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Four volumes of SUITCASE Magazine, with a new issue delivered to your door each quarter
It may seem strange that one of New York’s trendiest restaurants is located in a Flatiron furniture store, but just go with it. For years, ABC Kitchen has been a go-to for fashionistas, hip execs and courting couples. Unsurprisingly, the décor and the food are stunning. Famed chef Jean-Georges has crafted a menu focused on seasonal, local fare free from GMs, pesticides and the like. But don’t expect rabbit food – artisanal whole-wheat pizzas, fish cooked to perfection and an array of inventive, veg-focused dishes are a far cry from the average farm-to-table experience. If your tastes lean south of the border, then try out the Latin counterpart, ABC Cocina, next door.
We have two very important syllables for you: PAS-TA. In 2014, New York’s beloved chef Andrew Carmellini opened this lively Bowery restaurant dedicated solely to everyone’s favourite part of the menu: the ‘primi’. No longer a segue between antipasti and the secondi, pasta here is the main event and Carmellini offers both classics and seasonal inventions: garlic linguine, orecchiette with broccoli rabe and rigatoni with pancetta and cabbage. That said, the carb-free dishes are equally fantastic – just make sure not to fill up on stuffed meatballs and burrata cremosa before your pasta makes its way to the table.
Sabrina De Sousa and Alissa Wagner, the two lovely ladies behind New York’s favourite healthy eatery, have been getting a LOT of press lately. Believe the hype: DIMES has mastered the quinoa bowl, the chia bowl, and, well, just about every healthy-hearty bowl you can imagine. Having relocated to a bigger space, the restaurant has expanded yet again – with an adjacent take-out shop where Alissa and Sabrina will be selling local produce, organic cosmetics and snacks to-go. Further proof that healthy food can taste amazing.
Known for its charming West Village venue, celebrity investors (ahem, Jay Z) and phenomenal burger, The Spotted Pig is a New York institution – and deservedly so. The food, without doubt, is amazing, but we also love the rustic décor that feels reminiscent of a high-end British gastropub. Picture exposed red brick walls cluttered with knick knacks, velvet bar stools scattered across available wall space and an exterior façade festooned with ivy and flowers. That said, the perennially buzzing restaurant (the place is packed on a nightly basis) has a distinctly New York feel. In keeping with the city that never sleeps, the restaurant serves dinner until 2AM daily and the bar remains open until 4AM. Handy for when your date is going especially well… Heads up, the restaurant does not take reservations, so prepare to wait. We recommend popping in early to put your name down and taking a walk around the beautiful neighbourhood.
In the loud and glitzy world of New York City dining, it’s often easy for the silent stars to go unnoticed. We’re talking about the laid-back neighborhood spots that feel like home; the kind of restaurant where you order a plate of pasta, a bottle (or two) of wine and while away the hours talking through a life crisis with your girlfriend. Introducing Malaparte, a no-frills West Village haunt serving up Italian favourites like spaghetti carbonara and grilled branzino. It’s the candle-lit charm of Malaparte, the comforting din of friends catching up on every table, and the “just like-a your mama used to make” dishes that have us coming back for make-up-free, weeknight dinners.
When in New York, there are times for tourism, and there are times to blend in with the locals. When it comes to the latter, we recommend Yves, a recently opened Tribeca delight that strikes the perfect balance between cosy and cool. Standing inconspicuously on the corner of Greenwich Street and North Moore, the teeny-tiny red-brick restaurant fills up at night with friends and lovers leaning over candle-lit tables to share plates of braised chicken meatballs, beetroot tagliatelle and burrata.
We can’t pinpoint when it happened, but suddenly the New York food scene exploded with hip Australian brunch spots killing it with avocado toast and beetroot burgers. Two Hands Restaurant & Bar, the second instalment from the original in Nolita, encapsulates the zeitgeist perfectly with affable waiter/models, Instagrammable matcha lattes, cocktails with names like ‘The Drunk Granny’ and a bright, airy decor. The dishes are inventive and playful, yet just familiar enough that you can return on the regular. Come for the spiked breakfast juices, stay for the man buns.
Few places will lure us all the way uptown. Between Soho, West Village and the Lower East Side, we’d be pretty content to spend an entire New York trip below the numbered streets. Levain Bakery is the exception to this. Sure, there’s also MoMA, The Met and The Guggenheim, but those places don’t serve the most delicious, chewy, melt-in-your-mouth cookies we’ve ever encountered. With a cult following that’s lead to several additional uptown outposts, and even a shop in the Hamptons, it looks like Levain, and its famous 6-ounce chocolate chip walnut cookie, aren’t going anywhere. Good news for us, bad news for our waistlines.
Located near Chinatown, this revival of Danny Bowien’s original San Francisco Sichuan eatery playfully pulls out all the stops. On a Friday night, the retro-glam restaurant is buzzing with a crowd of young professionals and diehard foodies – all ready for a serious feast. Forget about dainty, small plates; the stars of this menu, like Josefina’s chicken (a platter of chicken stuffed with mouthwatering sausage and egg) and beggar’s duck (an entire bird wrapped in lotus leaves and encased in clay for diners to crack open with mallets) are EPIC. Make sure to come hungry and ask for the cocktail menu – the drinks here are as crazy and inventive as the food (we’re excited for the tingling negroni coming this autumn).
At home and abroad, we are on the perennial hunt for a restaurant that’s cool without being pretentious, upscale withouting being absurdly expensive, centrally located but not too central, with a menu that caters to both the healthy and indulgent. Is that too much to ask? Apparently not for Loring Place, a relatively new restaurant on the Manhattan scene, helmed by star chef, Dan Kluger. With an understated interior design and guilt-free dishes that satisfy (make sure to order one of their seasonal whole wheat pizzas), Loring Place is an excellent choice for a weeknight dinner or brunch with friends.
There’s a small pocket of Manhattan, where the Lower East Side meets Chinatown, that’s recently become the favoured locale for New York’s trendiest twenty-somethings. The area is home to a handful of hipster hangouts including Dimes, The Metrograph, Bar Belly and Kiki’s. The latter, a classic Greek taverna, with cutlery in tin jars and basic china, might not seem like the type of place you go out of your way for. But factor in the people watching, convivial atmosphere, proximity of equally-cool post-dinner bars and decently priced food, and it starts to make sense why Kiki’s is such a winner. Beanies, thick-rimmed glasses and a half pack of cigarettes are mandatory accessories.
For those who consider themselves Foodies with a capital F, Atoboy is a great dinner option that won’t break the bank. While the decor at this NoMad restaurant may be austere, the food (best described as “Modern Korean”) is out-there and adventurous. Atoboy serves dishes featuring the kind of fancy ingredients you need to Google (persimmon, kumquats, yulmu) but for a modest prix-fixe price of just $39. For some, this might be an excuse to order twice as much wine; for others, it’s an incredible bargain.
Admittedly, the prevalence of avocado toast in major cities has become a running joke (apparently, it’s the reason millennials can’t afford to purchase homes). So it’s with complete, Gen-Y self-awareness that we credit Atla with one of the best avocado toasts in New York. The recently-opened restaurant, brought to you by famed Mexican chef Enrique Olvera, focuses on contemporary Mexican cuisine that’s tasty without inducing a food coma (think arctic char tostadas and ceviche verde). With its blonde wood accents and floor-to-ceiling windows, there’s a reason that Atla has become a power lunch spot for executives at nearby startups. Perhaps the best way to mitigate the cost of your avocado toast is to make deals while you’re eating it.
Good restaurants come and go in New York, but great ones last a lifetime. Minetta Tavern has certainly had a few makeovers in its 80-year existence, but it stands today as one of Manhattan’s finest. From its food to its decor, Minetta Tavern captures quintessential old New York. The dining room, which is packed on a nightly basis, feels out of a movie set with wood-paneled walls adorned with framed pictures, white tablecloths and red leather banquettes. But guests are really here to enjoy some of the city’s most superb steak and the notorious $33 black label burger. Financially and calorically-speaking, Minetta is a splurge – but one that you won’t soon regret.
The first thing you need to know about Sushi Seki is that it is packed on a nightly basis with young New Yorkers. For those who like to observe locals in their natural habitat, this is your zoo. The second thing you need to know about Sushi Seki is that it is one of the more affordable options for great Japanese food in the city (hence, item number one). The third thing you need to know about Sushi Seki is that their most famous menu item is the spicy scallop hand roll and it will change your life. If those three components aren’t enough to tempt you, we’ll argue that Seki (founded by an alum of the higher-end Sushi of Gari) is more than the sum of its parts. Note that given its humdrum 23rd Street location and simple decor, this is not exactly a restaurant for a special occasion, but one that’s perfect for a midweek meal with friends.
You know how you have that one incredible friend who knows their city inside out? That’s us. We take the world’s most dynamic destinations, hand-pick the best bits and give them to you in one place. This is the kind of guide that you don’t need to run by a local – it was written by one. Eat your heart out, shop until you drop, drink like a fish, dance your socks off, sleep – then repeat.
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