Tourist Traps? 10 Most Overrated Restaurants in NYC

For every awesome restaurant in New York City, there are also a good number of food establishments that make us want to roll our eyes.

Not that those establishments are bad, in any sense of the word, but they are essentially overrated-- whether that be in reputation or in price, or maybe even both.

Honestly, there are many underrated, inexpensive places to grab a bite to eat in NYC-- just take our word for it (or just keep an eye out for my upcoming article on the very topic-- shameless plug, I know).

So grab your grub like a true New Yorker, instead of wasting your time and money at one of these 10 overrated tourist traps in NYC.

1. Serendipity 3 (225 East 60th Street)

harj86_ Because it's chocolate... #FrozenHotChocolate #NoSharing #Serendipity3 #Dessert #NewYork πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

Let's face it: the primary reason why you came here is so you can split a frozen hot chocolate with your clique, just so you could post it to Instagram.


This isn't some right of passage for all New Yorkers to do. You are basic-- it's ok. We'll forgive you.

2. Tao (42 East 58th Street - 92 9th Avenue)

[via Yelp]

"Overpriced" and "Chinese food" are two words that absolutely don't belong in the same sentence.

Sure, Tao is clubby and exciting, but you could do better, don't you think? I mean, this place is just as much about the scene than it is about the food.

You might consider that NYC has Chinatown, which has dozens of Chinese places like Prosperity Dumpling that serve all your takeout faves at a fraction of a fraction of the price.

3. Famous Original Ray's Pizza or Ray's Original Pizza or Famous Ray's PizzaBasically, any pizzeria with the name "Ray" in it (various NYC locations)

Ray's Pizza
[via Shani Heckman / Flickr]

Do not be duped by pizza places like Ray's that claim to be the real-deal NYC style slice or pie because the real Ray's closed down back in 2011. There's seriously still a ton of knock-offs around, so just don't be that guy (or girl).

New York City has a ton of favorite pizza destinations, and you shouldn't cheat yourself out of a slice from legit places like Grimaldi's or Luzzo's or Artichoke's, which practically gave New York the reputation it has regarding being the pizza mecca of the world.

Oh, and if you want to visit where this city's first Ray's actually stood, hit up Prince Street Pizza-- their pizza is actually really tasty and authentic.

4. Cake Boss Cafe (625 8th Avenue)

[via Paul Gorbould / Flickr]

Ooh, cool, a restaurant owned by a reality star! Because that totally hasn't been done before.


If you're going to give the Cake Boss' confections the time of the day, check out his original storefront in Hoboken (and even then, ehhh), but you didn't come all the way to NYC to do that, did you?

5. Carnegie Deli  (854 7th Avenue)

[via Scott Beale / Flickr]

Are any of these famous delis what they're really all cracked up to be? I mean, it might just be me, but paying $20 for a pastrami sandwich anywhere sounds completely absurd.

At best, this place is literally a knockoff, uptown version of Katz's Deli. 

And let's be real, if you're going to shell out the big bucks on meaty, monstrous sandwiches and wait on a really long line (at peak times), it might as well be at the original Katz's, am I right?


6. Bareburger (various NYC locations) 


Bareburger, I see what you were trying to do with the whole healthy burger angle.

Really, I give you props, but my heart and my appetite are just not with you on this one.


Because if I really, truly want a burger in NYC, I'm going to Shake Shack. Or Umami BurgerThe end.

7. Dominique Ansel Bakery (189 Spring Street)

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 12.40.25 PM

Yes, okay, NYC. Cronuts are delicious.

They're delicious and creative and instantaneously classic. Cronuts gave NYC street credit, there's no argument about that.


But waiting on line for a half hour, only to find that they're sold out for the day is too soul-crushing for the soul.  It's just... they're just Cronuts, you know? I don't understand the obsession.

8. Peter Luger Steakhouse (178 Broadway) 

[via Wally Gobetz / Flickr]

I feel like steak dinners are always so overrated, because it's just a hunk of aged meat, and I most likely won't be buying one until I'm a corporate baller or unless someone gives me the green light to order one (since that person would be the one paying about $50 for it).

Granted, nobody wants to eat bad steak, and Brooklyn's Peter Luger will definitely not serve you one.


But come on, you can buy their famous steak sauce in grocery stores, which I'm pretty sure is a sign that the establishment's officially sold out.

Be that as it may, if you have $50 to throw away on a steak, go for it. But a steak is just a steak, ya know what I mean?

9. Dos Caminos (various NYC locations) 

[via Yelp]

Blowing Mexican food out of proportion is pretty much just a way to guarantee yourself a one-way ticket to overrated-ness (I think I just made up a word).

There are soooo many Mexican places in NYC that are less showy, but more authentic, and can give you more bang for your buck than Dos Caminos ever could.

10. Basically any chain restaurant in NYC (various NYC locations-- mostly Times Square) 

[via Flickr]

The award for most overrated doesn't go to a single place, rather, a whole category: chain restaurants.

You might be excited to find that your favorite restaurants from your hometown conveniently have locations in the Big Apple. But this isn't your local strip mall or shopping center.

This is New York City. Act accordingly.

If you enjoyed this article, check out the 9 Most Underrated Restaurants in NYC!

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