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Jun 12, 2007 05:33 PM

Restaurant Recommendations for 1st Time Visitors to NYC

Posted to Manhattan Board also...
My husband's relatives from Pistoia, Italy are coming to visit us. Two adults in mid forties and one well behaved 11 year old boy. They have never been to the United States. I want to take them to a few restaurants that won't break the bank, but will be a good and delicious experience. I am hesitant to go Italian since it's hard to top Northern Italian cooking (gnocchi, tortellini, florentine steak). Where do visitors from other countries enjoy eating and what restaurants would you recommend? I know they like most foods, but not Japanese (don't know why). I would splurge on one special meal, but need to watch the budget.
I am really nervous about this because when we visited they brought us to small remote restaurants where we wined and dined for hours on outrageous food and inexpensive wine. In New York that not only is hard to find, but would cost a fortune. So please, help. Open to all boroughs.


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  1. Won't bother repeating the River Café suggestions, but remember that you can go there for drinks if the dinner price is too dear. Just don't go on the weekends as there can be a long wait to get in. Also on the expensive end, what about Steak? Luger's is the best and is pure NY.

    More moderate: Thai, Sripraphai; Chinese, Spicy and Tasty (Flushing); Indian, Spicy Mina; or even Indian/Chinese, Tangra Masala. All in Queens.

    Inexpensive: Try Lomzynianka for very good Polish Food. Or even Totonno's in Coney Island for Pizza (not exactly Northern Italian fare). While you are there, get a hot dog at Nathans if the lines aren't crazy.

    And then there is BBQ. Manhattan is really the borough for that cuisine, but you might try the Fette Sau in Williamsburg.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bobjbkln

      Thanks, just posted on the Manhattan site and had some of the same ideas as you. Debating Totonno's. thinking maybe Grimaldi's cause of proximity to the Bridge. Also I love Spumoni Garden's square. Ruled out Sripraphai cause they said no spicy, but we love that place. I will check our Fette Sau.

    2. i loooove "spain restaurant" on 13th street between 6th and 7th ave. you can get a big big almost bucket size serving of paella with lobster, mussels, shrimp etc. this is real spanish food from spain. they have an nice area that's very cozy and also a back area that's more family style. they give you four free aps when you order a (like chorizo, mussels in white wine sauce, ribs etc.). the paella can feed 2-3-4 people depending on how much ppl eat. so i guess this is the item you would splurge on. some places charge about $30-$35 for it but theirs is a little less than $17. wine is cheap too and good sangria.

      2 Replies
      1. re: candyattitude

        Will check our Spain. Sounds great. Thanks

        1. re: scanmike

          One of the Brazilian places in Astoria could be a nice change of pace Italian visitors. Also, they are small, friendly and have good food (but not great wine). My favorite is Malagueta (36th ave and 28th street), but Sabor Tropical (30th ave and 36th street) is also excellent.

          There's also Tournesol in LIC which I love, plus you get the after-dinner walk down to Gantry State Park which in my mind is the best view anywhere in NYC.

      2. BBQ - in manhattan RUB and Dinosaur
        Manna on 125th street.
        Steakhouse - Luger is the only one in your budget range.
        You might look up caribbean food on this board, Jerk Chicken as they probably have not had that. Sugar Cane on flatbush is close enough to the Brooklyn Museum to be worth a trip. It is upscale.
        Chinatown, walk over Brooklyn Bridge, Jacques Torres chocolates on the other side.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Geo8rge

          Looking into RUB. Might include Luger's, but my husband now likes Keens. Planned on Chinatown and have included Jacques Torres (with Grimaldis).

        2. When I bring visitors to NYC I like to take them to :
          Carnagie Deli
          The Boat House in Central Park(Great, Great location, expensive and so, so food)
          Dim Sum at any resto in Chinatown
          Maybe a Churiscia(sp?)
          Maybe a afternoon around Arthur Ave. to see how American Italians shop and eat.
          I try to find New York experiences for my guests.
          How about an Eggcream, Milkshake or a Papaya drink and hot dog at Papaya King?
          Unfortunatly, you will never be able to wine and dine them as they did you in Italy without breaking the bank.

          2 Replies
          1. re: chefstu

            I have relaxed and realized that I can't give them the type of food one gets in Italy, but I can do as you suggest. Which is better Katz or Carnagie?
            Any Chinatown recommendations?

            1. re: scanmike

              Katz, no contest.
              I just replied to you on the Manhattan thread . . .

              World Tong for Brooklyn dim sum.
              Spumoni Garden is a great idea!
              How about Greek in Astoria, or Bohemian Beer Garden?

              For an American diner-ish experience, burgers and fries at Bonnie's Grill.

          2. sure you can wine and dine them!!
            one great place in queens is la flor on roosevelt avenue and 53rd street in woodside. the food is kinda a mix of new american and mexican. very very good food, impressive for the area, moderate prices.

            another good option for AMAZING mexican is de mole in woodside (45th street and 48th avenue). CHEAP and delicious. it's can even bring tequila and they'll whip you up margaritas!

            quaint in sunnyside on skillman avenue and 46th street is a sweet little place...seasonal menus. yummy cocktails, nice wine and beer selection, great food, nice atmosphere, garden seating, moderate prices.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ceeceee

              I feel you need to be a good tour guide and feed them the best of what NY does best, and maybe some of our best representations of other US cuisines (where that's possible). Also, you could do worse by confounding some of their ideas of cuisine's other than theirs that are poorly represented in Italy but well represented here. That being said, as has been previously said: Luger's, Katz's, Bonnie's (don't forget the wings, there's no Buffalo in Italy), Nathan's; and the full panapoly of Mexican, Central American and South American we can offer. Certainly they might have access to awesome seafood but NY and/or N. England style shellfish cuisine might be a hit - oysters, clams, lobsters, chowders etc.

              1. re: ceeceee

                I am not even going to wait till they come. I am going to try both la flor and de mole. They sound great. Read about each on Citysearch.
                Thanks so much.