When we travel, it’s all about the food! Surprise, right?
We plan ahead quite a bit, spot a few places we want to visit and we also make a booking or two. This ensures some almost guaranteed good meals but also leaves room for spontaneity and to just drop into cool places we find while we’re there.
We always spend a lot of time browsing through food markets and supermarkets. We call it supermarket sightseeing and laugh about it but we both love checking out supermarkets in other countries. It’s a great way to spot food trends, to become inspired and also to get a feeling of the people who actually live there.
Today I will share our food experiences i New York with you. This is not a guide of the best places to go in NYC (how could I make that after just 5 days in the city?) but it’s practically all the food we ate while we were there. And we had surprisingly good food. Surprisingly because it’s sometimes difficult to eat well continuously when you’re in a completely new city.
This post is very long so make coffee first, okay?
Also check out my post: 5 days in New York
Our first breakfast was at our hotel which had an obscenely beautiful restaurant.
We weren’t too impressed with either the food or the staff to be honest. Food was okay (I had eggs benedict, which I love) but it wasn’t all that special. The staff seemed a bit like they were at a trendy party and that serving people breakfast was a bit of an interruption to the fun. What’s up with that?
But the restaurant was pretty and we still hit the streets both full and happy.
Nomo Soho Hotel restaurant
The Butcher’s Daughter
So many people recommended me The Butcher’s Daughter and I completely understand why. What a lovely place!
The Butcher’s Daughter is a green restaurant which emphasizes fruit and veggies and limits the use of animal products. Many vegan options without being completely vegan. Lots of gluten-free options too.
Veganism has only just started gaining popularity in Copenhagen so wer’re not as used to the labeling. We were fooled by the very discreet use of the the symbol (V). And let me tell you. The menu might say “cheddar” (V) but what you get has nothing to do with cheddar. Instead it’s some sort of soy based cashew nut substance. I’m sorry, but that’s not cheddar, my friend.
The Butcher’s Daugter was perhaps one the most Insta-friendly places we visited. And who doesn’t like pretty food?
The staff was sweet and helpful and welcoming so all in all thumbs up for The Butcher’s Daughter.
Avocado toast (gluten-free) and coconut yogurt with granola and berries.
My delicate stomach felt terrible for the rest of the day but I almost felt like it was worth it!
Visit them here: The Butcher’s Daughter
Jack’s wife Freda
At Jack’s wife Freda you eat breakfast with a bit of a Middle Eastern touch. You get a Lebanese salad with your eggs or you can have a “breakfast bowl” with quinoa. As someone who really enjoys eating real food for breakfast, this was a pleasent surprise to find on the menu.
I really liked this place. If you go, go early. The place fills up fast.
I wish I had had time to eat there several times. There were so many items in the menu I wanted to try. I had the Mediterranean Breakfast (hold the pita) and Søren had Jack’s Breakfast. Both were lovely.
Visit them here: Jack’s wife Freda
This was our last breakfast before leaving NYC. After having had a somewhat lighter breakfast on the two previous mornings (see above), we now wanted some
bacon serious American breakfast. And Bubby’s did just that. And then some!
I had a three egg omelet with asparagus and ricotta cheese, three thick slices of apple smoked bacon, a large green salad and a bowl of fresh fruit.
Did I finish it? Yes! Well, almost. I left some of the fruit. I was SO full after eating that. But it worked out perfectly because we were leaving NYC later that day and I was fasting while traveling to avoid jet lag.
Only downside to Bubby’s is that they only serve American coffee. So if you’re a coffee aficionado you’ll have to go somewhere else to have your latte.
Visit them here: Bubby’s
This is where we had our first lunch right after arriving.
I was getting pretty hungry since I hadn’t eaten anything since we left Copenhagen so we decided to sit down for a burger. Seemed like the perfect choice.
I have a very broad definition of what you can actually call a burger and I was pleased to see that Bare Burger shared that notion.
You could build your own burger so to speak. Mine ended up being a turkey burger with avocado mash, some sort of mayo based dressing served in a collard green wrap. Originally there were actually two but I managed to eat one before I took the photo.
Everything on the menu was grass fed, organic, free-range, cage free and there were lots of gluten-free and vegan options. We were quite impressed with that. What we later learned was that that is really the standard at many restaurants in NYC. Copenhagen is so far behind here.
Turkey burger in a collard green wrap with avocado and mayo and sweet fries in the background.
Visit them here: Bare Burger
At Sweetgreen they’re serious about making America healthier. They even has a hashtag saying #makeamericahealthier
Their way of doing that is by offering green and healthy food, mostly takeout. On the menu, they have mainly salads that you either pick from the menu or mix yourself.
On your salad, you can add both plant protein or animal protein but you find no hidden sugar here. For the same reason they have taken items like bacon and sriracha (chili sauce) off the menu. Simply because they couldn’t be found without sugar. I really like when people or places take things all the way like that.
We didn’t eat here. But we sat down and rested our tired legs for a minute while drinking perhaps the most expensive iced tea in the world. It was also sugar-free and it was both refreshing and served with a refill option.
Very expensive iced tea – no sugar or anything else added. Just tea.
Visit them here: Sweetgreen
This next place I forgot the name. It was a small Australian café that also served mainly healthy foods with lots of green options. I had some chicken and a delicious kale salad with olives and capers.
Our goal was to have dinner at different types of restaurants to get very different experiences and I think we managed quite well. Take a look:
Catch is in the Meatpacking District and I actually really liked it there but objectively, it was a mixed experience. Especially on the service side.
Really cool place though with several floors. We started out on the roof top terrace where we had a greenie-cocktail while listening to the DJ playing over at Gansevoort Hotel. We had a nice time and decided to stay on the terrrace for dinner.
We had sahimi and sushi and a few warm courses. The strange part was that the warm courses were served first and the sushi/sashimi at the end. Some of our side orders never showed up. The waiter was very apologetic and though it was a bit strange, we really didn’t care much. We had a great time anyway.
And both the food and the ambiance was really good.
Greenie-cocktails and a non-alcoholic drink with cucumber, lime and fresh mint.
Chicken with crispy fried sweet potatoes and salad for wrap. Delicious!
Visit them here: CATCH
This was our only pre-booked restaurant and probably also the best meal we had in NYC.
Contra offers a 5 course menu that changes every night. The food was experimental and very interesting. Very green, lots of fish and a bit of meat. And absolutely delicious desserts (don’t ask about the sugar-free experiment, okay?)
The place is small and really cosy and the staff was really competent and welcoming.
The menu the night we were there.
Visit them here: CONTRA
We also wanted to try an old-fashioned New York Steak House and we chose Gallagher’s to be the place for that. And really, it was so good and so authentic.
We actually ate there for lunch but once you enter this dark restaurant with its dark wooden and heavy leather furniture, you forget if it’s day or night.
We shared an enormous porterhouse steak and I think it was the best meat I have ever tasted in my entire life. That’s how good it was. And I have taken my fair share. It was tender like butter. So delicious!
The bartender insisted we had our photo taken. Well, when in the US…
Visit them here: Gallagher’s Steakhouse
We ended up at DANJI one night when it suddenly started raining like crazy. We jumped into a taxi and asked the driver to take us to the nearest restaurant that Søren had mapped on his map.
We knew it was modern Korean food but apart from that we knew nothing about the place. And we were so pleasantly surprised.
The place was really small and cosy and their take om modern Korean food was lovely. They even had a statement on the menu claiming that they avoid MSG and other additives and I really applaud that.
Visit them here: DANJI
SPRING NATURAL KITCHEN
We had a light dinner here on our first night while we were fighting to stay awake. By the time we had our food, it was 3AM Copenhagen time so neither of us had much appetite.
So we just had a few salads. The menu looked fantastic with lots of Insta-friendly items. Unfortunately, the kitchen didn’t seem that interested in presentation which was a pity.
Maybe we just visited on a bad night. I would love to go again but you don’t eat twice at the same place when you have so few days in the city. Maybe next time..
Visit them here: SPRING NATURAL KITCHEN
Forget about Starbucks! Really, I do not understand why people go have their coffee there when there’s actually so many good coffee places around.
Søren managed to find really, really good coffee places. Extraordinary coffee, actually. We walked for miles on end to get there but you know, coffee is important.
Here’s a list of some of the good places he took me to:
Serious latte art at Café Grumpy.
MARKETS AND FOODIE PLACES
We try to visit as many markets and foodie places when we travel because really, that’s what we do.
Chelsea Market was a must see on our list. I’m not sure how impressed I was with the whole thing but it was just one of these places that we needed to visit.
Grand Central Market was hidden in the back end of the gorgeous Grand Central Station. Suddenly you had the entrance of this lovely upscale market. Lots of fresh produce and lots of convenience fruit and veggies. I was SO impressed with how available fruit and veggies were. All prepared and ready to eat too. Wow!
Fruit and veggies to go? All ready for you!
Smorgasburg was a market in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) that is open every Saturday (I think). It was a great venue but very warm on the day of our visit and so crowded. The ambiance was like being on a music festival with lots of different food stands selling all kinds of different food.
We bought a kebab salad and went to sit by the river. We had our toes in the sand and enjoyed the Manhattan skyline on the other side. That was pretty magical.
MAST Brother’s Chocolate
This is an absolute must for chocolate lovers. Perhaps the best chocolate I have ever tasted.
The little shop is also in Williamsburg and it’s sort of a combi shop-factory. You can buy the chocolate but you can also see them produce it through glass windows.
We tried some different kinds. Chocolate with thyme will never be a favorite of mine and neither will chocolate with smoke flavor. Chocolate with Tahitian vanilla and the chocolate with almond butter on the other hand were utterly delicious.
Visit them here: MAST Brother’s chocolate
As I started out saying, we love going supermarket sightseeing when we travel.
I do it to spot new food trends or just to get inspired. And to shop, obviously. There are so many things on the shelves that are not yet available in Europe.
I was amused by the labeling. We saw a shelf with tomato sauces labeled with “gluten-free”. When have you ever seen gluten in a tomato sauce? Might be an American thing, what do I know? But it reminded me of the time when they would put a “100% fat free” label on a pound of sugar.
In Denmark, you’re not allowed to put these appraisals on food items unless they’re relevant for the product. It seemed less regulated here which surprised me.
Whole Foods is a must and I still hope they will one day open in Copenhagen. I love it!
I’m always impressed with the way fruit and veggies are arranged on the shelves. It’s so inviting!
I also loved the idea of the different buffets where you could mix your own salad or take a warm meal with you home. It seems there are no real idea in cooking your own meal at home when you can actually have “home cooked” food to go. New Yorkers work longer hours than we do in Copenhagen so I can understand why this is appealing.
I’m not too impressed by reading that Whole Foods have a hygiene issue in their kitchen where these meals are prepared. That’s disappointing!
Apart from that, Whole Foods is all about feel good.
This was a small local supermarket we passed on our way. It looked like a little grocer but was actuallty quite deep and had a basement too.
Taking protein bars to the next level.
Brooklyn Harvest Market
Also a lovely supermarket with everything presented beautifully. Presentation is everything. It really works for me and it makes me want to fill my basket with fruit and veggies. I hope we will see more of that here in Copenhagen.
Dean & Deluca
This place was more of a good mix between fresh produce and convenience food. And they had the craziest beverages in the cooler. I mean, how many health ingredients can you put in one bottle?
This was it! If you know of something that I most definitely have to go see next time, please leave a comment.
See more from our trip here: 5 days in New York