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Favorite Restaurants in Manhattan

Hello all,

I know there are thousands of restaurants in Manhattan, so why is it so hard to choose my ideal dinner spots?

My idea dinner includes:

Great natural ingredients
Classy Casual Dining
Warm friendly wait staff
Cooked just right!
Not overly salty or bland. I like TASTE!

I really liked Lupa, which is a good example of what I look for in a restaurant. Also if you have been to places in SF, even the nicest places over there are pretty laid back with GREAT food.

I am from DC, which values stuffy service...

I have looked at the James Beard listings and found the following: Any good?

Terrance Brennan
Picholine
New York, NY

Floyd Cardoz
Tabla
New York, NY

Wylie Dufresne
WD-50
New York, NY

Gabriel Kreuther
The Modern
New York, NY

David Waltuck
Chanterelle
New York, NY

A Voce
Chef: Andrew Carmellini
Owner: Marlon Abela
New York, NY

Momofuku Ssäm Bar
Chefs/Owners: David Chang and Joaquin Baca
New York, NY

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon
Chef/Owner: Joël Robuchon
New York, NY

Tom Colicchio
Craft
New York, NY

Michael Laiskonis
Le Bernardin
New York, NY

Thanks for the help.

http://www.jamesbeard.org/awards/awar...

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  1. All the restaurants you list are good (although I think many would say that Chanterelle no longer justifies its high price point): but it is such a range of styles and prices that I think people will find it hard to comment. However, if you are looking for a laidback atmosphere, Lupa style, you can omit most of them - Le Bernardin, Chanterelle, The Modern, Picholine, Robuchon (even at the bar) are all quite upscale and formal.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Wilfrid

      i did not find robuchon formal at the bar... its comfortable,but sophisticated

    2. Any specific price ceiling? Dinner at Le Bernardin is pretty pricey, and so is L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon.

      I agree with Wilfrid in terms of stuffiness. Oh, and the Modern's Dining Room is kinda stuffy, BTW, but not the Bar Room.

      Specific types of ingredients or cuisines that you favor? That list is all over the map with Italian, Indian-influenced, Asian-fusion, Altasian, etc. Do you require a tasting menu? Great desserts?

      WD-50 is "molecular gastronomy," i.e., experimental and that style of cooking might not go over well with some folks (similar to minibar in DC).

      1. Just want to point out that Eric Ripert is the Executive Chef at Le Bernardin. Michael Laiskonis is the Pasty Chef.

        1. The original comment has been removed
          1. All these places are right out of the three-four star book. Let's provide some not-so-obvious choices for our fellow Chowhound. My list includes the underrated Urena, flavorful, imaginative cuisine (think foamy modern Spanish); Amalia, Suenos, Compass (a hidden gem on the UWS), Calle Ocho, Annisa (romantic, causal and original), Stanton Social or Suba for some LES funk...ah, so many places.....

          2. Momofuku is very good but is at a very very different price point than the others it is a very different type of dining, less expensive and more rushed. I really like the Modern - the service is nice, helpful, and casual enough in the BarRoom, but what I like the food and the room - the room is fun and laid back, a little boisterous without being too loud, and not too fancy but definitely a little more glamorous than Lupa. The food is excellent with a lot of seasonal influences and fresh flavors.

            I hope you enjoy your trip.