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Four days in the city...help feed us

I'm taking a few teens to NY for some shows, shopping and otherwordly experiences. Will be there for 4 days. We are staying in midtown and would love to eat Italian before theater, but we also want to venture further afoot for fun eating in cool places. I'm talking about the Village, Soho or whatever would wow these 17 year olds. (Be kind to mom, please!)

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  1. Out-of-town relatives of mine enjoyed for their vibe and food the hipster French bistro Florent in the Meatpacking District, Japanese noodle bar Rai Rai Ken in the East Village and Korean BBQ in the 30s (search Chowhound for recs)

    1. A couple things to keep in mind about eating out in Manhattan. Good restaurants in the higher price range often book way in advance so don't delay on making reservations. Good restaurants that are affordable (and there are tons) most often don't take reservations. But if you want to get a lot of bang for your buck, the lower end places in NYC can be the way to go. Just warn the kids in advance that there might be some waiting. That said, here are a few of the more affordable Italian places that i like - in no particlular order:

      Lupa (Thompson St. in the West Village - reserve far in advance or walk in and wait)
      Cacio e Pepe (2nd Avenue between 11th and 12th St. in the E. Village - they take reservations)
      Perbacco (234 E. 4th Street)
      Inotecca (98 Rivington Street)
      Otto (1 5th Avenue)

      1 Reply
      1. re: psawce

        Otto is a fun place, but I'm not sure how much teens would like it as it IS a pizzeria, and pretty eclectic. For Pizza in that neighborhood, I'd be inclined to recommend the Original John's on Bleecker Street.

        El Charro Espagnol is a delicious Spanish restaurant on Charles Street @ Greenwich AVE with a varied menu and reasonable prices. You could also get a great fish meal there....;>) Kids of all ages like the place, and are welcomed by the staff.

      2. Hi, I would help if you tell us where you are from, and what cuisine / price range you prefer. Then we can recommend some restaurants that are less common in your home town and also fit your price range. =D

        1 Reply
        1. re: kobetobiko

          We hail from New England, price is not an issue, except that the high end places, might be too stuffy for teens. I am embarrased to say that they asked about the Hard Rock Cafe. That being said, we'll go there if they really want to, but I will not be feeding them hamburgers and pizza for every meal. the only thing they truly won't eat is fish. (my favorite) Good food in fun areas will be the key to a successful trip.

        2. Why not try some interesting ethnic eats that they can't get just anywhere? There's a decent Greek place on 9th Ave (Nick's, I think) that has lots of traditional Greek specialties and great grilled fish. Or try some of the Turkish places that have been recommended here -- that would be memorable. Or how about Thai or Indian? Although I think it's pretty Disney-fied, Ruby Foo's serves Pan-Asian food in a very interesting atmosphere that might interest your teens.

          1. I really doubt that Lupa is for teens from New England. A northern Italian restaurant with offal dishes and expensive prices? I suggest you look at menupages.com. By Italian I assume you mean southern Italian type cooking, pasta with red sauce, etc.Try homemade pasta at Il corallo on Prince Street in the heart of Soho and inexpensive. Puglias in Little Italy, great communal tables people singing. Ruby Foos is expensive, touristy and mediocre, try any chinatown restaurant on Mott or Mulberry, cheap and wonderful.

            1 Reply
            1. re: dawnfawn

              Why give them what they can already get at home? This is the perfect opportunity to introduce them to something new.

              I wouldn't assume teens won't enjoy a place like Lupa.

              Otto is another good bet. Yes, it's pizza but they may enjoy the sophisticated atmosphere.

            2. If there are chocolate lovers, you must go to Max Brenner (one in Union Sq and one in the E. Village). It's very New York (though it's Israeli), and they'll love it. If you want real New York eating, try Katz' deli on the Lower East. The Lower East is my current favorite food neighborhood and also very cool and cutting edge for shopping. Try Clinton St. Baking Co. (especially the pancakes - they serve them every meal). Another truly New York experience is the downstairs pub at Peasant. They'll feel very "in" and cool going there. Otto in the Village isn't stuffy and the food is very good. Definitely get a cheese plate. It's an experience. Also make sure to get a hot dog at one of the Gray's Papaya's. That's a NYC experience you must have. Please don't go to the Hard Rock Cafe. Please.

              1. Oh, and make sure to have pizza at Lombardi's or Patsy's in the Village.

                1. Becco is a tasty and reasonably priced Italian restaurant in the theater district. In fact, for my money, it's the only resto in that area I'll eat at..... It's owned by Joe Bastianich (Mario Batali's partner in other ventures) with his mom, Lidia.

                  1. St. Mark's Place and its immediate vicinity in the East Village are also good for keeping teens interested. There's a JAS Mart, a Japanese grocery store that also has a cafe/bakery on its premises. Their stuff is inexpensive and good for a quick lunch, and they have non-fish items for sale. Go walking around there for a half-day, and you're bound to find something that you and the kids will want to try.

                    1 Reply
                    1. Do these kids have somewhat sophisticated tastes? And what is your budget for meals?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: dawnfawn

                        Some sophsticated, some not. Quality and experience surpass budget constrictions. Thanks for the great suggestions.

                      2. Hi, as a lot of the people suggested above, East Village and Lower East Side are indeed food heaven. I have included a famous food tour posted by RGR, a well-known experienced NYC chowhounder. I am sure your teens will enjoy this trip very much!
                        (FROM RGR's POSTING)
                        you might want to consider taking my (in)famous Lower East Side eating "tour," which will give you an opportunity to sample some very New York foods. If you want to stuff yourself without spending a fortune, this is definitely a way to do it.

                        Lower East Side Food Excursion

                        For the quintessential NYC deli experiences, no place beats Katz's, on the corner of Houston (pronounced "how-stun") & Ludlow Sts. You're there specifically for the pastrami sandwich. When you enter, you will be given a ticket. Instead of opting for table service, do what the "natives" do and get on line for counter service. When you reach the counter, put a $1 for each sandwich in the counterman's tip cup and order pastrami on rye. He'll give you a piece to taste. If you like it (the best pastrami is juicy and has some fat on it), tell him o.k., and he'll make your sandwich, give you some sour pickles, and punch your ticket. Then, continue along the counter for sides – the cole slaw is good -- and drinks. Find seats at a table in the center of the room. (Tables along the wall have menus on them and are reserved for waiter service.) When you’re done, take your ticket to the cashier in front. It's cash only. Note: For the purposes of this tour, unless you have a gargantuan appetite, it would be best to share one sandwich in order to leave room for more tastings along the way.

                        When you exit Katz’s, turn left and continue along the same side of Houston St. You will come to Russ & Daughters, famous for all sorts of smoked fish and many other goodies. It's not a restaurant, but they make sandwiches to go.

                        After leaving the Russes, continue west a couple of blocks until you reach Yonah Schimmel's. Get a tasty potato knish, and make sure to ask them to heat it up.

                        Now it’s time for the quintessential NY drink – the egg cream. So, reverse yourself and head east on Houston until you come to Avenue A. (Note: Avenue A becomes Essex St. on the south side of Houston.) Turn left on A and head north until you get to the block between 7th St. and St. Mark’s Place. Look for a hole-in-the-wall candy shop, closer to 7th, with an overhead sign jutting into the street that says, “Belgian Fries.” (The place’s official name is Ray’s, but there is no signage to that effect.) One of the women behind the counter will make you a delicious chocolate egg cream.

                        When you’re finished licking your lips, go back to Houston St. and make a left (east) one block to Norfolk St. Turn right and walk down Norfolk until it ends at Grand St. Two places to look for at the corner of Grand and Norfolk: Kossar's, for freshly baked bialys (another very NY food) and the Donut Plant (self-explanatory).

                        Next, walking west along Grand St., you will come to Orchard St. Turn right. At 87 Orchard, snack on a pickle from Gus's World Famous Pickles.

                        Then, continue to 97 Orchard, b/t Broome & Delancey, where you will find the Tenement Museum. The tour will show you what life was like for immigrants to NYC at the beginning of the 20th century. (www.tenement.org


                        Once you have finished the tour, Il Laboratorio del Gelato, right next door at 95 Orchard, is a must for some of the best gelato anywhere.

                        If your sweet tooth is still not completely satisfied, the final stop on this tour should do it. Continue ahead (north) on Orchard, crossing Delancey, then one more block to Rivington St. Make a right and you will find Economy Candy at 145 Rivington.

                        1. My son is 15 and insisted that we return to Otto's on our upcoming visit...Pizza and gelato very excellent...Casual and pretty affordable as well...Don't think that you can go wrong there...