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3 Days to see it all...

3 of us are coming from Toronto to Manhattan for 3 days this Thursday only to check out restaurants.
Here are the criteria;
- Main courses not exeeding $40.00
- Busy place with multiple seatings
- Lunch or dinner
- Must have a unique feel
- Restaurants part of a Group are fine.

We are hoping to visit about 20 places.

We are very hungry...


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  1. Balthazar, lunch at gramercy tavern room

    1. caracas 7st between 1st and A

      Pepe Rosso To Go on Sullivan right below Houston (definitely fails your seating criteria but so tasty and a unique feel so I say its worth it)

      1 Reply
      1. re: rds246

        I'm curious whether you find this branch of the Pepe chain particularly good compared to other branches, and if so, in what way. For the record, I like the Pepe chain but while I have never had anything in any of them that I found less than acceptable (and, usually, good), I have yet to try anything amazing from any of them (then again, I haven't been to the Sullivan St. branch, so maybe I'm missing a hidden delight). So to sum up, unless this branch is an amazing anomaly compared to their other branches, I wouldn't recommend it for someone who's here only 3 days.

      2. Pearl Oyster Bar for the lobster roll and fried oysters (lunch or dinner); Yakitori Totto for all kinds, parts and preparations of chicken (Japanese -- go before 7:30 or there will definitely be a wait); Eleven Madison Park for Chef Humm's tasting menu (if you have three hours or more).

        1. Anything in Little Italy for good food and to soak up the atmsophere

          4 Replies
          1. re: skennedy62

            Most people on this board would agree that Little Italy is not the best place in the city for Italian food.

            1. re: skennedy62

              Disagree about Little Italy - go to Otto for some pasta, pizza and gelato. Also, make sure to stop at Katz's for pastrami and a hot dog (unless you'd rather get your dog with a tropical drink at Gray's Papaya).

              1. re: jdmetz

                I think your response will be confusing for the o.p. since he is coming here from Toronto. Neither Otto nor Katz's is in Little Italy. Otto is in Greenwich Village, and Katz's is on the Lower East Side. Both are good suggestions.


              2. re: skennedy62

                Do not eat in Little Italy (unless it's Arthur Ave. up in the Bronx)! It will be a complete waste of a meal.

                If you must check it out take a walk through the neighborhood and then head someplace else for a meal. Little Italy is a tourist trap with some pretty awful food.

                Try Babbo or Lupa on Thompson or even Crispo on 14th St. for Italian.

              3. I just thought it is nice as a tourist

                1 Reply
                1. re: skennedy62

                  Sure, as an ordinary tourist, but we're Chowhounds here. :-) I always presume that someone asking for recommendations here is looking for something special, not the same stuff the hordes of out-of-towners are descending upon.

                2. Nearly everybody here has awful things to say about Little Italy, but restauranteur Drew Nieporent was recently quoted in the NYTimes, naming Benito II on Mulberry Street as his favorite low-end restaurant. When we were there last week, the owner told us he's been dining there for many years, as has my family. In fact, whenever one of our nieces visits from out of town for a weekend, Benito II is traditionally our first dinner.

                  In other words, it's not all bad. And a little bit of it is pretty darned good.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Deenso

                    I take your point. Is it good enough to visit in a 3-day trip?

                    1. re: Pan

                      Well, considering how much truly fabulous food there is in NYC, a meal at Benito II is not something I'd go out of my way for if my time here were very limited. However, If you happen to be wandering around the Mulberry Street area and suddenly find yourself craving a good, down-home, unpretentious Italian-American meal, I'd say it's the best of the bunch.

                  2. 20 places, Yannick? Do you have extra stomachs? LOL!

                    "Unique feel" screams Katz's to me. And if you like steak, Peter Luger in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (I prefer sauce on my steak, but connoisseurs of elemental steak, so to speak, tend to consider Luger their North Star). I'm tempted to say DiFara Pizzeria, too, which is pretty far into Brooklyn, but for a Manhattan pizzeria with "unique feel," go to East Harlem and eat at Patsy's, 1st Av. between 117th and 118th Sts. Alternatively, there's Arturo's in the Village, which is not only about the pizza but also about the very good live jazz at the bar.

                    1. Unless one of your party were desperate to see it, Little Italy isn't even much fun to walk through anymore and most of the food is even worse than blah red-sauce Italian in other parts of the city - it's 99.8% nothing but for show at this point except for the occasional little old person who can't afford to leave their rent-controlled apartments...

                      If you want to check it out, just combine it with a "tour" of Chinatown and hit up the one or two Italian grocery/deli/cheese stores still left there.

                      1. DiPaol's has become quite the tourist attraction by now, but still absolutely worth somewhat of a detour, if not a wholehearted special trip.