Jutting out onto 5th Avenue and adjacent to the sprawl of Madison Square Park, the Flatiron building is as iconic of a New York City landmark as any. While a small part of me is tempted just to beeline to the OG Shake Shack in the park when arriving in this hood (or the Eataly across the way), there is a whole wide world of excellent cuisine in the area, if you only dig a little bit deeper. Stretching between NoMad, Gramercy, Chelsea, and Union Square, this small but mighty neighborhood is brimming with excellent food options, I would say more so than drink and coffee spots. Here are all of the places to check out next time you’re in Flatiron.
Sugarfish – This cult sushi transplant from LA was massively hyped when it first opened, and despite all of that I had a delicious meal with some of the freshest fish I’d experienced in NYC. I headed back for a weekday lunch this year, fully expecting to be able to walk right in, and that was certainly not the case. This spot is just as busy as when it first opened, and their well-priced tasting options are as delicious, fresh, and affordable as ever. You’re not getting superior innovation here, but man is it tasty.
La Pizza Fresca – This may be one of my new favorite pizza places in all of New York. And that’s coming from someone who samples a lot of incredible pizza. This neapolitan pizza join is located in Flatiron next to Sugarfish, and is serving some of the best ‘za in NYC. The dough is perfection, and each pie is made with care and only the most high quality ingredients. Also, you can BYOB. It doesn’t get much better.
Harding’s – You just can’t beat a giant, horseshoe bar, and Harding’s has one of the best in the city. There’s not cocktail innovation going on here, but they have everything you could possibly want, plus the most important element… space. This is great place to meet a friend/coworker/lover in the area for drinks.
Nur – I serendipitously made a reservation for Nur and ended up going the day after the New York Times review came out (2 stars!). While I preferred Miss Ada to Nur (more low key, easier to get in, better ambiance, cheaper), Nur was an incredibly delicious experience, and there is something to be said for the level of detail present in the food. Top picks are the eggplant carpaccio, black sea bass, and grilled lamb. You also can’t go wrong with the bread service (aka giant Jerusalem bagel the size of your face).
Cosme – This high-end Mexican dining experience has been on my NYC restaurant bucket list since it opened, and I finally made it there this month. This isn’t a chips and guac kind of spot (don’t even ask), but what you will find is a beyond-phenomenal uni tostada, the freshest cobia al pastor, and large format make-your-own duck carnitas tacos that left me dreaming about them for days on end. Don’t miss this place for a “treat yoself” kind of evening.
Devocion Flatiron – One of my favorite South Williamsburg coffee shops officially opened up in Flatiron, and it follows that I had to immediately check it out. Alas, this location is a bit smaller (thank you, Manhattan real estate prices), and the living wall has been downsized to a living chandelier with greenery (a site to see). But their coffee is still fantastic, the yellow mugs have remained intact (it’s incredible what a pop of sunny color will do for your mood), and I will be coming back for more.
Gramercy Tavern – A special occasion spot, if I ever met one. While your waistline and your wallet may not permit this to become a place in your regular rotation, it truly warrants a visit while in NYC. I recommend the tavern over the dining room, which allows you to order a la carte. The lamb tartare, octopus, sea bass with chorizo, any pasta on the menu, and the insane desserts were all equally mind-blowing. Go to the gym the next day.
Breads Bakery – Hands down one of my favorite NYC spots for baked goods. The chocolate rugelach and the babka are out of this world. If you take a baking class there, you’ll learn how to make them and get to bring them home too.
ABC Kitchen & ABC Cocina & AbcV – This trio of Jean-Georges restaurants is somewhat definitive and iconic in Flatiron. ABC Kitchen came first, and is a great spot to have in your back pocket if you’re heading to a work dinner or a meal with parents. I find the food to be consistently good (that carrot and avocado salad never gets old), but vastly overpriced for what it is. Ambiance gets top points. ABC Cocina is the vaguely Mexican concept from JG, and is where I go to grab a basil jalapeno margarita and spring pea guacamole at the bar during happy hour. Skip the main meal here. AbcV is the most recent concept from JG, and is his first foray into vegan cuisine. They offer to-go area in the front where you can grab breakfast or lunch on the go, along with counter seating if you’re having a coffee date. I personally prefer to try their food in this way, as it does get quite expensive eating dinner in the main dining room. The veggies are delicious and the space light and airy, but it’s not a can’t-miss in my book.