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1st time to the city

Hello everyone. It's my first visit to NYC this coming weekend and I basically don't have a clue except for where the celebs go thanks to Us Weekly! Anyway, I know I want to go to dinner in Little Italy one night. Something patio perhaps, romantic, and super charming?? What about a trendy place in the Meatpacking district/Hells Kitchen? I don't want to be touristy, I want to be Sara Jessica Parker for just one weekend : ) Any suggestions would be wonderful! Thank you

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  1. If you don't want to be touristy, stay away from Little Italy. Trust me, Sarah Jessica Parker would not be eating down there. Try Pastis in the Meatpacking area if you want decent food and a "Sex in the City" vibe. If you feel you have to go to Little Italy, walk a few blocks and have a great dinner at Peasant. Very nice.

    1. whatever you do, AVOID little italy. you say you don't want to be touristy, and hey, you're on this board, so you want the good stuff. but little italy is entirely touristy, and overpriced, and bad...arthur ave, in the bronx (the real little italy in new york) is awesome, but can be a pain on public transportation, and i don't know how much time you want to spend. and the area's not trendy; it's more like damn good old school italian. old dudes with cigars. old dudes rolling cigars. it's great.

      1. Oh okay... thanks! This is exactly why I'm turning to you. I'm actually staying in Hoboken and get in kinda late on Thurs night. Any cool places there?

        1 Reply
        1. re: jenmoore76

          Try the Jersey board for Hoboken restaurants.

          You can get lots of great suggestions for Manhattan by going through old posts. Try searching for a certain part of town, like the West Village, Tribeca, or Nolita.

        2. Gascogne, a small neighborhood French bistro, is not trendy, and it's not likely you'll see any celebs there. But if you want "romantic and super charming," their back garden fits that description perfectly. And, btw, the food is excellent.


          L'Impero is an Italian restaurant located in Tudor City (midtown east). It's a bit on the upscale side with delicious food and a very small, exceptionally charming and romantic patio that looks out on a park.


          Enjoy your visit to NYC and Bon Appetit!

          1. I agree with Pastis for trendy, as well as Spice Market, Buddakan and Sushi Samba 7 (though not in the meatpacking district, still quite a 'scene'). Enjoy your visit!

            1. Thanks so much to all of you for your suggestions.... I'm so excited!

              1. If you want trendy and good food NEAR Little Italy, you might want to try Public. Good food and really good bar scene, super cool space. For Italian outdoor with a patio, I'd recommend Crispo, or trying to get one of the few front porch tables at Lupa -- though that can be really tough. Also Gonzo, on treelined West 13th st, has some pretty tables out front. It's great when it's nice out, but the inside is noisy and a little cavernous, so it's less charming if you have to eat inside. For a really charming garden, I like Gavroche on 14th st. Less pricey (And a bit more bare-bones) than Gascogne, very traditional french food. Be sure you reserve if you want to sit in the garden.

                And I second (and third) the Pastis recommendations!

                1. I would actually add, more bluntly, that anywhere you read about in US Weekly is somewhere you should avoid going at all costs. At best, it'll be Nobu (being a chain, celebrities love it), and at worst, it'll be $300 for some of the worst food and/or treatment of your life. The celebrity places are always massively packed, serve terrible to mediocre food, and treat any non-celebrity who isn't laying out several grand as if they're dirt (see, e.g., Mr. Chow and Mr. Chow Tribeca). Celebrities are supposed to be good at being skinny and good looking and stroking their massive egos, not choosing restaurants.

                  I should note, though, that I think the cast of Sopranos does a "farewell" dinner to characters being whacked on the show at Il Cortile, which these boards seem to suggest is the one place in Little Italy that can be tolerable. I can't personally vouch for the place, but depending how hung up you are on little italy, well, there's an option.

                  1. Da Andrea in the the West Village is good a neighborhood Italian place and is inexpensive. Its the food that they should serve in Little Italy, but don't. Its not trendy at all, but it is a short walk to the Meat Packing District where you could go out for drinks afterwards.

                    1. I would avoid Little Italy though I have heard from some old-school new yorkers that Angelo's used to be good. I would go to one of the "real" Little Italys like the neighborhood around Graham Avenue in Williamsburg. There is some outdoor seating at La Piazzetta and the food used to be decent. And the iced capuccino at cafe capri up the street is the best in ny.

                      1. But I don't think the treck out there would help you feel like Sarah Jessica Parker. Angelo's might be better for that...

                        1. The West Village is where Sarah Jessica Parker lives (although I doubt you'll see many celebs there on an August weekend -- they're probably all in the Hamptons) so you may want to hang out there. I would suggest 'ino for lunch and then Barbuto for dinner, which is somewhat trendy, charming in a way, and has excellent food.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: JennS

                            I have dinner reservations for Barbuto on Sat night and Spice Market on Fri night! Thanks to you all for all of the wonderful suggestions. I know there will many more trips to come that will allow me to check out all of the places mentioned. I can't wait to visit your city!!!

                          2. LOVED Barbuto!!! Wonderful service, romantic intimate atmosphere and very tasty meal! Spice Market on the other hand was terrible! Service was descent, but the food was very dissapointing. Our grilled chicken was so spicy that we couldn't eat it, and I love spicy food. They gave us white rice to try to balance out the spice, but the temperature of the rice burnt my mouth because it was so badly damaged from the chicken which wasn't even supposed to be spicy at all! No worries though because the rest of my trip was amazing.