La Esquina, aka The Corner Deli, from the street.
La Esquina, aka The Corner Deli, from the street. Geoff Egan

TRAVEL: Eat your way through New York

THE city that never sleeps needs to eat.

Restaurants are on nearly every corner of New York City. They start at $1 hot dog carts and end with some of the world's most awarded eateries.

Eating your way through the Big Apple could take a lifetime. But of the thousands of pizza places, how do you find the best? Is it possible to eat Mexican that isn't Taco Bell? Can a Yankee cook southern-style chicken?

If you ever find yourself hungry on the streets of New York - with no hot dog carts in sight - here are a few suggestions.

MEXICAN:

Two blocks off Broadway, below a street corner restaurant, through the kitchen, and down a tiny staircase is one of New York's hidden gems.

From the street La Esquina looks like a Mexican taco joint. But in the cellars below the kitchen lies a fine dining experience. 

La Esquina - aka the Corner Deli - is far from just your every day takeaway fare. Dishes like Mexican tuna tartare separate it from that usual fare. That is without getting into the pages long tequila menu or the award winning margaritas.

That said the restaurant's tacos are some of the best you'll find in the Big Apple. Special mention goes to the Pollo Rostizado (citrus rubbed rotisserie chicken) and the Cochinita Pibil (slow cooked pork with onions and habaneros).

PIZZA:

Pizza is synonymous with New York - not many cities have a type of the dish named after it.

Calling itself America's first pizzeria Lombari's is a Little Italy institution. The menu is simple - pick a tomato sauce base or a cheese base and add toppings.

Like it did when the original Lombardi's opened in 1905 the restaurant uses a coal oven to bake its pizzas.

In a way, the pizza is a secondary attraction though. The walls of the restaurant are covered with photos of the owner - Gennaro Lombardi III. On every wall Mr Lombardi appears in newspaper clippings, or next to the oven, or with famous patrons.

ITALIAN:

Like La Esquina, Barbuto straddles the line between casual and sophisticated. Based out of what looks like it was once a garage Barbuto is a casual spot with amazing food.

While La Esquina might be dark and hidden Barbuto is open and airy - the garage doors can be raised up during the summer. Outdoor eating might sound normal by Australian standards but for a city that gets as cold as New York it's almost a revelation.

Barbuto's meals are simple but amazing. The restaurant's signature pollo al forno is one of the best meals you will find in New York. A close second place on the menu goes to the manzo ai ferra - a perfectly cooked steak with Asian vegetables.

OTHER NEW YORK DINING HIGHLIGHTS:

The Dutch - A former B-Grade celebrity haunt turned into the home of southern-style food in the Big Apple. Try the fried chicken.

Ess-A-Bagel - The best bagels in the home of good bagels. Add any topping to a huge range of bagel flavours. Or just add cream cheese.

Dominique Ansel Bakery - The place that invented the cronut. Get in early - there is a line out the door most mornings and items sell out.



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