15 Irresistible New York City Treats

by Sandra Foyt on July 6, 2013

in Food Adventures

The promise of a sweet reward can motivate even the most reluctant young sightseers; and luckily, there are many tempting New York City treats. I asked Larissa Horn, the Teen Concierge at the Omni Berkshire Place on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, to recommend the most popular New York City desserts. She gave me a number of great suggestions which I supplemented with my own exhaustive investigative reporting and a little crowd sourcing.

Three kids sharing a Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity 3 in New York City.

Best New York City Treats

1.) Serendipity 3 –  You haven’t lived until you’ve sampled Frozen Hot Chocolate; too big for one, ask for extra straws. Pink Ice, the Monet Salad, and a number of Sundaes are worthy of devotion too. Just for giggles ask about the Guinness World Record setting Golden Opulence Sundae, only $1000 with 48 hour notice. No reservations, expect to wait in line. You might have to explore nearby Dylan’s Candy Bar while you wait.  225 East 60th Street  

Giant gum ball at Dylan's Candy Bar in New York City.

2.) Dylan’s Candy Bar – Doesn’t matter how often we go into the city, my teenagers always ask to stop at Dylan’s. With three floors of colorful candy displays, what’s not to love? Every time we visit, we explore the shop from top to bottom (love to see the Nostalgic Candy display!) before filling up on our favorites at the Bulk Candy dispensers. It’s just sweeter this way. 1011 Third Ave at 60th St.

Max Brenner - NYC

3.) Max Brenner  –  Larissa says, “Max Brenner is fun. It’s all in the presentation. Of course it’s important that it taste good, but having a nice presentation of dessert is always fun. Max Brenner is really great with that.”  We like to imagine that the exposed pipes really do carry molten chocolate across the room, but even if that’s not the case, the menu oozes the precious liquid–including the crowd-pleasing Chocolate Chunks Pizza. 841 Broadway  New York, NY 10003.

Chocolate Chunks Pizza

4.) Wafels & Dinges – Larissa adds, “I have a lot of friends who are into food trucks. One that I love is Waffles & Dinges. It’s Belgium waffles & they add toppings like Nutella and graham cracker spread. They’re fun and they’re on Twitter & every day you can do something to get a free topping. They have a lot of different locations, including Central Park.”

5.) The cupcake trend is still alive and well in the city. Larissa recommends no less than three cupcake bakeries: Magnolia Bakery (made famous by Sex and the City,) Crumbs Bake Shop, and Little Cupcake Bake Shop.

6.) Rice to Riches – Possibly the most unusual dessert place, Larissa suggests Rice to Riches in SoHo because it’s all about “rice pudding in a variety of  flavors served in a funky setting. 37 Spring St (between Mott St & Mulberry St) New York, NY 10012.

Pastry display - with canoli - at La Bella Ferrara. | New York City

7.) La Bella Ferrara – Whenever I take my family to Chinatown or Little Italy, we always pick up dessert at La Bella Ferrara. Although the glass display features a plethora of delectable pastries, we always order the same item–classic cannoli.   108 Mulberry St (between Canal St & Hester St) New York, NY 10013.

8.) The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop – According to Albany Kid contributor Gina Martin, “the genius of the Big Gay Ice Cream team is in the choice of toppings – from sea salt to sriracha to pumpkin butter.” Read the entire review here7th street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A.

Rose Doughnut

9.) Doughnut Plant – Pretty as it is tasty, who can resist a Rose Doughnut? Filled with a rose water pudding and dipped in a rose water glaze, an edible rose petal isn’t strictly necessary for the flavor (but it’s what makes it divine.) Every doughnut on the menu is just as imaginative, and just as yummy. Personal faves include the Tres Leche (authentic “three milks” cake, delivered in our round cake doughnut) and the Blackout (chocolate cake doughnut, filled with chocolate pudding, dipped in chocolate glaze and sprinkled with chocolate cake crumbs.) Two locations: 379 Grand St, New York, NY and 220 W 23rd St, New York, NY.

10.) Burdick Chocolate Shop – Chocolate for a discerning clientele, the single source hot chocolate menu is an education in itself. Burdick also wins the prize for most adorable sweets; their chocolate mice and penguins are almost too cute to eat. Almost. 5 E 20th St, Manhattan, NY 10003.

11.) MarieBelle – An oasis of tranquility and fine chocolate. Thick, rich, and wickedly strong hot chocolate drinks are best sipped slowly, accompanied by something light and savory in the crystal chandelier splendor of the Cacao Bar and Tea Salon. Splurge on a selection of signature art ganache–chocolates, each vibrant tableau comes with a colorful story. 484 Broome St (btwn. W Broadway & Wooster), New York, NY 10013

Macarons and espresso on a silver tray served at La Maison du Macaron in New York City.

12.) Another dessert trend with staying power, macarons are the quintessentially elegant and oh là là French dessert that can now be found all over the city. Connoisseurs insist that Manhattan’s best macarons are those shipped in from France to La Maison du Chocolate or Ladurée, but I was deliciously satisfied with the petite jewels baked in-house at La Maison du Macaron132 West 23rd Street, New York, NY.

13.  Cake Boss Cafe – As you might expect, this bakery carries a lot of cake. But it also features a more-than-life-size statue with enormous nostrils–an item often pointed out by young models and their parental paparazzi. Down the street from the Shake Shack (8th & 44th), we recommend dropping in for dessert after the hamburger & shake. 625 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10018

14. Fat Witch Bakery – At the top of my NYC sweets bucket list is what I’m told are the to-die-for brownies at Fat Witch Bakery. I like that there’s at least a couple of new-to-me sweets left to try, gives me something to look forward to on my next visit.  75 Ninth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10011.

15. __________ Fill in the blank. What irresistible New York City treat have I left off the list?

New York City Travel Tips

Planning a visit to New York City with kids?  Check out our New York City Guide which includes New York City with Kids: Fun and Educational Things To Do, Family-friendly Hotels and Restaurants, and More!, a collection of posts by family travel experts.


| Sandra Foyt is a storyteller, photographer, and road trip junkie. A veteran of six cross-country road trips, she drove Route 66, the Lincoln Highway, the fossil freeway, the extraterrestrial highway, and even “the loneliest road in America.” Find her on GetawayMavens.com, an award-winning destination guide to extraordinary travel in and from Northeast USA, on her portfolio site at SandraFoyt.com, and in freelance gigs on Family Travel 411, Minitime, Huffington Post, and Matador Network. Email: sandrafoyt@albanykid.com, Twitter @SandraFoyt.

Lisa Goodmurphy July 6, 2013 at 11:20 am

Oh my kids are going to be very excited about this list – the only one that we’ve been to is Dylan’s Candy Bar!!
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Sandra Foyt July 6, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Lisa – Clearly you need to return to NYC to check off a few more of the sweets list;-)
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Tonya {The Traveling Praters} July 6, 2013 at 12:38 pm

My daughter and I made it to the top three on our last trip to NYC. The Frozen Hot Chocolate was too much for the two of us but we lucked out and didn’t wait for a seat. My daughter loved the experience.
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Sandra Foyt July 6, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Tonya – I like to think of the first 3 as the classics, and the rest as icing on the cake. That’s great that you didn’t have to wait at Serendipity 3, you’re very lucky. Usually we have a 45min-1.5 hour wait.
Sandra Foyt recently posted..What’s in New York City for Teenagers? Ask a Teen ConciergeMy Profile

Sandra Foyt July 6, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I just received a recommendation for a new-to-me treat – the Cronut. (See http://bit.ly/16VUYXp) Adding it to my bucket list now.
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Micki (The Barefoot Nomad) July 8, 2013 at 2:03 pm

My kids would go crazy for that giant gumball machine! 🙂
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Terry at Overnight New York July 8, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Nice list. Two Little Red Hens, a terrific American bakery on Second Avenue near 86th Street would make a sweet addition for your next visit.
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Steve July 9, 2013 at 3:05 am

Well now I’m hungry and only a Chocolate Chunks Pizza will suffice (…totally for the non-existent kids…not all for me)
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Andrea July 9, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Definitely my fav treat place — I could just walk and eat all day in NYC

wanderingeducators July 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm

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Cat of Sunshine and Siestas July 10, 2013 at 2:31 pm

This is just too much. I for real have a cavity forming…! My first trip to NYC had us in and out of cake shops for my mother and sister, who have always believed that one should eat dessert first!
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Val-This Way To Paradise July 10, 2013 at 9:44 pm

The rose doughnut looks amazing!!!
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Larissa July 11, 2013 at 8:21 pm

You’ll have to head to Sydney, Australia. . . there are Max Brenner’s everywhere–they’re like Starbucks down under!
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Sandra Foyt July 12, 2013 at 12:05 am

And yet another reason to visit Australia!

Cheryl @ KidsOnAPlane July 12, 2013 at 12:23 am

My dream is to visit Serendipity 3 one day. Scratch that, ALL 15 places mentioned on your list. 🙂
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Penny Sadler July 14, 2013 at 8:47 am

Omg! I love rice pudding! I can’t believe there’s a shop devoted to rice pudding. Would you send me some please!
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Kate July 14, 2013 at 4:19 pm

The food options in NYC are amazing. I really like a donut shop called Dun Well Donuts in Brooklyn. You wouldn’t know they’re vegan. They’re light, fluffy, and delish.
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Bethaney - Flashpacker Family July 15, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Doughnut Plant is the business!!!!!! I walked halfway across Manhattan trying to find their store when I was in NYC a few years ago. Definitely worth it!!!
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Lindsay July 22, 2013 at 8:33 am

We had been planning a trip to New York and thinking of the activities we should. Thank you for making it easier. Ive added the top 5 on the list of things we are going to do.
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