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4 meals, $600 and a big city....

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OK, I have been doing my research and trying to work out the best way to spend my allocation of about $600 across 4 meals in New York City. I will be there for 4 days, and am looking to have a couple of nice dinners, a nice lunch and a good brunch on Sunday. I will be with my wife and we would normally share a bottle of wine over dinner or lunch (or matching wines with a tasting menu).

My pet hate in life as a tourist is paying for overpriced tourist traps because you didn't bother to get the bookings in advance that you need to eat at the better places where the better informed locals are.

I will be there in early April across the Easter weekend. Other than the 4 big meals, we will just take light meals wherever we happen to be when we get hungry.

My current plan is:

Fri dinner: Babbo (~$250)
Sat dinner: Buddakan (~$200)
Sun brunch: Baltahzar (~$50)
Mon lunch: Jean Georges (~$150 - lunch deal seems too good to be true!)

What do people think? Any suggestions for change or backups if I can't get reservations? Are my price estimates above in the right ballparks?

We eat regularly in michelin starred restaurants through the UK and Europe with a preference for delicate food that is well cooked. We often go for the tasting menus when available.

We are in our late 20's, have never been to NY and have an image of a very cool city and would like to try and find some of the famous NY "scene" if we can. I know it is probably sacrilege on a board like this, but we would even be prepared to sacrifice the quality of the food (ok, only for 1 night!) to dine in the latest cool place in town....

Any recommendations for bars nearby to these or other recommended restaurants would also be gratefully received.

Apologies for the length of the post, but I am just so excited about the big trip and want to make sure I make the most of it!

Many thanks!

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  1. Buddakan is the only one of the bunch I have not been to. I think you have a great plan. I will leave backups and a hotspot to others because I do not live here anymore.

    I would also try to go to less expensive foodie places for your other meals to get a real NY experience. NYC is not just cool it has heart and character which is greatly represented by these types of places. I will leave it to others to post them but you can read all about them by searching.

    Definately try to hit DiFara's for pizza though...

    1. it depends on the type of person you are...buddakan is a bit too monstrous in size and short on food for my taste. i like more intimate places.

      if i were you:

      dinner at bouley for fri dinner
      dinner at veritas for sat dinner
      sun brunch at freemans
      mon lunch at jean georges

      if you are here from wed to fri, go to telepan for lunch...$28 for 3 course...unreal selection.

      1. This looks great! You've got four wonderful places. But as Tpigeon mentioned, you might want to put some thought into your more casual choices as well. Most New Yorkers are just as passionate about finding the perfect bagel as they are about finding the right tasting menu.

        Enjoy your trip!

        Jeremy

        1. Consider doing Lupa instead of Babbo on Friday (many, including myself, prefer the food there, and a full dinner with a bottle would run around $150) and redistribute that money into Saturday night's dinner (I'd go to Le Bernardin - haven't been to Buddakan, but I haven't seen the greatest reports here).

          Oh, I'd also consider Prune for a less splurgy dinner (it frequently gets mentioned for brunch as well, but I think it would be a shame to go and not get the monkfish liver on toast, which seems to be served only at dinner).

          As for the "scene" - what are you looking for? Tattoos and emo hair? Underaged Eastern European models and their banker boyfriends? The highest concentration of ultra-chic New Yorkers I've ever seen was actually at Sunday brunch at Blue Ribbon Bakery. The food's good, too (get there half an hour before opening if you want to get in on the first seating, and be seated upstairs). I think that if you choose a spot for the scene, not only do your risk having a bad meal, you risk spending your evening with other tourists and bachelorette parties from New Jersey also looking for the scene. Go with your food instincts.

          1. I agree with others that your itinerary seems solid except for Buddakan.

            Stick with Babbo. It's hard enough getting in and it's great food that's not marked up. Also, I tend to go high end at dinner and low end at lunch to keep things reasonable when I'm in NYC.

            High/Higher End:

            Babbo (keep it)
            Sushi Yasuda (at the bar in front of Yasuda if you like sushi)
            Jean Georges for lunch (not as impressive as dinner but if you sit in the Nougatine room, you can get a great view of Central Park)
            Cru
            WD-50 (if you're into molecular gastronomy and such)

            Mid:

            Pastis or Balthazar for Lunch

            Low Stuff:

            Lombardi's for Pizza
            Katz's for pastrami
            Ess-A-Bagel or H&H for a huge bagel with whitefish salad