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Smoked Salmon at Russ and Daughters Cafe in New York City

New York Quickie – Summer Edition

In North America, USA by Daryl & Mindi Hirsch17 Comments

When locals flee for the beach, a New York City summer weekend is a great time to try new restaurants and score cheap hotel rooms.

Smoked Salmon at Russ & Daughters Cafe in New York City

There’s something about a New York City summer weekend, especially on a holiday.

Most Manhattanites flee the city for the Hamptons and the Jersey Shore, turning the normally hectic metropolis into a more laid-back town where it’s easy to find affordable Manhattan hotels and book prime-time dinner reservations at popular restaurants.

In other words, summer weekends are the perfect time to visit the best NYC restaurants and sites without worrying so much about long lines and reservations. This applies whether you are planning a five-day New York itinerary or just a weekend visit like we did.

Duane Street Hotel is located at 130 Duane Street, New York, NY 10013, United States.

Street Musicians in New York City

Street musicians light up Bleecker Street in lower Manhattan. You never know what you’ll bump into in New York City, even during a holiday weekend.What To Do in NYC in the Summer

Don’t get us wrong. We love our home city of Philadelphia. But, after stepping out of our room at the Duane Street Hotel and looking at the buildings rising into the Manhattan sky, we realized how lucky we are to live just a couple hours from NYC.

With its endless skyline, dense neighborhoods, cornucopia of entertainment and ubiquitous dining, New York is the epitome of urban life around the world.

Though not the typical summer beach destination, New York City is a great place to visit for a weekend during the warm summer months. Whether you decide to take a food tour, browse through the city’s world-class museums or see a Broadway show, here are our some of our favorite fun things to do in NYC in the summer. Not surprisingly, most involve eating NYC food!

Lunch at Dominique Ansel Kitchen

Dominique Ansel Kitchen in New York City

Dominique Ansel Kitchen is the master pastry chef’s second NYC location. It’s a perfect spot for a casual lunch or dessert or both.

After breezing up the turnpike through the almost nonexistent mid-weekend holiday traffic, we parked on the street (free and ample street parking is another advantage to New York holiday weekend travel), checked into our cosy Tribeca hotel room and immediately headed to our first stop – the newly opened Dominique Ansel Kitchen.

Some of our readers may recall our previous holiday visit to Dominique Ansel Bakery, a mecca for food-obsessed fans who lined up around the block for the ridiculously popular cronut last year. Since the spring opening of Dominique Ansel Kitchen, Chef Ansel has expanded his culinary portfolio to include savory items like tartines and grilled sandwiches.

The cafe, with its small amount of indoor tiered benches and outdoor seating, provides quick service for on-the-go city dwellers as well as for hungry travelers such as ourselves.

Croque Monsieur at Dominique Ansel Kitchen in New York City

The croque monsieur is an epic sandwich, oozing with cheese and loaded with ham. As a bonus, it’s perfect to share since saving room for dessert is a must when you dine at Dominique Ansel Kitchen.

No exaggeration here – Ansell’s croque monsieur is the best that we’ve ever tasted, even in France. Thick, house-made bread provides a platform for savory country ham and funky gruyere cheese.

After a visit to the grill, juices from the cheese and meat liquefy the artisan bread slices, creating a melty, oozy wonder. Plus, the cheesy sandwich is more than big enough to share.

Extra Fluff Mille Feuille at Dominique Ansel Kitchen in New York City

We really wanted to love the Extra Fluff Mille-Feuille at Dominique Ansel Kitchen. It’s a beauty to look at, but, sadly, a struggle to eat.

A visit to DA Kitchen would be incomplete without dessert.

We opted for the enormous Extra Fluff Mille Feuille. This dessert proved to be more spectacle than substance – a difficult to eat mess that somehow lacked the delicacy normally found in a great Napoleon. Next time, we will instead share a DKA, Ansell’s take on a Koughin Amann or the 1:1 Lemon Yuzu Butter Tart. Or maybe we’ll try the burrata ice cream.

Dominique Ansel Kitchen is located at 137 7th Avenue S, New York, NY 10014, United States.

Dinner at Bâtard

Batard in New York City

The gilded gold letters on the window of aâtard in Tribeca welcome guests with a ‘decorative’ duck press near the front window.

As we exited Bâtard, Daryl couldn’t help but notice the shiny metal duck press stationed by the restaurant’s front door window. “It’s for decoration,” the manager standing at the door stated. But after our sensational meal, we couldn’t help but wonder whether this laser skilled kitchen couldn’t put the press to good use.

Batard Dining Room in New York City

The serene atmosphere in Tribeca’s Batard sets the tone and allows the food to be the star.

Restaurateur Drew Nieporent’s Bâtard is classic New York dining at its finest, featuring meticulous dishes created by James Beard winner, Chef Markus Glocker. The cutting-edge food at Bâtard manages to maintain a comforting accessibility and affordability while showcasing the best flavors of both America and Glocker’s native country of Austria.

Situated in a trendy Tribeca spot formerly occupied by Nieporent’s previous restaurants Montrachet and Corton, the restaurant’s relaxed square dining room features monotone relief sculptured walls bathed in a subtle orange light that makes the dining experience feel special.

Food at Batard in New York City

It’s impossible to pick a favorite dish at Batard. Each dish of our dinner was creatively conceived and impeccably prepared.

Dinner at Bâtard is a great value for a luxurious New York City dining experience.

We shared a total of six courses between the two of us beginning with a thick, tender slice of pastrami spiced octopus and rich fennel tagliatelle dotted with delicate sturgeon caviar. We would be remiss not to mention the rare veal tenderloin wrapped in a butter pastry crust, the simple yet perfect roasted Amish chicken and the coffee and milk “kardinal” signature dessert. We enjoyed the meal with a food-friendly Beaujolais from Bâtard’s comprehensive, eclectic wine list.

We missed the fireworks, but, with food like this, we didn’t mind. Also, we’ll be there with bells on if the restaurant ever starts using the duck press.

Bâtard is located at 239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013, United States.

National September 11 Memorial and Museum

Waterfalls at Ground Zero in New York City

The waterfalls at ground zero are a moving tribute to the victims of 9/11.

Visiting this powerful museum during a holiday weekend allows a peek at the moving monument at the site of& the original twin towers without throngs of tourists. The moving tribute to the victims of the September 11 attack features artifacts and testimonials from the tragic event, though we were particularly moved by viewing the long list of names at ground zero.

Pro Tip: Since the 9/11 museum is so popular, we recommend that you book ahead to avoid spending too much of your weekend in a queue. Click here to buy ‘skip the line’ tickets for the museum.

Breakfast at Russ & Daughters Cafe

Russ & Daughters Cafe Menu in New York City

Russ & Daughters Cafe is the perfect spot in the lower east side to enjoy traditional food of the diaspora – bagels and lox.

Though we’re still bummed by the closure of the original Ess-A-Bagel shop, we’re encouraged by the opening of Russ & Daughters Cafe – a great development for bagel and lox lovers such as ourselves.

Russ & Daughters has long been a go-to location for the finest sliced lox, but making your own sandwiches can be cumbersome when you’re staying at a hotel. Niki Russ Federman and Josh Russ Tupper solved this problem when they opened Russ & Daughters Cafe last year in the heart of the Lower East Side neighborhood.

The cafe doesn’t take reservations, but this is not an issue on a holiday weekend. (Note the theme here.) That being said, a wait isn’t such a bad thing when you can walk around the formerly poor, currently upscale neighborhood while you wait for a text that your table is ready.

Super Heebster Bagel Toast at Russ & Daughters Cafe in New York City

The Super Heebster Bagel Toast is a taste sensation. It was such a great nosh, that we ordered a second one for dessert.

We recommend that you commence your meal by sharing a nosh, the Super Heebster Bagel Toast – a toasted bagel slice topped with a generous amount of whitefish and salmon salad and garnished with wasabi-infused roe and horseradish dill.

Did we like the crunchy, toasted bagel half with a savory smoky mash of fish topped with tiny, spicy pearl of caviar? Yes we did – enough to order a second one in lieu of dessert.

Classic Fish Board at Russ & Daughters Cafe in New York City

The fish boards at Russ & Daughters Cafe are perfect for sharing. We comfortably shared The Classic, but other boards are large enough for larger groups.

We also shared The Classic, a board with Gaspé Nova Scotia smoked salmon, cream cheese, tomato, onion and capers. This dish brought back fond memories of our youth with lox sliced so thin you could see through it.

These bagel boards expand to feed larger crowds of diners as witnessed by the generous board filled with all varieties of smoked delicacies that fed a party of six seated across from us. Next time, we’re coming back with friends.

Russ & Daughters Cafe is located at 127 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002, United States.

Late Lunch at Lolo’s Seafood Shack

Lolo's Seafood Shack in Harlem New York City

The funky yet laid-back vibe is readily apparent as soon as you enter Lolo’s Seafood Shack in Harlem.

For our last meal of the weekend, we headed uptown to Harlem for some lip-smacking Caribbean soul food. Lolo’s Seafood Shack is another new-ish restaurant in Manhattan that is bringing excitement to the dining scene. Helmed by Raymond Mohan and Leticia Young, this restaurant was the perfect place to end our New York City holiday weekend.

Patio at Lolo's Seafood Shack in Harlem New York City

Though the interior is cozy, Lolo’s Seafood Shack has a spacious backyard with loads of tables.

Located in a former Chinese takeaway restaurant, Lolo’s Seafood Shack looks small on the outside, but the restaurant sports a delightful backyard garden with picnic tables and funky decor. If you squint your eyes, you can almost imagine yourself transported to an island eatery.

Food at Lolo's Seafood Shack in Harlem New York City

Our meal at Lolo’s Seafood Shack was full of hits and no misses. We especially enjoyed the jerk ribs and smoked wings.

At the end of the day, what makes Lolo’s Seafood Shack special is the food.

The flavors of the various dishes are spot-on from the fresh seafood pots to the island snacks. Chef Mohan grew up in Guyana, and he brings the tastes of his childhood to New York City. The restaurant serves up a slew of zesty sauces to accompany the food, including a lethally hot sauce made from spicy ghost chili peppers.

Lolo’s Seafood Shack is located at 303 W 116th Street, New York, NY 10026, United States.

Hungry for more? Check out our New York Pizza Guide and eat your way around the five boroughs.

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About the Author

Saveur Magazine's BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.


  1. I am originally from the NYC area-born in Manhattan- so I love reading these posts. The food at all these restaurants looks amazing! I am well overdue for a visit to explore NYC!

  2. Ooh, I love the lox at Russ & Daughters! I’ve just been to their shop, I didn’t realize they have a café too. I’ll have to add it to the long list of places to check out on my next trip to NYC.

  3. I have never been to New York City, but its on my bucket list to go there. I know that life is so fast paced there, but I would love to see all the sights and taste all the wonderful food! Your pictures are great!

  4. NYC and food are the best combination! There is always a new restaurant to try each time I travel there. The last time I was there I had the most amazing Korean food in Koreatown. I haven’t been to all of the restaurants that you’ve mentioned here, but Russ and daughters has such yummy food.

  5. Wow it looks like you had a fabulous weekend full of wonderfully delicious food! Visiting new restaurants and trying new foods is one of my favourite parts of traveling! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  6. I live in NYC and still have done not a single one of these restaurants (*hangs head in shame*). Your posts always give me hope for new places to try!

  7. I want to go to New York again here soon!! All of this food looks amazing; I think that would be my favorite part of exploring the city. I have not heard of some of these food places before.

  8. I am new York born and bred, so i really enjoyed your blog post today! I wish I could spend the summer once again in New York City There is always so many places to explore! The only thing missing in New York City today is me! Look forward to what more about New York you would like to share with your readers and me!

  9. All the food you featured made me hungry. I have never been to New York, but I would love to visit and explore it one day. I will make sure to visit these restaurants when I go there.

  10. Oh wow look at that food! Looks so good. I’ve never been to NYC. Would absolutely love to go one day and explore. I’ve heard so much about many different places to explore in NYC but I haven’t heard much about food. This is great!

  11. I love NYC so much! I was just there for work last month and I’m headed there in a few weeks for a quick trip with a friend and our daughters! My next goal is to go with my husband and eat our way through the city, thanks for some great restaurants to add to my list!

  12. I’ll have to come back to your recommendations the next time I head to NYC. This last time, I defaulted to the same restaurant I’d gone to the previous time just b/c I didn’t know where to go and I wanted a great meal- but there are SO many restaurants in NYC, it seems a shame to not have tried something new.

  13. I absolutely love NYC and enjoy my time there every single visit. Such great pictures.. and as many times as I’ve been to NYC, it’s nice that there’s always something new to try on the next visit. I’ll definitely have to make my way over to these spots – the food looks so good! Thanks for sharing.

  14. Those fish boards made my mouth water! Love the pictures and the itinerary. Didn’t know a New York Quicke was possible haha!

  15. I was JUST in NY a week or so ago for a Vanity Fair event. We probably bumped into each other and didn’t even notice! LOL I am now starving though and wish I would have visted a few of these places. I have an Ansel cookbook that I mostly bought for the gorgeous pictures! LOL

  16. What a lovely – and delicious – weekend getaway! Great suggestions, and you found the coolest food! We haven’t gotten to spend much time in the city itself (always passing through on our way somewhere or stuck in a hotel on business), but it is really high on my must do list. Thanks for the ideas!

  17. This specific post very helps to pertain to travel for New York. Thanks a lot so much, shares the effective blog plus much more Information. I am satisfied to the blog. It is genuinely helpful. Thanks.

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