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Jun 22, 2007 11:55 AM

Your personal 20 most visited restaurants (share them!)

We all have our top 20 restaurants in the city that we often visit again and again, I have a list of 20 restaurants that I patronize a few times every week/month. They might not be Daniel, JG, Per Se, Masa, Bouley, Del Posto, etc, which I've eaten at but wouldn't be able to put on the my list here. The list is obviously very broad, from hole in the wall, neigborhood restaurants to perhaps considered one of the best culinary institutions in this town. I would love to see everyone's list, I am sure we can learn more from each other and appreciate each person's specific taste bud from this individual list :)

I'm listing my 20 most visited restaurants first (not a ranking) :

1. Babbo
2. Peter Luger
3. Bo Ky (best $4 noodlesoup I've been going for 10 years)
4. Pastis (always end up here somehow)
5. Teriyaki Boy (most visited cheap Japanese for my lunch option)
6. Bouchon Bakery (probably a few times a week)
7. Ceci Cela (can't have enough of their chocolate almond croissants)
8. Grand Sichuan International
9. Patsy's Pizzeria
10. Lupa
11. Kang Shuh (24 hour Ktown option)
12. Fai Da Dimsum (Flushing - most of my Chinese/Taiwanese friends love this place)
13. Sakagura
14. Yakitori Totto / Izakaya Hagi (equal time between these two, always there once a week)
15. Chipotle (another bad bad unhealthy lunch option, but always end up eating it)
16. Gramercy Tavern (Bar Dining)
17. Pam's Real Thai
18. Pearl Oyster Bar
19. Casa Mono
20. L'Express/Florent (my 24 hour most visited restaurant)

** Sorry I cheated, not exactly 20

Share us yours !!!! :)

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  1. I don't really have 20 but my list is
    1) Sushi Yasuda
    2) Aburiya Kinnosuke
    3) Donburiya
    4) Yakitori Totto/Torys
    5) Natural Tofu
    6) Sobaya
    7) Oms B
    8) Congee Bowery
    9) Via Quadronno (for mocachinos and paninis)
    10) Kyotofu (Dessert fix)
    11) Petrossian (pastry fix)

    6 Replies
    1. re: manhattan foodie

      I like to change it up as often as possible, but these are my repeat venues of choice...

      1. Penelope (25 times +)
      2. Bouchon Bakery (20 times +)
      3. Lunchbox (12 times +)
      4. Roomali (12 times)
      5. L'Express (12 times)
      6. Pump Energy Food (12 times)
      7. Blue Smoke (10 times)
      8. Curry Leaf (9 times)
      9. Eleven Madison Park (8 times)
      10. Park Bistro (8 times)
      11. Landmarc TWC (8 times)
      12. Adrienne's Pizza Bar (8 times)
      13. Momofuku Ssam Bar (7 times)
      14. Blue Hill @ Stone Barns (7 times)
      15. Rickshaw Dumpling Bar (7 times)
      16. Jean Georges (6 times)
      17. Waterfront Ale House (6 times)
      18. Azucar/Guantanamera (6 times)
      19. Shake Shack (6 times)
      20. Babbo (5 times)

      1. re: dkstar1

        What is good at Azucar? I've walked past it hundreds of times on 8th Ave but have never eaten there.
        Also, your Nougatine write ups have been fantastic!

        1. re: dkstar1

          Hi dkstar1,

          Welcome back! Glad to see your posting again! I read your recent Landmarc reviews, and as always, very informative. Based on your review on L'Atelier de Joel Robouchon (which is my favorite restaurant and is one of my 20 most visited), is it safe to assume that it will be on your top 20 list very soon? ;D

          Anyway, glad to hear from you again!

          1. re: dkstar1

            how could I forget... Daisy May BBQ cart (Wall St.) - at least 10 times. Deelish. Best chili I've ever had.

            1. re: dkstar1

              1 Takahachi
              2 15 east
              3 odeon
              4 ennio and michael
              5 kanoyama
              6 sobaya
              7 momofuku
              8 province
              9 jewel bako
              10 acqua grill
              11 cercle rouge
              12 wolfgang
              13 gigino
              14 toon's
              15 upstairs boulez
              16 tribeca grill
              17 viet cafe
              18 don peppe ( queens)
              19 kin kao
              20 congee village

            2. re: manhattan foodie

              Foodoof i like your list,,theres a few places i want to try. For instance the dim sum place in flushing, i coudlnt find a good one ,,also the yakitori place and a few others ,,thanks

            3. Nice. Lucky you, I wish Sakagura were on my list...

              1. Lin's (formerly David's in Elmhurst)
              2. Balthazar (you can get cafe au lait in a bowl!!)
              3. Blue Ribbon (mostly post-2am)
              4. Yakitori Taisho (only post 2-2am)
              4. Blue Ribbon Sushi (for the otoro, the wild mackarel, and the uni in winter)
              5. ñ (cheap pitchers of sangria, wish the white asparagus remained on the menu)
              6. Penang (hainan chicken, lower half please)
              7. Dylan Prime (steak? sure. but the martini with the blue cheese olives is the real gem)
              8. The Harrison (sweet corn risotto with blistered cherry tomatoes perfect for summer)
              9. Tartine (weekday lunch only, too packed any other time)
              10. White Castle (4 am cravings)
              11. Village Yokocho (mostly when Taisho is packed out the door)
              12. Mermaid Inn (great garden)
              13. Aquagrill (oysters at the bar, happy hour special)
              14. Jamba Juice (counts as meal in itself)

              4 Replies
              1. re: mengathon

                mengathon, Lin's (David's) used to be on my list when I had a friend who lived around Elmhurst area, but I haven't been to this Taiwanese gem for years, I hope the quality hasn't dropped since the management change. I'd love to visit this restaurant again.

                Jamba Juice is definitely a lunch option sometimes, though I'd prefer juicing myself at home whenever I get a chance.

                Village Yokocho was my regular place a few years ago, but the smokey smell often prevent me from visiting this place, the same could be said for many establishments in K-town, which often leaves you with the everlasting odor and thus to me, are more suitable a late super option.

                1. re: foodoof

                  Despite the English name change (the Chinese one remains the same), the menu and food at Lin's are still the same, and surprisingly, as are the management and staff. I'm really not sure why they changed it. But the food is as good as always. I cant find the chicken roll anywhere else. mmm... Revisit when you get a chance. You'll see all your old favorites.

                  1. re: mengathon

                    Perhaps one of the partners, or family shareholders left which often happens in many restaurant business, and so the name changed to reflect the adjustment.

                    Another possibility is instead of using the first name (David), perhaps they decided to use the family name instead (Lin). But unlikely, as they've been known as David's for years, so why changed it now, unless the previous happened. I wonder if the restaurant's Chinese name also changed.

                    1. re: foodoof

                      The Chinese name is still the same.

                      But now i'm curious. I'll ask next time I go and report back.

              2. This is more a function of geographic proximity than anything else:

                Thai Kitchen
                Sobre ruedas taco truck
                La Vela
                China Fun
                the new Jamaican cart on 51st near 8th
                Pair of 8s (before it closed)
                Global Kitchen (an overpriced, all-purpose lunch place near my workplace)
                Daisy May's lunch cart
                Saigon Grill, pre-strike
                Wondee Siam
                Cafe con Leche

                8 Replies
                1. re: cimui

                  cimui, sounds like we work around the same area. :)

                  The Jamaican cart on 51st near 7th Ave (I am sure unless there's another one) is a great option around midtown West/Rockefeller area for lunch ... BUT ... the wait is just horrendeous, I waited in the line for 45 minutes just to get my order from the cart.

                  Went to Global Kitchen a few times but they screwed up my sandwiches, so no more, prefer Cafe Duke on 51st btwn 6th and 7th (expensive deli but plenty of options)

                  1. re: foodoof

                    Us and a few hundred thousand others, right? =)

                    GK has pretty passable sushi and soft shell tacos for a deli--but mostly I go there out of laziness / lack of time / fear of rain and/or sun and/or snow (since it's inside my building).

                    Jamaican cart isn't bad around 11 a.m. or before, for their daily breakfast porridge, or after 2 or so. It helps that I eat a late lunch.

                    I'd love to hear your suggestions for other carts/restos in the area!

                    1. re: cimui

                      I see... well... this is going to be a little bit off topic, but some of my favorite places for lunch options around there are ... (and these don't make it in the top 20 since I'm just too lazy to walk during the winter/cold weather) but I visit these places quite often...

                      - Men Kui Tei 56th St (used to go here many years ago, and way too crowded around 12-1pm)
                      - Original Yip's Chinese restaurant 45th close to 5th Ave (super cheap, unhealthy, greasy, often too much MSG, but taste good, they have buffet an these folks are the same guys as the people who used to run Yip's near WTC before 9/11)
                      - If you know Chiyoda Sushi, there's a Japanese guy who stands with some plastic containers next to the building beside Au Bon Pain on 50th around 11.30-12.30pm, he brings those bentos from their 41st location, most patrons are Japanese who works around there. Normally the bentos are gone by 12.30pm
                      - Instead of going to Margon, I go to Utopia Cafe on 56th St sometimes, they are a Deli but they also sell Dominican food version of Margon, huge portion.
                      - Another cart I frequent a few years ago was the KwikMeal cart on 46th and 6th Ave, but I haven't been there for ages
                      - Sapporo is another option, though I don't prefer to seat near the open kitchen
                      - Of course if you work late, there's the famous gyros on 52nd and 6th ave with the neverending line, which I thought was way overrated.
                      - Daisy May's BBQ cart on 50th btwn 6th and 7th
                      -The crepe/empadanas from the cart in front of MOMA
                      - I frequent Variety Cafe on 48th St just because the selection was plenty
                      - Bread and Olive on 45th St for some lamb meswhi

                      I have to think more ..

                      1. re: foodoof

                        I think the gyros on 52nd are overrated, too. The meat is of the same quality as many other street carts; it's just the sauce that's good.

                        Thanks for the Chiyoda sushi tip, especially!! I'm getting that for lunch, tomorrow.

                        1. re: cimui

                          Chiyoda's been around for several years (long before they opened their 41st St shop) providing bentos to Japanese companies from their main plant in Long Island City. This plant also makes all the bentos sold at the 41st St shop. The bentos that are sold on the street are the ones that are leftover after the guy makes all the office deliveries. There are other bento companies (not as big as Chiyoda) that also sell their stuff around midtown. There's a smaller operation that sells a more "natural" or organic bento somewhere on 6th Ave near 49th as well. Not sure of the time.

                          1. re: E Eto

                            Interesting! The leftovers are from the night before or before 11:30 a.m.? (The former, esp, is a little scary...)

                            1. re: cimui

                              Leftovers from 11:30 am. I think they make their office deliveries by 11am.

                              1. re: cimui

                                No, the bentos aren't the leftovers from the night before. you can basically order these bentos to be delivered to your office, as most of the Japanese do, and they probably brought some extras or as E Eto said, whatever is left, but they're always sold out within 15-30 minutes.

                  2. The original comment has been removed
                    1. On any given week, I'll probably visit 3 or 4 of these:

                      Ali Baba (E 34th St)
                      Aquavit Cafe
                      Bar Masa
                      Cacio e Pepe
                      Cafe Gray
                      Cafe Mingala
                      Cafe Sabarsky
                      Candle 79

                      Runners-up: Barney Greengrass, Maroons, Tulcingo del Valle

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: S R

                        flor de mayo
                        joe's pizza
                        barney greengrass
                        good enough to eat
                        nice matin
                        wong kee (closed in chinatown)
                        a voce
                        jg melon
                        shun lee west
                        posto pizza
                        bin 71

                        1. re: S R

                          Sripraphai would have been on my list, had the restaurant been closer to the Upper West Side... but I'll settle for Pam's Real Thai for now, and Topaz, Wondee is too sweet for me after 2-3 visits. Maybe I should try again sometimes.

                          Payard used to be my regular destination when I lived in the UES, but now we have Bouchon Bakery

                          1. re: foodoof

                            These are in no specific order!

                            1. David Copperfield's
                            2. Half King
                            3. Sa Woy
                            4. Aki Sushi
                            5. Slice Pizza
                            6. Dojo
                            7. Nomad
                            8. Pylos
                            9. Bagel & Co.
                            10. Karen's on Astor Place
                            11. Sushi of Gari
                            12. El Paso
                            13. Patsy's Pizza
                            14. Lamouzou
                            15. Atlantic Grill
                            16. Bouley's Upstairs
                            17. Buon Gusto
                            18. Caravan of Dreams
                            19. Alice's Teacup
                            20. Blondies