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NYC vacation - "Ethnic" food? Vegan/vegetarian? Cocktail bars?

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Second post from me, but here is my "background info" again just in case...

In about two weeks, my boyfriend and I (Swedish, 30 yo) are going to New York for 10 days. We will be staying in Harlem near Marcus Garvey Park but plan to go everywhere in Manhattan and some to the outer boroughs as well (will post this on outer boroughs board too). A big feature of our trip will, of course, be FOOD. I have a lot of questions, so have broken them down into two posts. I have read a bit on the board already so have some ideas, but would love new suggestions too!

I am a "pescatarian"(no meat other than fish or seafood), but my boyfriend eats everything. We don´t like overly touristy places, but as long as the food is fabulous they´re OK.

What would you recommend for...

1. Italian? Ideas so far: Lupa, Try to get in at the bar at Babbo´s,

2. Dim Sum (with carts)? Idea: Oriental Garden

3. Other Chinese (Szechuan, Shanghai preferred)? Or better to go to Flushing?

4. African (east or west)? Idea: Zoma (Ethiopian)

5. Russian/Ukrainian?

6. Sushi/Other Japanese? Ideas: Yakitori Taisho, Ushi Wakama

7. Other "ethnic" food not to be missed?

8. Vegetarian or Vegan (something a bit out of the ordinary)? Ideas: Angelica Kitchen, Candles 79

9. And finally... not exactly food but... great cocktail bars (sex and the city style... ;))?

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  1. Check out Korea Way-- a small street in mid-town, actually closer to the central 34th street subway stop. It's a street of Korean grocers and restaurants in Manhattan.

    In the East Village, there's a strip of restaurants called India Row. Lots of Indian food to choose from there.

    For schwarma, someone on Chowhound recently posted about Mamoun's. That place is great! It's near Washington Square Park/NYU. Cheap and good. Order to go, and eat in the park, because indoor seating is tight there.

    There's a place called Odessa that I used to go to for perogies, blintzes, etc. That is also in Manhattan. If you want a serious experience of Russian food, go to Brighton Beach in Brooklyn. There are many Russian markets there. If I recall correctly, that's very near Coney Island.

    Good luck.

    1. Koreatown is centered on 32nd St. between 5th Ave. & 6th Ave. There are a lot of posts here that argue over which places are good there. Kunjip is a good place to go to get sort of an overview of the cuisine. Better Korean can be had out on Northern Blvd. in eastern Queens, but that is a bit difficult to reach.

      Personally I would skip the 6th St. East Village Indian places, as most of them are mediocre to bad (partial exceptions: Banjara and Brick Lane). A somewhat better area of Indian places exists on Lexington Ave. in the mid '20's. I particularly like Saravanna's for their South Indian (vegetarian) cuisine. Minar, a little lunch counter place on 31st St. around the corner from Koreatown, is also pretty good.

      There are a lot of Ukranian places in the East Village, but the best and most authentic one is really the quiet little Ukranian Restaurant that sits in the back of a Ukranian organization building on 2nd Ave. north of St. Marks Pl. If you want a real NYC experience (I'm thinking here of your request for diner food on the OB board) you can go to Veselka at the corner of 2nd Ave. & 9th St (open 24 hours). Just don't expect great food (although the buckwheat pancakes are an old favorite of mine). For real Russian food you should really go to Brighton Beach, as the above poster recommends. This has the added advantage of taking you out to the ocean, and you can walk down the boardwalk to Coney Island, much of which is scheduled to disappear soon for a big hotel complex.

      The only place for a decent bialy is Kossar's on Grand St. just off of Essex, not far from Chinatown (closed Friday night and Saturdays).

      For Chinese you really should go to Spicy & Tasty or Little Pepper in Flushing.

      1. Not sure what the pizza situation is in Sweden but here in NYC we have the best pizza in the USA. You would be missing out on a huge piece of New York culinary culture by not having some. There are many, many discussions on these boards as to who makes the best pizza in New York. If you want to avoid the "overly touristy places" then I would suggest you don't go to Grimaldi's, Patsy's or Lombardi's as they are in all the guide books and, therefor, very crowded. Arturo's on Houston St. has a great brick oven and they make fantastic pizza. They also have live jazz.
        Another New York food institution is Katz’s Deli on Houston. Do a search on Chowhound for more info on them.
        have a great trip!

        1. For the vegetarian/vegan, there is a place in Brooklyn (Williamsburg) that is definitely out of the ordinary. Search 4 course vegan on the web and there will be a bit more info. Anyhow, it is basically a Saturday night dinner at this guys loft apartment. The cost is $40 pre fix and it is like being at dinner at a friends house. You can Bring your own beer or wine.

          1. Oh, and for West African you might try Florence's in Harlem, which has been raved about here:

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/322376

            1 Reply
            1. re: Woodside Al

              Thanks SO much for all your replies! I have a great list of ideas now, just have to squeeze them all in :)