10 best places to go (mostly to eat) when visiting New York by Amy Wilson
Updated: Feb 3
If you love good food, wine, jewellery and art - we have the NYC list for you.
It was amazing to be back in one of the best cities in the world: NYC. While a lot has changed (being able to stroll down the sidewalk without a swarm of tourists and busy New Yorkers squashing you is not to be sniffed at), the city is such a diverse a place that you could have travelled here ten times over (and I have) and not experience all the amazing places Manhattan and Brooklyn have to offer.
I was there in February working with jewellery clients at NY NOW and MELEE and after long chatty days showing retailers and press the latest handmade collections from various British jewellers, my evenings were free to roam the electric streets of Soho, Williamsburg, West Village, Lolita and Bowery.
Here’s the best of the best from my visit…
For jewellery lovers
ESQUELETO features a thoughtfully edited selection of handcrafted fine jewellery, artwork, and objects. Owner Lauren Wolf first opened the Oakland shop's doors in 2011 after many years of running her namesake line, Lauren Wolf Jewelry. In 2015 ESQUELETO expanded to Echo Park, Los Angeles, and also launched their website. In 2019 the company expanded again, adding a third bricks-and-mortar in Los Angeles' Los Feliz neighbourhood and a fourth in Nolita, NYC - it was my first visit and it was amazing!
Love Adorned is a fine jewellery and lifestyle store from Lori Leven housing a curated inventory informed by her years of travelling and collecting. Focusing on vintage jewellery, one-of-a-kind pieces, and artisanal home decor, Love Adorned is a shift away from throwaway culture that values utility, aesthetics, and craftsmanship.
In addition to working with some of the world’s most exciting jewellery designers, Catbird designs and manufactures their own line. I visited their newest shop tucked into a quiet tree-lined block in Soho.
For food & wine lovers
Beauty & Essex
Beauty & Essex has an innovative design that starts in the restaurant’s entrance, a well curated modern-day pawn shop replete with a saxophone, boom box, quirky artefacts, vintage treasures and an eclectic array of one-off pieces of jewellery. Continuing past the pawn shop, guests encounter a grand, circular staircase wrapped around a two story custom made chandelier, but only the adventurous will discover all that Beauty & Essex has to offer. With four distinct dining rooms (one private), two bars, a lounge and a women’s bathroom complete with a salon including a luxurious sofa and antique perfume bottles. The cuisine, much like the design, is intended to set a new course. I was equally delighted to come home to the show ‘Inventing Anna’ in which the restaurant was featured.
Jack’s Wife Freda
Jack’s Wife Freda is renowned for greeting everyone like family, with staff and servers who have as much fun as we do dining there, eating food that is as delicious to eat as it is to look at. The menu at Jack’s Wife Freda tells the story of the dishes from childhoods in Israel and South Africa, which is where the couple are from, also influenced by New York’s Jewish food and culture - emphasising bright, fresh ingredients and beautiful presentation. The warm and friendly environment is reflected in everything at Jack’s Wife Freda; lively atmosphere, effortless ambience and joyful sense of community.
Mid-December Omnicron struck but the resilient hospitality industry of NYC had a plan for that: heated outdoor dining huts.
Le Crocodile is a neighbourhood brasserie serving authentic French fare in a setting inspired by Parisian and New York faire. Le Crocodile is in the stunning Williamsburg’s Wythe Hotel, and it basically feels as if you’re in an episode of ‘Sex and the City’ or, for us modern millennials, ‘And Just Like That.’
The Ten Bells
The Ten Bells has quietly existed within the hustle and bustle of New York City's LES since 2008 and I literally stumbled upon it while trying to find WIFI. Its cosy, dimly-lit den offers an unpretentious atmosphere and was perfect for a quick wine and email session before dinner.
LaLou is a Prospect Heights wine bar with a focus on natural, biodynamic and small-production wines.
LaLou’s market-driven menu offers dishes that are meant to mix-and-match, perfect for a light bite or a sharing plate with friends.
For art lovers
The Noguchi Museum
The Noguchi Museum exhibits a comprehensive selection of Isamu Noguchi’s material culture, from sculpture, models and drawings, to his personal possessions. Through its rich collection, exhibitions, and programming, the Museum facilitates scholarship and learning for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Holding the world’s largest collection of his works, it features open-air and indoor galleries in a repurposed 1920s industrial building as well as a serene outdoor sculpture garden - true transportation from the busy streets of Manhattan.
The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 celebrates creativity, openness, tolerance, and generosity. Their aim is to be an inclusive place—both onsite and online—where diverse cultural, artistic, social, and political positions are welcomed. They are committed to sharing the most thought-provoking modern and contemporary art, and invite visitors to join them in exploring the art, ideas, and issues of our time.