1. Employees Only
Chef Rocco DiSpirito calls the Bacon-Wrapped Lamb Chops appetizer at Employees Only "the best one-bite wonder that you'll ever have." Swing by the charming speakeasy-style spot for top-notch artisanal cocktails and a mix of hearty entrees, like roast chicken and short ribs.
2. The Breslin Bar & Dining Room
When former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni craves a burger -- a chargrilled lamb burger, to be specific -- he heads to The Breslin, a British gastropub helmed by chef April Bloomfield. Located in the Ace Hotel, the popular spot boasts decadent comfort food and a fashionable clientele.
3. The Redhead
At unassuming East Village gastropub The Redhead, seasonal, Southern-inflected food and carefully-made cocktails reign supreme. On Triple D, Guy was blown away by chef Meg Grace's Homemade Pretzels With Beer Cheese. For a comforting main course, try the Buttermilk Fried Chicken or Shrimp and Grits.
4. Red Rooster
Wherever Chopped judge Marcus Samuelsson cooks, you can be sure his flavors will pull from his past and present. Red Rooster is no exception. Marcus serves modern Harlem comfort foods like Fried Yard Bird and Mac & Greens. As a nod to his Swedish roots, he's added Helga's Meatballs to the menu.
5. Clinton St. Baking Co. & Restaurant
The award-winning Blueberry Pancakes With Warm Maple Butter at Clinton St. Baking Co. & Restaurant are so irresistible, Bobby just had to challenge them to a throw down. If you stop by the homey spot for brunch, also try the buttermilk biscuits and tomato jam, hearty omelets and sugar-cured bacon.
When Rachael Ray craves a big old plate of pasta, she heads to Lupa, a Roman trattoria co-owned by our own Mario Batali. The casual setting ties into its homey plates, like rustic Spaghetti alla Carbonara or the favorite, Ricotta Gnocchi. Diners rave over the newest "Roman-style" late-night menu.
Before this hip Brooklyn bakery went head-to-head with Chef Bobby on Throwdown, it was Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito’s chance at perfecting dessert. Today, Baked has become a sweet-tooth mecca with favorites like their Sweet & Salty Brownie and their signature red velvet cupcakes.
On The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Bobby didn't hesitate in naming Balthazar's French Fries as the perfect crunch food. Locals also swear by this brasserie's perfection of all foods Parisian, like Steak Frites and Boudin Noir. Pressed for time? Stop by the bakery next door and snag a crunchy baguette.
9. Bar Boulud
Daniel Boulud is known for haute French cuisine. But on The Best Thing I Ever Ate, food critic Frank Bruni praises Boulud’s homier menu and the classic Croque Monsieur sandwich. Gruyere and heritage ham meld in perfectly, much like the foie gras favorite, Pâté Grand-Père.
10. Barney Greengrass
As the self-proclaimed Duke of Herring, Alton declared Barney Greengrass' Chopped Herring Sandwich (on rye) worthy of The Best Thing I Ever Ate. The "Sturgeon King" deli of almost 100 years prepares their sandwich salads in small batches, so every bite from sturgeon to nova lox is royally fresh.
11. Blue Smoke
As a pioneer of the urban barbecue scene, Chef Kenny Gallaghan has created the most finger-licking barbecue right in a potato chip. On The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Susan Feniger raves about his chips, perfectly matched with blue cheese and bacon dip. It's a great start to scrumptious pit barbecue.
Specialty Dishes: Warm Barbecue Potato Chips with Blue Cheese and Bacon Dip.
12. Caracas Arepa Bar
The arepas here are so flavorful that they beat Bobby's in a throw down. The corn cakes are stuffed with sweet and savory fillings like the De Pabellon, filled with beef, beans, plantains and cotija cheese. Want a kick in your bite? Try the La de Pernil with pork shoulder and spicy mango sauce.
13. Lombardi's Pizzeria
For true New York-style pizza, look no further than America’s first, and some say best, pizzeria in the U.S. Since 1897, Lombardi’s has been winning over New Yorkers like Rachael Ray with their perfect balance of marinara and mozzarella, all atop a thin crust baked in a coal-fired oven.
14. Mary's Fish Camp
Enjoy fish shack classics galore at Mary's Fish Camp in the West Village. Bobby Flay is a fan of their lobster rolls, served on warm buttered rolls and stuffed with fresh lobster meat. Other simple, well-prepared seafood favorites include the Fish Camp Clam Chowder and Shellfish Bouillabaisse.
Bobby calls Chef Melba Wilson the "Queen Bee" when it comes to chicken and waffles. A family recipe that has been passed down for generations, this sweet and savory Harlem favorite is topped with strawberry butter and maple syrup. If you're going for dinner, get a side of Tres Mac and Cheese, too.
The Italian-American classic is handled with care here: It's a perfect chicken parm on a soft semolina roll.
Two brothers run this joint where they serve up custom cocktails and freshly prepared food. Guy was in heaven when he tried the escabeche topped with red onions; he called the ham in the Cuban sandwich "righteous." Sidecar's pork belly confit on a bed of kimchi also garners rave reviews.
18. The Bagel Store
If you've been dreaming of New York-style, boiled-then-baked bagels as big as your head, mosey across the Williamsburg Bridge to The Bagel Store. They've got the cheapest, best bagel sandwich ever (at least according to Jeff Mauro). Try a Bacon, Egg and Cheese Bagel Topped With Bacon Bits.
19. The Lobster Place
Bobby loves picking up lobster from this Chelsea Market spot. In addition to lobster, it also sells 650 varieties of live, fresh and frozen seafood throughout the year. For a quick and delicious seafood-filled meal, try their lobster rolls, oysters on the half-shell, or some of the handmade sushi.
On the Road Eats: New York City Guide
The city that never sleeps is known for its melting pot-like mix of global ingredients and cuisines. Sample the Big Apple's eclectic offerings of international eats, drinks, street food and more.
1. Employees Only