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Jul 18, 2006 06:15 PM

Ultimate Foodie Tour of NYC

I'm turning to you Chowhounders for your expertise:

We have a couple of SF friends who are huge foodies coming to visit and we've promised to provide them the ultimate culinarian tour of NYC. They want to do a very nice dinner, then just fabulous food and culinary experiences.

For the expensive dinner, I've chosen Le Bernardin. For some of the other meals, I've chosen some of my faves:

Tia Pol for tapas
Sushi of Gari (UES) for sushi (YUM)
Pommes Frites for an afternoon snack

So my question to you guys is, what am I missing? What are the very best restaurants around, primarily in Manhattan but willing to try outer boroughs.


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  1. RGR's Lower East Side food tour, discussed recently here:

    1 Reply
    1. You've got to take them to Babbo or Lupa. Batali's food will blow their minds away.

      10 Replies
      1. re: chocokitty

        Is Babbo really all that? I've heard mixed things, and didn't know if it were like a Nobu where you always hear about it and there's a ton of hype, but the food is average at best.

        1. re: livetoeat

          Yes Babbo is really all that.
          Italian restaurants is not one of SF's stronger culinary point.

          If not Babbo then, at least, include Lupa. This will blow them away.

          BTW, Tia Pol is also an excellent choice for your SF visitors. There's a dearth of good Spanish restaurants there.

          1. re: RCC

            Babbo is one of the best eating experiences in NYC. Especially for foodies. Enjoy.

            1. re: RCC

              Babbo and Lupa are definitely all that, but I don't agree that Italian isn't a strong suit of SF.

              1. re: a_and_w

                Babbo remains one of our favorite eating experiences ever. Chocokitty is right, it will blow your mind. and it will set the bar for which all other italian and other nice restaurant experiences will have to meet.

            2. re: livetoeat

              I concur. Babbo is all that and the last time I flew back to NY from SF, I ate at Babbo. I would have done Lupa also if time permitted.

              I would also do:
              1. Yasuda
              2. Yasuda
              3. Yasuda. They will thank you when you take them and curse you when they return. Remember, sushi bar only in front of Yasuda. Heck, even if you don't sit in front of Yasuda, it'll still be impressive.
              4. Jean-Georges (consider replacing Le Bernardin)
              5. Katz's for pastrami (THAT will blow them away)
              6. H&H for bagel
              7. Pizza. Lombardi's, Di Fara, or Una Pizza Napoletana
              8. Sushi of Gari (after going to Yasuda)
              9. Balthazar's or Pastis for the feel and the great fries.
              10. Eleven Madison Park to visit the former SF Chef Daniel Humm.

              1. re: Porthos

                Great list, porthos! But H&H is pretty close to Noah's, imo -- I'd suggest Murray's or Ess-A-Bagel instead. I'd also suggest Arturo's over Lombardi's for pizza (though DiFara's is indeed the way to go, if you can).

                Also, depending on how adventurous the OP's guests are, I'd suggest WD-50. It's where I usually take foodie friends from the Bay Area...

                1. re: a_and_w

                  I like the WD-50 suggestion and I also like Ess-A-Bagel. But H&H and Noah's are way different. Especially since you have to try one with whitefish.

                  I never tried Arturo's because I like getting the pancetta and roasted red pepper pie at Lombardi's too much.

                  1. re: a_and_w

                    All this talk about bagels and no one has mentioned Absolute Bagel on, I think, 106th and B'way (if not right there then very close). It's a family run place. I've sampled all the places mentioned and Absolute kills them all (at least in the new NYC BIG bagel category). Very good selection of cream cheeses, too, but no good for whitefish and the like. Hot & Cruty is also good and very underrated. One vote for Ess-a-bagel for best whitefish salad. Also, you must go to Barney Greengrass. Overpriced and uncomfortable, it is still the best smoked fish breakfast in the world. Also great latkes.

                2. re: livetoeat

                  Babbo is good, by no means mind blowing. The Emperor has no clothes!

              2. Have you considered planning an eating tour with Famous Fat Dave?


                1 Reply
                1. re: chioubacca

                  Take a look at this:


                  It's a 17 minute Famous Fat Dave's Faves Tour from the Lower East Side to Sheepshead Bay and back.

                2. Tomasso on 86th street between 14th Avenue and 15th Avenue in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn shouldn't be missed. Taro Sushi in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn (on Dean Street between 5th Ave and Flatbush Ave) is sushi nirvana. Especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Katz's on E. Houston in Manhattan has awesoume deli. Gray's Papaya also in Manhattan on either W.8th street and Avenue of the Americas or W.72nd st. and Bwy have great hot dogs.

                  1. How about taking them shopping in the Village (Murray's Cheese, Amy's Bread). Lots of fun things to taste. Also, you guys could go to the bar at Cru. Friends of mine are amazed that a wine list (or 'portfolio' as they call it there) that large even exists. Enjoy the visit and please report back.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: JeremyEG

                      I would second a nice walk around the Village, especially if it can include a lunchtime stop at 'ino for a glass of wine and a few panini. Nothing comparable exists in SF.

                      I also heartily second the suggestion of Una Pizza Napoletana, because again, it offers a very different experience that the pizza "specialists" in SF.