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What Manhattan Restaurants (Hi, Mid, and Cheap) do you keep going back to?

Hi Manhattan Chowhounders!

I am in a curious mood today, so I want to ask this question to eveyone to get some inspirations for my restaurant "to-go" list. With so many restaurants to choose from in NYC, what are some of your favorites that keep you going back? I am separating them into 3 categories:

Hi-End (Over $100 per person) - You go at least once a month
Mid-Range (Between $50 - $100 per person) - You go at least once or twice a month
Low (less than $40 per person) - You go at least 2 times a month

The price accounts for dinner per person (unless it is a breakfast / lunch only place), and can include drinks or not (if you normally drink, then include it in the bill; if not, then just the final bill).

Please limit to no more than 5 picks per category.

I will start first!

Hi End - Eleven Madison Park, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon (mainly for their desserts =D)
Mid Range - Momofuku, Kanoyama, Degustation
Low - Otto, Yakitori Tottos, Dim Sum Go Go

Love to hear from you!

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      Both Curry in a Hurry and Chinese Mirch served me food that was stomach-turningly oily and not particularly tasty. Granted, that was a while ago, but you can understand why I would never give either a 2nd chance.

    2. High End - GramTav, Felidia
      Medium - Beacon, Tocqueville, Nish, Capsouto Freres
      Low - El Charro Espanol, Gascogne, Assenzio

      However, I sure don't go to high end restaurants at least once a month! Can't afford to do that, and besides, I love to cook and entertain at home.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ChefJune

        Hi ChefJune,

        Thanks for your input. I have yet to try out several of the restaurants you listed, so now you did give me inspirations!

        I wish I am as skillful as you (as from your name I guess you are a chef?). I sure like to cook and entertain, but my cooking skills and time is the limitation. Next time can I join your party at home? ;) Just Kidding..

      2. This is an interesting topic.

        High End: Eleven Madison, though I really can't afford to do it once a month, but it is my choice all the time
        Mid-range: Compass, Ouest, Blue Smoke
        Low End: Tasty Dumpling, Black Pearl, Oms/b

        A note: I have a feeling that Landmarc TWC will be in there in a few months.

        2 Replies
        1. re: selizara

          Blue Smoke has consistently disappointed. I am giving up on needing a restaurant setting and going to Daisy Mae's and Dinosaur from here on out. Even though I am from Texas, I am not a bbq snob, I just don't like getting ripped off for mediocre bbq. Opinion on 'go to bbq' may change after I try Fette Sau in the next few weeks.

          1. re: josefr

            You know, for me it isn't even their BBQ that is the huge draw. There are so many other things on their menu that are really well-prepared that the inauthenticity and mediocraty of the BBQ that people on this board chide incessently doesn't really register with me.

            Plus, they're the only place in the city that has Fitz's Root Beer.

        2. I visit NYC about once a year, and my wife and I always eat at Pergola Des Artistes and St. Andrew's...both mid-town in the West 40's, and both mid priced. A lot of bang for the buck with both, in both food quality and atmosphere!!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Foodman53

            We frequent NY a few times a month.
            High end: Giovanini's (near Met Museum), Per Se
            Mid Range: Vice Versa, Shun Lee (near Met Opera), Centolire
            Low range: Any Upper West Side diner, Zeytin, La Fenice

            1. re: idia

              Can you tell me a little about Giovanni's - we've been curious about it, but since it's pricey, and we've not read much, if anything about it, have been reluctant to give it a try.

          2. Midrange - Gabriels, Arqua, Periyali
            Low - 'Ino, Col Legno, Pylos, Los Dos Caminos, Kefi if I lived nearby

            1. Low- 'ino, New Green Bo, Moustache, Westville
              Medium- Casa Mono

              1. Hi-End (Over $100 per person) - You go at least once a month - None.
                Mid-Range (Between $50 - $100 per person) - You go at least once or twice a month - None. I go to mid-range restaurants (according to your category) more like a few times a year.
                Low (less than $40 per person) - You go at least 2 times a month

                To me, "low" would be under $25. That said, in your category, more or less in order of frequency:

                Grand Sichuan St. Marks
                Soba Koh
                Yeah Shanghai
                (I might go to Han Bat more frequently; I'm not sure, but you said you want only 5 picks)

                These are all restaurants I can walk to, so that's a big factor. And they're inexpensive. Teresa's is very convenient for me. All of them serve food in a different style, but four out of the five (5 of 6, if you count Han Bat) can be broadly described as East Asian. If you want to know anything else, just ask.

                1. I don't go to mid- or high-end restaurants, and I go out to low-end places maybe twice a week (I'm not counting takeout places). My standbys:

                  Vegetarian Paradise 2
                  Cafe Con Leche
                  Café Mogador
                  Congee Village

                  1. Hi - Eleven Madison, Gramercy Park, Blue Hill
                    Mid - Telepan, Crispo, Roberto Passon
                    Low - Shimizu, Atlantic Grill, JG Melon, Fuleen

                    1. Wow, like some of the others, your criteria only allows me to contribute to the low end and of course restaurants only visited more than twice a month. But nonetheless, here they are:

                      Low: Mandoo Bar, Basilica, Afghan Kebab House, Q2 Thai, Patsy's Pizzeria, PJ Carneys (Gaellic Burgers).

                      1. Well, from your standards of each criteria, I would stick with mostly on the mid-range to low end even though some are considered high end since I eat these places for lunch. I don't normally go out for dinner but I'll give it a shot.

                        High end: The Modern Bar (thanks to 'hounders tips it made my life easier to pick some things, and I'll write a review shortly on the Board but it's on my blog) and Eleven Madison Park.
                        Mid-range: Telepan
                        Low range: Bouchon Bakery, Landmarc in Time Warner, Otto


                        1. I'm with Pan. We eat out a LOT, so tend to frequent your low to mid range restaurants far more often than we do high end places. You have to save something for special occasions!

                          Also, frequency is more a testament to geographic proximity than it is evidence of what we think are the best restaurants in Manhattan.

                          With that in mind....

                          Mid: Spiga, Cafe Frida, Ouest, Cafe Gray

                          Low: Sobre Ruedas (taco truck on W. 97th), Saigon Grill, Gabriella's, Pair of 8s

                          1. Hi hounds, I hear you!

                            So please forget about the price range and frequency. I thought by including them it will make it easier, but apparently it became more complicated ^_^"

                            Whatever you consider as High-end, mid range, or low, please feel free to list them out!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: kobetobiko

                              this is all low:

                              rai rai ken, menchanko tei, hop kee, sophie's cuban, that takoyaki place on 9th.

                              1. re: Linda

                                High End--Masa (from start to finish--simply put, a perfect dining experience (assuming, of course, sitting at the counter in front of Masa)). PerSe--same as Masa (although you need to be in it for the long hall). Robuchon--like Masa, one must sit at the counter (what happened to the chestnut soup with foie gras).

                                Midrange--Aquagrill and Crsipo

                                LowRange--Rafiqi's Halal Cart off Park and 52nd

                                1. re: DiscreetTaste

                                  hi-veritas, degustation
                                  low-flor de mayo