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Where to take visiting Italian family??

n
nkmontero Sep 24, 2006 08:07 PM

I have cousins from Rome visiting the city, where should I take them. We are all 25-27 females. And I doubt they have any interest in visting an italian restaurant.
As a guide, usually I end up eating dowtown when I eat, so I would generally like to take them to similar areas. I just need ideas as to what would be faboulous for a couple of young women that have never visited new york before.

  1. tamasha Oct 2, 2006 04:12 PM

    I agree with everyone who suggested some sort of Asian. You could go to Spice Market for cocktails downstairs and some snacks before heading somewhere else for a full dinner (to save your wallet). I've done that with a bunch of visitors and they all think it's very swank and hip.

    For really good Indian I would suggest Tamarind, although it is pricey.

    1. p
      Pan Oct 2, 2006 08:13 AM

      You've gotten some good suggestions. Basically, I think that the thing to do is take them for food they can't get, or can't easily get a decent version of, in Italy. So that would mean Chinese, Ashkenazic Jewish, Japanese, Korean, Indian, and perhaps Thai, Malaysian, and Dominican or some other kind of Latin-American food. Possibly barbecue, which others have mentioned. For some of the Asian cuisines other than Japanese, tolerance of hot pepper is an issue.

      So here are some suggestions:

      I think Katz's is a must. It just oozes New York history and character, and since Italians generally love salumeria, I think it's a natural.

      For Chinese food, if your cousins have a high tolerance for hot pepper, take them to Grand Sichuan, and yes, it's best for you to go to the ~50th St. location, though St. Marks will do nicely if it's more convenient. Given more time, a trip to Flushing on the 7 train and a meal at Spicy & Tasty would be great and it would be interesting for your cousins to see a big Chinatown, bigger than the one in Manhattan. You could take them to A&C Supermarket before dinner (or after lunch) so that they can be amazed at the amount of Chinese foodstuffs on sale.

      If your cousins don't have a high tolerance for hot pepper, take them to Congee Village. Not only do I really like the food there, but it's a big eating hall decorated to Chinese tastes (or at least the taste the restaurant believes its clientele has). It may not be a "young people's scene," but it certainly is a hopping Chinese people's scene.

      Dim sum with carts would be fun for them, and again, I think Flushing is probably best for that, but for convenience' sake, you could take them to any of the usual suspects in Chinatown. Or there's always Chinatown Brasserie, which I haven't been to yet and which costs more (perhaps comparable to Spotted Pig, whose food I wasn't that impressed with when I had dinner there with my cousin a few weeks ago).

      Italians tend to enjoy their panini, so why not take them for a Vietnamese sandwich at Banh Mi Saigon Bakery? If their tolerance for hot peppers is low, they'll make the banh mi or banh mi ga mild for them. I'm sure it would still be excellent.

      If you're taking them through Chinatown, walk through Deluxe Food Market with them. It's a pretty extraordinary place, and huge (literally a block long, between Elizabeth and Mott).

      I've been touting Skyway Malaysian Restaurant. Truth be told, my last meal there was a bit imperfect - they were totally slammed and left my laksa noodles boiling too long - but the place is really worthwhile, and I can't imagine there's a Malaysian restaurant worth a damn in Italy, though I could be wrong. Hot peppers are an issue there. Not very stylish surroundings, though.

      Of course, there's always Sripraphai, if you want to take them to Queens.

      I'd second the suggestion of taking them to Koreatown. Take them to Han Bat, which is cheap and good and usually full of young Koreans. Afterwards, take them to Koryodong, which is pricey but a tea and pastry place that is a big dating scene for young Koreans. I like their jujube tea.

      Speaking of tea places, most any bubble tea place is likely to be full of college-aged people out on dates or with friends.

      I'm wondering whether sceney or stylish Indian restaurants are going to price you out. It's for reasons of cost that I have yet to go to Devi (though I did make it to Amma at least twice when Suvir and Hemant were there, and it was fabulous!) or Tabla.

      The other big omission here is Japanese. I am unknowledgable about sushi and sashimi but do like various other kinds of Japanese fare. But that's a thing to consider. I would suggest Chanto, a beautiful new restaurant (just opened this past summer or so) in the Village, but I heard directly from the pastry chef, Seth Caro, that he has left that position and the dessert menu will be redesigned, and since I found the desserts to be such high points in my meal at Chanto, I will have to find out more about the changes before giving the restaurant an unqualified recommendation. That said, you're talking about a $45 prix fixe not including alcohol, or similar if not greater prices for a la carte dining.

      1. f
        Foodaholic Sep 26, 2006 05:34 PM

        Well if its just all things Not Italian, perhaps the following for a different experience?

        Diner 24 for late night eats and disco fries
        Kang Suh for Korean BBQ
        Funayama for AYCE Sushi (Mondays/Thursdays only)
        Joe's Shanghai / Yeah Shanghai Deluxe for soup dumplings
        Sala for some wonderfully half-priced Tapas (Tue-Wed-Thur)
        Shake Shack for burgers and a 45 min wait (ugh!)

        3 Replies
        1. re: Foodaholic
          Andrew P. Sep 26, 2006 06:19 PM

          AYCE sushi??? On a Monday??? You know, there are probably cheaper ways to get food poisoning.

          They might get a kick out of Katz's, especially if they've seen how much Meg Ryan enjoyed it.

          How about Tides? I've never been, but I keep hearing it's a cool place with great food for not a lot of money.

          1. re: Foodaholic
            l
            Lucia Sep 26, 2006 06:45 PM

            Diner 24 transformed into Tour about a month ago. I always found the food there mediocre. For late night eats in the area, I'd rather go to Florent. Or even Cafeteria.

            1. re: Lucia
              f
              Foodaholic Oct 2, 2006 07:32 AM

              Lucia, good call on Diner 24 turning into Tour. I just read about it here - thats too bad :( I hope the food is good.

              http://www.restaurantgirl.com/restaur...

          2. NAtiveNewYorker Sep 26, 2006 01:56 PM

            How about BBQ at Blue Smoke? It's a nice place (unlike R.U.B.), and BBQ food is NOT available in Italy.

            1. m
              Marco Sep 25, 2006 08:02 PM

              Florent late nite or early morning

              It's not downtown but very NY:
              http://www.filmcentercafe.com/html/frames.html
              They just underwent a $2 million renovation

              They're also loads of places on Greenwich St in Tribeca
              e.g. Flor de Sol
              http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...

              1. designerboy01 Sep 25, 2006 07:13 PM

                How about some hot pastrami at Katz's Deli or Barney's Greengrass?

                1. l
                  Lucia Sep 25, 2006 04:56 PM

                  Little Owl is in the W Vill.

                  1. j
                    jona2325 Sep 25, 2006 01:39 AM

                    What about Stanton Social, Bond St. Degustation, Woo Lae Oak, Public, Sapa, or Sascha? They're all a pretty good scene and in good neighborhoods to go out in after.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: jona2325
                      n
                      nkmontero Sep 25, 2006 03:24 PM

                      I don't necessarily need to take them somewhere "fancy" but more like trendy. More of something to show them the young nyc scene. Something along the lines of spotted pig would be good. I was thinking of typical American food to show them a good time. Just running out of ideas at the moment.
                      It would have to be anywhere below 14th st.
                      Budget would be similar to that of spotted pigs.

                      1. re: nkmontero
                        c
                        chow_gal Sep 25, 2006 03:28 PM

                        Lower East Side: Schiller's Liquor; Suba - a little 'fancier'. You can go to some bars down there afterwards.

                        1. re: nkmontero
                          l
                          Lucia Sep 25, 2006 03:31 PM

                          Little Owl

                          1. re: Lucia
                            n
                            nkmontero Sep 25, 2006 04:07 PM

                            any suggestions around the w village or meatpacking?

                            1. re: nkmontero
                              d
                              DaveS Sep 25, 2006 06:06 PM

                              Meatpacking: Pastis would certainly fit the bill. 5 Ninth.

                              W. Village: Mas. AOC Bedford, Ditch Plains, Fatty Crab.

                          2. re: nkmontero
                            j
                            jona2325 Sep 26, 2006 02:25 AM

                            I think your crew would be happy with the trendiness of any of the ones I listed.....aside from Sapa they're under 14th, reasonably priced with young, hip clientele and great possibilities for going out after dinner...let me know if you think they're too fancy and I'll brainstorm a bit more.

                        2. p
                          piccola Sep 25, 2006 12:30 AM

                          I'd suggest taking them to an Asian restaurant - from what I remember, there are few good ones in Italy. Unfortunately, I can't really recommend any "special night out" ones, since they're out of my price range...

                          1. i
                            intrepid Sep 24, 2006 08:33 PM

                            take them to the carnegie club on a satruday nite to see the sinatra type performance given, big band sound..prob 15 piece orchestra..its all about the music, and easy finger foods...go to zibetto for espresso on 6th ave btwn 56 & 57 thst..its next to jamba juice..for the best espresso in nyc, and perhaps the usa

                            1. r
                              RGR Sep 24, 2006 08:22 PM

                              I agree that taking Italian visitors to an Italian restaurant is like the proverbial "coals to Newcastle." But there are so many possibilities that a few more specifics will help narrow things down.

                              1. What other cuisines do you normally choose and/or think they might like? You might also tell us which restaurants you like downtown.

                              2. Do you want casual or fancier?

                              3. What are your budgetary parameters?

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