Parm (235 Columbus Ave)
It’s all about the typical Italian American food but it’s extra delicious. You can only get the sandwiches for takeout. The portions are huge so easily shareable. The mozz is a must, along with the chicken parm dinner. They only have ice cream cake for dessert but if you grew up on this type of food like I did, it will bring you back! Easy to walk in.
Streetbird Rotisserie (2149 Frederick Douglass Blvd)
Marcus Samuelsson’s other restaurant in Harlem and pretty casual. The main thing is obviously chicken, the best being the Ethiopian style (of course!) The chicken and waffles are good too. Easy to walk in and they do takeout too.
Gotham West Market (600 11th Ave)
Basically a market full of restaurant pop-ups (similar to Union Market in DC), some of which have actual brick and mortars elsewhere like Cannibal. Cannibal is very good (meat-centric) same with the tapas place. There’s also an Ample Hills!
North River Lobster Co. (Pier 81, W 41st St)
This is a boat up by the Intrepid that sails out every 15 minutes or so for about 15 minutes down the Hudson. Its thing is New England seafood so there’s a big raw bar, lobsters, lobster rolls, etc. The lobster roll isn’t as good as Luke’s but the goal is to be outside drinking beers on a boat, so the beer selection is good, and they have good cocktails. You can stay on for as long as you want, thus on really nice days there’s a line like at Frying Pan so go early.
Marea (240 Central Park South)
Unlike Osteria Morini, this is the seafood-centric restaurant by the same owner. It. Is. Amazing. It is also expensive but it will be one of the best meals of your life. They actually a prix fixe 4-course dinner for $100, which is a really good deal there and you can get a lot of food. Make sure to get oysters. Must make reservations.
The Smith (956 2nd Ave)
Your typical nicer “new American” place but they have a really good brunch and it’s a nice go-to when you can’t think of somewhere to go in the area. Make a reservation for brunch, but for dinner it’s fine to walk in.