The Top 20 Dishes to Devour in New York City, According to New ‘Unbuttoning Pants’ Book

Which delectable dish do you want to eat first?

NYC Food Promo

Food blogger sisters Ali and Daryl Zweben are taking their culinary chops from online to print with their new book, New York City Food Crawls: Touring the Neighborhoods One Bite & Libation at a Time, out September 1. 

The pair are known online and on Instagram as The Sisterhood of the Unbuttoning Pants, a play on their signature restaurant review scale (a superb review garners an #AllButtonsBursting grade).

The Zwebens have chowed their way through some of New York City’s most beloved eateries and yielded this list of their picks of the city’s top 20 dishes. Feast your eyes on their all-time favorites:

Hometown BBQ Beef Rib

“Hometown Chef Billy Durney is a big guy who creates big flavors, and this BBQ Beef Rib must be tasted to be believed. The meat is so tender it falls off the bone and will have you channeling your inner Flintstone in no time. Hometown is the best BBQ in New York.”

Lam Zhou Dumplings

“There is no better way to spend $4 than on dumplings from Lam Zhou. Filled with juicy pork and chives, they are available either steamed or pan-fried, and come eight to an order. Don’t forget the chili oil…”

Lobster Roll from Mary’s Fish Camp

“This is our vote for NYC’s top lobster roll, with huge chunks of lobster simply dressed with mayo and some lemon, overflowing from a buttery split bun. The accompanying fries are thin and crunchy and piled sky high.”

Momofuku Noodle Bar Ramen

“There is no shortage of great ramen spots in New York, but the David Chang touch is never to be underestimated. This big bowl features deep flavors in the broth and perfectly textured springy noodles. Try the pork buns as well.”

Peter Luger Burger

“Peter Luger serves this burger for lunch only; topped with its famous thick cut bacon, this is the burger standard against which all others should be judged. You’d be hard-pressed to “meat” a better burger…”

Prince Street Pizza

“Drunk or sober, Prince Street pizza is worth lining up for. The thick and crunchy squares are topped with thick pepperoni cups that curl up when they are cooked, a slice that eats like a meal.”

Bagel with lox from Sable’s

“There is nothing more New York than a bagel and shmear. We add cucumbers to the version from old-school Sable’s on the Upper East Side, but there is no reason to mess with perfection. Smoke (your fish) if you’ve got it…”

Pitti Pasta

“Bar Pitti is an authentic Italian bistro, with a lengthy board of specials and a dolce vita attitude, except when it comes to reservations (no) and credit cards (no). The food is prepared in proper Italian fashion, utilizing seasonal, high quality ingredients and treated simply. Their namesake dish, the rigatoni pitti, is pasta perfection.”

Chef’s Special from Nobu

“This off-the-menu Chef’s Special piece from Nobu is very special indeed, with caviar and toro and all the fancy things that make life fun. Nobu has many incredible signature raw and cooked dishes, but their sushi is also some of the best in the city. Treat yourself!”

Bacon, Egg and Cheese from Shake Shack

“With the exception of the chopped cheese there is no better bodega sandwich than a classic bacon, egg and cheese. The Shake Shack version is a bit fancier with higher-quality ingredients, but keeps the same feeling as a corner shop version.”

Chopped Cheese from Hajji’s (Blue Line Deli)

“The chopped cheese is a real New York City dish, created here as a sort of answer to the Philly cheesesteak, but obviously a lot better. Hajii’s, or the Blue Line Deli, is a basic bodega in Harlem that cranks out the best sandwiches you’ve ever had; burger meat covered in cheese, chopped on the flat top, and served on a roll with mayo, ketchup, lettuce tomato and onions.”

Nom Wah Dim Sum

“More than a feast for the eyes, a meal at Nom Wah is a piece of NYC history, with the original location dating back to 1920. The variety and freshness can’t be beat, so make sure your chopstick game is on point and get involved with all their delicious options.”

Lioni’s Italian Sandwich

“Not all heroes need to wear capes, but they should always come between two pieces of bread. Hrab on tight when you open this up, because the overstuffed Italian heroes from Lioni’s are not for the dainty. The only thing bigger than the sandwiches is the menu, and besides from the Italian sandwich anything with the homemade mozzarella is not to be missed.”

Lasagna from Don Angie

“Don Angie is a real gem of a restaurant, small in size but delivering ambitious yet comforting Italian food. This lasagna is a perfectly executed update of a classic; meat, cheese, pasta, sauce, just a little prettier…”

Bread’s Bakery Babka

“Breads Bakery single-handedly brought on a babka frenzy in NYC when their Nutella-filled version hit the scene. Although others may try, there is nothing quite like the rich taste and soft yet sturdy texture of Breads’ babka.”

Ample Hills Ice Cream

“This happy, quirky place serves unique flavor combinations, often featuring homemade candy and baked goods from scratch. Ample Hills makes you feel like a giddy little kid with every bite.”

Long Island bar burger

“Is there anything better than an awesome burger in a bar? Long Island Bar (located in Brooklyn) looks like an old diner and serves serious cocktails and a crave-worthy, classic-style burger.”

Pizza from Lucali and Joe’s (tie)

“It is just too hard to pick the best pizza in New York, so you will just have to judge for yourself. Joe’s is the quintessential New York slice, with bright sweet sauce and the perfect texture for properly folding in half to eat on the go.”

“Lucali’s is a proper work of art, wood-fired and topped with home-grown basil for some extra love.”

4 Charles Prime Rib French Dip

“It doesn’t even do it justice to call this French dip a sandwich, for it is truly a revelation. Bigger than the sum of its parts, every detail and flavor is perfectly executed, it almost doesn’t feel right to pick it up with your hands.”

Don Pepe’s Linguine Vongole

“Don Pepe’s is real deal New York Italian food, and locals have been lining up to diner here for years. The best linguine vongole around, this huge portion will disappear in no time and have you soaking up the extra sauce with any piece of available bread. No credit cards or reservations are accepted, but tracksuits are totally fine.”