A question that often appears in the Where to Eat inbox is, “Where should I take my teenager to eat when we visit New York City?” I love this question for two reasons: First, there’s the “broadening horizons” of it all — how else to create a potential future New Yorker? — and second, it reminds me of my own formative trips to the city.
What follows is a nonexhaustive mixture of classic and not-so-classic recommendations, all conveniently located near tourist sites, that should be as appealing to you as to your Gen Z-er. I can’t make your teens appreciate you, but I can make sure they’ll be full enough to fall asleep on your shoulder on the ride back to the hotel.
Midtown Manhattan Eating and Jewish Deli Noshing
Let me be the first to tell you that Top of the Rock is the superior choice as far as tourist sites go, mostly because it has one of the best views of Central Park you can get without spending millions on real estate. And then you can take your bright-eyed teenager to either the food court under Rockefeller Center (check out the Pan-African rice bowl restaurant Fieldtrip) or Urban Hawker, a Singaporean food hall on West 50th Street. There, rejoice in the oyster omelets at Prawnaholic Collections, the rich and pungent shrimp fried rice at Mr. Fried Rice and the desserts from Lady Wong, one of the city’s most exciting new bakeries.
Now, for your visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, don’t try to do it all: Go to the Temple of Dendur, check out the Impressionist galleries and finish with the Costume Institute. Once you’ve gotten all those steps in, it’s time for pastrami. I’m all about Katz’s, on the Lower East Side, which should be your first choice. But if time is tight, you can’t beat Pastrami Queen, a Met-adjacent, Upper East Side kosher deli institution. This is where you can revel in the wonders of pastrami on rye, latkes and matzo ball soup.
Chinatown Classics, People-Watching Pizza and a Brooklyn Hop
First up, proper Cantonese food. Old Chinatown and new New York seem to agree on Wu’s Wonton King, a seven-year-old B.Y.O.B. restaurant on East Broadway where “whole ducks and suckling pigs gleaming from hooks” hang in the windows, as Ligaya Mishan wrote in her review for The Times in 2017. The storm-bringer is the deep-fried Dungeness crab, but the wontons in pork broth are just as occasion-worthy, as is the garlic crispy chicken. Come hungry.
Now you can start shopping on Broadway, in SoHo. (The new Glossier store is at Spring and Crosby, and the Nike store is one block away; get all your school-supply and basic-clothing needs met at Muji and Uniqlo; and thank me later!) Then pizza. Teens will love Upside Pizza, in NoLIta. The food and the people-watching are top-tier, and you can end with soft serve from Softside, next door. I prefer the thick Sicilian pepperoni slice, heartburn be damned.
And do visit Brooklyn. I and more than two million of my friends live here, and the view from Brooklyn Bridge Park will solidify a future love of New York City. That and a meal at Al Badawi, a Palestinian restaurant on Atlantic Avenue that’s overflowing with all the warmth and hospitality New York isn’t known for, but actually has in spades. Drag warm pita through more than a dozen mezzes, cut into the lamb shanks over rice and fight over the last slice of the pistachio flatbread — though when it comes to competitive eating with teenagers, you’ll always lose.
In Other News …
Openings: Carriage House, a new celebrity-backed restaurant with butter candles, is now open in the West Village; the hotly anticipated Superiority Burger is taking diners; and ALF Bakery, from the pastry chef and chocolatier Amadou Ly, opens at Chelsea Market on Friday.
Gen Z-ers love cheese and yogurt as much as previous generations, but they can’t seem to come around on milk. Kim Severson reported on the dairy industry’s fight to change that.
The lesbian bar is alive and well at two new spots in Los Angeles, writes Tejal Rao: the Ruby Fruit, a natural wine bar in a Sunset Boulevard strip mall, and Honey’s at Star Love.
With 20 seasons and nearly 300 episodes, “Hot Ones,” the web series featuring celebrities eating progressively spicier wings, remains a winning formula, writes Maya Salam.
Doosie Morris wrote about the Australian equivalent of pumpkin spice lattes: hot crossed buns.
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