not vegetarian. All I can say is no comprendo!?!? McDonald’s, sort it out please huns! There is literally no need for these fries to not be veggie / vegan… they could use vegetable oil! I thought I’d share this information here since this is an NYC food guide, and even though it’s not really a recommendation I still think it’s handy to know if you’re vegetarian, based on my experience. Thank you Dannii for the initial heads up! Ps. Ronald I still love you hun, but if you could cater a little more for your veggie and vegan friends then that would be divine. Thank you!
Hard Rock Cafe – Wherever we travel, Emily and I will always eat at a Hard Rock Cafe, and I order the same dish every time. Mac ‘n’ Cheese with a side of mash. The mac ‘n’ cheese is quite spicy, it’s supposed to come with chicken but I order it without, hence why I need the mash to go with it, to break up the spice a little. I mean regardless, I’d get the mash anyway because it’s so yummy, a solid 10 out of 10 and the Mac I’d give a 7.5 out of 10. Overall, the staff in the Times Square Hard Rock Cafe are so friendly and give excellent service, the merchandise store is really good and has so much to choose from (it’s probably the best Hard Rock store I’ve been to) and the wait wasn’t too long. We were told we would have to wait quite a while (I think around 40 minutes, roughly), but in the end we only had to wait around 20-30 minutes which was fab! We were served pretty quickly, and luckily we had the awesome shop to look around whilst we waited so there was something to do beforehand which made time go quicker. The atmosphere was pretty standard, nothing special, but fine all the same and of course the food was good too. I do enjoy a Hard Rock Cafe, so I’m glad we had the opportunity to eat here. I’d say come here if you’re looking for a hearty meal, because the portion sizes are decent and the food is pretty scrumptious. Yum!
Juniors – Juniors is located in Times Square and is a fun little restaurant / diner which serves some scrumptious food and is best known for its cheesecake. If you’re a fan of cheesecake, then Juniors is the place to go. We were recommended this spot for dessert whilst shopping in a little souvenir shop and whilst I’m not the greatest lover of cheesecake I did spice up my life a little and decided to try some, and it was alright. Not my fave, because like I said I’m not a cheesecake gal, but it was good. I know Emily enjoyed her desserts that she ordered here too, as she tried two different chocolate cakes. She had chocolate cheesecake which was huge, and devils food cake which she said was her favourite out of the two. As well as cheesecake and dessert, we also ate at Juniors a few times for dinner and breakfast. They have lots of choice on their menus, and I appreciate the fact you can get sides of fruit with your breakfast. I ordered banana and fresh strawberries with my breakfast, and whilst the banana was good the strawberries were a little off… luckily they took that off the bill for me. Juniors also do a really good grilled cheese sandwich which comes with fries that are so yummy, I’d give Juniors a strong 8 out of 10, being that it has good food, plenty of variety and options, and has a chilled out, relaxed and friendly environment. If you’re looking for somewhere casual to eat, I’d definitely recommend Juniors.
Magnolia – Magnolia is a scrumptious bakery which you can find in locations across the States, two of those being in NYC, lucky New York! We only bought from here once (deep regrets, I wish I’d bought more), and I ordered a divine chocolate cake which was legit Heaven in a mouthful. Oh my my my, my mouth is watering right now just thinking about that yummy cake! If you have a sweet tooth and you’re a cake lover, then definitely put Magnolia on your New York foodie destination. It’s a 10 out of 10 from me!
So there you have my 2019 guide of where to eat in NYC, gosh, I am so excited to do more of these in the future!
In summary, as you can probably tell by the reviews, Ellen’s is definitely top of my list of where to dine in NYC, especially as it’s unique to the city. I’d also highly recommend the Hard Rock Cafe if you’re looking for a solid, big meal, Olive Garden for all of the pasta, Dunkin’s for the drinks and Magnolia for the cakes! Not to forget Brooklyn Bridge Diner as a must visit if you’re that side of the bridge. So I guess that tells you where all my favourite places to eat in NYC are (so far), doesn’t it? I can’t wait to try more!
Have you eaten at any of the places mentioned in this guide? Which restaurant / foodie spot would you like to visit the most? Where would you recommend I eat in New York City next? What’s your go to restaurant recommendation you have for me? Be sure to let me know all your thoughts and leave all your recommendations in the comments below, please and thank you!
As always thank you so much for reading,
have a wonderful day,
with so much love and light,