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staying at 49th & 1st --dining and/or bar recs?

Hi,
We're Bostonians coming into your fair city over New Year's weekend. We're staying at the Beekman Tower Hotel --technically mid-town but can easily zip down 1st to go downtown.

We're not planning to spend a ton of time in that particular area, but are looking for any recs around there for breakfast, dinner, or even a good bar to have a few cocktails and/or apps.

Tend toward more casual but am open to any/all suggestions. Thanks!

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  1. Pampano, on 49th St., b/t 2nd & 3rd Avs., serves excellent modern Mexican cuisine with an emphasis on fish. Good service and very pleasing atmospherics. (Note: Placido Domingo is a co-owner.)

    http://www.modernmexican.com/pampano

    1. If you are looking for a coffee shop for breakfast, the Madison on the corner of First Avenue and 53rd street is very popular. Agree about Pampano for lunch or dinner.

      Yama has a good well-priced lunch on East 49th near 2nd Avenue. Japanese.

      5 Replies
      1. re: erica

        I live at 51st and 1st. I like the UN dinner across the street from the hotel better than Madison. Love Pampano and Zarella. Also the Choux Factory is right across the street too and they have Japanese cream puffs and great coffee.

        1. re: centrejack

          I live on the same block and have never been to UN diner so will give it a try sometime!

          Has anyone in the neighborhood been to that new Japanese/Korean barbeque place on the corner of Third and 50th upstairs? Gyu-Kaku? Not sure if they are open yet for dinner but it looks interesting. There is a branch downtown.

          1. re: erica

            Madison is one of the few places in town that serves real hash browns, rather than the usual deadly NYC home fries that have been left on the grill since 6 AM. Definitely worth the walk.

              1. re: erica

                heard that gyukaku in midtown is only open for lunch for the time being. i've been to the one near NYU and it's awesome. it's a chain in Japan that is really popular. concept is like Korean BBQ. you order the meat and cook it yourself. the kalbi is always a winner. i highly recommend it - great to go with a friend or two, to cook and chat and share a bunch of dishes.

          2. Le Perigord on East 52nd Street is one of the dying breed of classic french restaurants...always high quality & fine service...+ an extraordinary & well priced wine list which the owner, Georges, has purchased & cellared over the years...not casual but not super formal or snooty, either...

            http://www.leperigord.com/cms/index.php

            1. Be sure to go to "Top of the Tower" in your hotel for a drink to check out the great views. Haven't been there in a few years but i remember the cheesy decor being worth the views! Mica Bar on 51st b/n 2nd and 3rd is also a nice place to have a drink, possibly some appetizers.

              You've got to check out Ess-A-Bagel on 3rd Ave at about 50th, 51st for some of the best bagels in the city. The Comfort Diner on 45th bn 2nd and 3rd is fun for a very casual brunch/breakfast.

              You'll be near Smith & Wollensky's, as well as several other steakhouses- Palm, Blair Perrone. Also, P.J. Clarke's on 55th and 3rd- great bar, famous burgers.

              And finally Zarela on 2nd and 50th is also good for Mexican (not to mention margaritas!)

              Enjoy your visit!

              4 Replies
              1. re: emmers

                Hey, thanks for the great recs. Already have some of these places on my list: PJ Clarke's, Zarela, Top of the Tower...
                Speaking of steakhouses, was thinking of trying to get to Peter Luger --have never been there, don't even know if we could get in at this late date. Is it still worth the trek?

                1. re: twentyoystahs

                  Shameful to admit- I'm a native New Yorker but I've never been to Luger! I do hear that it's lost some of its luster. I would say try calling- if you can get in (maybe doubtful for the time of year), go for the experience. If not, I would suggest MarkJoseph as a very good alternative. It's all the way down in the Financial District (261 Water St.), but it's one of the original 'offshoots' of Peter Luger and I've had some very good steak there.

                  1. re: emmers

                    it is cash only unless you have a house charge or make arrangements in advance. i like the palm better but luger an experience.

                  2. re: twentyoystahs

                    You will probably have a tough time getting into Luger's. It is definitely worth it, so long as you can deal with the beer hall atmosphere. I once witnessed most of the main room chanting, loudly, as if they were at a game and cheering, and they were cheering at the time. If I could not get into Luger's, and I wanted a steak, I'd go to Keen's.

                2. Well, first of all, do not "zip down 1st" because 1st Ave. goes uptown. Head over to 2nd Ave. and then zip downtown. You will find a number of casual bars on 2nd Ave. right near your hotel. I used to frequent the area, but now I am only there upon occasion. However, the Press Box on 2nd btw. 49th & 50th has a decent selection of beer and bar food, although I have not heard good things about things further into the menu. Kate Kearney's is across 2nd Ave. on 49th, and I used to really like it, but it has been years since I was in it. Thady Con's is on the west side of 2nd about 48th (something in my memory asks if it is still open) and is made to look like a pub in Ireland. There are a number of other bars in the area, Divine Bar, Turtle Bay, etc. Pick one you like the looks of.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Captain

                    I second the recommendation for the Press Box. Great bartenders, cheap drinks, and nice decor. A casual, but classy Irish pub.