You’d be hard pressed to find many locations in New York that can impress locals just as easily as they draw in tourists. But City Kitchen at the Row NYC hotel isn’t the typical foodie hot spot.

City Kitchen NYC

That much is apparent when you first step in and observe the warm and communal atmosphere of this bustling food hall. The space is a nod to the classic working kitchens of yore, with a mix of modern and industrial décor elements like white marble tile, Italian glass chandeliers and leather counter stools punctuated with pops of ambient neon light that, on the whole, create a relaxed and inviting atmosphere where chatting with strangers is more likely than not.

The ever-flowing stream of patrons City Kitchen draws in can tell you much about the destination. Its Times Square location situated within Row NYC has made it a hub of epicurean activity for both locals and tourists looking to indulge in boast-worthy New York City cuisine that’s swiftly served. Indeed, City Kitchen is one centralized commissary where patrons can kick back in a kinetic environment and have a quintessential Big Apple foodie experience.

Note that City Kitchen is a far cry from the typical Times Square eatery where chain restaurants and fast food reign supreme, and there’s painfully little in the way of authenticity. Instead, it’s a destination offering a quicker way to enjoy signature dishes from a number of popular New York City dining venues. Don’t know what you’re in the mood for? Are members in your party all craving something different? No problem, as this easy-to-access location is a great place to sample some of the city’s tastiest culinary offerings from a wide range of vendors.

With seven vendors to choose from, City Kitchen caters to any and all tastes, which is just one of the many reasons it has quickly become a premier location for dining in the area. There’s delectable sushi and other Japanese fare provided by local favorite Azuki (I highly recommend the seafood shumai dumplings); to-die-for ramen bowls, my current obsession, from Kuro Obi—Ippudo’s quick-serve spin-off; roasted duck shawarma and other Mediterranean delights from ilili Box; masterful Mexican fare from Gabriela’s Taqueria, where the grilled skirt steak and homemade house vinaigrette dressing will knock your socks off; decadent lobster, crab and shrimp rolls and clam chowder all doing New England proud; and beer and burgers courtesy of Whitmans New York. For a specialty coffee or for dessert do not, and I mean do not, miss out on Dough where you can indulge in a donut about three-times the size of the regular iteration and available in delightfully inventive form like the Dulce de Leche with Toasted Almonds, Hibiscus, Passion Fruit with Cocoa Nibs and Mocha Almond Crunch among the more traditional options.

From this one uber-convenient and decidedly elevated dining depot, you can sip and savor from an array of revered restaurants representing some of New York City’s most esteemed edibles—not just the trendiest restaurants and dishes, but rather those that embody the very spirit and diversity of native NYC. Just step into City Kitchen to feel, and eat, like a local.

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***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***