If food delivery apps in NYC were a college course, I’d be the one writing the textbook. Yes, I fit into the all-too-common-category of food delivery-addicted, stressed-out New York City resident.
What can I say? The kitchen counter in my tiny studio apartment is exactly 14 inches wide—not exactly conducive to making much other than a basic pot of pasta or grilled cheese (though I have been known to cook up a Tết feast, using my coffee table and as supplemental counter space).
With some of the world’s best restaurants and their doorsteps, dining out (or ordering in) is really a way of life for New Yorkers. Otherwise, you’re simply not taking advantage of all that the city has to offer.
I’ve tried all the food delivery services in NYC not just once but several times, and have subscription memberships to several thanks to my Chase Sapphire Reserve card (earn $900 towards travel by signing up here). I’ve figured out how to get the best deals on delivery services, get food from New York’s most exclusive restaurants delivered, and play the game when it comes to stacking offers.
Even if you don’t have subscription memberships to food delivery services in NYC, you can still save on your first order. I’ve linked helpful promo codes throughout this article.
In all of my years living in the city, I’ve found that these are the best food delivery apps in NYC. Worth noting is that many of them are available across the United States—not just in the city—and many have websites for online ordering if you don’t feel like downloading yet another app.
Find the best food delivery apps ranked from best to worst below:
Seamless clocks in as the best food delivery app in NYC. Though I don’t order from it nearly as much as I do Uber Eats or Doordash, if you don’t have a membership subscription to one of the food delivery apps in NYC, you might notice that Seamless has some of the most reasonable fees.
Coming from a friend who worked in NYC’s restaurant industry, Seamless is also the best service to use as many of the restaurants on the app have opted to use their own drivers, which makes delivery far more efficient. When services like Seamless, Doordash, and Uber Eats have to call their own drivers, food can sit at the restaurant for lengthy amounts of time before getting picked up.
Seamless and Grubhub have merged, making them essentially the same platform with the same benefits. You’ll use the same account on both platforms.
What gives Seamless the top spot over Grubhub for me is that I’ve found that I receive far more promotional discounts for Seamless than I do for Grubhub. Within NYC, Seamless also seems to be the more popular food delivery service.
Worth mentioning is that I’ve compared identical orders using Seamless+, Seamless’ membership subscription, and DashPass, Doordash’s membership program. Seamless+ orders typically worked out to be slightly more expensive than those using DashPass, though the discrepancy was very minimal.
Seamless+ is available for free if you have a Lyft Pink subscription, which is free for Chase Sapphire cardholders.
Seamless discount code: Take $10 off your first Seamless order here!
2. Uber Eats
Uber Eats and its sister company, Postmates, are notorious for steep delivery fees and lengthy delivery times, but hear me out: Uber Eats takes the second spot out of the best food delivery apps in NYC because it is generous with the discounts.
The app has several exclusive restaurants that I love, such as Supper and Lil Frankie’s. Top NYC restaurants on the app also often run buy one, get one free promos, which can be stacked with the 40% off discounts the app frequently hands out.
When comparing identical orders from the same restaurant between Doordash and Uber Eats, I’ve found that Uber Eats’ frequent 40% off $25 orders discount makes the final total the same price, if not slightly less expensive than Doordash where I have DashPass benefits, despite not being an Uber One subscriber. I typically only order food from Uber Eats when this promo is available.
The app also offers by-restaurant deals and group ordering for easy bill splitting with friends and family.
If your order is under $25, I’d use DoorDash or Seamless, where your order’s delivery fee will likely be a little lower. I’d also use DoorDash if you’re placing an order during a busy time or inclement weather, as Uber Eats has been known to charge surge pricing or shut down delivery entirely.
Uber Eats promo code: use eats-evap1241ue to save $20 on your first order of $25 or more.
DoorDash has exclusive delivery access to some of NYC’s most sought-after restaurants, such as L’Artusi, Rubirosa, Scarpetta, and Via Carota. The wide range and popularity of restaurants on the app keep me going back.
If you pay for DashPass, your membership can be extended to one other person as a bonus. They’ll benefit from the same discounts as the primary member when ordering food.
The app offers a group order option for those ordering with friends or splitting costs on party food delivery. I’ve found that DoorDash is most likely to offer promo codes with large discounts on group orders and convenience delivery.
The app doesn’t run generous promotions for single orders as frequently as its competitors and can get pricey without DashPass, which is ultimately why it comes in at third.
DoorDash promo code: Click here for $5 off your first Doordash order.
There’s been a push lately for customers to order directly from restaurants rather than through apps like Uber Eats and Doordash. If you choose to do that, you might need to use LevelUp, whose software powers apps for mobile ordering and restaurant loyalty for tons of fast-casual establishments in NYC.
Restaurant apps using LevelUp for order pickup and delivery have been wonderful to me. They typically offer generous loyalty bonuses and tons of discounts and freebies throughout the year.
The downsides are that apps typically still use services like DoorDash to fulfill orders and are only built for restaurants individually, so you’ll need to have several apps rather than just one. You’ll be sent a tracking link via text, but you won’t be able to track your order in real time within the app itself.
However, you do tend to save more on menu prices and delivery fees than when using a full-service food delivery app and get the added perk of accruing points towards rewards.
Examples of restaurants in NYC that use LevelUp include Dig, Pret A Manger, and sweetgreen.
Well before being acquired by DoorDash, Caviar made a name for itself by specializing in upscale restaurants and trendy hotspots that weren’t previously available on any other service.
Since being purchased, the app has only gotten better. Those who have DashPass (DoorDash’s membership subscription) can now also use their benefits on Caviar for drastically reduced service fees and DashPass-exclusive deals.
DoorDash credit can now also be used on Caviar for savings on restaurants that never offer deals.
The downside of the acquisition is that Caviar lost its unique edge. DoorDash and Caviar inventory was merged, giving both apps essentially the same inventory of restaurants. If Caviar still had exclusive access to top NYC restaurants that DoorDash didn’t, it would easily be in the top spot on this list.
After being purchased by the food delivery mega player, I also noticed that Caviar promo codes became fewer and less generous, making the app less enticing. Now, I only use Caviar in the event that there is still a stray restaurant on it that isn’t on DoorDash or when they’re running a specific deal.
Grubhub is essentially the same app as Seamless since being acquired. You’ll find extremely similar restaurant inventory, though the Grubhub brand doesn’t seem to be quite as popular as Seamless in the New York City area.
If you have Seamless+, your benefits will be carried over to Grubhub should you choose to use the other app.
Grubhub promo code: Click here for $10 off your first Grubhub delivery order.
ChowNow is a common platform used by restaurants for direct order fulfillment. Unlike predatory competitors, ChowNow takes a flat rate from restaurants instead of the steep commission fee that other services do, making it easier for restaurants to keep their menu prices the same as they are in-store.
I have nothing against ChowNow, but I don’t find myself using it that often because its infrastructure isn’t quite as seamless as competitors, and it doesn’t offer the loyalty perks that restaurants on LevelUp do.
ChowNow is only towards the bottom of this list because, from a consumer standpoint, I don’t think there’s a ton of incentive to use ChowNow over competitors—it lacks a lot of bells and whistles—though being able to support local restaurants in a way that’s better for them is great.
Postmates is one of the OG food delivery apps in NYC. Unfortunately, the once-widely used app has lost a lot of its sparkle due to steep delivery fees. It’s since been acquired by Uber Eats, which doesn’t seem to have much interest in marketing the app.
The restaurant inventory on Postmates now mostly matches that of Uber Eats, the main difference between the two apps being that Postmates doesn’t run quite as many promotions.
Even more frustrating is that if you have an existing Uber Eats account, logging into Postmates might be difficult, if not near-impossible, due to technical bugs (I haven’t been able to access my account in months).
Postmates served its purpose at the time but is far from the best food delivery service in NYC now.
TooGoodTooGo doesn’t qualify as a food delivery app as it’s pick-up only, but if you’re willing to take a short walk, your effort will pay off (literally).
The app aims to combat food waste by partnering with restaurants to offer “mystery bags” available for pick-up within a short window before they close. Bags must have a value at least three times that of the price you pay before tax. For example, one of my favorite fast-casual restaurants, Taïm, offers $3.99 bags on TooGoodToGo that are always one of their bowls, worth $13-15.
Mystery bags can vary a lot, but the TooGoodTooGo NYC Facebook group might help you get a taste of what you can expect at each restaurant. The app is an amazing way to save a lot of money on food in New York and approach meal ordering with environmental consciousness.
Best Food Delivery Apps in NYC: FAQ
DoorDash is better than Uber Eats for small orders. If your order is over $25, Uber Eats may be the better option as it frequently runs promos for 40% off orders over $25.
GrubHub is better than DoorDash. Several GrubHub restaurants use their own delivery drivers for more efficient delivery speeds, and service fees tend to be lower. However, DashPass tends to be better than GrubHub+.
ChowNow, Seamless, and GrubHub tend to be the least expensive delivery apps in NYC, though DoorDash may come out slightly less expensive depending on the size of your order.
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Pin the best food delivery apps in NYC to save them for nights when you just can’t be bothered to cook or go out.
Eva Phan is the founder of Eva Darling, a travel and style website aiming to empower women to see the world solo while sharing on-trend, luxury feminine style inspiration. Featured in publications including Forbes, Thrillist, and Yahoo News, Eva has combined her education from Parsons School of Design with her incurable case of the travel bug to create a global destination that encourages others to romanticize their everyday.