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Bubba Gump Shrimp / Serendipity worth the stop?

Planning a trip to Manhattan this summer...millions of choices, I know.
Are Bubba Gump and Serendipity restuarants worth a try?


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  1. Bubba Gump is a fun restaurant for tourists and is located in Times Square, which is convenient for most visitors. The food is good, but go for the experience, not top-tier seafood.

    As for Serendipity, it depends on what the wait time is. If you're coming during the week you shouldn't have a problem getting in and it will be worth it. If you're here on a weekend, however, I could think of a lot of other things I would rather do in NYC than wait in a 2 hr line for Serendipity.

    1. Bubba Gump is a mediocre chain restaurant. Not sure why you'd want to go there in NY when there are so many other choices. If you want recommendations for a seafood place, let us know some specifics and people can guide you to a good place.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ESNY

        We LOVE seafood. Any suggestions you have for top-notch seafood would be great! Thanks!

      2. Seriously...why would anyone ever go to a chain restaurant? Serendipity is overated. Watch better movies.

        3 Replies
        1. re: pastoralia

          I didn't realize Serendipity was a chain. And, its a good thing I didn't ask your opinion on the movie, isn't it?

            1. re: hcwwur

              Bit of a miscommunication here. Serendipity is not a chain, Bubba Gump is. I think the comment about the movie is about the movie Serendipity, but the sarcastic comment was unclear.

              Serendipity does make great sundaes and whatnot, but there can be an excessive (and annoying) wait.

          1. If your coming to New York City you should really try one of the higher quality seafood restaurants.

            You can do better then Bubba's.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Mickey Blue

              I'm open to suggestions...not too familiar with NYC, as you can tell... Thanks!

            2. You don't say whether or not you are coming with children and, if so, what their ages are. Both of these places can be fun with and for children, much less so for adults. Worm2q is correct that the wait at Serendipity during the summer can be simply horrendous. Two hours is not an exaggeration. But a few years ago I took my grandsons, then 9 and 12, to Serendipity, serendipitously had only about a 15-minute wait, and the boys talk about it to this day. They'd never before seen ice cream sundaes like that. This past summer they asked to go back, there was a two-hour wait, we went down the street to Dylan's Candy Bar, and the boys were just as happy.

              1 Reply
              1. re: JoanN

                No children, but we're not patient enough to wait hours on end for any meal. Thanks for the feedback, JoanN! :-) Serendipitously it is!

                1. re: jasmurph

                  Short and sweet...nice. Thanks. LOL

                2. All - Thanks for the feedback. Sounds like we saved ourselves a couple mediocre dining experiences...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: hcwwur

                    there're SO many choices: if you could narrow down what you're looking for a little, you might have more luck getting good advice here. assuming you might want a New York-centric experience, not too pricey, to go along with good chow, i'd recommend

                    1) Katz's (lower east side -- houston street and ludlow) for the best pastrami anywhere. order from the counterman, slip him a dollar in advance, and get a plate of meat to snack on while he assembles the sandwich. i find that ordering from a waiter nets poorer results.

                    2) John's italian (on east 12th street near first ave). Not the best restaurant in town, but good old school italian in a really great setting -- been there 100 years and looks it!

                    3) barney greengrass on the upper west side. smoked fish platters, bagels and such. yummy -- but if you can go on a weekday, do that -- weekend waits are a killer!

                    4) any of many dim sum parlors in the manhattan chinatown (there are a few others in outer boroughs). I like Golden Unicorn on East Broadway. also a fun vibe and an easy way to fill up relatively cheaply.

                  2. You need to give more info on what you are looking for. There are hundreds of great seafood places in NY with different price ranges, ambiances, etc..

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: JamesB

                      We want a casual, evening environment. We'll be touring the city by day and probably won't stop back to the hotel much.

                      1. re: hcwwur

                        Two casual seafood restaurants I like are Mermaid Inn in the EV on 2nd ave and 6th street and Tides on Norfolk just off Delancy on the Lower East Side. If you do a search on this board you can find more info on those two. Please note that it would probably be best to make reservations at both places, but especially at Tides which is really small, and reservations aren't hard to come by. You can usually get them the same day. Both are in great locations and there are plenty other restaurants/bars around each restaurant if you want to walk around before or after dinner.

                    2. As JamesB mentioned, it would really help if you'd give us a price range to work with. Their are great seafood places that will cost you nearly a grand$$ and then then their are great seafood places that will cost you a lot less.

                      What we can recommend to you really depends on what your willing to pay.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Mickey Blue

                        We've learned (the hard way) not to skimp when it comes to seafood expenditures. So...any price is fine...as long as its good stuff.

                      2. Restaurant Row, one street with a ton of restaurants catering to people heading off to see broadway shows (sorry don't know the cross streets) has tons of great restaurants with set prices for a three course meal: app, dinner and dessert!

                        D.H. and I hit up an italian place on our last trip to NYC and had the best meal ever...if you go at like 8pm you will most like have most of the place to yourself because everyone has left to see the shows.

                        sorry...i wish I had more info for you but Restaurant Row was a great find for us so I wanted to pass that along.

                        I'm sure someone from NYC can give the specifics on the street names.

                        2 Replies
                          1. re: lasiciliana

                            We'll most likely go see a later show...dinner around 8 would be perfect. Thanks!

                          2. My cousins visiting from Louisiana LOVED Bubba Gumps. As a matter of fact one got engaged there (LOL). I say go for it! As far as Serendipity, too many reports of people being disappointed. It is too cold this time of year and Serendipity is pretty out of the way (and small) to be worth the trouble. I say yay to Bubbas and nay to Serendipity. Have a nice trip!

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Uptownflavor

                              Our objections to Bubba Gump's is that it's a chain available all over the US and has nothing to do with New York character... The food will be better elsewhere, and maybe save the Bubba Gump experience for when you're in a place where there IS nothing better, or more characteristic of the place.

                              As for Restaurant Row, I'd steer clear of every place except Becco. Prices are high and quality of food is generally pretty nondescript at best. It is convenient if you're trying to eat and get into a show on time, but not much else.

                              1. re: ChefJune

                                Regarding Restaurant Row:
                                I think Lattanzi is better than Becco. Had dinner there this week: seafood ravioli and veal chop with mushrooms were both very, very delicious. Definitely go around 8pm to avoid the pre-theatre rush.

                                Heartbreakingly, they were out of artichokes when I last went. Their sauteed artichokes (Carciofi alla Giudia) are the best outside the Jewish quarter of Rome.

                                361 W. 46th St. (between 8th and 9th Avenues).

                                1. re: ChefJune

                                  I disagree about Restqurant Row (46th between 8th and 9th) beling a wasteleand, especially if yu're looking for seafood. I enjoy Danny's Grand Sea Palace, on the southside of that block. They have, obviously, lots of seafood, and they also have a Thai menu, if you've never tried/or tried and loved Thai food. Or, you can choose from the Broadway menu, just straight American stuff.
                                  The staff there has always been very nice and everyone I've recommended this place to have loved it and gone back.

                                  1. re: judy

                                    Sadly, I believe Danny's Grand Sea Palace is gone. We were there in December and hung out at hte piano bar afterwards till closing. The piano player (who was great fun, although a bit campy) kept saying how December 31st was the last night as they had lost their lease.

                              2. If you're going to be in midtown and sightseeing, Molyvos and Milo's are two great Greek restaurants that do wonderful fish, but more along the lines of whole grilled fish, etc, rather than seafood (shrimp, etc). They're both just a few blocks down from Carnegie Hall (57th and 7th Ave). If you're looking for seafood proper and a casual atmosphere in that same area you can do worse than Redeye Grill. I know that lots of folks here will start screaming that it's a terrible restaurant, but I've had some good meals there.

                                I think Serendipity is a grand idea if you really want to experience some decadent and famous desserts, especially if you're out shopping at Bloomingdale's. I would guess that on a weekday in this cold cold season you won't have to wait that long, especially since you won't have Christmas shoppers to contend with.

                                If you want an ultimate NYC dining experience in the Times Square area, you really must go to either Stage Deli and/or Carnegie Deli.

                                1. If you're doing some Soho shopping, eat at Aquagrill.

                                  1. If you go during the afternoon in the middle of the week, there should be hardly a wait at all at Serendipity, and it can be a lot of fun and I enjoy it a lot. If you go during the weekends, it's far too long a line.

                                    1. Oh! You said you'll be here in the summer. Not sure how that will affect your wait time at Serendipity. And by the way, whoever said it was a chain is wrong. I think at one point they had 3 locations in NYC, but there is only one left on 60th between 2nd & 3rd Avenues. It's out of the way, but only a little ways out of the way if you are doing any museum hopping on Museum Mile, or stopping at Tiffany's, or just strolling the Upper East Side, etc.

                                      1. Even if you are not in SoHo I would hop on the subway or take a taxi there for dinner. Not too expensive and some of the best fish and seafood in the city. They have one of the most amazing selections of oysters anywhere. For a little less money I would suggest Mermaid Inn.

                                        Given how easy it is to get around in the city I wouldn't let the neighborhood impact my dinner choices, lunch yes but not dinner (assuming you don't have a play to catch or something like that)

                                        1. If you want a singular NY seafood experience, why not the Grand Central Oyster Bar? someone wrote it up again recently - NY Mag maybe? It had what to get and what to avoid in there.

                                          1. When it comes to seafood I'd try to get to Pearl Oyster Bar on Cornelia Street in the West Village. Some of the best lobster rolls outside of Maine and it';s a great neighborhood for out of towners to explore.

                                            Note that they don't take reservations so show up early before you're actually hungry, get your name and cell number in, and take a walking tour of the neoghborhood. Also, if possible, try to get a seat at the bar -- lots of fun to watch the barmaid in action.


                                            1. Oh jeez, i thought that this was a joke comment... for the love of god, do not waste your money at either place. Serendipity 3 has mediocre food egregiously long waits (my one and only time was over 3 hours) and why come to NYC and eat at Bubba Gump's? To me, the point of coming to a city is to enjoy local specialties - like hand-pulled noodles in Chinatown or if you want some sweets, Two Little Red Hens or Payard Patisserie.

                                              1. You might like Ruby Foo's and Blue Water Grill for seafood. They are run by the same company and have very good food and fun atmosphear without being places that would intimidate or make and out of towner feel uncomfortible. I often recomend them to people who are visiting.

                                                1. What about Esca, Mario Batali's seafood place? It has that celebrity chef thing for bragging rights back home, especially for foodie kids.

                                                  1. And Lure Fishbar in Soho has made a very nice turnaround. Lots of choices, and the sushi was very good, too.

                                                    1. Alright, the original post was inquiring about a combo of seafood and dessert, but at two very unfortunate restaurant choices. How about the same combo but away from the hell of midtown Manhattan. Come down here to Greenwich Village, which is much more beautiful, peaceful, and has many more quality restaurant choices. Try either 'Fish' on Bleecker St, Pearl Oyster Bar on Cornelia St, or Mary's Fish Camp on Charles St. Then go to either Milk & Cookies on Commerce St, or Magnolia Bakery on Bleecker St (these are both cute, quaint Village-y bakeries) or Bruno Patisserie on Bleecker St for a real Italian Bakery.
                                                      My personal choice would be Fish/Milk&Cookies

                                                      1. A few posters made great points...the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station is a great choice for seafood but you should have money to spend if you choose that option.

                                                        Also, if you decide to go to Serendipity, you could make a day of it by going to Bloomingdales and riding the Roosevelt Island train which is about a block away. On a clear day you can look up and down the river during the short ride over and back for the cost of a metrocard swipe. Whatever you decide to do I know you will enjoy it.

                                                        1. Definitely NOT worth a stop at either. Seredipity is mediocre at best and Bubba Gump's? Yuck. In a city with so many great spots, you can definitely cross these off your list and find something better.

                                                          1. I agree with the Mermaid Inn. Also, if you'd like to spend a little more, you must try Esca in the Times Square vicinity. Make a reservation and get the crudo!

                                                            1. Well, the jury has voted and the majority states that both choices were pretty bad! Looks like we'll be touring other parts of NYC and eating as we go. Thanks for the opinions, all!