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Need Good, traditional restaurant suggestions

I will be visiting Manhattan with my mother, stepfather, husband and twin daughters (very picky eaters) and husband next week. When I am in NYC with my husband, we are adventurous diners, but my parents and kids are more traditional eaters and l was hoping for some suggestions for good, high quality restaurants (steakhouses, Italian, etc.) that are not too frou-frou or nouvelle. We will be in Manhattan for 5 nights, so I need to find some places that they will enjoy. Some people we are meeting there wanted to go to Tavern on the Green, but I have heard it is not good, at all. Help!

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  1. Yes, avoid Tavern on the Green at all costs. It's really, really bad. For steakhouses, I like Del Frisco and I hear a few outspoken voices on this board that rave about Keen's. (I've never been.) Dinosaur Barbecue might be a fun casual place. For Italian / American / New American / Nouveau (but not too nouveau) French(ish), look into these: Hearth, Inseime, Lanmark (has its detractors), Jane, Pair of 8s, Salt, Po, Cesca, Spiga (do meats, not fish), Celeste (might be hard w/ large group). Otto and Lupa get mixed reviews, with strong opinions on both ends of the spectrum; I think they're both fair to good, depending on the dish.

    It might be helpful for you to narrow it down by neighborhood.

    1. I would go to the classics like Four Seasons, Keen's, Boathouse. I personally love 21.

      2 Replies
      1. re: bronwen

        While all those places sound great, I'm not sure how good they are for kids - though the OP doesn't say how old her twins are. I think that Balthazar could be a good choice - traditionalists can get steak frites, others can venture further afield.

        1. re: MMRuth

          I second Balthazar. It's an impressive space too, so will be memorable. Just make reservations.

      2. Pietro's. Italian steakhouse, ultra traditional, but ultra delicious. Expensive.

        1. Carmine's is very family friendly red-sauce Italian places on Upper West Side.

          By all means AVOID Tavern on the Green AND Cafe des Artistes. food is dismal. and expensive!

          1. The best steakhouse in NYC is in Brooklyn, Peter Lugers, just a quick taxi ride over the Williamburgh bridge. It is very old school the waiters have been there forever (there are no waitresses). The sides are standard but they have added a green salad!! which was quite a surprise. In the afternoon they have great burgers as well. You must make a reservation but it is worth it. The steaks are huge steak for 2 will serve 3 people without any problems unless you have very hearty eaters. There is nothing frou frou or nouvelle about this place. Go to Raoul's instead of Balthazar which is more of a scene. You must make reservations there as well. Its been a soho destination for over 30 years. I can also recommend the Odeon for good decent food that has been a fixture on teh NY restaurant scene for decades at this point. Also good for the traditional eaters is Blue Ribbon where you can get some comfy food and has a long time NY following. Hope this has helped.

            4 Replies
            1. re: rb920

              Blue ribbon is good with lots of options but they don't take reservations and can be hard to get into. I second Peter Luger.

              1. re: izzizzi

                Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. It really helps. We are definitely going to Balthazar. It is one of my favorites and steak frites is the perfect dish for my very picky 13 year old twins. They love meat and fries. I was also thinking of trying out a BBQ place. Keens is on our list and maybe the Boathouse at Central Park for lunch. I have been to the Blue Ribbon Bakery and think that would be good, too. I know there is so much out there. I just wanted to have some good ideas already set up before I got there. I am open to more suggestions! Thanks so much.

                1. re: rorosity

                  Consider Blue Smoke for BBQ. Picky kids always love mac and cheese! Also, Il Nido for old timey, delicious Italian served by men in white jackets.

                2. re: izzizzi

                  Sounds like the OP has a party of 6 though; I believe all they take reservations for parties of 5 or more.

              2. Knickerbocker is a very good, traditional steakhouse. They also havedecent fish and pasta options and has a ver old new york feel. It is a perfect family place.

                1 Reply
                1. re: maxine

                  i second knickerbocker. they updated their menu, good solid food, wont break the bank either. good neighborhood place. also consider the river cafe at the foot of the brooklyn bridge. excellent and expensive.