Olga's New York City

My beautiful Palestinian friend went to New York City so I created this guide list for her - hence the Shopping and Sweets sections - but, these are my all-time favorites in the city and I'd recommend these restaurants and walks to any visitor - shopaholic or otherwise!


Emporio:  cute SoHo café and restaurant; perfect stop for wine and snack while shopping downtown

ABC Kitchen:  excellent American cuisine; make a reservation as early as possible (Chelsea/Gramercy)

The Cellar at Beecher's:  great stop for wine and cheese (Chelsea/Gramercy)

Avra, Kellari:  two excellent Greek restaurants (Midtown)

DB Bistro Moderne:  excellent French-American fare; all of Daniel Boulud’s restaurants are excellent (Midtown)

 ★ Barbounia:  my ultimate favorite place for NYC champagne brunch (Gramercy)

The Blue Bell Cafe:  excellent brunch, lunch, or dinner place with American fare (Gramercy)

BareBurger:  really good organic burgers, a few locations around town, I like the one on Laguardia Place (West Village) best because it's on a relatively quiet street, set away from the street with lots of green in between, and spacious terrace seating that makes you feel like you're at a fun backyard BBQ party.

NY style pizza:  Grimaldi's, Lombardi's, Adrienne’s on Stone Street, and Spunto.  Adrienne’s and Spunto are my favorites: Adrienne’s for location and pizza toppings, Spunto because they have a happy hour special where it's $20 for a pizza and bottle of wine before 6pm.  Spunto also has really good bruschetta.

Cafes & Sweets:

 ★ Magnolia Bakery:  the original Manhattan cupcake shop; must get a vanilla cupcake and a cookie

Serendipity 3:  good spot for brunch or a sweet snack

Buttercup Bakeshop:  same owner as Magnolia; must get a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting

Macaron Cafe:  French invasion!  Excellent macaroons and sandwiches; great lunch spot

Pret a Manger:  it’s a chain that’s popping up everywhere, but it is excellent for breakfast and good for a quick lunch.  Must try ham & cheese croissant in the morning when they are fresh.  Almond croissants and chocolate chip cookies are also amazing.


 ★ Bloomingdale's SoHo:  gotta love American department stores…  there’s a Bloomie’s in Midtown too, but SoHo is usually less crowded and more relaxing 

Bergdorf Goodman 5F:  a shopping experience; must hit the beauty department in the basement (Midtown)

New York Look:  upscale boutique with a few locations around town

Coup de Coeur:  trendy boutique with a few locations around town

Olive & Bette's: trendy boutique with a few locations around town 

Pookie and Sebastian:  trendy boutique with a few locations around town; decent jewelry selection

Walks & Sights:

 ★ Check out the sights (Wall Street, Statue of Liberty, etc.) in the Financial District (lunch rec: Adrienne’s on Stone Street), then walk up along the Hudson River (west) to Tribeca, SoHo, West Village… could cut over into SoHo and stop at Emporio when you’re ready for another snack or glass of wine

 ★ Walk through Central Park to the Natural History museum, then go over to Columbus Ave and walk down to Lincoln Center and Columbus Circle.  There’s a Magnolia on Columbus & 69th and good shopping all along Columbus (Olive & Bette’s on 72nd, Theory on 69th, and New York Look on Broadway & 62nd)

Gossip Girl territory on Madison, 5th, & Park on the Upper East Side

Best (free) view of the city skyline:  rooftop bar at the Ink48 hotel on 48th St. & 11th Ave.

Walk up Broadway from Union Square to Madison Square Park, check out the circus at Eataly

Walk/shop around South Street Seaport, stop for a drink along Front Street and Peck Slip

 ★ Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and enjoy guacamole and amazing margaritas at Gran Electrica in its beautiful backyard garden or wait in line for supposedly legendary pizza at Grimaldi's

Museums:  the Met, Natural History Museum, MoMA, the Whitney, Frick