I have always loved New York! The crowds, the sense of excitement, Wall St, the food & wine, the clubs and of course I always meet some amazing people when I’m over there. So having been to New York a fair few of times of late…. I thought I would pull together a guide to help those wanting to make the trek across the Atlantic!
The Flight Over
First up make sure you book British Airways… they do the best transatlantic voyage of any of the airlines that operate on that route (check out my post of London to New York trip here for a detailed review of the flight).
Get to the airport super early and make your way to the amazing British Airways Concorde Room! Enjoy the views of the tarmac… settle into the private dining area and have some supper before you’re flight.
Once you’re done in the Lounge and the Boarding Call echoes, grab your bags and race through the terminal (it is a long trek for New York departures) for your flight.
There is nothing more romantic than a transatlantic flight…. the romance of being flown across the vast depths of the deepest bluey ocean is something that always makes me happy. Once you’re on-board, the excitement builds… just make yourself at home – British Airways really know “Service”!
If you’re still feeling peckish they do have a lovely supper menu – On my flight a few year back I went for the Braised Herefordshire Beef and Mushroom Pie.
When you get tired, they make your bed and you can just fall asleep and dream about the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
New York (On the Ground)
Okay… so you’ve landed in the Big Apple… what do you do next?
To get into the mood of New York, spend your first day at Times Square! The lights, the crowds, those colourful neon screens… it’s when you know you’re in New York! Take a walk around and make sure you head to the M&Ms store!
I am not into touristy things (have never actually been to the Statue of Liberty believe it or not)… but Rockefeller Centre is beautiful with the ice rink, shops and people in beanies and gloves… it has some charm about it. It’s touristy but not tacky.
Snow & Snow Fights
A word of warning – New York does experience snow in winter. The last two winter trips I had there experienced a load of snow fall! That’s not a bad thing (although it’s hard to get cabs and the city turns into the sludge when it melts)… as I took the opportunity to get into a snow fight (second picture) with some lovely West Australian girls who happen to live in NYC (side note: the snow fight occurred during a mini blizzard… probably not the smartest thing to do).
But when the sun pierces the New York sunlight the glow of snow looks so beautiful.
If you don’t know where to stay… Waldorf Astoria is the place! The hotel has a charm about it. It is beautiful, a little old school and all about service. I seriously loved my stay here and the lobby is pretty amazing!
Now onto the dining section of New York (cause that’s why we go there)!
Eleven Madison Park (10/10)
You have to go here – no questions asked! In my opinion it’s the best restaurant out there… I can’t do it justice with a small snippet so please check out my review from last year – here! It’s the only restaurant in the world I have ever given a rating and the only one to receive 10/10 score.
Some of the best sushi you’ll ever taste, this place overlooks the United Nations building. The best sushi roll they do is the Diamond Roll – it’s made purely from three cuts of tuna, the Akami (the leaner flesh from the sides of the fish), the Chu-toro (the belly area of the tuna along the side of the fish) and of course the Otoro (the fattiest portion of the tuna, found on the underside of the fish).
Greenhouse Night Club
An amazing spot to partay! The crowd is so hip… you meet some amazing people here. There was a product (new drink) launch on the night and a girl who was the promoter & dressed in something more appropriately for a day at the beach in Tahiti randomly invited me to gate crash the party with free flowing drinks… not a bad night.
Here it is… the secret bar in a phone booth. It’s hidden and within a phone booth, you hop into the booth and dial 1 and it opens into a bar. It’s called Please Dont Tell (PDT)… they do amazing burgers, a killer cocktail list and have this chilled out no-pretenses attitude about everything. And, yes they have a bear head hanging on the wall (second picture).
The Four Seasons Restaurant
Check out my lunch I had there last year (here is the review)… the intro of my memoir last year sums up this place – The hall of America’s power dining, where deals are signed, negotiations commenced, long-term corporate relationships formed over the breaking of bread, the sipping of soups, and the swirling of wine. Views on stock prices, commodities and geopolitical events discussed over succulent pieces of fish, beautiful steaks and gourmet burgers. Welcome to the Four Seasons Restaurant.
The owner is an absolute star… he has greeted me everytime I’m there and when I couldn’t get a taxi home one year, he arranged for their private car to drive me back to my hotel. Legends!
The first time I went there for dinner I had the Oxtail Consume – it’s bits of oxtail and seasoned vegetables wrapped in a beautiful piece of cabbage which is situated in the middle of the consume. I break the cabbage bundle slightly and taste the juicy tender oxtail pieces which pairs perfectly with the amazingly flavoursome consume. Art on a plate!
The Venison they served was just as beautiful – just think tender, gamey fillet of venison with sweet breads.
Great pizza, No Bookings – just rock up and grab a table. The place has a full celebrity guestbook… everyone in Hollywood’s been here.
Bagatelle / Beaumarchais
Now this place used to be called Bagatelle then changed it’s name to Beaumarchais. Their speciality is the brunch party (a brunch restaurant which turns into a Day Club)! Weekends, Provencal Food, Wine, Champagne & Bloody Mary’s! They made my Amazing Breakfast Lists and provided they keep the party going… they’re staying on the list :).
When it comes to takeaway… you can still keep it classy in New York. Affiliated with the restaurant Bar Boulud, Epicerie Boulud does a lovely Maine Lobster Brioche with the trimmings… seriously it must a crime to eat it with a plastic fork. Casual dining at its best.
Some people love this place because of the celebrity pull and the whole Sex & the City thing…. but I am so not across the whole celebrities thing…. I actually visited the place on the recommendation of a girl I used to work with. I wasn’t overly disappointed, its a good restaurant – so I recommend you pay it visit and decide yourself. There are some stars on the menu… the Tuna Sashimi on Avocado was a stand out dish.
It’s an amazing food market with fresh food purveyors showing the best of NYC- fresh sushi, fish markets with amazing crab bisque, wine cellars, fresh bakeries – you name it they got it. Get some gourmet takeaway, find a seat & enjoy!
The Modern (MoMA)
So you’ve spent the whole day pretending to be interested in Modern Art because every (and I mean “every”) tourist guide says you should check out the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)… and you feel famished – what do you do? Well simple just head to The Modern (a cute lil bar in the Museum which does amazing food) for a relaxing lunch.
One of the dishes I have is the Slow Poached Hens Egg with Maine Lobster, Artichoke Puree, Crosnes and Sea Urchin Froth! The steak I had at The Modern made it on my best steaks guide!
If you’re ever in New York during Australia Day or you’re feeling nostalgic, head on down to The Australian and celebrate with some expats. Funny story… one Australia Day, I was awarded best dressed guy by Jamie Durie at this bar a few years back- a classic night of fun shenanigans was had by all.
Stone Rose Lounge (Columbus Circle)
A little intimate cocktail lounge hidden in Columbus Circle building – perfect date spot, mood lighting, creative food menu, decent wines and lovely cocktails. The first is a Tuna Tartare Taco and the second picture is a Duck Rolls with a beautiful dipping sauce.
Beauty & Essex
Funny story… I was at PDT (the bar above) sitting there sipping some cocktails when I met this random guy… he started chatting to me and we decided to kick-on to this bar, where he was a VIP. He was going there to meet a couple of girls and took me along. We ended-up partying the night away.
The food is classic, but creative – the cocktail list is long but still has the classics – the vibe is cool, but not wannabe famous – the girls are gorgeous but still super cool! This place is about balance.
I decided to head into the restaurant section the next time I was in New York and the food was pretty amazing…. lobster tacos and an amazing rib-eye steak.
Terrior Wine Bar
Words can’t describe this place! It’s theme is little wine bars with an amazing selection of wine and rustic food – get there early, find a table and make a night of it. We had a Nebbiolo and a lovely egg and tomato bread last time I was there.
Creativity is key in any form of cuisine… Degustation (yes that’s the name of the restaurant) offer small tasting plates of some amazing “out there dishes”. To quote their motto “provocative Iberian, French and American influenced cuisine”.
The dishes include (from the top) Duo of Lamb with Piquillo Pepper and Moussaka and a Raspberry Chocolate Ganache. They also do this amazing Oxtail stuffed squid with steel cut oatmeal risotto garlic and aioli (not pictured).
So when it comes time to go… does it break your heart? Yes it does… NYC does that to you. But if you look on the bright side (an I always do) a trek across the Atlantic back to London awaits me! I soon find myself at JFK parked in the lovely Concorde Room with a dining table with a view (see below) ready to tuck into some lovely dishes.
Then on the plane back to London, get to your seat and sip on a lovely glass of Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle and watch clouds pass you by.
An if you do get a little peckish, British Airways catering out of New York is lovely. I had the Braised Petite rack of veal with demi-glace, Swiss chard and risotto with radicchio and parmesan. (That flight was delayed by ~4 hours on the tarmac from memory due to snow…. so I had an extra 4 hours on the plane #win). It is the best meal I have had on board a flight!! For more information on the flight from New York to London check out my most recent trip review here.
Hope you enjoyed my recommendations & best of luck with planning your own transatlantic voyage soon!