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First Time in NYC

We are spending a too-short week before Xmas in NY and would love your advice on the very best:
1. Destination-restaurant I need to reserve now.
2. Don't leave New York without trying...
Before you ask, yes, I'll give you more specifics. We are a mom and teenaged daughter, will be staying in the Theatre District and going to a show most evenings, so dinner will likely be before-or after-theatre hours and we will not be able to go far afield. Our favorite meals are usually Italian; though we love French, Thai, Indian, we confine our meat-eating to a little chicken and fish and are not as adventurous as many of you, so no burgers or steak and definitely no Malaysian pork belly or Batali offal artistry. We would love to try new cuisines that aren't meat-centered. We don't need a great wine list.
We're willing to blow the budget for 1 or 2 memorable food/service/ambience dinners, but of course would like less-expensive recs for the rest of the 3 meals a day.
If you've read this far and would like to recommend a show, please do; we're serious theatre buffs and would love to know what plays/performances New Yorkers(not the Disney/Phantom crowd)are talking about this season- and what you do on Monday!
Thank you, merci, grazie!

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  1. I'm from MS but I have been to Manhattan over 30 times. My all time favorite great restaurants are Daniel, Jean Georges, Il Mulino, 11 Madison Park, Felidia and Babbo. There are others mixed in but Daniel is my all time favorite restaurant in the U. S.

    1 Reply
    1. midtown/theatre district is always tough for me. restaurant row is convenient and has various options. here's a fairly recent link about it from other hounds:

      topics/308811?query=restaurant+row&user_name=

      a lot of people seem to like carmines (italian), which is usually packed. this might just be because of convenience and the huge portions.

      you could also venture down to "koreatown" on 32nd...if you want to get out of the theatre scene.

      2 Replies
      1. re: oystersallday

        Thanks-link doesn't work, though-I'll try to find it. We usually avoid places known for their large portions, but I've seen Carmine's recommended.
        Just realized we'll be at Lincoln Center for a matinee-Telepan?!!

        1. re: oystersallday

          Carmines is a place to go with a large group of college or grad students who want to stuff themselves and get drunk on red wine while listening to people singing "Happy Birthday" at every other table. A single portion will overfeed a mother and daughter.

          1. Tabala: an Indian spiced/American ingredient fusion.
            the bread bar on the main floor is a less expensive.

            also their cocktails are great

            1 Reply
            1. Esca is a Batali place but it's seafood centered and very very light on the meat. Are you guys ok with raw fish? The specialities are "Crudo" preparations with fish, salt and olive oil. It's absolutely delicious and a way to try a small portion of crudo if you've never had it before. Also on 9th Avenue is very good Mexican at a place called Hell's Kitchen. I always have good meals there (as well as drinks if you're interested).

              Enjoy your trip and please report back!

              Jeremy

              1 Reply
              1. re: JeremyEG

                Yum! Thanks! Like Batali, just not the weird parts.