New York City Dipping and Saucing

When you tell someone that you will be visiting New York City, you can count on hearing this:

“Oh, I know this great restaurant in [enter Manhattan neighborhood name here]. You have to go. They have the best [name a comfort food or obscure type of fusion here] and the best [cocktail type here] I’ve ever had.”

Jason (my husband) and I travel in a way that’s not-so-ordinary. Our jobs allow us to work from anywhere, which means we’ve been fortunate enough to work from Asia, Central America, and even New York City. Whenever we mention to a friend or fellow traveler that we’ll be spending time in NYC, we almost always hear about their favorite restaurant or bar or chef or street food.

At first, I kept a list of all the restaurants recommended to us, but it became overwhelming. There are over 20,000 restaurants in NYC and of that number I’d guess and say that 65% are worth trying and 40% of those fit in our budget. That leaves 4,800 restaurants that I need to eat at and you want me to eat at that ONE place in SoHo that serves the best coconut martini of your life?

Well, ya. They do mean it, and so do I. The following is a list of some of my favorite places to sauce and dip in NYC. I hope you get a chance to eat Saucy Dipper style the next time you’re in town.


Bar 89 in Soho really does serve the best coconut martini I’ve ever tasted. They also have dozens of other delicious, colorful cocktails.

bar 89 nyc pink cocktail

The Coffee Shop in Union Square has a swervy-shaped bar and the perfect patio for people watching. I’m delightfully surprised by the Latin-inspired brunch, too.

breakfast sauce nyc

The Meatball Shop on the Lower East Side has all varieties of meatball and accompanying SAUCE. You see spicy pork meatballs covered in creamy Parmesan sauce here. In addition to this dish, I’d definitely recommend the beef meatball with tomato sauce hero. You’ll love it. I promise.

meatballs creamy parmasean sauce

Soup dumplings and dandan noodles from Chelsea’s International Grand Sichuan are a must.

szechuan sauce nyc

Pomme Frites just might be my favorite East Village restaurant. Dozens of DIPPING SAUCES? Belgian fries? I’m in heaven. Here you see the especial sauce (with onions), curry ketchup, smoked eggplant mayo, and wasabi mayo. The especial reminded me of salsa rosa, but eggplant mayo was the best of the four dipping sauces, hands down.

french fry sauce

Ever heard of S’Mac? Also in the East Village, this macaroni and cheese specialty restaurant is usually packed full around dinner time. Plan on sharing…it’s rich!

smac in new york city

Calle Ocho on the Upper West Side has a fab brunch (sangria bar, anyone?). They also offer up delicious bread and black bean dip before dinner. Makes the trip uptown worth your while.

new york city dip

Forgive the horrible cell phone photos here, but hopefully can see that these are artichoke pakoras and eggplant chili coconut sauce. You can find these at Vermilion in Midtown.

new york city restaurant dips

Do you have any favorite New York City restaurant sauces or dips? Please share!


  1. Love this post Sara, thank you! It’s making me hungry for lots of dipping! I definitely want to try out the Meatball Shop! I think Jimmy would LOVE it too!

  2. I think I am a Coconut Monster, maybe with tropical orange hair instead of Cookie Monster’s blue haur. I love this list. You make the best lists! I want to try that coconut martini. LOVE Pommes Frites. They used to offer tartar sauce, which I loved with their fries, but they don’t have it anymore 🙁 And yay for Calle Ocho! That was when I first heard about SaucyDipper 🙂

  3. I’m glad you all like this list! Nina, we’ll definitely do a food tour when you’re here. Chung, I want to go back to Calle Ocho for the sangria AND the dip.

  4. Sara! So fun to meet you at Blogher today–hopefully we’ll run into you tomorrow. Victoria and I are in discussions about quadrupling our rates. 🙂

  5. You know, I lived in the New York for five or six years, and the only place I’ve been to on this list is S’Mac! There are so many places to eat in New York; you really can’t make a dent in getting to them all. I especially like the sound of artichoke pakoras in eggplant chili coconut sauce – yum!

    I love The Green Table in Chelsea Market. They have a vegetable crudite appetizer that’s served with dips, Amy’s bread, cheese, and olives. It’s healthy, but also delicious.

    1. I’ve yet to get to Chelsea Market, despite trying on TWO separate occasions. I’ll have to try the Green Table when I finally do make it.

  6. If you love dips (which obviously you do!) Kashkaval on 9th ave and 56th street is awesome. You can choose up to six dips out of about 20 to make your own tapas plate. They also have great chocolate fondue for dessert. I often skip the main course and just do dips and fondue for dinner. They also have a huge wine list to choose from. The only drawback is that they don’t take reservations and tend to get very busy at prime times.

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