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Necessary NYC before moving away!

I've been living in NYC on and off for almost two years now...but its time to pack it in and move back to Southern CA! I want to try and eat in as many unique, ethnic, special, etc restaurants as possible before I leave this summer!
I'd love to get everyone's opinion about where they think is a not to be missed place!

Mainly ethnic restaurants I probably can't find in Southern CA (no sushi, Mexican, Chinese, Vietnamese) , best bakeries, and famous chefs that have restaurants NOT to be missed.

TIA!:D

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  1. Not Manhattan:
    I bet you know these already but:
    DiFara's and Totonno's
    Nathan's (for the hell of it)
    Peter Lugar's
    River Café (for the view and the service, food is just very good, but not special)
    Roberto's
    Sripraphai
    Spicy Mina's
    Christie's, the Islands, Ali Roti Shop for Patties and/or Roti

    Maybe you don't know these:
    The round lard bread from diNapoli bakery on Metropolitan Ave. in Williamsburgh.
    The hand made mozzarella from Tedone's across the street from diNapoli (note that these are close to the last of their breed, come back in a few years and they will be gone)

    PS; We'll miss you.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bobjbkln

      wow, so far so good! been to difaras a few times (oh how i'll miss it), sripraphai (but i might have to go again it was so good) and i've also been to spicy minas.
      i will look into the others you mentioned! you seem to know the goood spots! thanks! i'll miss ny a lot too. i don't really wanna go !

      1. re: junglekitte

        Left out Sicilian food at Ferdinando's on Union St. or Joe's of 86th St. And the prosciutto balls, 50¢ each, at Joe's Perette on Smith Street.

    2. Here are some things you won't get in Cali:
      Bagels from Terrace on PPW
      Blackout cake (or cupcake) from Ladybird (fka 2 little red hens)
      and a standout chocolate or cinnamon babka from somewhere. Anyone? I like the ones that the co-op stocks (Greene's?) but I don't know where to find them otherwise.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Budino

        Beg to differ on the bagels. No Terrace (how are they not generic?), no nowhere else, except Bagel Hole. And even there you gotta make sure to say well done. Brass tacks - freeze a couple dozen bialys from Kossars and put em in yr new freezer.

        Stuff not on your "I can find it in Cali" list: The plethora of Eastern European joints we have in Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach, etc.

        1. re: Budino

          Bagel Hole is far superior to Terrace.Terrace is overrated with the same big puffy
          bagels as so many other places. Bagel hole has the original small, dense bagels that are the real classic bagel

          1. re: jason carey

            You know, I went to Bagel Hole after reading all the raves here, and wasn't impressed. that said, the bagel wasn't well done...perhaps that's the key.

          1. I'd go to al di la as many times as possible before departing for SoCal -- I don't think they have that kind of Italian food there!

            ditto on the roti and other west indian - I like Ali's

            I love Terrace Bagels. They make good whitefish salad too.

            I like the demure fig bar made at Joyce Bakery in Prospect Heights, and the chocolate layer cake, coffee/ice cream drinks, and wine pairings at The Chocolate Room on Fifth Ave in Park Slope. And Gorilla Coffee a block away!

            How's middle eastern in LA? Perhaps Tanoreen in Bay Ridge, and a stocking up trip to Sahadi's or Kalyustans

            And fresh mozz at one of the many purveyors . . .
            Bon Voyage!

            1. 1. difara's difara's difara's
              2. west indian--doubles and jerk--i like singh's on liberty ave for doubles, but ali's on flatbush is good, too, better than the one on fulton. peppa's on flatbush and ram's on church for jerk, and ram's for roti's. also have a few patties while you're at it.
              3. M&I international foods in brighton beach for russian/eastern european
              4. somewhere in astoria for greek food
              5. katz's--one of a kind
              6 peter luger's-ditto
              7. vegetarian indian--dosa house in jersey city or one of the ones on lexington in the 20s--tho there may be good veggie indian in LA--i don't know
              8. Sri Lankan on staten island
              9. indian-chinese, ie. tangra masala in elmhurst
              10. non-mexican latino food--ie. dominican, puerto rican, colombian, peruvian--i think there is more of this stuff in NYC than in LA but i'll leave other posters to suggest good places as i don't know enough.
              11. brazilian--malagueta or the other one whose name i forget in astoria
              12. bagels--tho i think you can get good ones in LA
              13. Andre's hungarian bakery on queen's blvd in rego park/forest hills queens. try the chocolate kugelopf and the rugelach.
              14. Russ and Daughters--another NYC institution

              2 Replies
              1. re: missmasala

                Missmasala's ideas are on the right track.
                1. DiFara's, or any good NY style pizza. While there are some decent places for neapolitan pizza, NY style pizza is sorely lacking in LA.
                2. West Indian is a good choice. While there is a community of west indians in LA around south LA and Inglewood, it's not quite as vibrant as going to Flatbush.
                3. Russian is another good choice. There's some eastern European available in LA, but few and far between, so that would be a good one to concentrate on. I'd add going for Polish food in Greenpoint as well. I usually bring a bunch of stuff from the Polish butchers when I visit my family in LA.
                On a similar note, I'd also suggest going for Balkan food in Astoria or Ridgewood.
                4. Greek is another good idea. There's some Greek in LA, but like the west Indian, there's more to choose from in NYC.
                5. If you haven't had Katz's in a while I'd say go and get it, and when in LA, go to Langer's because it's always good to get another perspective on which does a better pastrami. I like the one at Langer's myself. And also, if the rumors are true, Katz's will not be the same if/when it opens after the new development in that space.
                6. Peter Lugers is a good quintessential NY place to visit before leaving.
                7. There's vegetarian Indian in LA's little india, so that's probably not a priority.
                8. Sri Lankan in SI is something that's very unique to NYC, and probably worth visiting.
                9 There are Indian-Chinese places popping up in LA's little India, so it's available, but I've been going to Tangra Masala since they've opened, and they've been very good to me, so I'd give it a go, especially if you haven't been.
                10. Absolutely on the non-Mexican latino. Especially Dominican and Puerto Rican and Colombian. As far as my experience, LA's Peruvian is more varied and arguably better.
                11. Brazilian seems to be a toss-up for me.
                12. Get bagels in NYC. Like NY style pizza, good bagels are lacking. There's some decent places in the Jewish neighborhoods around Robertson or Fairfax, but if you have to compare them to the ones here, there's no question which is better.
                13. I guess I'll have to try the hungarian pastry place myself. I haven't been yet myself.
                14. I'd agree that Russ and Daughters is a very special and unique place.
                15. Get Egyptian in Astoria
                16. Get Turkish food in NYC. While there's some Turkish places, it's the underrepresented middle eastern cuisine in LA. For most other middle eastern, I think you're better off in LA.

                1. re: E Eto

                  I think that Eric (and some others) have got it right. It's the Eastern European stuff and the Spanish Caribbean that aren't well represented out there. I'm from OC and go back every year or two. Other than SriPraPhai, I'll take SoCal Thai any day. And Vietnamese - fahgeddaboutit - OC's Little Saigon has got NY beat by light years. Out there you have different Mexican (not much Pueblan), interesting Armenian in Glendale, Persian in Westwood and Hollywood, and nowadays a lot of Indian and many varieties of Chinese. I think that NY has more Fukienese food (Chinatown east of Bway in Manhattan). I have encountered Ukrainian in L.A., but they have no Brighton Beach, as far as I know. I would do Brighton Beach, especially now that it's warm, with the Boardwalk and the 3-story Russian store at the Western end of Coney Island Ave for take home and the Russian experience. Don't forget Washington Heights, or maybe someplace like El Viejo San Juan in Hell's Kitchen or El Gran Bohío in the Bronx. And how about a trip to Arthur Avenue before you leave. Astoria for the Greek experience or the Egyptian one are also special. These are some of the great New York Experiences - and certainly you could do worse than eat your way down the #7 train line. There's nothing quite like finding Irish-Filipino-Indian-Colombian-Mexican-Chinese-Korean almost within walking distance.

                  I am now about to celebrate 20 years in NYC (only planned to stay for a few) with a summer out for Sicily, and I only planned to stay for a few. But I must say that whenever I go out to visit I still love SoCal Mexican, especially the tacos at Tlaquepaque in Old Town Placentia, but there's also Tijuana and a lot of interesting places like El Indio in San Diego area. Don't worry, it's not a wasteland, and there are things you just won't find here.... as long as you've got a car.