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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Room Service. 690 9th Ave. Hell’s Kitchen. New York

If London’s Crazy Bear had a branch in NYC, this is what it’d look like: a slick, trendy setting for good Thai food. But the big surprise in this Manhattan eaterie are the very reasonable prices: curries and noodle dishes averaging $12 and appetizers for under a tenner. Our Massoman Curry was passable, but the Pad Thai was definitely above average. We loved the furni, decor and ambience more than anything though, and the Thai bar staff are elegant and efficient. In an area chock-full of Asian restaurants, Room Service stands out for style and glamour, even if the food is just decent. For this kind of value, you’ll definitely want to stay a while and order more drinks.

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El Almacén. 557 Driggs Ave, Brooklyn. NYC

Service here is appallingly slow, waiting times are completely inaccurate – on a busy Saturday night anyway – and it does take itself a tad too seriously, but El Almacén is a pretty little spot for some Argentinian grilled meats, Mexican and Spanish-influenced dishes and a tight New World wine list. The spinach, cheese and corn enchiladas are heavenly and the mussels surprisingly well-flavoured. Paella and short ribs are excellent choices and for dessert the panqueque seemed to be a hit too.

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