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Food shopping tips please

Hello,

Could you please give us some suggestions on where to go to buy some specific foods. We'd like to go to really first-rate stores, not just a 7-11! We're staying in the Times Sq. area but will be happy to travel a bit for quality stores.

The things we are interested in buying are: cheeses, fresh fish, and maybe an all-around gourmet food store. Most important is the fish store though! Thanks very much for any tips you may have.....

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  1. I would suggest Citarella (http://www.citarella.com/). Whole Foods may also have some of the things you are looking for if that is more convenient. The Grand Central Market may also be for you. Have fun shopping!

    1. For fish, check out: Citarella or Wild Edibles...the other hounders will give you more ideas, too
      Cheese: Murray's Cheese is my favorite
      All around gourmet: Dean & Deluca, Citarella, Eli's, Balducci's, Chelsea Market (TONS of options under one roof)...

      1 Reply
      1. re: LFeinberg

        Cheese: Fairway has a good selection. It's located on Broadway bet. 74th and 75th Sts. If you're in the East Village, check out East Village Cheese Shop on 2nd Ave bet. 9th and 10th Sts.

        If you want to try smoked fish, go to Russ & Daughters on Houtson off Allen.

        Fairway is a good all-around store, as is Zabar's, located on Broadway and 80th St.

        Enjoy your stay.

      2. Near Times Sq, the Amish Market is a good general purpose gourmet store. It's on 9th Ave between 49th & 50th.

        For a transcendent food experience, and lots of hard to find spices, dry goods and condiments go to Kalustyan's on 28th and Lexington. Also try Han Ah Reum, in the middle of 32nd between Broadway and Fifth Ave, it's a Korean grocery store with lots of hard to find Asian goods, plus a whole refrigerator dedicated to the panchan you get at Korean restaurants (tiny dried fish, anyone?). I think I stretched my arms an extra couple of inches stopping at both spots a couple of weeks ago, and having to trek to the subway on 8th Ave. Totally worth it, though!

        2 Replies
        1. re: ballulah

          Can't really agree with the Amish Market rec. Used to shop there since I live in the neighborhood, but their produce isn't the freshest and a lot of things are overpriced even compared to whole foods. I'd definitely walk the extra blocks to the columbus circle whole foods and stop at Amy's bread on 46th on the way there.

          1. re: jsgjewels

            Yeah, I don't really think of Amish Market for produce either. I used to use it as a lunch spot when I lived around there.

            For produce around there I like that little scruffy Italian place next to Amy's much better than Whole Foods.

        2. I strongly suggest you consider Chelsea Market (9th Ave, btw 15th & 16th). It not only has a terrific fish monger, but a butcher, produce market (w/a cheese section), multiple bakeries, dairy, Italian market, and more. The prices are reasonable, and the space is well worth visiting. We shop there on a daily basis, and we love Amy's Bakery the Manhattan Fruit Exchange and Buo Italia, which specializes in Italian products.

          5 Replies
          1. re: tabbac

            Chelsea Market and the Union Square Greenmarket are all you need! Chelsea Market has a really good fish store with a wide variety of seafood; an Italian grocer that has wonderful Italian cheeses and salumi, as well as a little coffee bar that makes espresso that's totally authentic Italian.

            There's an insanely fresh local-caught fish stand at the Greenmarket on (I think) wednesdays and definitely Saturdays, but you have to get there fairly early to ensure a decent selection. I got some mussels a few weeks ago that were the best I've ever had and only like $3.50/lb. Also at the Greenmarket on Saturdays, I can especially recommend that you seek out the Yogurt from Tonje's dairy--it is incredible. Tonje's also has a wonderful cheese called "rambler" and delicious milk, fresh fromage blanc, mozarella, buttermilk and ricotta. For Goat's cheese, I recommend Lynnehaven as the best in the market. Oh, and the greenmarket is the best place to get eggs. On Wednesdays it's Tello egg farm selling the best eggs and on Saturdays there's a ton of farmers selling eggs to choose from; but Quattro's farm sells 'eggs'otic varieties like pheasant and goose.

            1. re: bolletje

              I like the Chelsea Market for some things, fish is great, the wine store is excellent, Amy's is wonderful. But I must disagree about the produce at Manhattan Fruit Exchange and the Italian market there. The produce at MFE is often very wilted and droopy, but cheap, yes. I bought a wide selection of things from the Italian market a couple of weeks ago, and regretted everything except the fresh pappardelle and risotto rice. The parmesan and romano cheeses were decidedly bad, the mortadella tasted off, and the ravioli was so old and frozen that most of it was cracked to bits. If you're dead set on staying in Manhattan and you're looking for Italian delicacies, I recommend DiPalo's in Little Italy.

              1. re: ballulah

                I was just about to mention DiPalo's on Grand! Completely agree with ballulah that Di Palo is much better for Italian food, especially fresh things like pasta and cold cuts. Their fresh made mozzarella is also great! There are other imported Italian items avaiable, and the people are so nice and always explain everything to you.

                If you are in that area, you can also check out Despana on Grand for Spanish items. Serrano ham, sauages, and a lot of authentic Spanish items. Don't forget to get one of their sandwiches at the deli counter inside!

                1. re: ballulah

                  For fresh fish, I think that the poster is looking for The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market. I've never had a bad purchase there. Especially good are the whole trout -- incredibly fresh and sweet. Mussels and clams are of a high quality and the guys who work there are conscientious about sorting out the open/cracked/dead ones.

                  1. re: ballulah

                    Manhattan Fruit Exchange does often have droopy stuff, etc...but there is always enough good fresh stuff to put together a varied and respectable meal, unlike most supermarkets in the city. As for Buon Italia, I just bought some really fresh Parm there, but some of the stuff in the cases is definitely a bit eh. I dunno, I always shop with my nose and my eyes and the hits far outweigh the misses from both MFE and Buon Italia. Other than the Greenmarket, produce in the city always seems like it's on its way out, freshness-wise.
                    I will definitely check out DiPalo's, though!

              2. go to dean and deluca in soho. although over priced, i think it is quintessentially ny and gourmet....