If you’ve been in the city for more than a few weeks, you’ve probably gotten your hands on an slice of pizza, some scrumptious dumplings, or some 3:00 AM meat & rice from one of the iconic halal carts.
After you get those, bagels, & chopped cheese out of the way, you might want to mix it up. That can be an intimidating journey to start on, though. With the amount of options you’re given, it could take decades for you to try everything available.
Given that you might not be able to get a decade or two off work to do some food tourism, we’ve scoured the city and found some of the most unique, intriguing, and sometimes outlandish dining experiences available.
Whether you want to take your family out while you’re touring, give your date an experience they’ll never forget, or switch up you & your friends’ routine, these are our top picks.
If you’re like most people that’ve watched an action movie or two, you’ve probably fantasised about breaking into a bank, cracking the lock to the safe, & busting it open. You might not have ended up as a daring bank robber, though, and maybe that missed chance is still on your mind.
Legally & morally speaking, we can’t offer you a bank to rob (or suggest you do it at all), but we do have the next best thing: Eating in one of the vaults!
That’s right, you can head on down to the Financial District & step into a vault once used by a bank in the early 20th century.
The Mosler Safe Company built it in 1904 for the New York Realty Bank, and it’s so massive that they had to sail it down the Hudson River & move it along specially designed train tracks from Battery Park to the current location.
It also has two doors, which was unusual at the time, and each of those weighs about 35 tons each. They’re about five inches thick, too, so it’s a good thing they don’t actually lock it.
Whether you’re into the history of the city in its early days, or just want an Instagrammable old-timey place to get a nice meal or drink, we definitely recommend this spot.
Is your typical dining experience severely lacking in fluffiness or general cuteness? We understand the struggle, and that’s why we’re overjoyed to tell you that your pain is coming upon its final days.
You might’ve already heard of cat cafes from a certain online outlet (*cough* Buzzfeed *cough*), but you might’ve not known how accessible they really are.
For just $7, you can reserve a chance to enter Cat Lady Nirvana for a half hour (you can stay longer, although you’ll have to pay for the additional time). As implied by the inclusion in this list, they have quite a few food & drink options for you to enjoy while you pet away.
If you really fall in love with one of the flufferoonies, all of the cats in the cafe are up for adoption, so you can bring the meow-gic (sorry) right back home with you!
They also offer snacktime with the kitties during the week, and you can even participate in a yoga class with them. They don’t really participate, though. They just kind of do their own thing, which mostly involves scratching the mats.
If you’re looking to catch some tasty cider, this is the place to be.
No, we didn’t word that wrong. Let us explain.
When you get to the Brooklyn Cider House, you’ll first sit down to enjoy a $49 four-course prix fixe menu of some top notch Spanish cuisine. At intermittent points throughout your meal, however, you’ll be brought into a room.
In this room, you’ll literally catch the cider you end up drinking. To clarify: you’ll be given a glass & be told to catch cider in it as the beverage pours down from a barrel roughly the size of a four-door SUV.
The whole experience lasts about two hours, and if you’ve got decent enough coordination it’ll be one of the more enjoyable dining experiences in Bushwick.
Maybe a $49 dinner isn’t your speed. Maybe you want something…cheaper. But not worse. Just cheaper. If you’re into fish, we’ve got exactly what you want.
When you walk into this famed Astoria establishment, you aren’t going to see an awful lot. It’s a plain room, a few chairs & tables, and a counter full of ice with seafood resting peacefully.
In a city where there are entire establishments built to be social media bait, stripping everything back is one of the most ambitious & unique things AbuQir could’ve done.
All that being said, the one thing they don’t strip back is the quality of their food. You can have whatever they’ve got prepared in whatever way you want, and once it hits the table you’ll start to think that it should cost twice as much.
At another restaurant, it probably should. Not at AbuQir, though. There, they focus on giving you the best product possible at the most reasonable price, because they know that’s all that truly matters when you’re focused on the food.
To cap off this unusual little list, we’d like to introduce a restaurant that’s never the same thing twice. No, it’s not a weird theme-based gimmick. It becomes a different restaurant at different points of time.
By that, we mean that different restaurants across the country take up a residency at the Chef’s Club to bring their talents to the Big Apple (they also have locations in Aspen, and an soon-to-open spot in Taipei).
As we write this, they’re hosting a Levantine cuisine-focused restaurant known simply as LEV, run by chefs Loren Abramovitch and Daniel Soskolne. We only mention their names because, if you decide to pop in for a visit, you’ll probably get the chance to say hi.
As you eat, you’ll get to sit in a pristine dining room with an open kitchen, where you can see the chefs work & create your meal right in front of you.
They’ve also got a giant rock of pink salt hanging from the ceiling, if you’re into that sort of thing.