First visit to the Big Apple
Finally I have booked a vacation to come see New York in all its glory and need your help
I will be arriving from England in Mid Feb 2007 (arriving on the 17th) along with my wife and 2 kids (Daughter is 18 and Son is 15)we are staying in Manhattan on Lexington Ave and what we would like to know from you folks (apart from how cold it is going to be!)are the places you would recommend in the area to go eat some good food (not fine cuisine just good New York Chow!)
Good Pizza restaurants, Good Steak restaurants, good Chinese restaurants etc (I think you get my drift!)
Also, ever since I watched Gene Hackman in The French Connection (showing my age now!) I have always wanted to try an authentic Chilli Dig (sad I know but what the heck!) any recommendations on this one? (apart from DON'T DO IT!!)
Have a nice day
Sounds like you're staying near Waldorf-Astoria and W Hotel...at the Doubletree Metropolitan, perhaps? NYC is a block by block city, full of terrific neighborhood food, not necessarily in that area but a quick subway/bus/taxi ride away. Don't stay in your midtown area or you'll miss the best NYC has to offer visitors. Best pizza - Little Italy area, Lombardi's. Best Italian dessert - Ferraros. Best Chinese - Chinatown of course. Longest running business establishment in the city (not always a restaurant though), Bridge Cafe, near Brooklyn Bridge at the South Street Seaport. All mid-priced and good for families.
You really think Ferrara (I assume that's what you mean) has the best Italian desserts in Manhattan? To be honest, I haven't searched out Italian pastries lately, but I have the feeling that there are better places in the West Village.
I also disagree about Lombardi's, but I've expressed my opinion on that in other threads.
I also don't think that it's at all obvious that the best Chinese food in Manhattan can be found in Chinatown. One could make a strong argument that the Midtown location of Grand Sichuan (I mean the one on 9th Av. just north of 50th St.) is the best Chinese restaurant in Manhattan.
We are going to be staying at the Lexington Radisson, I've heard its not too bad a hotel and the location seems ok, thanks for your recommendations I'm making a list of the good ones and I've already warned my wife that she will need to wear expandable thermal clothing as there seem to be so many good places to eat in New York and its going to be cold in February!
For a piece of New York history, go to Diamond Dairy on 47th and 5th Avenue for lunch. It's a dairy kosher lunch counter set in the back of and on the mezzanine of a jewlery bazzar (4 West 47th Street).
Have the potato pancakes and the noodles w/cabbage, and then the cheese blintzes for dessert.
It's not much to look at but it's a hint to the history of New York. VERY authentic.
Mid-February can be very cold. You should be prepared for sub-freezing temperatures and strong winds. Although you might get lucky and hit one of the "warm" weeks when temps are in the 40's or 50's.
I used to live very close to the neighborhood where you'll be staying. My advice to you is, for the most part, to go elsewhere to eat. That area is primarily a business area, with a line of hotels along Lexington, and therefore both a bit sparse for good food and somewhat overpriced. But you should do a search for Midtown restaurants. Remember, you'll be on the east side.
The largest restaurant area nearby is two blocks directly east over on 2nd Ave., but it can get very crowded with young drunk people on the weekends. Again, a search will give you some good Midtown East restaurants. There are also a number of good little Japanese places nearby to the south near Grand Central Station. One that's easy to navigate for non-Japanese is little Menchanko-tei on E. 45th St. between Lexington and 3rd Ave. It's nothing special, but does have good noodle bowls for a reasonable price.
For Chinese, Wu Liang Ye on 48th between 5th and 6th is an excellent Szechuan restaurant. It is, however, rather expensive, and certainly more than most Chinatown restaurants.
One thing there are a lot of near where you'll be staying are steakhouses. In fact, you're very near one of New York's most famous (infamous?) steakhouses, Sparks on 46th between 3rd and 2nd Aves. It's very expensive, and you must make a reservation (and even then you'll almost certainly spend some time waiting in the bar), but the steaks are generally huge and good, and the wine list outstanding.
One nearby authentic New York experience you shouldn't miss is Ess-A-Bagel on 3rd Ave. btween 50th and 51st. It's not NYC's best bagel (a source of endless arguments) but it is good and very very New York. I always get an everything bagel with lox spread or an onion with whitefish salad.
As for hot dogs, the chili dog is not really a New York City thing. Hot dogs are usually eaten here with mustard and sauerkraut (or the sweetish red onion relish peculiar to NYC), and are avialable in the afternoons in not-so-great boiled versions from carts throughout Midtown - even in mid-winter. I agree with the above poster about Crif Dogs in the East Village though. It's in a basement on St. Mark's between 1st Ave. and Ave. A with an unmissible hot dog shaped sign that says "eat me". They serve both New York (grilled) and New Jersey (deep fried) dogs, and they have chili dogs (much more common in New Jersey). The East Village will be a good neighborhood for you to visit anyway, since it's a straight ride south on the #6 subway, with a lot of reasonable eating options, and will be quite interesting for the younger folks.
A very New York hot dog alternative would be to take the 6 train north to 86th St. and walk east to the venerable Papaya King. There you could have the great Manhattan experience of standing up and eating good grilled hotdogs while drinking creamy tropical fruit drinks. But, alas, no chili.