Visiting New York in the late autumn/ early winter has always been on my bucket list. I’d been once before with my family, aged 10, in the summer time and had always wanted to return during the festive season.
There’s something so magical about New York in the winter.
The lights go up, the music starts, the shops have enchanting window displays and there’s a contagious joy and excitement in the air as the city starts to prepare for ‘the most wonderful time of the year’! Central park is truly beautiful in the autumn/winter months as all the leaves turn a gorgeous golden colour and the ice rink opens to the public!
So there’s a lot to be said for visiting New York late in the year, however, I’m unsurprisingly going to focus on the food scene that’s on offer, so…
Where To Go For Brunch in New York?
First up, is Chalait. There’s actually several Chalaits in New York now, with one in NoMad Broadway, Chelsea Market and Hudson Square. We went to the Hudson Square one as it was right near our hotel. I’d first come across Chalait on Instagram a year or so before our trip and was immediately taken by their healthy breakfast plates, matcha drinks and simple & stylish interior. It’s a Japanese inspired café and the name Chalait comes from a combination of ‘Cha’ (which means tea in Japanese) and ‘Lait’ (which is milk in French). If you like poke bowls, Japanese cuisine, matcha and brunch, then you should definitely pay Chalait a visit!
Next up is Reunion, in Brooklyn. This café was probably our favourite from the trip. It’s got a really fun, quirky interior with one wall designed like a giant book shelf filled with plants, bird cages, a picnic basket and a myriad of vintage trinkets that make it worth visiting alone just to get some house interior inspo!
The menu has an Israeli twist too, which makes it really unique. They serve a shakshouka dish which comes with challah bread, and if I’m being totally honest, this is what made us go in the first place as we’d seen this dish on Instagram and were immediately sold! We fancied something savoury as well as sweet, so opted for the hotcake too (which is basically a giant pancake if you haven’t come across these before).
Favourite lunch spot in NYC?
For those who will want to visit some of the famous locations featured in the popular TV show ‘Gossip Girl’, like we obviously did, Serafina is a must. Located in the ‘upper east side’ (xoxo), it’s a stone’s throwaway from the notorious ‘Met Steps’ outside the Metropolitan Museum.
The staff were extremely friendly and despite it being pretty full and there being a no-reservations policy (a sure sign of it being popular), we managed to get a table pretty quickly. It was also a great place for people watching (which I love!), and we soon spotted a group of upper east side ‘ladies who lunch’ who kept us thoroughly entertained during the meal.
We were in the mood for pizzas but were also eyeing up the heavenly pasta dishes that plenty of others around us were having, however we definitely made the right decision… as you can see!
So if you’re in the area, fancy something Italian, served with a side of people watching, you know where to go!
Where to refuel in NYC?
It’s important to have some options for where to go to refuel when you’re spending your days busy exploring the big Apple, and trust me, you’ll be surprised by how much walking you do!
So here are two of our favourite places we stopped by for drinks during our trip.
Iris Cafe, Brooklyn
On our first day we left Manhattan behind us and crossed over into Brooklyn via the famous Brooklyn Bridge walk. It had just been Thanksgiving weekend so it was pretty quiet as many New Yorkers had clearly gone away for the weekend.
We ended up in Brooklyn Heights, which is a gorgeous residential area with stunning houses down tree-lined promenades, many of which have steps up the front; and with it being Thanksgiving, most had pumpkin displays outside their windows or up their steps.
We weaved our way up and down the many streets, which all had adorable road names too, such as ‘Cranberry Street’, ‘Orange Street’ and ‘Pineapple Street’, before we finally arrived at Columbia Place outside an intimate looking café called ‘Iris‘. It looked incredibly enchanting with hanging lightbulbs, fresh cut flowers on the tables and exposed brick walls, that we had to go inside.
So we ordered some coffees and warmed up inside while planning what we’d like to do next. It was definitely a hit with the locals, and despite most of Brooklyn seeming to be empty for Thanksgiving, Iris was buzzing, providing the perfect cosy haven to refuel in!
Cha Cha Matcha
If you’re after something fun and a bit more wacky, then Cha Cha Matcha is the answer! This is the perfect place for a coffee or drink to go when you’ve got a full itinerary and would rather not stop and sit, although there is seating too if you’re inclined. It’s basically a café that was designed for millennials and those who like to post that all important Instagram snap of what they eat or drink!
The interior is barbie pink and there’s tonnes of fun wall art and posters and the whole place is decorated with palm trees, beach vibes, neon lights, love hearts and plants.
They pretty much serve everything you could want in matcha, from coffee and lemonades, to ice cream and pastries; and the staff were all über cool and laid back, it was like being at a beach bar. We went for two matcha lattes and one matcha lemonade, which was weirdly delicious!
These are just a few of my favourite food spots from our trip and I don’t think you could every really exhaust this incredible city and get round all of them. There are definitely still plenty more I would love to try, but I’ll have to save them for next time. Because when it comes to New York as a destination, it will always be a good idea and is a city I’ll always happily return to!
Have you been to New York? Do you have any recommendations? I’d love to know, so please add any more suggestions or tips below in the comments! x