Grossy's Guide to Eating in Manhattan

I get asked all the time what my go-to places to eat are in NYC and what I love to order at each spot. If you follow my instagram stories closely, you will know I am pretty consistent with my choices. I like my regular spots and I like to know the people who own them, who work at them, and who frequent them. This is how I was raised, and I do not know how to do it any other way! I am excited to share with you Grossy's Guide to Eating in Manhattan.


Jack’s Wife Freda

IG: @jackswifefreda


2 months after I moved to NYC, Jack’s Wife Freda opened their West Village Location around the corner from my apartment. Famously, I was their first customer at that location, and wound up eating there several times a week (always for Sunday early morning breakfast and a few dinners). I became friends with the owners, Maya and Dean, and pretty much the whole staff. They call me “Iced Tea Dan” and consider me part of the JWF family. It’s truly a second home.


Perfect for:

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Casual vibe. Meeting a friend.

Locations:

Chelsea, West Village, Soho

Outdoor Seating:

Plenty at each location.

My Faves:

Greek Salad, Peri Peri Chicken, Fried Zucchini Coins, Salt & Pepper Eggplant, Roasted Cauliflower, Mediterranean Breakfast, Grapefruit and Yogurt, and of course, the Arnold Palmer.

Reservations:

Not needed, but you may have to wait a bit, especially at Brunch.

Note: Every time I visit, I take a selfie in their bathroom mirror - it’s a tradition I have been doing for 8 years now. I’m not saying you have to, but…


Via Carota

IG: @viacarota


You probably already know that this is my favorite restaurant in the entire city. Its impeccable in every way, and of course, serves the most Italian food imaginable. Craving a trip to Italy? This is it.


Perfect for:

Lunch and Dinner. A special meal or celebration. Treat yourself and dine alone.

Location:

West Village

Outdoor Seating:

Plenty

My Faves:

Olive All’Ascolana, Zucchini Fritti, Insalata Verde, Carciofi Alla Romana, Svizzerina, Polipo, The Fritto Misto of the Day and literally any pasta on the menu.

Reservations:

Required and best made well in advance. Grab a drink and snack at sister bar Pisselino across the street while you wait for your table.

Note: The menu changes seasonally and often, so you may not always find my favorites on it. Go with the flow, you can’t go wrong.


Una Pizza Napoletana

IG: @unapizzanapoletana


Una Pizza Napoletana is the best pizza I have ever eaten. Period. Is it the best pizza you have ever eaten? TBD. With an obsessive focus on making pizza, the owner Anthony Mangieri makes every pie himself. Orders are taken until he runs out of dough. Una has moved locations and cities over the years, from NJ, to NYC, to San Francisco and back to NYC. I consider myself insanely lucky to have lived in SF and NYC at the exact same times.

Perfect for:

Obsessing over pizza.

Location:

Lower East Side

Outdoor Seating:

They just reopened after a long pause, so I am not sure. I will update when I find out!

My Faves:

It’s pretty much always a Margherita for me. Or the Filetti. And then the daily special pizza, of course..

Reservations:

Best made well in advance. Or grab a spot at the bar.

Note: There is not much else on the menu besides pizza and they are pretty serious about not making substitutions so please check the menu if you have dietary restrictions.

Cervo's

IG: @cervosnyc

Cervo's is owned by the same incredible crew that owns two of my Brooklyn favorite restaurants: The Fly and Hart's. They are known for creating delicious food and energetic hospitality in all of their establishments, but this place may be the most electric of all.

Perfect for:

Seafood and a scene. Oysters, prawns, clams, cocktails and the cutest customers in Manhattan.

Location:

Lower East Side

Outdoor Seating:

Yes, tons!

My Faves:

Honestly, the french fries are all I can think about on most days.

Reservations:

First come, first serve for parties under 7. For 7-12 people they offer the set menu of your dreams.


Note: Post-pandemic, Cervo's has one if the best outdoor seating arrangements in Manhattan. The road they are on is closed down and there are several restaurants on the block that have taken over, creating sort of a promenade. Catch it while it lasts!


Keen's Steakhouse

IG: @keenssteakhouse


I absolutely fall hard for the magic of an old school steakhouse, and this is my favorite in Manhattan. From the crudité on ice at the start of the meal to the key lime pie for dessert, it's heaven. Oh, and not to mention the steaks... Perfect for:

A celebration with friends and feeling fancy without the stuffy.

Location:

Herald Square

Outdoor Seating:

Yes.

My Faves:

The Shrimp Cocktail. The creamed spinach. The Hash browns. Oh and STEAK.

Reservations:

Recommended.

Note: Talk to your server about the steak options. It's one of the great joys of going to a steak house. Have them describe the cuts, the preparation, etc. I could listen to this all day.

Grossy's Guide to eating in New York City

Malaparte / Malatesta

IG: @malaparte_nyc / @malatesta_nyc


I lived in the West Village for the first 5 years of my time in NYC and these two sister restaurants were my Italian homes. The food is pure comfort, the atmosphere warm and cozy, and the Italian waitstaff is so beautiful I constantly blush throughout the meal.

Perfect for:

Homemade pasta and Italian comfort foods. Dinner with friends or dinner with parents. Oh, and I have been on hundreds of dates in both locations. It's very important that even if a date is bad, the food must be good.

Location:

West Village

Outdoor Seating:

Yes. Malatesta is on Christopher Street and the people watching is wonderfully entertaining. Malaparte is a more low key people watching scene but keep an eye out for celebrities.

My Faves:

I always stick with a salad, a homemade pasta, and the steak. Sometimes the branzino if it's available. In both locations.

Reservations:

Recommended but I have been known to pull off many walk-ins, especially if you are willing to sit outside in chilly weather.

Note: I recommend skipping the sandwiches and the pizza at both locations. The homemade pasta is the star here!


Honorable Munchins:

Reginas Grocery for the best sandwiches and Italian specialties.

Dough Donuts for my absolute favorite donuts.

Julius’ for my favorite gay bar with the best dive bar food.

Billy’s Bakery for dessert after dinner or a birthday cake for a friend.

Russ and Daughters for bagels and lox, latkes, and that t-shirt Jake Gyllenhaal is always wearing.

Cafe Habana for their famous plantains, rice and beans and corn.

Los Tacos #1 for the best tacos in NYC.

Spicy Village for Chinese noodles and pure comfort.

Scarr's Pizza for a slice!

Mister Softee ice cream truck for a vanilla cone with rainbow sprinkles!!

Starbies may be on every corner, but don't miss out on Blue Bottle, Partners or Irving Farm coffee.


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