Manhattan is synonymous with a lot of great things still (not including Times Square, which I believe was created to infuriate New Yorkers), and one of them of course is the ability to produce a variety of amazing food from every type of cuisine imaginable. The city may have changed a lot over the years, especially with the amount of gay bars decreasing in our neighborhoods, but one thing that has truly remained relevant and spectacular are the restaurants that inhabit this amazing concrete jungle. With that being said, we are highlighting four amazing hotspots that you should definitely RSVP to the next time you are here in NYC. Keep making this city special and think local when it comes to how you dine, especially with these fantastic places.
Best Late Night Grub: Coopers Craft & Kitchen (Chelsea and East Village)
Coopers Craft & Kitchen is located right next to one of the most popular gay bars in Manhattan: Gym Sportsbar on 8th Avenue in Chelsea. Both their East Village and Chelsea spot are fantastic to head to after a long night of drinking (although they are a craft beer place so you can stop there as well), and try some amazing sharable items with friends including my all time favorite... POUTINE! Their late night menu also features grub worthy items including Fish Tacos and Fried Chicken Wings. More here.
Best Fast Casual- Latin Beet Kitchen (Flatiron)
Manhattan has really stepped up its game in terms of going beyond the boring burger, salad and soup options that so many of us have stopped by for a quick lunch before heading back to work. Latin Beet Kitchen takes the idea of fast casual and elevates it to a whole new level with their take on nutritious and delicious Latin cuisine all in one bowl. You take five different meat/fish options including Organic Chicken or Salmon Ceviche, build your base with items like Zucchini Noodles or Arugala and then top it off with some of the best veggies I've ever had including Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Carrots and Purple Cabbage Slaw. Then top it off with one of their signature dressings. This spot is perfect for the summertime and beyond. More here.
Best Spot to Eat in the Gayborhood: 5 Napkin Burger (Hell's Kitchen)
The gayborhoods in Manhattan run the muck, and include everything from the West Village to Chelsea and now the newest... Hell's Kitchen. Hell's Kitchen has become the new LGBT playground of sorts, with 9th Avenue taking the lead in the amount of gay bars you can inhabit. Of course, this also means great restaurants to try, and if you are a burger head like I am, then 5 Napkin Burger will do the trick. This place is always popping whether its for lunch, dinner or everything in between. Their customizable burgers are diverse in its selection, with some great appetizers and shakes to compliment your entire experience. Highlighted burgers to try: Ahi Tuna Burger with wasabi mayo and tempura onion rings, and their Bacon Cheddar with Cheshire Heritage Bacon, Tomato, Vidalia Onion and Lettuce. Prepare for the meat sweats, y'all. More here.
Best Italian Spot: Adoro Lei (South Village)
You have a bajillion places to go to in Manhattan for all things Italian, but relative newcomer Adoro Lei should be a spot that you must try while visiting here. This place has been ranked as one of the top 35 pizza spots in the country, and rightfully so as they split their pizza options between the reds and the whites. Both have magnificent results when it comes to the flavors you get out of each, including their Boozy Betina (Vodka Sauce with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil) and their scrumptious Fried Pizza (Fried Pie with Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato and Ricotta). Go there. Just go. More here.
Bonus! Best Dessert Spots: Becky's Bites (East Village) & Huascar & Co. Bakeshop (Midtown West)
You always have to leave room for dessert, and Becky's Bites and Huascar & Co. Bakeshop are phenomenal for highlighting key items in this section of the menu and delivering on each morsel you try. Becky's Bites just opened in the East Village and is tackling all things cream cheese and how to excel with this sort of delicacy. This includes her Beckaroos (fun take on a Dunkaroo), Sweet and Salty with a Pretzel and Cream Cheese Dip, and her own line of a Bacon, Egg and Cream Cheese option on a fresh bagel. More here.
On the flipside, Huascar Aquino already has fame on a national level as he won an episode of Cupcake Wars a couple of years back. And rightfully so, as his cupcakes are some of the best I've ever had in my life, not to mention his insanely yummy cookie options (stick with the classic and try his Chocolate Chip). Highlights in his cupcake items are PB&J and Scarlet Velvet, the latter of which is his own take on red velvet. More here.