HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >


Your unique New York foodie experiences


Coming to Manhattan next week from London - its my boyfriends 30th on the Friday and I want to treat him a unique to New York dinning experience, something that we probably wouldn't be able to get in London. I would be grateful for any suggestions, also how far ahead do I need to book?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Please clarify...are you coming in this Friday, April 13th?

    4 Replies
    1. re: LFeinberg

      Sorry I am coming next week so the Friday would be the 20th, thanks

      1. re: peasouper

        What kind of cuisine are you looking for? What does he like?

        1. re: LFeinberg

          We are pretty open to suggestion really, he is quite fond of fish, rare steaks and snails!!

          1. re: peasouper

            Check out: Lure Fishbar, The Stanton Social (for American tapas/small plates), Barrio Chino (great Mexican food), Wallse (Continental/Austrian influenced), The Strip House (steak)

    2. Look into WD-50. But be forewarned: people seem to either love it or hate it. I love it; you may hate it. There are a lot of reviews, both pro and con, on this board. You could probably still book for Friday through opentable.com if you eat a late or early dinner.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cimui

        As Cimui already knows. I LOVE WD50. Definitely second that..It's an experience as well as extraordinary food.

      2. Not here to suggest where to ear for dinner, but as far as something unique that you don't have in London, visit and partake of Italian pastries...I suggest Rocco's in the Village

        1. i think a world class meal at bouley or veritas is pretty quintessential. you may have some high end standouts in london but the new york experience is completely different.

          id choose bouley over veritas. begin or end the evening with drinks at brandy library, a few blocks away.

          you should be able to squeeze in a reservation...if not, call around 3pm the day of the dinner and see if any cancellations came in.

          if you want more low end, a pastrami sandwich on club bread at katz's is yr best bet.

          1. That's a good last point, Sam1. If you're not fixated on high end dining, just try the street carts in NYC. You won't find dosai or arepas stands in London--at least I never did. There are two Manhattan locations listed here: http://streetvendor.org/public_html/s... . Here's another good site: http://midtownlunch.com/blog/restaura...

            I'd also do a search of this board for the hidden street gems that are all over the city.

            Mexican and Korean barbecue haven't really hit London yet, either, have they? Name your price range and I'll throw out a couple of suggestions.

            2 Replies
            1. re: cimui

              Thanks for some great ideas, my budget for the special meal is mid to expensive, seeing as its a one off.

              1. re: peasouper

                Hey peasouper (great handle!), you really ought to try Korean barbecue. Most of the best places are a little divey, but there is a pretty decent mid-scale restaurant called Do Hwa on Carmine St. with aesthetically Spartan decor. Make sure you get a table with a grill to do your own grilling (that's a lot of the fun!), but be forewarned that the smell tends to stick a bit.

                For upscale Mexican, a lot of people have recommended Centrico (Tribeca) on this board, though I haven't been able to try it, yet. The Rosa Mexicano locations (including ones in the Lincoln Center and Union Square areas) have nice decor--very hip and modern--and even though the food is criticized for being sort of gringo-ized, it's still very tasty. There's also Mi Cocina in the West Village. Decor is brighter. Decor and food both tend towards the traditional.

                For sushi, I know y'all have a Nobu in London, but seriously, ours is way better. ;) And far better than Nobu NY is Sushi Yasuda (which oonth has already recommended). Bond St. has lovely decor and passable fish. People who like maki rolls--especially neu-school ones--will point you to Nobu, Bond St, and Sushi Samba. (Yasuda appeals more to traditionalists like me.) Sushi Samba is loud, hip, and sceney.

                For steak, go to Megu for the kobe beef.

            2. Not so much that you consider where you eat, but rather while in NYC you should make sure to try the following three items:
              1 - a begal (none like those from NYC, its the water)
              2 - cheesecake (NY style of course)
              3 - pizza (a must when in town)

              1 Reply
              1. re: drbelfer

                I agree with drbelfer. You've gotta try a bagel (Russ & Daughters is good), a slice of cheesecake (Junior's is convenient), and a slice of pizza (Lombardi's and John's on Bleeker St. are reliable). I'd also add a deli sandwich to the list and Katz's is the place for that.

              2. You have to go to either Papaya King or Grey's Papaya and have hot dogs and a Papaya drink. I am not a hotdog fan and I swear to you these hotdogs are awesome! My husband is a NY native and he dreams of these hotdogs in Florida ; )

                1. Hmmm.... London has a pretty good dining scene, so I was trying to think of places for a nice dinner the likes of which I haven't seen in London, and here's what I came up with:
                  What you definitely can't get in London...a view of NYC... try The River Cafe in Brooklyn, for great food and a beautiful view of the Brooklyn Bridge and downtown. Or, the Rainbow Room for an amazing view. The food is ok but the view is fantastic. Even if you don't go there for dinner, you may want to go for drinks.
                  Also, not notable for the views at all but places I think you'd find different than the dining scene in London: Babbo, Esca, Gramercy Tavern. Luger's and Acquavit.
                  Have fun!

                  1. Does London have anything like the Grand Central Oyster Bar? I have no idea as the few times I was in London were too brief and too long ago.
                    It's a great space and the food is pretty good...classic seafood and an amazing raw bar.
                    And you can't get any more Manhattan than Manhattan Clam Chowder.

                    1. Displaced Londoner here, been living in NYC for the last 2 years. Genre wise I would recommend the following where I believe that NYC is clearly operating at a higher level than London - Sushi Bar, Korean BBQ, Mexican, Steakhouse. If your guy is into raw fish a double header of dinner at Sushi Yasuda followed by drinks (a very extensive sake list) + green tea truffles at Sakagura across the road would be a good option.

                      So-called fine dining appears to have become much of a muchness the world over these days but what you do get in NYC is fine dining at very affordable (relatively speaking) prices especially at lunchtime (check out the deals at Perry Street, Jean Georges for example). Foodwise, I have found the fine dining experiences in NYC to be a mixed bag but I definitely recommend 11 Madison Park which is offering some spectacular food in a beautiful art deco space with outstanding service. Pricewise in the evening you can expect to pay approx $150 per person with a good amount of alcohol, tax and tip included.

                      New York is also good for innovative/conceptual/unique eateries. In this category I would recommend Degustation (creative Catalan you could say), Upstairs at Bouley (separate new American, Italian and Japanese menus + open kitchen) and either of the Momofukus (pan Asian in the most general sense but a real hotch potch of interesting, varied and flavoursome items). All of these have the added advantage of mid level pricing something which London is struggling to offer for the moment. The Caracas Arepa House recommendation is also a good one but that's not a special occasion place.

                      Definitely book as far ahead as possible for a Friday night.

                      Puzzled about the comments re Italian pastries and dosas both of which are widely available in London.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: oonth

                        I don't think anyone can do better than the rec's from the displaced Londoner above but someone mentioned The Strip House which is a pretty great steak place with old-school, romantic charm (get the naked lady matchbooks for friends). Peter Luger's is better steak but it is also in Williamsburg (and not the "cool" part) and nearly impossible to get into. you could maybe go for lunch for one of their amazing burgers (they stop serving burgers at 3pm).

                        Prune is a consistently great new-American menu that is always inspired (and packed).

                        How about pizza for a lunch? Although the best is DiFara's in a no-where's-ville part of Brooklyn (sorry Midwood) and the waits on the weekend can try the patience of a saint. Grimaldi's or Lombardi's are authentic pizza places but a bit overwhelmed by tourists.

                        Maybe Pearl Oyster Bar for Lobster Rolls? I think those are a New England regional thing and not too popular in London. Lots of great seafood there too.

                        These aren't really special occasion type places (except for the steak houses)- they are more for your laid-back meals.

                      2. I would check out the Modern - at the Museum of Modern Art. Perfect if you check out the museum beforehand (recommended). Reserve in the main dining room, (where, if it is still light outside, you'll get terrific views of the beautiful sculpture garden). They have hearty food - Alsatian styled.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: kayonyc

                          Thanks to you all for some amazing suggestions, I have ideas to keep us going all week, I will have some serious excess baggage on the plane home, lovely to see such a helpfull community. Thanks Oonth, Pastoralia, Kayonyc and Cimui for the great streetcart ideas.Really love the view suggestions too...

                          Hope I can reciprocate with any ideas for London dining in the future

                          1. re: peasouper

                            You're welcome. Actually, I would love London suggestions - I will be there in 9 days. I have posted my request for London suggestions at: