With its abundance of shops, galleries and hotels, Chelsea sees the occasional tourist looking for a slice of New York culture. But for most who venture across 23rd street — myself included — Chelsea is a delightful, central and lively (but not too lively) neighborhood to call home.
Chelsea’s restaurants, shops and producers offer some of the greatest food in the city. Whether you’re looking for a local grocer or an elegant dinner, there’s something for everyone in this community. Below, find a list of our recommendations for places to eat, drink and shop in Chelsea.
Of course it’s impossible to include everything in a city like New York. Have a favorite that’s not on this list? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments.
75 9th Avenue
Chelsea Market has only been open for 15 years, and it has already established itself as one of the happiest places on earth. Within the market, 35 vendors sell anything and everything you could ever need. Some of our favorites (see below) include Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, The Green Table, Num Pang and Lucy’s Whey. We’re also pumped for their opening of a new Corkbuzz Wine Studio location this summer.
Dickson’s Farmstand Meats
Inside Chelsea Market
Finding quality meat so close to the Meatpacking District is, contrary to what the name might imply, difficult. Fortunately, Chelsea has one gem of a meat purveyor in Chelsea Market called Dickson’s Farmstand Meats. Owner Jake Dickson, who we’ve profiled, has a simple food philosophy: no antibiotics except to treat illness, no feedlots, no hormones and no animal by-products in the feed. The result has been an incredibly successful butcher shop with meat you can know and trust.
The Green Table
Inside Chelsea Market
The Green Table is a farm-to-table restaurant founded by Mary Cleaver that offers food and drinks based on seasonal and organic ingredients. The menu highlights some of our favorite farmers and purveyors, including Consider Bardwell, Amy’s Bread and Satur Farms. Don’t miss their organic burger, topped with kimchi and tomato relish.
Inside Chelsea Market
In our most recent March-April issue, we told the story of how Num Pang invented the greatest sandwich on earth. Their Cambodian sandwiches have truly created a revolution by combining flavor and texture profiles that are tough to find elsewhere in Manhattan. Num Pang’s best kept secret though is that their sides are (dare I say it?) even better than the sandwiches. I could probably consume eight raw kale and apple salads on my own, and one of our readers wrote of their curried lentil soup: “Best I’ve had since I was last in India!”
Inside Chelsea Market
Lucy’s Kazickas really loves cheese. She opened her shop Lucy’s Whey in East Hampton in 2008 and has since opened two locations in Manhattan, including one in Chelsea Market. Lucy sources from some of the best cheese makers in the country (she lovingly refers to them as craftspeople), including our friends at Consider Bardwell. While you’re there, don’t miss their daily grilled cheese selection.
240 9th Avenue
In 2009, Alex Raij and her husband, chef Eder Montero, brought Spanish food to Chelsea with the opening of their restaurant Txikito on 9th Ave. Txikito has become the best spot in New York for Basque cuisine, serving up a menu of tapas that are based off of fresh, simple ingredients. We followed Raij to Basque country in our story “Fishing for Knowledge“, and we learned about the Slow Food hotspot that has been providing the world with culinary inspiration for centuries.
224 West 20th Street
If you head to Café Grumpy’s website, you can find the stories of the growers, producers and importers who work to bring the world’s best coffee beans to New York. After it’s roasted in Greenpoint, the coffee is brought to a shop on West 20th where it’s brewed by the cup. Nothing beats their flat white topped with some flawless latte art.
300 West 22 Street
Whenever I go to Foragers City Grocer, I leave myself a little extra time to wander aimlessly through their aisles and take in the wealth of local goods. From their pickles to their wines to their jerky, Foragers hand selects products from small businesses, most of which are located a subway ride away. And unlike most grocery stores, Foragers produces their own vegetables, herbs and eggs on their farm in Caanan, NY.
688 Avenue of the Americas
I often find myself walking out of my way just so I can torture myself with the smell of Texas-style smoked meat from Tres Carnes. The tiny shop on 22nd and 6th delivers massive flavor, smoking their own brisket, chicken, pork and a special weekly ingredient that has ranged from portobello mushrooms to antelope. Wrap it all up in a burrito with some lime-mayo rubbed street-cart corn, and finish it off with a churro doughnut.
156 10th Avenue
Marc Meyer, chef/owner at Cookshop, has been bringing quality American food to 10th Ave since the restaurant opened its doors in 2005. In our recent profile, Amy Zavatto tells the tale of the restaurant’s famed six-foot chalkboard, where Meyer decided on a whim to write the name of the farmers they sourced from. A decade later, Cookshop continues to support local farmers, which has resulted in a menu that seriously elevates simple American cooking.
220 West 23 Street
When we wrote about Doughnut Plant in the East Village six years ago, we asked owner Mark Israel when the shop would add a second storefront. “I’m still trying to find a location,” he told Edible, “Landlords love chain stores and banks. They don’t have much vision as far as what’s good for New York.” In 2011, though, our dreams came true: Doughnut Plant opened its second location right here in Chelsea. The shop now offers dozens of handcrafted doughnut flavors, including my personal favorite: the square-shaped peanut butter doughnut filled with homemade blackberry jam.
La Taza De Oro
96 8th Avenue
Though Chelsea has seen plenty of changes over the past few decades, La Taza De Oro has been dishing out the same Puerto Rican specialties since the 1960s. This little diner is the only place in Chelsea that fills a craving for plátanos in every way, shape and form — they once even made me a special order of mofongo for breakfast.
230 9th Avenue
If you’ve eaten at Sullivan Street Bakery, you know that Jim Lahey has done incredible things for bread. Jim has been baking in Manhattan since 1994, but he opened his newest restaurant C0. in Chelsea in 2009 to showcase his Roman-style pizza. His toppings are relatively complex (like in the roasted cauliflower pie with béchamel, parmesan, green olives, garlic, chili and parsley above), but the ambiance and cooking methods make for a simply rustic experience.
Back Label Wine Shop and Stinky BKLYN
107 West 20th Street
Black Label Wine Merchants and Stinky BKLYN have joined forces to create a massive wine and cheese shop at 20th and 6th. The beloved Brooklyn cheese shop, which has been open for a decade in Cobble Hill, brought their cheese across the river earlier this month to pair up with Black Label’s incredible wine selection in a 3,000 square foot location. The final product is a dream come true, complete with ten beer, cider and kombucha taps, a tasting room, live music and plenty of local spirits.
The High Line
From Gansevoort to 34th Street, Between 10th and 11th Avenues
As the weather warms up each year, the High Line becomes my go-to for green space (at less touristy times, of course). About a dozen food vendors set up shop on the High Line between May and October, but each time I visit, I tend to go straight to the frozen treats. L’arte del Gelato has been selling their small batch gelato for the past three years, and Melt Bakery sells ice cream sandwiches with fun flavors like red velvet cream cheese. My personal favorite, People’s Pops, creates ice pops using seasonal ingredients from local farms. Keep an eye out for La Newyorkina‘s Mexican popsicle cart, too.
Photo Credits: WikiCommons / Gryffindor; Rachel Barrett; Michael Harlan Turkell; Joe Martinez; Lucy’s Whey; Facebook / Txikito; Facebook / Cafe Grumpy; Facebook / Foragers; Facebook / Tres Carnes; Rebecca McAlpin; Gabriella Gershenson; James Boo; Facebook / Company Restaurant; Facebook / Black Label Wine Merchants; Facebook / The High Line