This past Victoria weekend, I treated my mom to a girly weekend of shopping, dining and relaxing in one of the most fascinating cities in North America (in my opinion anyways) - New York City. Of course we wanted to explore the sites, lounge around in Central Park and hopefully spot some celebrities, but we were equally excited to experience some of the best restaurants and cafés as well.
Sarabeth's on Central Park South (steps away from the Plaza) is a divine experience, a bit on the expensive side, but the taste and service was definitely worth it. I indulged in a cappuccino and the Vegetable Frittata (asparagus, yellow and red peppers, chives, and gruyere cheese) with a blueberry scone complete with soft butter and jam on the side. I'm sure my frittata had about 5 or 6 eggs in it, but it was too delicious not to finish. The cappuccino was light and fluffy and just the right amount of caffeine to perk us up for the long day of walking ahead.
|Vegetable Frittata at Sarabeth's|
OlioPizza in NYC is another experience not to miss. Olio in Greenwich village is a great people-watching restaurant with great service and equally great food. I had the traditional Funghi pizza (Margherita with mushrooms), while my mom went for the lighter Insalata Perra (Arugula, Pears and Gorgonzola). Though very different, they were equally delicious.
|Funghi Pizza ($15)|
|Insalata Perra ($12)|
I would definitely save this restaurant for a special occasion, as it was one of the best meals I had. I have to admit it was a bit pricey, but the service, charm, atmosphere, and most importantly, the taste made it worthwhile. We indulged in some very strong, but tasty Cosmopolitans, shared the fried Shrimp and Calamari, had two delicious entrees, the Tagliatelle Bolognese and the Chicken Cacciatore, and finished off with a divine homemade Tiramisu Cake. I honestly couldn't decide which course I loved the most. If you're feeling adventurous, they also have a great Antipasto and Oyster Bar.
|Carrot Cupcake ($3.50)|
The Magnolia Bakery is a must-visit. Not only is it featured in Sex and the City and located in five different spots throughout the city, it is probably one of the best cupcakes I have ever tasted. I had to go with my gut and try the Carrot Cupcake...which exceeded my expectations in every way. We made a stop at the Bleecker Street location, and the service, charm and taste thoroughly satisfied my mid-day sugar craving.
Carlo's Bake Shop
If you are still in the mood for Italian and want to explore another part of the city, Spigolo in the Upper East Side, is understated, but has great service, a charming atmosphere, and delicious food. The servers were attentive and thoroughly knowledgeable and the food was fresh, hot, and delicious. I would recommend the Cavatelli with Sweet Fennel Sausage Ragu and Parmigiano ($15/$26) and the Sticky Toffee Bread Pudding ($9) for dessert. Spigolo is a little bit less expensive than most upscale Italian restaurants in this area and is a great site for people-watching and striking up a conversation with the bartenders or servers. It is also located right across the street from the Comic Strip if you are in the mood for a laugh after dinner.
As there are more than 8.3 million people living in New York City, there are probably a million and one fabulous restaurants and cafés to satisfy every craving, but I hope my favourite spots may help guide you in a culinary direction if you ever find yourself in this great city!!!
Sarabeth's ($$$): 40 Central Park South. New York, NY. 10019
Olio ($$): 3 Greenwich Avenue. New York, NY. 10014
Magnolia Bakery ($): 401 Bleecker Street. New York, NY. 10014
Carlo's Bake Shop ($): 95 Washington Street. Hoboken, NJ. 07030
La Bouche Café ($$): 103 Garden Street. Hoboken, NJ. 07030
Spigolo ($$): 1561 2nd Avenue. Upper East Side. New York, NY. 10028