A Professional Foodie’s Guide to Dining in NYC

by Alisa Gould-Simon (L.A.)

In addition to being my best friend, Amanda Kludt is the editor of Eater, a renowned digital destination for food industry gossip, launches and restaurant roundups. So for years, whenever I’ve needed a recommendation for a woohoo-my-parents-are-in-town restaurant or an it’s-my-birthday-and-I-need-to-fit-15-people place or a talk-of-the-town new hot spot, she’s always the first one I call. Since there’s no better time to indulge in delicious meals than the winter (when multiple layers easily hide the effects of less strict eating habits), I asked Amanda to bestow some of her foodie wisdom upon me (and you). Here she gives us some insider intel on NYC’s finest, as adorably illustrated by Madewell’s own Christie Young.

A penny-pincher’s best friend: The subway! Take the 7 out to Flushing and get fantastic Korean BBQ, great Indian (my fave is Jackson Diner), superfresh Chinese (seafood, hand-pulled noodles, dumplings) and all kinds of street food. There’s an Indian cafeteria called Ganesh Temple Canteen—actually located in the basement of the temple—where the food is just dirt cheap and crazy delicious.”

Staple I can never resist: Eating out five or six nights a week, I try to avoid carby, cheesy or generally unhealthy things as often as I can—and yet, I can’t turn down a bowl of spaetzle (Prime Meats and Edi & The Wolf do an especially good version) or pan con tomate (try Tertulia or Socarrat).”

Best place to impress someone: A man—Keens Steakhouse. Parents—Maialino. Girlfriends—Frankies never fails. Foodies—Taste Good out in Elmhurst. Sweet freaks—Momofuku Milk Bar. Anyone—The bar at Grand Central Oyster Bar.”

NYC’s best-kept secret: La Nacional, my favorite somewhat-known but under-the-radar Spanish place right off 14th Street. Great paella, delicious tapas, romantic vibe and low prices. It’s my go-to for almost anyone. Also, Nom Wah Tea Parlor in Chinatown is fantastic for dim sum at any time of day. It opened over 80 years ago and has an amazing old-school feel to it.”

Recent opening I’m most excited about: There’s a high-end Spanish place that opened in the Dream Hotel called Romera, where they only serve an 11-course $245 prix fixe. It’s way too much, but it’s fun to have someone open up a restaurant that’s so obscenely ambitious and that sparks debate in the food community. On a more accessible note, I’m in love with a tiny new meat-centric restaurant called The Cannibal. They serve all kinds of obscure beer and have delicious cheeses, Southern hams, tartares and sausages. (Insider tip: Single gals should bookmark it as a great place to pick up guys!)”

To see where Amanda’s going next, check out eater.com or follow her @kludt.