{For Singapore eats, please click here}

It is an embarrassment of riches the dining options one has in NYC. After nearly 5 years, I have tried and true favourites. Here is my list of closely-edited favourites - ones I will never miss on any visit back:

Shake Shack - especially the one in Madison Square Park

Marc Forgione - Understated elegance - a restaurant to bring those you want to impress. The lobster toast is a must-order

Xi An Famous Foods - Always get the spicy Lamb Cumin Noodles - don't let the excessive oil turn you off

Clinton Street Baking Company - come early for their fluffy pancakes - which are served all day, every day (yup, you can have pancakes for dinner)

Freemans - located at the end of the narrow namesake alley, the food is well worth the wait. Hunting trophies and taxidermy make up the rustic decor. The artichoke dip is not to be missed. 

Cocoran - a hole in the wall serving an amazing variety of hot and cold soba. A seat at the bar counter allows you front-row seats to fancy soba-making theatrics. I much prefer the larger space on Kenmare Street in Nolita.

Keste - when you want something nicer than a slice of Joe's (which by the way have the best slices in town). The popularity is warranted - their pizzas are really good! 

Spotted Pig - fancy pub grub with a perpetual line. I hear the burger is great but make sure you get the gnudi too! 

Frankies Spuntino - I was thrilled when this branch of the Brooklyn chain opened. Any of the pastas are great options, my favourite: the cavatelli!

Buvette - tiny yet cosy French cafe that serves great wine with a limited food menu 

En Japanese -  this humongous restaurant has a surprisingly large array of vegetarian options, including the oft-written about homemade tofu

Bathtub Gin - gin-heavy speakeasy located behind a door fronted by a coffee shop.

Red Cat - this places serves top-notch contemporary American. S and I have enjoyed a couple of really awesome dates here. 

Txikito - best Basque-style tapas outside of San Sebastian. Skip the overpriced cava if you can.  

Gramercy Tavern - skip the main dining room (which only serves a tasting menu)  and dine at the front tavern instead. This is an all-time favourite.

Maialino - another big favourite for pastas in the city. While the dining room is only open at traditional dining hours, the front bar section is open all the time. Pastas at 3pm? No problem! Right by Gramercy Park - which you can (only) peek into after your meal. 

15 East - if you like sushi omakase, reserve early for a limited spot at the rather theatrical chef's counter.  They save a great-value lunch too. Regardless where you dine, don't forget to order the house-made tofu. 

City Bakery - hot chocolate with marshmallows! Every February I look forward to hot chocolate month, where they serve a different flavour of liquid chocolate daily.

ABC Kitchen - I love almost everything on the (brunch) menu - especially the popcorn icecream. 

Raines Law Room - another stellar speakeasy with a much smaller guest list. 

Eleven Madison Park - All-time favourite splurge restaurant.

La Verdure - this is the very good vegetarian spot in Mario Batali's gigantic food emporium, Eataly. Rarely will you have to wait for a table here. Don't forget to order any of the Italian wines on the menu. 

Breslin - Love the lamb burger they serve. Actually everything in the Ace Hotel is great - but my favourite is grabbing a broccoli sub from No. 7.

Hangawi - best vegetarian Korean in New York (along with their more casual sister restaurant, Franchia). 

Levain Bakery - this hole in the wall serves freshly-baked cookies that literally 
melt in your mouth. Squat on any of the stoops close by and enjoy!

(A superb list of good NYC eats can also be found here)