It’s no exaggeration to say that New York City is a melting pot of cultures and nationalities. From the casual diner to the most sophisticated foodie, it offers a culinary playground in which to sample the cuisine of all varieties from around the world.
Like any city or even small town in America, Manhattan has many familiar ethnic restaurants such as Italian and Chinese. Some of the best of these can be found in Manhattan, in fact.
However, Manhattan offers so much more. From the spices of the Far East to the desert regions of Africa, to the multi-cultural potpourri of Brazil, to the icy waters of Scandinavia—New York City is an international culinary mecca.
In this blog, we will explore just some of the world cuisine that Manhattan has to offer:
Brazil has many cultural influences. The food and traditions of the immigrants and slaves that helped shape it (European, Amerindian, Japanese, and African) have melded together with native Brazilian culture to create cuisine that is highly diverse and regional.
Root vegetables and tropical fruits such as guavas, açaí, mangos, and papayas are commonly used in Brazilian cuisine—in both sweet and savory dishes. Proteins used are typically fish and seafood of all varieties along with beef, pork, and beans.
Some popular Brazilian dishes include Rice & Beans, Feijoada (stew with beans, pork & beef), Churrasco (Brazilian BBQ), Acaraje (deep-fried black-eyed peas & shrimp), and Moqueca (fish stew with vegetables & spices).
Manhattan has several authentic Brazilian restaurants, including: Emporium Brasil, Ipanema, Esperanto, and Samba Kitchen. Be sure to order a refreshing Caipirinha (Brazil’s national beverage made with fermented sugar cane).
Dominican republic cuisine
As a former colony of Spain, the Dominican Republic—and its cuisine—has been shaped by Spain’s culture, along with Africa, the Caribbean, and to a lesser extent, China and the Middle East. You will see similar cuisine in the neighboring islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico.
Dominican Republic cuisine encompasses a full spectrum of food groups: seafood, meats, corn, rice, legumes, exotic fruits (mangos, plantains, oranges), and root and starchy vegetables (yuca, potatoes, etc.).
Sofrito—a mixture of various peppers, apple cider vinegar, garlic, onions, tomato paste, and seasonings—is a base flavoring of Dominican Republic cuisine.
A popular national dish in the Dominican Republic is rice and beans served with meat and a salad. This is such a national treasure, it is sometimes referred to as “la Bandera” (the flag). Other dishes include Sancocho (a hearty soup/stew made with several kinds of meat and root vegetables), Mangu (boiled plantains with various toppings—scrambled eggs, fried cheese or salami, onions), and Chicharron (crispy pork with plantains, and lime).
Treat yourself to an exotic and flavorful meal in one of Manhattan’s vibrant Dominican restaurants including Sofrito and Malecon.
Often lumped in unceremoniously with all Mediterranean food, Middle-Eastern cuisine is distinct. It hails from the countries of Turkey, Yemen, Egypt, Iran, and more. Its cuisine is largely based on skewered meats, flatbreads, and savory filled pastries.
Staples of Middle-Eastern food include foods legumes such as chickpeas, herbs and spices, and grains. Shawarma (rotating meat on a rotisserie) is made with lamb and chicken.
One of the most globally popular Middle-eastern dishes is hummus—a savory chickpea paste you can spread on anything and everything. Falafel is another familiar Middle-eastern specialty (ground chickpeas formed into balls or patties and deep-fried, served with sesame-based Tahini sauce). Lesser known dishes are M’jadarrah (lentil stew), Tabbouleh (salad with bulgur, tomatoes, parsley, mint), Umm ali (bread pudding), and Shanklish (cheese rolled in herbs).
Enjoy authentic Middle-eastern cuisine at Casa La Femme, Ravagh Persian Grill, Aba, and Yemen Café.
north african cuisine
Africa offers a variety of food as large and vibrant as the continent itself, and its many regions. Northern Africa is one of these regions with its own distinct cuisine, influenced by geographical location and tradition.
The seven countries within Northern Africa are: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and Western Sahara. Since it has the most Muslim inhabitants of all the regions in Africa, pork is not a large part of its cuisine. Instead, proteins such as goat, beef, seafood, and lamb are featured, often accompanied by olives, dates and almonds—flavored with colorful spices such as saffron, paprika, cumin, coriander, pippali (long pepper), ginger, and peppermint.
One of the most recognizable dishes hailing from this region is Couscous. In Northern Africa, Couscous can be served sweet: with sugar, cinnamon, and almonds, or savory: with lamb or chicken and a hot chili pepper sauce (harissa).
Lesser-known (yet equally as delicious) dishes from this region include: Tajine (slow-cooked stew), B’stilla (sweet and sour fowl pie), and Chakchouka (poached eggs over sautéed onions, tomatoes, and spices).
In Manhattan, you can sample the bold flavors of North Africa at restaurants such as Safari and Massawa
When many people think of Irish food, they unfortunately imagine only corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, and perhaps Shepard’s pie. While these are all truly scrumptious, Irish cuisine is much more than that, and is often misunderstood—much like Irish history.
Irish cuisine prior to the British invasion of the 17th century consisted of lots of dairy, grains (wheat, barley, oats), meat (lamb, mutton, goat, pork, beef), and seafood. The British occupation of the whole of Ireland included seizing Irish lands to sell its agricultural and animal products—mainly to fund the English army. The potato was introduced at that time and Irish natives were forced to survive on this vegetable if they could cultivate it on the little land they were left with.
Unfortunately, much of Irish culture (including its cuisine) was ravaged and lost during this occupation and The Great Famine brought on by British occupation, and the epic failure of the potato crop. Fortunately, Irish cuisine has begun experiencing a renaissance of sorts in the 21st century, with traditional dishes taking on a more modern and fresh twist.
Along with the aforementioned dishes, some of Ireland’s most traditional dishes include Irish stew (made with mutton or lamb and root vegetables), Colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale), Coddle (bangers, bacon, potatoes and onion), Salmon (baked, poached, smoked or grilled), Pork or Lamb Stew or Chops, and Irish Seafood Chowder (creamy and stew-like with lobster, prawns, clams, mussels, leeks, celery and fennel).
Enjoy a hearty and historical Irish meal in one of NYC’s many Irish restaurants: Neary’s, Carragher’s, St. James’ Gate Publick House, and Lillies Victorian Establishment.
the world at your fingertips
In Manhattan—arguably one of the world’s most international cities— The Marmara Park Avenue prides itself on offering international-style luxury and amenities to every one of our guests.
From luxury penthouses to spacious guestrooms with private terraces, to custom furniture and artwork, to our traditional Turkish Hammam, we bring the best the world has to offer to our guests here in Manhattan.
Learn more about our Turkish Hammam and other features of our Wellness Center.