We all know that New York City restaurant reservations are bananas right now. While you may not be able to get into one of the city’s hot new spots, you can bring home a piece of it. This gift guide has a little bit of everything for restaurant fans in your life, such as red sauce, teas, t-shirts, and even storefront miniatures. Feel free to refer to our 2022 and 2021 gift guides for more ideas.
A sandwich in sweatshirt form
The Essex Market breakfast staple Shopsin’s is known for its “breathtakingly long menu.” This sweatshirt features a recipe for the “Ten Commandment Sandwich” on its back — what the restaurant describes as “the most difficult sandwich our father ever invented,” referring to a sandwich no longer on the menu, from its founder, the late Kenny Shopsin. Pre-orders are available until December 1.
Red sauce from a Brooklyn institution
To some, Michael’s is a red-sauce institution; to many members of New York’s political upper echelons, it’s a clubhouse. Even if you’ve never set foot in the South Brooklyn Italian restaurant, it’s making some of the better jarred sauces sold at supermarkets throughout the city. The restaurant recently debuted a new gift set for the holidays aimed at new parents. Its home-style gravy, marinara sauce, bibs, and pasta are sure to make for some happy customers.
A miniature replica of your favorite restaurant
Jack Giambanco makes 3D replicas of New York restaurants, like nostalgic roast beef spot, Roll N Roaster, sandwich staple Defonte’s, or iconic steakhouse Peter Luger, as well as spots that are no longer around, like slice shop Lenny’s, Coney Island Bialys, and Bensonhurst’s Vegas Diner. Giambanco also can create custom orders as well. They’re less toys and more sculptures for your home and a way to memorialize a piece of New York food history.
Hard-to-source Vietnamese spices and seasonings
An importer of single-origin Vietnamese spices and seasonings launched earlier this year specializing in items that are hard for chefs to source. Vietnamese immigrants, Thảo Bùi and Duy Võ started a pop-up Ăn Xôi around the city, before launching the brand which has already been distributed to chefs like Helen Nguyen of the Lower East Side’s Saigon Social. Vân Vân emphasizes sustainability, regionality, and supporting multi-generational farmers through ingredients like lemongrass, ginger, chile, purple shallots, and various types of garlic. The bundle lets you try a little bit of all the products.
Something for the sushi bro in your life
Taking the diner who’s been everywhere in New York to a place like Sushi on Me — the Jackson Heights all-you-can-drink sake party where cussing flows just as freely — is a flex. Getting merch from Sushi on Me is also a flex because you’ll have to go in person to Jackson Heights or its sibling in Williamsburg to purchase one.
Wines made in the state of New York
Alfie Alcántara and Deanna Urciuoli, the couple behind Dear Native Grapes, launched their wine company in 2020. The duo is on a mission to restore New York’s heritage grapes, once more common in the state back in the 1800s. Dear Native Grapes grows several wine varietals on its farm in Delaware County, in the Catskills, and can be shipped locally. Prices per bottle are $22 and up.
Cheffy weed edibles
Ha’s Đặc Biệt, one of New York’s most buzzy food pop-ups, is one of many chefs to partner with Rose Los Angeles, a brand making high-end weed edibles with interesting flavor combinations. For their collaboration, Anthony Ha and Sadie Mae Burns designed a package of salty plum treats, coated in a green plum powder — it’s inspired by a Vietnamese salty limeade drink. It has equal parts CBD to THC, 2.5mg each; 20 per box.
Dessert merch for any time of day
Agi’s Counter has released a t-shirt featuring an illustration of its “cosmic cheesecake” “surrounded by milky rings of olive oil and blueberry compote meteors.” Okay, sold. Pre-orders for the hand-printed shirts end on December 1.
Silky chai for cozying up at home
Kolkata Chai Co. is more than just a cafe: It’s a lifestyle. Brothers and owners Ani and Ayan Sanyal opened their first location in the East Village in 2019, with the mission to rewrite the way masala chai has been coopted by chains like Starbucks and bring it back to its South Asian roots. Their chai — not too sweet — is delicious, and fans have followed, leading to a second cafe in Nolita. Now, you can peruse through one of several chai bundles for gifts this season for at-home sipping.
Adobo from a top Brooklyn taqueria
Taqueria Ramirez, one of Eater’s favorite spots for tacos, is selling jarred versions of its adobo sauce — the same one they use on their acclaimed al pastor tacos. Pick-up is at Taqueria Ramirez only.
Soothing teas that cafes love
Masha Tea can be found for sale at coffee shops and Regina’s Grocery, as well as on menus like Little Egg, the breakfast spot in Brooklyn, where they’ve used them for baked goods; part of a selection of loose teas at Chez Ma Tante; and used for cocktails at Yellow Rose. They’re even in the rooms of the Ace Hotel Brooklyn and served at its lobby restaurant As You Are. This holiday season, self-soothe one of Masha Tea’s several gift box options — including this choose-your-own box set.
Rep one of NYC’s new wave slice shops
If you’ve been following the rise of one of the frontrunners in the city’s new wave of slice shops, you know Lucia Pizza. The Sheepshead Bay slice shop, which opens a Manhattan location this week, comes from Salvatore Carlino; he grew up at his family’s Italian restaurant, Papa Leone in South Brooklyn. Fans can rep the business via its merch, which ranges from t-shirts to sweatshirts and bucket hats.
Tinned fish courtesy of Hart’s and Cervo’s
Last year, the team behind seafood hotspots Hart’s and Cervo’s launched their line of tinned fish called Minnow. Their latest product is snails canned in brine that come from a sustainable farm in Greece. Minnow suggests using them for skewers or pasta. It’s a gift ideal for those who want to recreate the French bistro feeling at home. For the less adventurous, there are other tinned items like sardines, good for building out a snacking cheese board.
A bag to stuff your lox in
The New York icon has collaborated with Danish leather brand ECCO to release bags in colors “Russ blue,” “capers,” “caviar,” and “creme fraiche.” This is the splurgiest item on our guide, but an upgrade to the standard tote, big enough for carrying your laptop or a bundle of lox in.