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Seeking hidden gems, must-eat-at dives, etc...

I'll be in Manhattan for a week, coming soon. I'm looking for off-the-beaten-path treasures. I love neighborhood bistros, mom and pop diners, cooking schools, dive bars and such. The kind of place your average tourist wouldn't know about. Things not listed on Zagat or CitySearch. C'mon locals, give it up!

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  1. Yakiniku JUJU on 28th street between 3rd and lex. Its a japanese/korean bbq. where you cook the food yourself. Ive been going for years and love everything about it. Its hidden, not sure if its in the guide books or not, but its delicious. Get the rib meat with the bone.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JJthebearNYC

      I agree. However, I prefer the boneless short ribs.

    2. dive bar: vasmay, on the corner of suffolk and houston.

      it's not unknown, but b&h dairy restaurant on 2nd avenue btw 7th st and st.mark's is worth a visit. it's a tiny kosher dairy place that serves cheap, delicious homemade soups and challah along with some diner-type breakfasts and lunches.

      4 Replies
      1. re: wleatherette

        Add Diamond Dairy (for lunch) to this tread. A dairy kosher on 47th Street. And a piece of history.

        1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

          Try "A" (that's the whole name) between 106 and 107th on Columbus Avenue. It's a the tiniest place- French/Caribbean bistro- BYOB. It looks like a hole in the wall, but what they turn out is great. Entrees are all $12. It's cash only though.

            1. re: haleyjen

              The one time I was at A I was unimpressed. My sense was that this was an attempt at creative cuisine that didn't entirely pull it off--my most salient memory is of a roast avocado doused in too much salad dressing.

              It's a cozy space, with friendly staff, and I wanted to like it, but I haven't been particularly inclined to go back. Could you tell me more about what you like there?

      2. Re, dive bars: Several come to mind, including The Distinguished Wakamba Cocktail Lounge on Eigthth around 38th St., and Why Not? on Ninth around 40th. Think of them as bookends to that cultural epicenter, The Port Authority Bus Terminal. Oh yes, and there's still another just north of the Port Authority, near Ninth, whose name escapes me just now....

        Re, holes-in-the-wall: I've always loved Sucelt, on 14th just east of 7th, for rib-sticking rice, beans, and fried plaintains.....

        2 Replies
        1. re: 280 Ninth

          I love Sulcet too-I could not remember their name--they also have great cafe con leche and flan--and make a bunch of different pasteles-thanks -I'm glad they are still aroiund

          1. re: marlie202

            Third on the Sucelt - I am surprised and happy that it remains. Try anything with pernil.

            The Subway Inn, on east 60th near the corner of Lexington, retains its' divey charm, one of the bars that sets the standard. In an otherwise upscale area, this remains a lowdown drinking place.

            In Chinatown, Mei Lei Wah Coffee Shop, on Bayard, is another lowdown experience, an old fashioned tea house/ dim sum diner, what one regular customer once described to me as being a "Cantonese greasy spoon". The combination bun and coffee will keep you going for hours.

            If you're uptown, try a fried whiting sandwich at A Taste Of Seafood, on 125th and Madison, or chuchifritos at Sandy's on 116th and 2nd.

            Or, if you're way uptown, try the amazing garlic-laden Chicharron De Pollo at El Mundo Fried Chicken (B'way and 190th, I believe, in Washington Heights).

            Enjoy, and please report back.
            P.

        2. Add Cafe Edison and Margon near Times Square...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Unpossible

            Seconded. The counter at Edison is fun. Get the egg salad and an egg cream. The stools at the Margon counter are too small. So get there early for lunch and have a Cuban sandwich at one of the tables.

          2. little alley way in ctown - between elizabeth and bowery (right next to and i THINK south of Canal) ... yummy noodles - get the rice in pots (or casseroles) chicken with mushroom is good. the bbq items are great too.

            BIG WONG's in CTOWN - DON'T get anything along the lines of chow mein/general tsao's chicken. PLEASE DON'T. get wonton noodles/ ANY BBQ ITEM / congee (if you like that stuff) ...anything that you see chinese people eat around you in the restaurant. on Mott's, cross street of canal ...