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Can anyone help on this, please?

Coming to New York for the first time on the 10th March, two-wleeks-stay, location Upper East Side.
We love cozy places, warm atmospheres and good quality of food. Dinner for two in a price range between $ 100 - 150 or lower for prix fix. During our two weeks-stay we plan to try several restaurants and bistros etc.
Has anyone of you tried these places and what do you think of them, in terms of ambience and food? Any suggested alternative is very welcome.

1_ Tibetan restaurants: Cafe' Himalaya, Tibetan Kitchen ,Tsampa
2_ Haveli, Indian
3_ El Paso Taqueria
4_ El Maguey y la tuna
5_ Perbacco
6_ Uva
7_Bistro 61

Thank you

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  1. I've only been to Perbacco. I thought it was good but not memorable. For Italian, I'd prefer Lupa, Crispo, Apizz, or Peasant. Otto is also good for sharing.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Lucia

      I ate at a Tibetan restaurant that was down near the Kip's Bay movie theatre...don't remember which one it was though. I believe it was the first Tibetan place in NYC though.

      Quite honestly, it was OK, but not really memorable. The dishes were all kind of bland, certainly not spicy as described. It kind of just felt like substandard chinese-ish food. Interesting to say I'd had it once, but definitely not worth hiking back to.

      1. re: elecsheep9

        The restaurant in question is Tibetan Kitchen. I've been there and liked the food, but then again, I've never thought of Tibetan as overly spicy. They have a good Chicken Curry if you like your chicken on the bone. Haven't had it in quite some time though.

        1. re: danaherd3

          I've eaten at Tibetan Kitchen as well. It's not bad at all, but it's not exceptional by any stretch. If I lived in the neighborhood I would probably drop in or order take out on occasion, but I wouldn't really deem it worth a trip out of one's way. I will say that the service was lovely, accomodating and helpful, and we were a group of 20 or so. I think the biggest fault I can come up with regarding the food is that it's not as interesting as one might anticipate, the flavors and spices aren't really unfamiliar.

    2. I always recommend Tartine in the West Village, but it's BYOB and you have to go early or wait on the street. Very nice, bistro-style French
      Can't miss w/Joe's Shanghai on Pell Street in Chinatown--best soup dumplings.
      In the East Village try Azul for wonderufl Argentinian food or 'Inoteca for lovely wines and light Italian.
      Pizza Fresca in the Flatiron District is wonderful
      Stop by 11 Madison Park for killer martinis, gougeres, wines by the glass, and desserts in the bar.

      1. El Paso Taqueria is OK but not worth going out of your way for, imo. Where, out of curiosity, are you coming from?

        1 Reply
        1. re: a_and_w

          True, though if you're in the neighborhood it's a good place to stop. They have two locations - one just off 96th and Park, the other (this one's better) on 103rd and...Lex I think? - pretty reliable for standard Mexican fare, with decent horchata.

        2. Hmm...I didn't see Balthazar or Home on your list...pity

          2 Replies
          1. re: jinet12

            Balthazar has a great Sunday brunch, and is good for people watching. I haven't been there any other time than brunch...

            Haven't been to Home in years, even tho Barbara and David are friends. They are really concentrating on their winery, Shinn Estate, in the North Fork.

            1. re: jinet12

              Balthazar is good. A scene and can be really noisy.

            2. Taqueria: The best tacqueria i know is near columbia university, tacqueria y fonda, amsterdam around 103rd, i think. inexpensive, looks like a hole in the wall but great mexican food.
              Indian: there is a great high end indian restaurant called Tamarind on 22nd street, not to be confused with the upper west side Tamarind which is one of the best indian take-out's but the dine in experience is nothing unique. tamarind on 22nd is special.
              You should definately experience some of the more experimental restaurants like WD40. the lunch tasting menu for two will run 100-150 i think.

              2 Replies
              1. re: shechow

                taqueria y fonda is between 108th & 109th and amsterdam. it is great!

                1. re: ballulah

                  correction: it's between 107th & 108th.

              2. Thanks so much to all of you for your great help. We shall try many of your suggested alternatives.
                To 'a and w': both of us have been living for several years on a Greek island; one of us is American and the other Italian. As we said, we intend to give a try to several cuisines while in New York, from burgers, bagles, steak-houses, chinese, delis to bistros and Irish pubs etc. However with all respect to the success and fame of big names like Batali and similar we certainly won't try any of those musts. After reading some of the posts on this web, we also cancelled from our potentially favourites places like River Cafe', One if by.. and other landmarks. It could be because coming from outside we don't have the urgent need to be part of what is fashionable or represents a status-symbol. But then again it might happen that sucked into the charm of becoming New Yorkers for few days all we will do is go excusively for the big names and musts of the moment.
                Cheers and thanks to all you.. Counting the hours 'till our plane heads to New York!!! Yahooo!!!

                1 Reply
                1. re: blue shutters white striped

                  Ah, if you're coming from a Greek Island, then by all means enjoy NYC Mexican! El Paso is a fine choice. I'm also a fan of Tulcingo Del Valle on 10th Ave at 47th -- esp. the torta al pastor. Another great choice is Downtown Bakery on 1st Ave btw 4th and 5th. I'm less of a fan of Taqueria y Fonda, which was also mentioned, but it's certainly decent. Also, do a search for Eric Eto's posts re mexican in spanish harlem -- he's reviewed a lot of places over the years.

                2. Upper Eastside, always reliable is Sel et Poivre on Lex at about 65th. I've had brunch there, lunch and even a Holiday dinner or two there. It's a fine, small space with a real french feel and it won't break the bank.
                  Cabana, near bloomingdale's on 3rd is also good. It's cuban I think. Have tried this one and the one at South St. both were good food and fun atmosphere.
                  And if you want a really good piece of NY Style cheesecake, Brooklyn Diner on 57th is the bomb!

                  1. On the food alone I would vote for El Maguey y La Tuna. Excellent food, priced well, and great flavour! Definitely try it!

                    Uva has a nicer ambience, I enjoyed their antipasto platter (well priced and it came with plenty of assorted meats etc) and their truffle polenta!! Since you will be in the UES try it out.

                    For italian, I highly recommend Peasant.

                    1. Thank you so very much!! We are so glad we found this board.
                      It will be great fun to combine gastronomic and sightseeing tours in the City.
                      We read several reviews about Cafe' des Artistes and it seems it has become too touristy lately. Can anyone of you sugggest similar cafes with a more 'real' atmosphere? Cafes, little bars that have been in the City for over thirty-fourty years where most of people don't go for they don't know of their existance or people don't venture anymore because they represent a forgotten past or a past to forget..

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: blue shutters white striped

                        Just to clarify, Cafe des Artistes is not small and, despite its name, is more restaurant than cafe. There are several dining rooms + the bar area. You might want to stop in there for a drink, but I would definitely go elsewhere to eat because, in my view, the food now is not much better than mediocre.

                        Here are a couple of suggestions.

                        Since you are staying on the UES, you might want to consider going to Cafe Boulud, on 76th St., b/t Madison & 5th Avs. Although it doesn't have an extremely long history, immediately upon opening, it became -- and remains -- one of the best dining destinations in the city. It is 4-star chef Daniel Boulud's second-tier restaurant, but the cuisine is first-rate. It is expensive, but if you go for lunch, you can stay within your budgetary parameters by taking advantage of their 3-course prix-fixe for $38. They have an excellent wine list, service is both cordial and polished, and the small dining room has very pleasant ambiance.


                        La Petite Auberge, on Lexington Av., b/t 27th & 28th Sts., is a neighborhood French bistro that is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The traditional dishes they serve are consistently well-prepared and delicious. There is a good wine list. Service is efficient. The small space is cozy and resembles a charming little inn in Brittany. Prices will easily fit your budget. If you go, don't miss the souffles for two (chocolate or Grand Marnier) which should be ordered at the beginning of the meal.


                        Enjoy your visit to NYC and Bon Appetit!

                      2. Thank you very much for your suggestion RGR; we will be happy to try out La Petite Auberge, it sounds like what we were looking for. Regards

                        1. Haveli has beautiful decor, but when I've had food there, I've found it extremely rich (fatty) and just OK, and the service has been weird (receiving other people's orders, waitstaff forgetting everything we ordered...)

                          1. Thank you Ballulah and Pan for dropping your helpful reviews. Taqueria y fonda is now surely on our list and Haveli has lost some appeal; we shall try Tamarind then.
                            Warm regards

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: blue shutters white striped

                              If you're considering upscale Indian like Tamarind, I highly recommend Devi. Superb cuisine, some of the best anywhere. A la carte menu and two tasting menus. Wine pairings available. Large space with unique decor. For coziness, ask to be seated in one of the curtained alcoves.


                              1. re: RGR

                                Agreed. Devi is wonderful. So is Mint a little further uptown.

                              2. re: blue shutters white striped

                                I recommended Taqueria y Fonda because it's more easily accessible for me than East Harlem, I've been eating there for years and I love it, but don't neglect some of the wonderful taquerias in East Harlem on the stretch of Lexington in El Barrio that has seen a recent influx of Mexican immigrants. I've eaten over there, but I can't say that I remember exactly where, it was an unplanned snacking trip, and a very enjoyable one. Taqueria y Fonda is by no means fancy, it's brightly lit with no frills flourescent lighting, there are only about 10 small, wobbly tables, the place is dominated by the grill, and everything I love on the menu is no more than $5 (but I order in multiples!). I'm not reneging on my recommendation at all, just clarifying a bit so you know what to expect!

                              3. For really good authentic Tibetan food I highly recommend Cafe Himalaya @ 78 E 1st St, between Ave A & 1st Ave - the momos are super!

                                1. Thank you Livetotravel, we shall remember and try 'momos'.
                                  RGR you suggestions are rare gems. The Devi looks just perfect for a special evening.
                                  We are considering it for my birthday, on Saint Patrick's Day.
                                  Thank you very much for your always kind and appropriate replies.
                                  Warm regards

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: blue shutters white striped

                                    Hey, blue shutters... So glad you are finding my suggestions helpful.

                                    Although you haven't asked for something like this, since this is your first visit to NYC and you will be here for two weeks, perhaps you would be interested in taking my (in)famous Lower East Side eating "tour." Just in case, I'm appending it here:

                                    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.

                                    Note: It’s best not to take this tour on a Saturday since some of the spots are closed because of religious observance.

                                    I hope you have a spectacular first visit to NYC and that you will report back on all your dining experiences. And Happy Birthday! :-)

                                    1. re: RGR

                                      You are spot on RGR! I was at Economy Candy yesterday. The poster might want to drop by Essex Street Market too. It is just around the corner from Economy Candy and gives you a real flavor for the LES. The Donut Plant's pear doughnuts melt in your mouth!

                                  2. I'd like to suggest that a fun and less costly way of experiencing some of the New York "status" type restaurants is to go before or after dinner and have a drink at the bar, maybe a bar snack. You get the buzz of the place ( and your own buzz! ) without committing the time and money, and if you really feel you'd like to dine there, you can always come back. Sometimes half an hour is all you need to take in the scene.
                                    Have fun in the city!

                                    1. Hello RGR, I read your famous Lower East Side Food Excursion some days ago while going through posts on this board. We just thought it was the perfect fun eating tour and saved it in our Chowhound dedicated folder :)) So once again you hit the target!
                                      I am sure we'll have great experiences in New York and a fantastic birthday and gladly we shall report on our gastronomic experiences once back home.
                                      Thank you once again for your knowledgeble and intuitive suggestions.
                                      We wish you all the best, warm regards from us

                                      1. Hello onthelam, your suggestion is very welcome and indeed a good way to try out several places and get a taste of the huge variety of cuisine proposals that the city offers . Regards

                                        1. I wouldn't recommend El Maguey y la tuna. I've only been there once, but the food quality was quite poor. As a general rule I can't recommend most Mexican in NYC, only because I have issues with authenticity, but El Maguey wasn't just not authentic--it was actually bad.

                                          One italian place that fits your ideal of warm, cozy and good is La Giara, around 33rd and 3rd. I went there recently for V-day and it was great, and very reasonably priced.

                                          Haven't been to any of the other places, but I hope you have a great trip!

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: badfishckl

                                            Hey, badfishckl, Thanks for the tip on La Giara. While I'm familiar with many Murray Hill restaurants, that's one I've missed. From the address (on 3rd, b/t 33rd & 34th), it's on the same block as one of my favorites, Ethos. There are several restaurants on that block, so La Giara must be sandwiched in (hidden?) among them. The menu looks good, so I'm putting it on my "go to" list.


                                            1. re: badfishckl

                                              Thank you badfishckl, La Giara looks great and it's close to our hotel. Warm regards