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restaurants to take a European Tourist??

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I have a friend visiting from Belgium for two days in manhattan... and I'm looking for some suggestions... she wants to see Central Park and the Natural History Museum, and to see the West Village.... so I think east or west 50-80s.... and then the Village...

I usually go for asian food... but she might want to have some "american food"... but I'd like it to be a little elegant... moderate prices.... good cocktails... a little romantic atmosphere would be welcome too *wink*

Also does anyone know a club/bar with lounge music.... ?? someplace with chill acid jazz or lounge, and good drinks? Something sophisticated?

thanks for the help...

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  1. There's Jacques Imo's very near the Natural History Museum. It's Cajun (uniquely American), but more of a playful kind of place to eat than a classy one.

    Why not take her for Mexican / South American? That's pretty uncommon in most of Europe (including Belgium, I think; I've been to all its neighbors, but not Belgium). Calle Ocho, also near the museum, is pretty tasty, the decor is tasteful and potentially romantic, esp if you can reserve space in one of the more dimly lit back rooms.

    The Evelyn Lounge down the street from the museum is very popular and supposedly good, though I've never been.

    In the Village, Smalls is still overall a pretty good place to go. The music isn't as good as at the old Smalls, but the decor is much nicer. Pretty romantic little hole. For a place with better music and less decor, there's a place in the same building as Smalls, on the exact opposite side. I forget the name--it's very hole in the wall, with a tiny, dark room for the music, bigger brighter room for billiards and foozeball--but the music has been astoundingly good both times I've dropped in. For something pricier, Dizzy's Club Coca Cola in the Time Warner Center almost always has good acts--plus, it's dark and cute.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cimui

      Evelyn Lounge is more of a bar than a lounge, you might be better served by going to Loft. I would avoid Jacques Imo's. But Calle Ocho is certainly a very good recommendation. I doubt your friend comes across much Latin food in Belgium. If you want to get off the train at the Natural History Museum and then walk down thru the park, you can get terrific American food at Compass or Telepan.

      1. re: JungMann

        Frankly, you're right about Jacques Imo's. (Is your objection to the food, as well?)

        I thought about suggesting Compass or Telepan. Both are great restaurants, but thought that neither is very distinct from food one may have in that area of Europe. If I were to do one of these, I'd go to Compass over Telepan--nicer decor, better wine list, and the food is just as good.

    2. El Centro on 54th and 9th is great; HK is also good

      2 Replies
      1. re: LeahBaila

        I read that the Evelyn Lounge no longer exists? Is that true?

        1. re: fan4food

          I still exists. I walked by it on Monday.