Dean & Deluca in SoHo is a great place for celebrity watching. The store is immaculate, with gorgeous displays of delicious food at every turn. Good selection of prepared foods and desserts, prices run high.
Fairway is chock full of stuff and the prices are low. You can taste the cheeses, smell the coffee, and get free samples of bread. Shopping here is fun when it's not too crowded.
Zabar's has been around since 1934, a true NYC landmark. "With a great selection of domestic and international foods, a vast range of innovative cookware and housewares, and the most delicious, gourmet gifts, Zabar's has indeed earned its reputation as a world-famous destination for all that's fresh, new, and exciting in the culinary world."
"Since 1916, the people at Balducci's have been bringing epicures the finest in what the food world has to offer."
This Italian gourmet shop has fresh fish available daily.
Down the street from Fairway, "Citarella is regarded as one of New York City's top food Mecca, a destination for the discerning. Mike Citarella created Citarella in 1912 in Harlem's Sugar Hill section of New York. A jewel of a store where fish was piled high on marble slabs, sawdust scattered on the floor and dedicated employees were quick to help customers. That store eventually moved to its present location where its reputation as a reliable seafood market has grown together with New Yorkers' ever-discriminating palates."
Gourmet garage has a nice selection of gourmet goodies in an unpretentious setting.
See also: Green markets are great for farm fresh produce.