Minca. 536 E 5th St, Lower Manhattan. New York

It’s fantastically small and busy, and it’s not that cheap, but the ramen is exceptional. Excellent spicy miso ramen with pork was our favourite, but the basic ramens are also decent, allowing subtler flavours to come through. Noodle quality is superlative, but the magic is all in that broth and the slurp you give it.

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Subway: 1st Ave/2nd Ave

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Korilla BBQ. 23 3rd Ave. New York

One of the best-known food trucks in NYC opens a Noho/East Village restaurant and Delusionaryculinary makes it there in the first month – what a coup!
Regulars of the mobile version say that this is just as good, if not better: with a choice of tofu, beef or chicken in rice or salad bowls or in burritos, and an array of different pickled veg, kimchis, sauces and seasonings, you can really customize your dish. They could offer more than cans of soft drinks in their beverage choices, but these are early days and things will no doubt change on that front. However, nothing costs more than $9, and service is warm and welcoming, with energy and action thrown in with the music and mayhem.

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Zona Rosa. 571 Lorimer St. Brooklyn. NYC

This is a great brunch spot if you can bag an outdoor table on a sunny day; Ivan Garcia’s range of tacos and antojitos is impressive, causing mouth-watering reactions just from some of the descriptions. We had Tacos De Cachete De Res (roasted beef cheek, caramelized onion and cilantro) and Tacos De Pescado Al Pastor (grilled mahi mahi fish marinated in guajillo salsa, grilled pineapple, onion and cilantro). Service is patchy, and we reckon that the general swagger and arrogance of the spot is due to its secure place amongst the neighborhood’s best. Portions are on the slightly smaller size, but the flavours are so bold and ingredients so fresh that it’s easy to forget how much you can spend here.

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Macri Park. 462 Union Ave, Brooklyn. NYC

A plain old bar with no frills or thrills apart from outdoor seating (with No Smoking signs that, thankfully, are stubbornly ignored by all) and a happy hour that doesn’t shave much off the price of a beer at all. This place can get very quiet, and slow weekdays are not the times to be here. When it is in full flow though, it really is a lively neighbourhood bar with few pretensions.

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The Frying Pan. Pier 66 W 26th St & 12th Ave. Hudson River Park. Chelsea. New York City

Location, location, this one’s all about location. With a view of Hoboken and Weehawken on the Jersey side, this Chelsea bar pulls in the afterwork crowd and the sunset gazers. Many locals start their night off here, and with a range of cocktails, pitchers and some bottles of wine priced fairly reasonably, an eclectic crowd descends on this permanently anchored lightship. Views are best from the top deck of course, but most drinkers find themselves anywhere they can bag a little space; an essential Manhattan summer spot.

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Brooklyn Label. 180 Franklin St, Brooklyn. NYC

A well-known and respected bar and brunch spot in Greenpoint, located on the ground floor of the landmark Astral Apartments, BL has an excellent range of food and drink; there really is something for everyone here. The Gaucho Benedict (Argentinean sausage, chimichurri, spinach, poached eggs with saffron sauce in an English muffin) was hearty and filling, and I really didn’t miss the hollandaise at all. Salads come in decent sizes, and they certainly aren’t stingy with the additions of meat.
Our drinks went down a bit too easily for brunch at 11am – which may say more about us than the tasty beverages and whatever they contained.

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