I first went to New York when I was a child and I can remember being mesmerised by the glamour and scale of it all. I had lived in a big U.K city all of my life but New York felt so fast-paced and buzzing in comparison and I loved it. As soon as I arrived home, I told all of my friends at school that I would live there one day and I couldn’t wait to plan my return, it definitely has that effect on people. Finally, years later Jamie and I decided to return for our five year anniversary. We don’t ‘do’ anniversaries or celebrating normally but any excuse to go back to New York and we were there, booking our flights at home on the laptop. It was so much more special the second time around, you realise how little you actually get to take in on your first trip to NY, it can be so overwhelming. All those years ago I had stayed in the Upper West Side area of Manhattan. I remember it being a business-like district, very commercial with all of the major designer stores laid out in rows on every street. It felt very quintessential ‘New York’ and a little bit touristy. This time we had a recommendation from friends to stay in the Lower East Side neighbourhood, it was younger, livelier and all of the locals lived there. I had a desperate desire to stay at The Ludlow hotel, it looked heavenly online and since we were normally such avid Airb’nb users, we wanted something more luxurious for our stay on this trip. Once we had booked the hotel and began plotting our shops, coffee stops, restaurants and bars on maps.me we realised that everything was within two-minute walking distance from the hotel. The Lower East Side makes you instantly feel like you belong there, there is no tourist trap, just New Yorkers brunching kerb-side with a coffee and strolling through the neighbourhood with their dogs and morning papers. I could not recommend staying in LES (as its known) enough for a relaxed NY experience. It was fun, vibrant, cool and full of independent shops. There is so much to explore that we hardly ever wanted to leave our area to go elsewhere. New York is not for the faint hearted, it is fast-paced, bold, brash and the people are the same. You can’t escape the noise or the hustle and bustle. It really is the city that never sleeps and makes London look mild. I can see why so many people fall in love with it and return year after year, we are already browsing apartments ourselves.
180 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002
The Ludlow is situated in the best location imaginable. It is central to all of your foodie, shopping and drinking needs. Just next-door is the best coffee shop in town, The Ludlow Coffee Supply and across the road is the famous eatery Katz Deli. The interiors are a dream come true with a deep marble topped sink and brass finishes. The flattering and glamorous light bulbs are all you need for an evening spent getting ready for a night on the town. You will feel like a goddess slipping in to your pristine Maison Margiela robe after a long soak in the tub overlooking the New York skyline. We had a Queen Loft room with a balcony on the top floor, I’d recommend going to the highest floor available for the best views. There is also a gorgeous rooftop terrace and gym with 360 views of the city. Dirty French restaurant is situated on the ground floor, a fancy French bistro that is full of sex appeal and amazing cocktails. If you cant get a reservation, just order room service. The staff were all incredibly attentive and charming and allow you to leave your bags on your final day in a holding room free of charge, so you can continue exploring the city hassle free. The Ludlow isn’t the cheapest hotel and it definitely doesn’t offer the biggest rooms, however the location, views and interiors alone are worth paying for!
CAFES & RESTAURANTS
85 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Dudley’s was so close by our hotel and was a spot that I had pencilled in on my extensive list of great NY brunch spots. It certainly delivered and lived up to our expectations. Dudley’s is a super chilled out all-day café, which serves really big plates of tasty and locally sourced American food with an Australian healthy twist. We sat outside on the street, on a gorgeous summers morning and ordered a matcha latte and cappuccino. Jamie ordered the ricotta pancakes with honeycomb butter and I the avocado and poached egg on toast. It all tasted as good as it looked and was really reasonably priced as far as NY goes. It was so good we went back twice to try the rest of the menu and everyday we walked past it was buzzing with locals.
3103, 131 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Good Thanks was another great café that we couldn’t wait to visit, not far from our hotel, tucked down a quiet side street with a cool shop front and well designed logo. They offer up small, medium and large eats and are open all day until 4pm with the same menu. I ordered the avocado toast with poached egg on sourdough and Jamie the scrambled eggs with kimchi – delicious. They have a good wine and cocktails selection with plans to remain open until the early hours like only in New York, where your brunch can turn boozy. I loved it!
SUNDAY IN BROOKLYN
348 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Sunday in Brooklyn is everything you want from a brunch on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It offers the perfect all American, big plate, big hearty flavours and big portions of food. The décor outside and in is beautiful with large circular marble tables and water coolers beside your seats situated on a leafy green suburban street in the heart of Williamsburg. You can totally imagine yourself living there, walking down the street in Summer to your favourite brunch spot and grabbing a seat outside. I ordered the two-stack of homemade Nutella-style praline pancakes topped with maple butter. Jamie ordered the egg and avocado brioche burger with potato fries. We sat in silence, so full, while I undid the top button on my jeans. It was everything you could want and more.
NICKEL & DINER
1 Howard St, New York, NY 10013
Nickel and Diner is not just any old American diner, it is oozing with glamour and is fresh, cool and modern whilst still serving you the classics. From the outside it looks very old school and soon as you step inside you find the chicest décor with a long glossy bar and booths to dine in. From the burgers and shakes to a light salad, you will satisfy every craving and all bases are covered for even the fussiest of eaters. The fries are amazing! It is a great spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner as there’s something for everyone.
CITIZENS OF CHELSEA
401 W 25th St, New York, NY 10001
The food at Citizens was just too good to put into words. I love a sweet breakfast, as you know, I always love when Belgian waffles are on the menu and sometimes they turn up a little dry or too sugary but their waffles were perfect. They were warm and fresh for a start and still had a nice chewy bite to them. Not overly sweet so the maple syrup and hazelnut crumb were delicious on top. Now on to the dollop of pink that came served on the side – dragonfruit panna cotta – oh wow. It was so creamy and sweet, delicious alternative to just yoghurt. I could eat it by the dozen with nothing else. Jamie ordered the shakshuka and claimed it was the best he had ever eaten anywhere. All round, a great Australian style café serving delicious healthy food in a cool Instagram-able setting with tropicana vibes and neon lighting.
THE BUTCHERS DAUGHTER
I had heard so many great things about The Butchers Daughter from everyone who has ever visited NY. If you don’t know already, they are a plant-based café and juice bar offering breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch that is totally vegetarian and mostly vegan and gluten-free too! Even if your diet is none of the above, you will find something utterly delicious on the menu. I ordered the ‘chicken’ Milanese and Jamie the grilled cheese and both were big hearty sandwiches and not at all ‘light bites’ which is a common misconception of a meatless diet. I am so in support of establishments that have no meat consumption and I wish every city had a Butchers Daughter equivalent. So popular that there is now three New York establishments to choose from and one in Los Angeles.
104 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013
Lalito has the most fun and playful website and the coolest graphics and the food looked incredible online so I was eager to visit. The food did not disappoint. The perfect blend of Mexican and California style cuisine, they offered big hearty salad bows with grains, seeds, slaws, halloumi, and radishes. Think of the most colourful plates of food and the tastiest lunch dishes. Im definitely not one to ever choose the salad option but Lalito’s was full of flavour, textures and were warm and filling. They offer really great wholesome and tasty dishes with new and exciting flavour combinations.
49 Canal St, New York, NY 10002
You would be forgiven for thinking Dimes and Lalito were the same restaurant because they both offer similar foods and have similar interiors and branding styles. The food at both is equally good. After eating so many stodgy, big all American meals we found ourselves craving the kind of food we would normally cook at home. Something lighter with veggies and some salmon or fish so we could not wait to try Dimes who offer really great warm bowels packed full of goodness. I actually whooped after seeing green beans on the menu, after struggling to find any veggies on any of the NY lunch menus. Dimes are eclectic and health-conscious whilst still offering great flavours and good portions. It is Californian-style fare dished out in the coolest, minimalist, white space with colour bloc tables.
CAFE ALTRO PARADISO
234 Spring St, New York, NY 10013
We always book our reservations in advance after a lot of research and recommendations from friends and for the first evening whenever we arrive somewhere new, we always search for the best local Italian restaurant. Café Altro Paradiso came up as the number one suggestion for effortlessly simple modern Italian cuisine, somewhere that feels upmarket but serves great classic food. They had a great wine list and the food was spectacular. We ordered the octopus, bread and olive oil and we shared a garlic fuelled squid ink pasta and a chanterelles and black olive gnocchi dish. The service was really attentive and friendly too!
142 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Wildair was again, just a short walk away from the hotel. It’s a small and intimate eatery that focuses on seasonal produce and natural wines and mostly only accepts walk-ins. The food is very modern and fine dining-esque but the interior is almost canteen style with large wooden communal tables and high stools, not refined at all. I love this style of eating when the food is high quality but the interior is more casual and laid back. The music played was Northern indie bands (circa 2007) and it felt really comfortable inside. I would definitely recommend a visit for some small sharing plates of delicious food and a glass of natural wine. The food menu changes frequently but all of the dishes we ordered were perfect.
185 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012
I want to start by saying this restaurant was my favourite in New York. It was so delicious I couldn’t wait between courses to talk about the previous course - I just wanted to eat all of it immediately. The lighting was also so dim and romantic that I couldn’t get any photo evidence of just how great this meal was. My photo does it no justice whatsoever. Jamie and I wouldn’t normally opt for French cuisine, we have always found it too meat heavy and rich but after visiting MIMI we were completely converted. I had soft as silk, creamy, cheesy gnocchi and chanterelles topped with snails (weirdly delicious.) Jamie had the octopus with white asparagus. Lots of smaller sharing plates are available and the menu frequently changes. They were very hospitable and offered to make certain dishes without red meat for us and for the table next to us. Definitely the first stop for a romantic date night in the city, be sure to book because MIMI is tiny inside!
47 Bond St, New York, NY 10012, USA
Il Buco was described online as one of the best local neighbourhood Italians and it definitely did not disappoint. It has the feel of a traditional Italian in the heart of Tuscany but the food is much more upscale New Yorker style. A classic mix of Mediterranean and Italian plates are served in farmhouse quarters with an atmospheric wine cellar and extensive wine list. It was very romantic inside, candlelit with large wood block tables and chandeliers hanging overhead. it felt like a traditional Italian home dining room. Since we always share our dishes, the restaurant offered us sharing sizes where we each got a plate of the pasta we wanted split in half, so there was no messy spooning pasta across the table for us each to try. I loved it.
295 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Four Horsemen is a gorgeous wine bar in Brooklyn, from the musician James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, serving small plates in a snug, and romantic setting. Four Horsemen is definitely one of my favourites in New York and the interior is exactly how I would want my own restaurant to feel if I were to own one. It has a great mix of people dining, some drinking and socialising and some on date night or with families catching up. The walls were lined with old wine bottles and melted down candles with lots of cool art prints lining the walls. The staff were fun and lively and had great knowledge of the food and produce and gave great recommendations on what small plates to eat together. There is no particular cuisine, just great simple cooking.
OTHER CAFES & RESTAURANTS
UNA PIZZA NAPOLEATANA
RUSS & DAUGHTERS
MARLOW & SONS
SNACKS & COFFEE
I have waited so long to visit Milk I could hardly contain my excitement approaching the hole in the wall café. After watching Chefs Table on NETFLIX and hearing about the inspiration behind the sweet treats and how they’re made, I began salivating at the thought of getting my hands on one of their cookies. Milk Bar is an award-winning bakery owned by Christina Tosi. The concept is to create playfully nostalgic desserts and to make life a little bit sweeter for all. The popular treats include cereal milk soft serve ice cream, made from cornflake cereal milk – topped with crushed cornflakes, (delicious) confetti cookie which takes just like birthday cake and sprinkles in a soft chewy cookie (my favourite.) I must have eaten about 6 cookies by the time I left NY and went back for a jar of 6 more to take home on the last day to bring home to my friends. The compost cookies with milk chocolate, pretzel and coffee bites are also amazing and the birthday cake and truffles are just heavenly.
Of course I love sweet things and have the biggest sweet tooth. One of our favourite treats is a macron so we always track down the best macron stores in whatever city we visit. Woops came up on all of the travel guide recommendation sites and I can confirm they lived up to the hype! The stores are beautiful and spacious and the macrons are extra large with lots of different flavourings to choose from. I would definitely pay them a visit if you in Brooklyn!
120 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002
Supermoon is the ultimate millennial dream. It is a combination of extraordinary patisserie store meets unicorn, space fantasyland. They offer the most out of this world croissants, cronuts, and donuts – you name it and they’ve got it - with the most over the top, intricate colours and designs. It is such a cool place to hang out and I loved the casual seating inside and the pink marble tables. It was really fun to visit and very relaxed inside plus the pastries are incredible.
149 Essex St, New York, NY 10002
Chillhouse describes itself as a destination for modern self-care and it definitely has the feel of wellness and health when you walk in. The space holds such a light and airy, calming atmosphere. On offer are a list of chilled or warm drinks with names such as ‘chill me out latte’ or ‘give me glow latte’ with ingredients such as lavender, vanilla and ashwaganda, known for its mellowing properties. They also offer CBD drinks, now a huge trend in New York café scene. There is also a nail bar and spa on site for bookable massages and holistic treatments. Chillhouse feels like a really comfortable safe space and is definitely doing something out of pure passion rather than faddy trends. I wished I had longer to book myself in for the anxiety reducing Chill Pill massage!
CHA CHA MATCHA
LUDLOW COFFEE SUPPLY
123 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10013
Glossier is of course, the cult skincare and makeup brand of the moment and rightly so. Cruelty free and minimal, cool packaging with products that actually work to enhance your routine and skin without being too scientific or loaded with chemicals – win! They also won’t break the bank and you can have them shipped the U.K online. They currently have a showroom in the Lower East Side and it is has all of the products on display to try and test, with some amazing staff on hand to help you suss out whats what. I purchased stretch concealer, birthday balm, cloud paint and haloscope. I’ll be writing a review of my products shortly so keep an eye out!
134 Wooster St, New York, NY 10012
Founded by two women, Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel, Mansur Gavriel presents the highest of quality, Italian made products with exceptional attention to detail, the finest leather material and a selection of beautiful colours and details. Designed in New York City and produced in Italy, the flagship store is a dream to visit and the aesthetics of this brand are key to its success. You would find it difficult to leave without purchasing one of the famous, practical and chic, bucket bags
THE APARTMENT BY THE LINE
76 Greene St, New York, NY 10012
Imagine your dream loft-conversion apartment in NYC with every single item inside being luxurious and beautiful and you can conjure up The Line. It is an airy 3rd-floor boutique store, which sells high-end fashion, home décor and beauty products all in the context of a home, every item you see in the apartment is to purchase. I visited the apartment in L.A and couldn’t wait to return to see the décor and inspiration for the city living apartment in New York, it is such a unique retail experience.
MARYAM NASSIR ZADEH
123 Norfolk St, New York, NY 10002
So minimal and carefully curated the Maryam Nassir Zadeh store feels like an artist’s gallery meets working studio. The concept boutique hosts independent, popular designers alongside her own-brand designs with pops of colour and soft fabrics. The accessories and shoes are playful and wearable and nothing in the store feels overly ‘fashion.’ The collections are truly assessable and wearable, enhanced by a beautiful store.
THE FRANKIE STORE
100 Stanton St, New York, NY 10002
Frankie Shop is my favourite fashion Instagram page and I endlessly check their website at home to see what new products have been released. Frankie Shop is the go-to place for unfussy, minimal and high end pieces that will last a lifetime without being unobtainable. Frankie has the perfect luxe basics with a twist and their entire range will see you from daytime-evening/casual-formal.The Frankie Shop Online also offer designers such as Rachel Comey, Caron Callahan, LOQ and Karen Walker. My go-to store for every item!
190 Bowery, New York, NY 10012
A high-end concept store brimming with luxury designer pieces from Acne Studios and Celine to Dries Van Noten all set in a distinctive elegant marbled -meets grunge, location. Also currently housing GANNI KIOSK, a collection of items created by GANNI for Totokaelo Definitely a place to stop by if you are looking for a timeless investment piece.
Opening Ceremony NY was a huge sprawling concept store for which they adopt a multinational and multicultural approach to luxury retail, showcasing different brands and designers in each of their stores across NY/LA/TOKYO. The brand is inspired by all things travel, art and high fashion and it feels like a creative hub inside with a similar feel to Dover St Market. I went in to browse my favourite LA label Staud. A great place to go for a fun, playful investment piece.
90 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Tictail was at the bottom of the street we were staying on and we had walked past on the first morning and noticed how busy it was, with a leafy green shop window covered in plants and a bench with a group of girls sitting and chatting outside, we wandered in. What we didn’t realise is Tictail is essentially like a bricks and mortar version of etsy, which is really cool. Their marketplace is designed to be a one-stop destination for fashion, art, and home decor bringing together small businesses from around the world. There were so many great brands all together under one roof and it had such a collaborative and independent feel to it. A great place to buy or sell your items!
23 Cleveland Pl, New York, NY 10012
Hesperios is a city retreat specialising in unisex ready-to-wear collections. They are an ethical brand and are mostly famous for their high quality knitwear selection. They house a beautiful café and offer special brews, Scandinavian bakes with plenty of comfortable seating and meeting tables, whilst surrounded by the collection and an array of books, ceramics and home goods. There is also a beautiful garden and communal table to enjoy. A little urban dwelling that feels quiet and peaceful.
CONCRETE + WATER
485 Driggs Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Concrete and Water is one of my favourite NY stores, situated in the heart of Brooklyn - but could have been plucked from Copenhagen or Stockholm. It hosts all of my favourite brands such as VEJA, Nanushka and By Far in a cool, light and airy minimal space. There are lots of great gift ideas inside too ranging from candles to cards and rugs!
THE KINFOLK STORE
AIME LEON DORE