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Jul 13, 2006 08:14 PM

Friends Visting - Ideas for somewhere near Union Sq.

I have some friends coming into the city and we are meeting in Union Sq and I am looking for some suggestions of restaurants in walking distance from there. Something casual, fun and not too expensive. Thanks!

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  1. You might want to try Duke's. Not the greatest food in the world but it is casual, inexpensive and close to Union Square:

    The really good food in the Union Square area is all a bit pricy. If you are willing to head over to the East Village you'll have better luck finding a casual inexpensive restaurant with good food.

    1 Reply
    1. re: antjones9

      fyi, if ya go to Duke's..don't order the chicken fried steak!

      I made that mistake last month and after my first bite i wasn't quite sure what i had just eaten. Finally it dawned on me that instead of a traditional chicken fried steak, they served me something more along the lines of a meatloaf tempura. That had to be one of the worst dishes i have eaten anywhere in a very long time.

      Thing is I used to go to Duke's on a semi-regular basis around 5 years ago and was quite satisfied. As the previous poster said, it's not the greatest but it was good/decent for what it was.

      Normally i'd assume that my last visit was fluke, but they should know that chicken fried steak is not made with meatloaf and is definately should not deep fried in a tempura batter.

    2. Tough area for good food that is reasonable.
      Mario Batali to the rescue!
      I'd suggest either Bar Jamon or Otto?

      Bar Jamon on Irving Place is excellent,
      if you don't mind a packed place,
      and slowish service. the food is good,
      and the wine is even better.

      Otto is a little south.
      Reasonable, good, simple food, and has a vibe out-of-towners like

      Or try Pipa on 19th St? The food isn't as good as the other 2,
      but the room is big and beautiful, and the drinks are good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kvn

        If it were me, I'd be going to Bar Jamon or Casa Mono, but it's a tight fit for 4 people. (yeah yeah it's small)

        -Cedar Tavern for burgers and pub food in just a kick-ass hang out bar
        -Saigon Grill just opened on University. Haven't been myself, but CHers have been waiting for this cheap Vietnamese to open
        -Newly re-opened Via Emilia for inexpensive homemade pasta
        -Taralucci & Vino, basic Italian anitpasti, panini, salads and a couple pastas. Really good olive oil with the bread. Easy to hang out here.
        -Big Daddy Diner, somewhat themey and it's a diner, but decent renditions of fried chicken and sandwiches served with tater tots.

      2. Friend House on 3rd Ave (bt 12/13sts) has outstanding asian food, including killer sushi, and is reasonably priced. You never hear mention of this place, but I think it's one of the best asian spots near Union Square.

        Try it!

        1. Just walk over to the Cedar Tavern on University Place and 11th Street. Gorgeous old mahogany bar with outstanding pub grub. You get a lot of bang for the buck and it's got great local color.

          1 Reply
          1. re: eastvillagegirl

            what did you ever have there that was "outstanding"?...just curious, as i've had only forgettable/mediocre meals there...

          2. I hear that Tokyo La Men on university just south of 12th is a decent Japanese noodle shop.

            Saigon Grill is risky cause it just openned but might be ok.

            Zen Palate is very good on Union Square, but it is vegetarian only.

            Spice on university and 9th or 10th is good inexpensive Thai.