Long Island City
I have to spend a couple of days in L.I. City next week, near the 23rd St.-Ely Ave. subway. Any suggestions on where to eat would be appreciated.
Long Island City has a number of newcomers which are good and also some restaurants which have been here a while and deserve attention. Cafe Henri's is a small cafe which makes you feel like you left NY and went straight to the suburbs of Paris. The food is consistently good and lots of people hang with their laptops. Easy and comfortable, great breakfast and lunch. An old standby which just reopened after a fire in the kitchen is The Crab House. The food is great and if you want meat, they have the best meat purveyors of the best steak houses. I just went there for softshell crabs and they came out with a huge tray of crabs in a very hot sauce, I was up to my bib in sauce and crab. It was great but needed a shower after this sensuous experience. It has been around long before the neighborhood hit the map. Manetta's is a favorite Italian restaurant. Good fare, huge portions so you have a dinner and another dinner to take home. The atmosphere is homey and is owned by a family . They have the best thin crust, bick oven pizza and the price is right. Tournesol, another newish restaurant is very French and serves the best burgers for lunch and great salade nicoise also for lunch. Dinner is very French bistro, fish, steak, etc. and the food and atmosphere is consistently good. They also have a raw bar a couple of doors away where you can start with wine and oysters or cheese, if you have to wait for a table. Worth the wait. Walk the neighborhood and you fill find lots of other spots to dine, including a truck down by the Gantry plaza with Belgian waffles on a stick with strawberries and bananas. There are a number of Thai and Japanese restaurants which have opened and a few bars which are good, Lounge 47 has good food too. Make certain when you eat here, you take a walk after your meal, hop into one of the hammocks in the waterfront park or stroll on the boardwalk. It's a lovely spot in the evenings,not much shade during the day but great views of Manhattan skyline.
The only thing Crab house has going for it is nostalgia, not even kitsch at this point, it's too dusty for that and I only like surly waitresses when the food is good. We've been having company parties there for 30 years and some guys still love it for the prime rib, but as a steak lover I can't imagine why. Like I said, nostalgia.
I do punjabi 5 star diner once a week for their $9 buffet. It is fantastic and all you can eat. But don't plan on having dinner that night. Really great place.
Manetta's is pretty good but I started going to Bella Via instead on Vernon and 48th. I prefer Bella Via, I think it's newish.
Dutch Kills is a cool place, but only been once on a week night but it was dead.
Tournesol I have never been to but it is a very well respected place so I would check it out for a classy dinner.
Manducati's is a local legend, I only been twice but my Dad who's worked in LIC for 40 years loves it. Apparently you should go when the old lady is cooking.
Best thing to do, and most would agree hop on the 7 train and explore Jackson Heights. 10 mins on the train, get off at 74th / Broadway.
I like Manducatis Rustica, Five Star Punjabi, Sage for surprisingly good dinner takeout (I've had the fried chicken, paella, macaroni and cheese and lobster roll so far), Ihawan for Filipino/BBQ, Dutch Kills for seriously good cocktails and Sweetleaf for the best (Stumptown) coffee. I think there are probably detailed posts for all of these.