3 Fun & Experiential Restaurants in the Big Apple


Going out to eat should be just as much about the experience as it is the food.  These three do it for me, every time.

Freemans: For Comfort Food Classics and a Cozy Downtown Vibe

Tucked down a little alley in the Lower East Side, this restaurant embodies classic Americana–the dishes here are simple, rustic, and inspired by old world traditions.  Think: ooey-gooey mac-n-cheese, butternut squash schnitzle, and wild rice crispy treats. Produce is all sourced locally in New York, and the interior design makes me want to wrap up in a big wool sweater, sipping cocktails well past brunch.


Panna II: For Indian Staples With The Most Festive Atmosphere You’ll Find This Side Of Bengal

This is my go-to restaurant anytime there’s a reason to bust out the bubbly and get silly on a budget: birthdays, engagements, TGIF…you name it!  Kitschy as it is, I adore this pepper-light strewn, BYOB restaurant, complete with upbeat staff who will ensure every visit feels like a reason to celebrate.  The dishes are your typical Indian fare–but so good–and plenty of options for vegetarians.


ABC Kitchen: For High-Quality Dishes You Can Feel Good About Eating

I believe the exact words uttered the first time I ate at ABC were “Best. Salad. Ever.”  And coming from a vegetarian who eats LOTS of greens, this is a big, bold statement.  With Jean-Georges name behind it, you can be assured your seasonally inspired meal is going to shine, and the all white decor is as fresh as the farm-to-table goodness you’ll be putting in your mouth.


This round-up was inspired by citizenMag’s article on their Top 3 restaurants in Glasgow, which challenged me to come up with my own guide for New York.

We’d love to know…if you had to pick your top 3 restaurants in your city, what would they be?  Share below!

Jessica Tiare Bowen
Jessica Tiare Bowen lives in the juicy Big Apple with her adorable pink-nosed chihuahua, Gillman. He's the inspiration for her first published children's book, "Park Avenue Pound Puppy." The book is the combined result of her two greatest passions: pooches and penning stories.

Her passions include art, urban hikes through Manhattan, drinking coffee with 3 creams and 6 sugars, making extremely detailed itineraries and traveling to far away places, singing along to Broadway shows, Netflix movie nights, discovering incredible treasures at Goodwill and thrift stores, and listening to stories from little people under 7 and big people over 70.

She started her career as New York City Teaching Fellow, teaching elementary school and theater arts at a special education school in the South Bronx for 6 years. She is now a Special Education School Improvement Specialist working in public schools throughout New York City. She is the Editor-In-Chief of the online New York City travel magazine, Used York City. The magazine focuses on finding the best of New York...as used by New Yorkers. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and an ASPCA Ambassador.
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