10 Things the NYC Dining Scene Does Better Than Anywhere Else

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Di Fara via Facebook
NYC dominates in pizza--and many other things.
With tens of thousands of brick-and-mortar restaurants and even more kiosks, delis, and roadside stands where you can grab a bite to eat, there's no place in the world like New York City when it comes to food and drink--you could spend your entire life eating and drinking here without conquering all of it. But sheer quantity is not the reason that the culinary culture here is so rich--our gastronomic prowess also runs deep, and there are many, many things that this city does better than anywhere else. We've rounded up the top 10.

Lauren Shockey
Get this Veselka sandwich any old time you want it.
10. 24/7/365 food options
Here in New York City, we're used to getting what we want when we want it, and that especially pertains to food and drink. We can't help it. We've been conditioned to behave that way. Not only do most restaurants stay open until 11 p.m. or midnight, there's a bevy of late-night eateries and 24-hour joints, happy to feed and water the masses from sunup to sundown to sunup again. Best around-the-clock bets include Ukrainian East Village joint Veselka and Cuban diner Coppelia, but you can get everything from taquitos (Taquitoria) to fries (Pomme Frites) to gastropub fare (Spotted Pig) until the wee hours of the morning. And don't forget your slice joints, halal carts, and taco trucks.

Bradley Hawks
The burger at Fritzl's Lunch Box
9. Burgers
The origins of the hamburger are murky at best, but at least one story purports that the American icon first appeared on a menu at Delmonico's in the 1820s (it's a claim that's easy to refute, though, because the supposed printer of said menu didn't exist in those years). Whatever the case, the cheap, filling food took hold here sometime during the 19th century and stuck around, and today, we have myriad versions of the staple to prove our supremacy. Look for classics like the versions at Peter Luger and JG Melon, new meditations on the old formula at Fritzl's Lunch Box and Northeast Kingdom, fast food upgrades like Shake Shack, and wacky reimaginations like the curry paste-imbued and papaya slaw-topped Thai burger at Ngam.

Tejal Rao
Teacups of punch at the Dead Rabbit, a bar keeping NYC at the cocktail forefront
8. Cocktails
The modern cocktail movement spawned mixology lairs across the country, and the catalyst for that growth came from here. And that's because the revolution's forebears were people like Dale DeGroff, who was reacquainting himself with the art of drinks at the Rainbow Room back in the '80s, when most people were still drinking vodka and bottled mixers--if they were drinking spirits at all. Things really got moving in the early and middle years of the last decade with bars like Angel's Share, Milk & Honey, Pegu Club, Employees Only, and PDT, all spots steeped in cocktail tradition and bent on expanding our imbibing palates. Cocktails went to restaurants next, and they appeared on menus at neighborhood bars as drinking dens continued to root in every neighborhood in the city. But even as we reach a point where we think our thirst for cocktails must finally be sated, this city continues to turn out new and impressive variations on the theme, from the pub and parlor at the Dead Rabbit to chartreuse- and hospitality-focused Pouring Ribbons to the continuous exploration of modernist techniques by Dave Arnold at Booker & Dax. Curious where cocktails are going next? We're certain the answer lies in NYC.

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