Probably no human activity is more hunger-provoking than shopping, and Black Friday is the hungriest day of the year. Accordingly, Eater NY will help out with your gustatory needs for that delightful or horrific day by recommending restaurants in five of the city’s busiest shopping areas: Herald Square, Soho, Williamsburg’s Bedford Avenue, 125th Street in Harlem, and Steinway Street in Astoria. Each neighborhood gets three choices selected for excellent food and a variety of other features.
This square is the mother of all shopping zones, anchored by the humongous Macy’s, ringed with other stores like beads on a necklace, including Old Navy, Target, H&M, Hollister, Vans, and a Banana Republic outlet store.
Good For relaxing
The new premises of Cafe China occupies three nook-filled levels. While the ostensible focus is Sichuan food in large servings (hence good for groups), plenty of milder Cantonese dishes are also available. 59 W. 37th Street, near Sixth Avenue
A quick bite with lots of choices
In the heart of Koreatown, Food Gallery 32 is a tri-level food court selling Korean and Japanese food as well as fried chicken, burgers, and desserts like churros and red-bean fish cookies, washed down with bubble tea. 11 W. 32nd Street, near Fifth Avenue
For some real luxury
Old-timer Keens Steakhouse has been around since Abraham Lincoln’s day — the weird white clay pipes hanging from the ceiling attest to that — and its labyrinthine dining rooms and bar can seat 350. Walk-in seats are often available, especially mid-afternoon, but do try to make a reservation and don’t miss the mutton chop. 72 W. 36th Street, near Sixth Avenue
Though it was once a center of artists’ lofts and galleries, now Soho is mainly a shopping district with big-box stores on Broadway and fabulously expensive designer boutiques nearly everywhere else.
For a plate of pasta far removed from the hubbub
Just across the northern Soho frontier of Houston Street, Pepe Rosso has been serving inexpensive plates of pasta and glasses of wine since 1997. 168 Sullivan Street, at Houston Street
Just grab a sandwich
Olive’s was a favorite of David Bowie’s, and you can still get the sandwich associated with him (chicken breast, watercress, and tomato on focaccia with chipotle mayo), along with soups and salads diners can eat at the small counter or in one of the nearby pocket parks. 191 Prince Street, near Sullivan Street
For some fancier Spanish fare
NYC’s Boqueria was founded at the start of the 2006 tapas revolution, and its offerings run from plates of cheese and charcuterie perfect for a shopping pick-me-up with a glass of wine to heavier fare like seafood paella. 171 Spring Street, between West Broadway and Thompson Street
For those who love to shop small, cute, and local, Bedford Avenue and vicinity is your place. Whether looking for scented soap, secondhand vinyl, small-batch booze, art books, or recycled clothing, you’ll find it here.
Budget-priced Eastern Mediterranean food
Oasis is a falafel spot that has long anchored the cheaper end of the Williamsburg food scene. Located right over the Bedford stop on the L, it couldn’t be more convenient. 168 Bedford Avenue, between North Eighth and Ninth streets
For some genre-bending Thai food
Elmhurst’s Zaab Zaab was the best new Thai to open this year, and it quickly spawned a Williamsburg branch. Some may be relieved to hear this one focuses on seafood rather than organ meats. 208 Grand Street, between Bedford and Driggs avenues
Comfort food in a relaxed setting
Sweet Chick was the first branch of what became a citywide chain focusing on comfort food like chicken and waffles, as well as shrimp ‘n’ grits and fried fish sandwiches. 164 Bedford Avenue, at North Eighth Street
During Harlem’s economic revival early this century, 125th became a major center of big-box shopping — with P.C. Richard, Foot Locker, H&M, Champs Sports, and others — while still retaining ma-and-pa stores on its fringes.
For some celebrity chef action
Harlem’s most famous celebrity chef, Marcus Samuelsson, still presides over his flagship Red Rooster. The menu boasts Harlem classics like crab cakes, chicken and waffles, and deviled eggs. 310 Lenox Avenue, between 125th and 126th streets
For a sit-down fried fish sandwich
Whiting sandwiches piled high with filets have been a Harlem mainstay for a century, and Taste of Seafood is one of the best places to get them. Other delights include steamer clams and all-day seafood breakfasts. 2 West 125th Street, at Fifth Avenue
For a great burger and milkshake
What could be better shopping food than burgers and fries, washed down with thick milkshakes? Harlem Shake is the neighborhood’s most famous purveyor. 100 West 124th Street, at Lenox Avenue
Astoria’s Steinway has long been a magnet for discount shoppers, and we have never needed it more in these inflation-plagued days. The thoroughfare flaunts its factory outlet stores from Banana Republic and the Gap, as well as discount chains like Jimmy Jazz, Fabco Shoes, and Easy Pickins.
Bagels in a comfortable setting
New York City Bagel sports a relaxed dining area, as well as excellent bagels and a full menu of bagel spreads and sandwiches. 40-05 Broadway, near Steinway Street
Quirky but distinguished pizza
Founded in 1959, Rizzo’s Fine Pizza offers narrow rectangular slices with a super-thin crust — a mash-up of Neapolitan and Sicilian styles with a sweet tomato sauce. 30-13 Steinway Street, near 30th Avenue
Kebabs by truck
If you prefer to eat on the run, long-running Franky’s Souvlaki sports the best Greek gyros in town, ensconced in a soft pita folded over herb-scented pork, chicken, beef, or lamb. Steinway Street and 31st Avenue