La Esquina, aka The Corner Deli.
La Esquina, aka The Corner Deli. Geoff Egan

Grab a bite to eat in the streets of the Big Apple

THE city that never sleeps needs to eat. Restaurants are on nearly every corner of New York City. They range from $1 hot dog carts to some of the world's most awarded eateries.

Eating your way through the Big Apple could take a lifetime. But of the thousands of pizza places, how do you find the best? Is it possible to eat Mexican that isn't Taco Bell? Can a Yankee cook southern-style chicken? If you ever find yourself hungry on the streets of New York - with no hot dog carts in sight - here are a few suggestions.

Mexican

Two blocks off Broadway, below a street corner restaurant, through the kitchen, and down a tiny staircase is one of New York's hidden gems. From the street La Esquina looks like a Mexican taco joint. But in the cellars below the kitchen lies a fine dining experience.

La Esquina - aka the Corner Deli - is far from just your everyday takeaway fare. Dishes like Mexican tuna tartare separate it from that usual fare. That is without getting into the pages-long tequila menu or the award-winning margaritas.

That said, the restaurant's tacos are some of the best you'll find in the Big Apple. Special mention goes to the Pollo Rostizado (citrus-rubbed rotisserie chicken).

 

Tequila bottles inside La Esquina.
Tequila bottles inside La Esquina. Geoff Egan

 

Pizza

Pizza is synonymous with New York - not many cities have a type of dish named after it. Calling itself America's first pizzeria, Lombardi's is a Little Italy institution. The menu is simple - pick a tomato sauce base or a cheese base and add toppings.

Like it did when the original Lombardi's opened in 1905, the restaurant uses a coal oven to bake its pizzas. In a way, the pizza is a secondary attraction though. The walls of the restaurant are covered with photos of the owner - Gennaro Lombardi III. On every wall Mr Lombardi appears in newspaper clippings, or next to the oven, or with famous patrons.

 

Pizza fresh from Lombardi's coal-fired oven.
Pizza fresh from Lombardi's coal-fired oven. Geoff Egan

Italian

Like La Esquina, Barbuto straddles the line between casual and sophisticated. Based out of what looks like a former garage, Barbuto is a casual spot with amazing food.

While La Esquina might be dark and hidden, Barbuto is open and airy - the garage doors can be raised up during the summer. Outdoor eating might sound normal by Australian standards but, for a city that gets as cold as New York, it's almost a revelation. The restaurant's signature pollo al forno is one of the best meals you will find in New York. A close second goes to the manzo ai ferra - a steak with Asian vegetables.

 

Barbuto's signature pollo al forno.
Barbuto's signature pollo al forno. Geoff Egan

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