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Best of 9th Avenue

Marco Aug 9, 2006 02:53 PM

The next time we come to the city in October, we would like to check out lunch on 9th Ave. Peruvian, Argentinian, Turkish etc.
No Italian (though Amarone was quite good) or Indian. Any suggestions from seasoned city people?

  1. johnk Aug 9, 2006 03:27 PM

    One of the best shwarma in the city can be had @ Azuri Cafe on 51st Street just east of 10th Avenue. They close early on Friday and closed Sat. for religious observance.

    1. a
      allkindsoffood Aug 9, 2006 04:11 PM

      Try Empanada Mama at 51st - I like any of the nonbaked empanadas and the arepas; Pam Real Thai on 49th (or they have a second branch called Encore on 47th that I haven't been to) - best pad see ew; Rice N Beans (Brazilian) near 50th; and Riconcito Peruano for peruvian between 53rd and 54th.

      4 Replies
      1. re: allkindsoffood
        trinyc Aug 9, 2006 07:13 PM

        I second Empanada Mama! Try Uncle's Nick, go to the Ouzaria (two restos are side by side), Xing, and Delta Grill.

        1. re: trinyc
          mrbeachy Aug 9, 2006 10:18 PM

          i agree with the recommendation for uncle nick's. i have had many excellent meals there.

          1. re: mrbeachy
            lvecch Sep 6, 2006 03:21 PM

            A third vote for Uncle Nick's.

        2. re: allkindsoffood
          a_and_w Jul 17, 2007 09:11 AM

          Second Rice 'N Beans, though it's a little overpriced for what you get. Also, when you're done with lunch, check out my favorite cookies in the city at Ruby et Violette on 50th(??) just off 10th Ave.

        3. tamasha Aug 9, 2006 07:55 PM

          I really like Turkish Cuisine on 45th-ish and 9th.

          1. c
            cma212 Aug 9, 2006 10:29 PM

            i live right there and can say some of the best places to eat are on 9th ave. all of the above are great. i'll say that el centro has good mexican; i really like vnyl too (american classic and thai. there are TONS of thai places there: Q, tiny thai, breeze, but pam real thai is most authentic (and cheapest).

            1 Reply
            1. re: cma212
              lesliepc16 Sep 6, 2006 05:52 AM

              I would try Wondee Siam, the one between 52nd and 53rd, over Pam Real. I find Pam Real to be pretty hit or miss.

              Wondee Siam has a thai menu, which you probably won't be able to read, but the waitstaff always helps me pick out something. Last time I had crispy pork with basil, and it was quite good.

            2. p
              Pan Aug 9, 2006 10:55 PM

              Grand Sichuan, just north of 50th, and Ariana Afghan Kebab House, between 52nd and 53rd (which I made a return visit to about a week ago) are both excellent. If you go to Ariana, get the salad w/o dressing and add the green hot sauce to it. It's a bit more expensive than a place like Grand Sichuan. My dinner at Ariana cost about $30, whereas a dinner at Grand Sichuan would generally be under $20.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Pan
                piccola Aug 10, 2006 01:03 AM

                Big fan of Ariana's and I agree on the salad rec - they're a little heavy on the dressing for my taste, and the sauce is better. They have tons of veg options, and the bread is awesome.

                1. re: piccola
                  Pan Aug 10, 2006 01:39 AM

                  Yeah, really good crusty flatbread with nigella seeds, and it comes to your table warm. I like to eat it with some of the green sauce for flavor.

                2. re: Pan
                  squid kun Aug 10, 2006 09:35 PM

                  Appreciate the tips. What do folks think of the kebabs and rice dishes at Ariana?

                  1. re: squid kun
                    Pan Aug 11, 2006 09:05 AM

                    Well, not surprisingly, I recommend them.

                3. m
                  Marco Aug 9, 2006 11:35 PM

                  Thanks, New Yorkers. When you post on the Manhattan board you get real stuff back at you and quickly.

                  1. rose water Aug 10, 2006 03:15 AM

                    i'll add kashkaval to the list--it's a cozy space in the back of a cheese and appetizers shop. i like the space, and the service is friendly but i find that when i go i always wish that the food was better. the things that are great are their red pepper dips--a creamy adjvar and a spicier dip and their olive tapenade.

                    1. p
                      Pan Aug 10, 2006 07:41 AM

                      I can't believe no-one including me has mentioned Poseidon Bakery yet. That place is just great! Excellent savory and sweet pastries, and not just the ones you could get at any Greek place. It's between 44th and 45th Sts. on the west side of the avenue. The one problem is that there's nowhere to sit.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Pan
                        LNG212 Jul 15, 2007 02:38 PM

                        HA! I was just going to write about Poseidon. Amazing stuff -- baklava, bird's nests, everything is terrific, heavenly. I was also going to mention Delta Grill -- not bad NOLA cuisine. And if you want to do a fun evening of Mexican (though not terrific food) try El Azteca on 9th at 52nd St.

                        1. re: Pan
                          a_and_w Jul 17, 2007 09:07 AM

                          LOVE the Poseidon Bakery! I can still taste their cheese and fruit danishes, and the Menina's Mash, and the spinach pie...

                        2. d
                          Dave Feldman Aug 12, 2006 07:49 AM

                          Agree with many of the above recommendations, but I'd also add:

                          Wondee Siam (the one on the east side of the street), which is usually better than Pam.

                          Island Burger, for great chicken sandwiches and hamburger concoctions.

                          Tony Luke's, just south of 42nd St., for the roast pork with aged provolone and broccoli rabe.

                          Of the restaurants mentioned by others, I especially recommend Grand Sichuan International, Rincocito Peruano, and Azuri (since it's east of tenth Ave., it's an honorary ninth Ave. place.

                          1. m
                            Marco Aug 12, 2006 05:26 PM

                            Again, thank you New Yorker hounds. When people take their food seriously, i.e. love to eat, then you can count on their honest weight rec's. Hey, autumn in NY is almost here, my favorite time in the city. No wonder it's a popular jazz standard.

                            1. r
                              RGR Aug 13, 2006 01:43 PM

                              Old San Juan, betw. 51st & 52nd Sts., serves very tasty Puerto Rican cuisine. You can check out the menu on menupages.com.

                              There's also Amy's Bread, near 46th St., which, in addition to having some of the best bread in the city, also has a variety of sandwiches and baked goods. http://www.amysbread.com

                              1. D...DF Aug 28, 2006 01:37 AM

                                Wondee Siam is the best Thai value in the United States. The Pra Koong is a cold summer treat. The Wondee on the east side of 9th is B.Y.O.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: D...DF
                                  Drew E Sep 6, 2006 05:02 PM

                                  Mee Noodle Shop at 53rd and 9th is a good choice for very inexpensive, tasty chinese. I still think that their #73 Hot and Sour Soup w/ Cellophane Noodles is the best I've tasted. A large bowl is $1.85 and a huge tureen is $2.65.Probably enough for three or four. The dumplings and sesame noodles are good too. Atmosphere? None really but the service is good.

                                  1. re: D...DF
                                    Sambossanova Sep 10, 2006 02:00 AM

                                    Wondee Siam...everyone claims this is the best thai place in nyc. I have eaten here a couple of times and was not impressed. My favorite thai place is sawadee in providence. Not that that matters but I just liked it a lot more than Sawadee, which I thought was good but nothing great. Maybe ill try Pam.

                                    1. re: Sambossanova
                                      Sambossanova Sep 22, 2006 01:57 AM

                                      i meant to say a lot more than wondee siam. Sawadee is place in providence, ri

                                      1. re: Sambossanova
                                        CobblerNYC Sep 27, 2006 08:33 PM

                                        I went to the Wondee on the West Side of 9th recently for lunch. Pretty much the worst, most bland tofu curry I've ever had. No heat, watery sauce.

                                        1. re: CobblerNYC
                                          Ora Jul 16, 2007 08:47 AM

                                          Perhaps that is a weak dish on the menu, because all the seafood dishes I have had there have been quite good. Wondee Siam is a keeper.

                                          1. re: Ora
                                            chompchomp Jul 16, 2007 02:22 PM

                                            I've tried both Wondee and Pam Real Thai, and I'm a much bigger fan of Pam Real Thai. Any meat with the word "crispy" (as in crispy duck or crispy pork) is just terrific.

                                            1. re: chompchomp
                                              Ora Jul 17, 2007 08:15 AM

                                              Both are keepers IMO.

                                          2. re: CobblerNYC
                                            a_and_w Jul 17, 2007 09:02 AM

                                            Yes, unless things have improved dramatically in the past half year, Wondee has sadly been slipping for some time.

                                    2. t
                                      theannerska Sep 12, 2006 04:17 AM

                                      Just tried Azuri Cafe today (51st b/t 9th and 10th - closer to 10th) and it was as expected: meh service, amazing food. I got the schwarma pita (lots of toppings) and some kind of Israeli mango drink in a can. The owner isn't too friendly (okay, not at all friendly), but he seems to really know what he's doing and that's all that matters to me...

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: theannerska
                                        iguana Jul 15, 2007 02:25 PM

                                        He is incredibly grumpy but that somehow makes it more endearing -- sort of the felafel version of the Soup Nazi. I remember that if I wanted a delivery I would have to haggle with him endlessly -- "Can I get two falafels and a diet Coke?" "No, it's too far, it's not worth it." (I lived on the next block). And so it went. And if you went in there he would start to complain to you about his kidneystones, which I always imagined were the result of excess bile. But the food is great. The guy is a dead ringer for Gargamel from the Smurfs. Very similar disposition.

                                        1. re: iguana
                                          a_and_w Jul 17, 2007 09:05 AM

                                          It is not endearing. Ezra's temper can be inexcusably vile. He's lucky he's a culinary artist because I would have written him off years ago, otherwise. Unfortunately, I've yet to find anyplace quite like Azuri anywhere else in the US.

                                      2. i
                                        isabellaflynn Sep 22, 2006 12:47 PM

                                        I've eaten several times at Turkish Cuisine and have always enjoyed it. If you go there, order the visne suyu (cherry juice) or an Adana Yogurtlu kebab. I brought my two year old and he loved the rice pilaf and all of the cold meze dips. They have a really authentic ezme that tastes just as good as what we used to have when we lived in Ankara - friendly people working there too.

                                        Although I've never been there, I've heard good things about Island Burger. They don't sell fries, but they have several interesting combinations. It looked pretty good!

                                        1. a
                                          Alex Halsey Sep 27, 2006 08:38 PM

                                          Have to dissent about Island Burgers. Maybe I caught them on an off night, but last time I was there I was unimpressed. I'll second (or third) the rec. for Turkish kitchen. Further down (in the 30s) I like Market Cafe (not one of the cuisines you requested). I also haven't been thrilled with Delta Cafe (the Cajun place in the 40s).

                                          1. LeahBaila Jul 15, 2007 03:04 PM

                                            El Centro

                                            1. s
                                              slcorlis Jul 17, 2007 08:42 AM

                                              I'll add another vote for Wondee Siam (on the east side of 9th). We were there recently and had some of the best Thai we've had in Manhattan. It's no Sri, but it's quite good. I'll also put in a vote for Casellula, just off 9th on 52nd street. Great cheeses and an interesting mix of small plates.

                                              1. r
                                                rmcase13 Jul 17, 2007 11:35 AM

                                                Does the falafel at Azuri stand up to Israeli falafel?

                                                1. c
                                                  corgette Jul 17, 2007 04:45 PM

                                                  Though both have already been mentioned, I will put my vote in for Mee Noodle and Kashkaval.

                                                  Mee Noodle was a discovery when I first moved to Hell's Kitchen, and I had a re-epiphany after watching Tampopo and having roast posk ramen delivered to my door at 10:00 at night when the movie ended. Divine crispy pork, chewy bouncy noodles, and nicely flavored broth in a seperate container. Heaven.

                                                  Kashkaval is my go-to for a fondue dinner and a glass of wine. I like the serivce at the bar a lot more than table service, which can be flighty.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: corgette
                                                    MizYellowRose Jul 17, 2007 11:22 PM

                                                    I ate at Old San Juan and was not impressed. It isn't truly a Puerto Rican restaurant despite the name. In fact--unless the menu changed drastically--there were very few items on the menu that were truly Puerto Rican. I did try their chicarrones de pollo and they were some of the worst I ever had!

                                                    1. re: MizYellowRose
                                                      sara123 Jul 18, 2007 05:33 AM

                                                      i agree... i was shocked to see old san juan on this list!

                                                      1. re: sara123
                                                        Ora Jul 18, 2007 11:17 AM

                                                        So where would you receommend?

                                                      2. re: MizYellowRose
                                                        holland_oats Jul 18, 2007 04:46 PM

                                                        their seafood paella ain't bad... neither's the sangria...

                                                        1. re: holland_oats
                                                          MizYellowRose Jul 18, 2007 06:08 PM

                                                          Ora--Are you looking for Puerto Rican restaurant recommendations? If so--it's not on 9th Avenue but I really like La Fonda Boricua on E. 106th between Lexington and Third. Great food--just like you get on the Island plus very reasonably priced!

                                                    2. e
                                                      errolstairpath Jul 18, 2007 10:54 PM

                                                      A few updates on the info already here:
                                                      - Rinconcito Peruano and Grand Sichuan are closed for good.
                                                      - Ruby et Violette is closed until "late summer" (www.rubyetviolette.com).
                                                      - Azuri is very much Israeli.

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