13 NYC Restaurant Recommendations From Celebrities

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In an effort to learn from some of the world’s biggest celebrities, we reached out to them to hear their response to this one simple question:

What’s your favorite restaurant in NYC and why?

Here are their responses, which are shared in the order that they were received:


Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 5.46.14 PM1. “My favorite restaurant in NYC is ABC Cocina – located at the ABC Carpet & Home store at 888 Broadway!  It’s a beautiful space with great food!  What’s not to love!

Barbara Corcoran, Shark on ABC’s Shark Tank, Author of Shark Tales, Real Estate Mogul, NBC’s Today Show, CNBC Host, @BarbaraCorcoran



2. “Buddha Bodai on Mott st, Chinatown. Kosher vegan dim sum. Need I say more?! The vegan BBQ pork bao and anything actually with BBQ pork will leave you obsessing over your next fix. Amazing authentic dim sum in an authentic dim sum venue. Yum. Dun-Well Doughnuts. Brooklyn. Vegan artisan doughnuts that win awards for best doughnut overall – not just vegan. The consistency is absolutely the doughnut of your dreams, and the artisan rotating variety of amazing toppings makes this place just the best. Plus, the down home old time doughnut shop feel makes it a total experience worth going to Brooklyn for sure!”

Mayim Bialik, CBS’s The Big Bang Theory, Author of Mayim’s Vegan Table@MissMayim


Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 5.52.55 PM3. “Chalk Point Kitchen offers a fine dining experience in hip Soho with easy access from several Subway stations. The restaurant offers a classy flair for small details, a minimal, yet elegant decor, a well-stocked wine bar and skilled mixologists. These ingredients, together, result in a tantalizing menu of fresh, seasonal dishes and craft cocktails for the most distinguished palates. Overall, the food is delicious and the atmosphere has a warm yet upscale ‘neighborhood eatery feel!'”

Hill Harper, CBS’s CSI: NY, USA Network’s Covert Affairs, Best-Selling Author, Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, @HillHarper


One of my very favorite restaurants in New York is Carmine’s (I’m a regular at the uptown location on Broadway).

I am a big big fan and love two things about this amazing Italian Family restaurant;It goes without saying that the service from management to waiter is always a delight.  Whether you are a regular or first timer you will be greeted with a smile and love. But what really matters is the food! I love their Caesar Salad to start. Hey if that is all I ordered it would be great cause the portions are so large that it really is difficult to eat everything on your plate. For the main dish two of my all time faves are Chicken Scarpariello, and for a splurge their Porterhouse Steak. Remember the portions are huge – family style- so plan for one dish to serve at least 4 people. That is why it is affordable. Their deserts which are also huge are a serious delight regardless of which one you choose. For me however their tiramisu is my choice.

The second reason I love Carmines, is that when I look around and see tables of 6 or 8 or big family parties, I am happy that the dinner they are enjoying, is affordable and plentiful.

When a group of people stop me on the street ask me if they can afford to eat out?  My answer is YOU ARE APPROVED if you are eating at Carmine’s!”

Suze Orman, Emmy Award Winning Host of CNBC’s The Suze Orman Show, Number One NY Times Best Selling Author, Motivational Speaker, Personal Finance Expert, @SuzeOrmanShow


Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 5.50.16 PM5. “That’s a tough question. I think every New Yorker has their favorite little out of the way places. These are the places you share with friends or you “one up” with people when you’re talking food. I have a lot of those. The city is filled with little places that do the best ‘this or that’. And I leave it to anyone to get out and explore and find those places. My favorite restaurant is Hillstone. True New Yorkers might wince at a chain but I find the difficulty with any restaurant in the city is consistency.

Will your favorite place live up to your expectations time and time again? Hillstone does. It’s atmospheric despite it’s rather big footprint. You can hear the people you’re dining with and the menu is diverse. Do yourself a favor and try the kale salad. The sushi is great, the steaks are great and don’t tell my mother but their Famous French Dip sandwich is the best I’ve ever had hands down. It’s a place I get excited to go to.  Like a little kid to and ice cream parlour kind of excited.”

Sean PalmerSex and the City, London’s Phantom of the Opera, @Seanpea


Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 5.59.02 PM6. “Picking one favorite New York restaurant on the basis of the food is impossible–There are too many great options. I love Juliana’s for pizza, Second Avenue Deli for pastrami, and a million others I can’t think of. But I’d like to put forth a Middle Eastern restaurant called Ali Baba, on Amsterdam on the Upper West Side, because eating there is a quintessentially New York experience.

It’s a hole in the wall with the best shawarma I’ve had in America. There’s only one table, so everyone eats together. The last time I was there I sat with a Japanese university professor, two Hasidic Jews, and a guy visiting from the midwest. Then a Croatian came in carrying a cello. He said he had never had falafel before, and the room went silent as he took his first ever bite. He liked it. He was one of us.

Dan Pashman, Creator and host of the James Beard Award nominated food podcast The Sporkful, Cooking Channel host, Contributor to NPR and WNYC, @TheSporkful


Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 6.03.19 PM7. “To pick one restaurant in the US is tough! I’ve been offered some amazing hospitality and good food in a lot of places, but one of my favorite spots is Vitae in NYC. It’s such a good place to unwind in the hustle and bustle of the big city. They take such good care of us when we eat there, and the food is always delish! I leave there stuffed and happy every time. They always have something that fits my mood. Homemade pastas, yummy pork schnitzel, or scallops with a curry sauce, and I always make sure to save room for dessert!”

Jennie Finch, NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, Time Magazine’s “Most Famous Softball Player In History,” @JennieFinch


Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 6.11.49 PM8. “My favorite all-around restaurant in NYC is probably Gramercy Tavern.  There are so many great places in that city, and there are so many spots that I love the most depending on my mood and hunger.  But if I could only dine once more in the city ever again it would have to be Gramercy.  I’ve never had anything short of a spectacular meal there.  They truly grasp seasonal cooking and do it with style and flair, but never as a gimmick.  Everything from the cheese selection to the wines, the decor to the service, and of course the menus – is perfect.  Go there now!”

Hosea Rosenberg, Winner of Bravo’s Top Chef, Owner of Blackbelly Catering@ChefHosea


Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 6.18.25 PM9. “My favorite restaurant in NYC is Parm, hands down. This Italian-American joint makes my ideal comfort food. From the classic chicken parm to the inventive B&G Poppers and the charming ice cream cake to finish on the meal – this place does comfort right. The atmosphere is laid back, the food is always good, and I always leave happy and well fed.”

Kelsey Nixon, Host of Cooking Channel’s Kelsey’s Essentials, Food Network Star, Emmy Nominated, @KelseyNixon


Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 6.22.46 PM10. “My favorite restaurant in NYC is ABC Kitchen because everything is not only delicious, but it’s all organic and so fresh. I love the decor inside as well.”

Nastia Liukin, 5 time Olympic medalist, NBC Sports Commentator, @NastiaLiukin


Christian Finnegan11. “I’m going to stick close to home on this one. My wife and I live in a rather, um, “up and coming” area of Queens, surrounded by taxi repair shops and industrial warehouses. So when Café Ole opened up five years ago, it was a dream come true. The menu doesn’t exactly re-invent the Spanish food wheel (tapas, paella, etc.), but each dish is perfectly prepared and the fish is always fresh as fresh gets. Oh, and the sangria kicks ass.

Deliciousness aside, it’s the ambiance that really made me fall for Café Ole. In the middle of a block that can euphemistically be described as “nondescript”, they’ve created a perfect little oasis. Alex, the owner, treats every customer like a personal friend while never being intrusive. Also, Café Ole the American Museum of the Moving Image is right down the street, which makes for a great date-night combo.
If it sounds like I’m a paid publicist for Café Ole, it’s only because I’m so happy for Alex and his crew. For a long time my wife and I maintained a stoic “there’s no way this can last” attitude. But five years in, it’s become a genuine point of neighborhood pride.  Café Ole is the Little Restaurant That Could.
Check it out!”

Christian Finnegan, Are We There Yet, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Comedy Central, Conan, The Today Show, @ChristFinnegan


Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 6.08.22 PM12. “I find myself always returning to and recommending Ballato’s, especially when I’m craving a perfect spaghetti al pomodoro that takes me straight back to Italy, zucchini fritte, tre colore salad, and plates of their warm house focaccia bread to start. Located on an unexceptional stretch of Houston Street, within walking distance of Little Italy, but a world apart, I’ve spotted big-time celebs on multiple visits – I know they love it because it’s so cozy and off-the-radar. It is completely irresistible and a piece of old New York – a true locals only joint.”

Annie Fitzsimmons, CNN, National Geographic’s Urban InsiderHotel Belle@AnnieFitz


Bonnie13. “Favorite NYC eatery? Impossible to choose! Depends on what I’m in the mood for. Lavo has a ginormous Kobe meatball with whipped fresh ricotta you must have at least once before you die, and the eggplant parmigiano appetizer is spectacular. The steaks at Quality Meats are wonderful (ribeye aged to perfection!), but I’d be perfectly happy just loading up on appetizers and dessert. Their signature corn creme brûlée is worth an extra 30 minutes on the elliptical as is a “dressed up” scoop of their homemade ice cream. Coffee and doughnuts, please!

But since I try to eat healthy most of the time, my favorite seafood spot is Catch. While in the trendy part of town (Meatpacking District), it has an earthy, chill kind of vibe with very attentive service. The simply grilled fish dishes come with a variety of savory sauce options– I’m partial to grilled salmon or mahi-mahi with mango-pineapple salsa– and the rolls are mouthwatering, each with a unique twist. Spider Roll with crab, avocado and sweet chili garlic gets the nod every time!”

Bonnie Bernstein, VP of Campus Insiders and ESPN/CBS/FOX Sports Host, @BonnieBernstein


Already got that next date night planned out?! We’re happy to hear. If you liked this post, feel free to share with all your foodie friends. Bon Appétit!

PS- If you haven’t already, be sure to check out similar posts 13 Restaurant Recommendations from Top Food Experts and 17 LA Restaurant Recommendations From Top Hollywood Celebrities.


Taylor Goldblatt

After years of research, travel, and dreams, I have created this website for people like you who want to experience the things that only America can offer. My passion is to explore and share America's greatest destinations and attractions. Follow me on Twitter @USCityTraveler for additional travel tips and ideas.

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