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Jul 18, 2007 02:57 PM

HELP!!!! 5 friends visiting NY 4 the 1st time!!

My friends and I will be coming to NY staying in Times Square in 2 weeks. We will arrive pretty late on wednesday night. Are there any good places to eat that late in Times Square? Also, some of the places we are thinking about trying during our stay are Beds, Coffee Shop at Union Square, and Serendipity. All these places were suggested by friends...

What do you guys think?

Also, we are looking for a great place to dine and listen to a little music after seeing a play on Thursday night. Any suggestions? We all LOVE to eat so good food is a must.

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  1. Hey there. In general, the food around Times Square is not great quaility and definitely not good value. I always recommend that people take a 10 minute train or cab ride as it opens up many more options. Can you be more specific about your preferences and budget? Some come to NY to spend $200 a person on sushi and others can't wait to eat a fresh bagel or slice of pizza for a couple dollars. The more specific you can be, the better help you'll get on this board. There's lots of great stuff here. : )

    As far as the places you have listed, I don't think the Coffee Shop at Union Square is very good and I've heard mixed things about Serendipity. I would recommend Shake Shack in Madison Square Park for an affordable and delicious outdoor burger.

    Good luck with your planning!


    5 Replies
    1. re: JeremyEG

      Thanks for your reply Jeremy!

      Well, I think for the most part we all like soul food (we are all from the South), American, Italian, and Asian foods...

      We can go for maybe 1 or 2 expensive meals (no more than $30-$50/person), however, we would like to stay in the moderate range for our meals ($5-$20/person).

      We are definitely open to trying new things.

      1. re: rosatate

        Hey, rosatate,

        Just a bit of advice. I think you need to adjust your thinking with regard to what is considered expensive and moderate in NYC. $30-$50pp is the low end of moderate here, and $5-$20pp = cheap. Also, there is also the question of where alcoholic beverages fit into you budget. And you always have to include tax = to nearly 9% + tip = 15-20%.

      2. re: JeremyEG

        Jeremy, I must object to your negative characterization of the food around the Times Square area. As is the case in any neighborhood, there are poor and mediocre spots, but there are also many excellent restaurants. You just have to know which they are.

          1. re: idia

            There are some very good places. Sorry I wasn't more specific. I just don't think that the neighborhood has the best of any one type of food. It gets much better once you near Hell's Kitchen though. In fact Shimizu on 51st is one of my favorite places in all of NYC. But value wise I don't think it makes sense. It seems that with the exception of Sapporo, there aren't a whole lot of great steals. Just my 2 cents but yes, there are good places in the area. Sorry I wasn't more specific.

      3. As a Southerner, and a regular visitor to NYC, here are a few of our faves when we visit.

        Balthazar. A French brasserie in Soho, loud and fun and quite the scene, but in a good way. You will absolutely need reservations not matter when you go. Call now and get them. It's a great place, and you can definitely get out of here for $30 to $50 a person. Drink the house carafes of wine for a great price. Cocktails can be pricey (think $12 for 1 Tanqueray & tonic). The frites are wonderful, steaks tasty and the nicoise salad is lovely on a hot summer day. The duck shephard's pie is soooo good and rich. I LOVE this place. I've not been for brunch, but that's an option, too.

        Tia Pol. Spanaish tapas in Chelsea. I love Chelsea, it's a really good taste of NY and a little more off the tourist path. Tia Pol is also busy, but doesn't accept reservations. Get there when they open, check for the times, to avoid a long wait. Great food and a wonderful wine list! Get the squid ink rice dish, yum.

        Tartine in the West Village. This is a great way to save a little money in NYC and still have a great NYC experience. Tartine is a quaint little French place on the corner of 4th Street and 11th Street. No website that I can find. The best part is that it's BYOB! Really, you can get out of there for $20 a person. There's no corking fee. They also don't accept reservations, but get there a little early (5ish) or later (after 9ish) and the wait will be shorter. Really, it's a great part of town that you and your friends will be glad you visited.

        Then, walk up to Bleeker Street from Tartine and visit the shops and boutiques in the Village. Oh, the brunch at Tartine is great too, and I think they may be open for lunch, so those are good options too. Bring a few bottles of wine and absorb everything. Amy's Bakery on Bleeker has great cupcakes. (In my opinion, skin Magnolia Bakery.


        For Italian food, do your best to stay away from Little Italy. It's a cute experience for your first trip to NYC, but the food isn't the best in the city. If you want to walk through and enjoy it, please do. Have a cup of espresso and a pastry or a cocktail, but skip the food.

        I've got reservations at Apizz soon for Italian. I hear great things about it, in the Lower East Side, Otto Enoteca might fit your budget too, Mario Batali's pizza/wine bar.

        I hope you enjoy your first trip.

        1. Have pizza at John's near Times Square. It's not expensive and it's real New York pizza. Coffee Shop is bad for food, good for people-watching. Given the unbelievable quantity of amazing food in Union Sq, there's not reason to go there. Serendipity is only an experience for the frozen hot choc, but is otherwise a crowded, touristy mess. Post-play, you could try one of the restaurants on restaurant row - I like Becco. Shake Shack is great, but the lines are prohibitive. For great, not expensive food, try the Lower East side. I really like Clinton St. Baking Co. and Falai Panetteria and Katz' (for the ultimate NY deli experience). It's also really fun to hang out on the LES, and it's not at all touristy. I agree with GEG5150 that Otto is a great deal and great food and centrally located (and next door to my apartment!). Have a great time!

          1 Reply
          1. re: NYprof

            Ok, well next month when I'm there, I'm coming to your place for an after dinner cocktail!!

          2. Rosatate;
            When in Times Square, check out Virgils BBQ. It may pale in comparison with what your used to, but it's a fun place with good BBQ. Also remember that NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2007 is July 16–20 and 23–27, see
            this is a good chance to get a taste of some great restaurants. reservations are a good idea.
            And I agree with RGR about prices, so the deals on restaurant week might be right up your alley. Have fun!

            1. what is age range and budget-as well as mentality about food-some people are just happy with tgif and wont want nicer restaurants-and some people are too cheap to spring for a decent meal.

              1 Reply
              1. re: UES Mayor

                We are all 30. Really we want the whole experience. Some of our budgets are tighter than others, but we all help each other out if it gets tight...

                We can anything from TGIF to fine cuisine. Most importantly, we want good food.