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Three 18 year olds Who Enjoy Good Food

Would really appreciate some suggestions -- I will be going to Manhattan with 3, 18 year old girls in September to celebrate their birthdays. Would love some hip, fun restaurant (and nightlife) suggestions. One wants to become a chef and all appreciate good food and are a bit old for "kids" restaurants. Thanks for any suggestions.

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  1. I'd say take them to the best place you can afford, "hip" or not. Ten or more years ago, we took our 8 and 10 year old, first stop was Po, when Batali still owned it;and then the Plaza.
    At 18, they'll get the adult vibe of great food and service...I'd pick a place you'd love to be at. We had an anniversary with my 20 year old youngsters at the best rest. in Detroit...it was a beautiful family memory,and based on the many other good places we've taken them, the could really appreciate the food, the service, the whole experience.
    I'd say go for the creme de la creme, top of line restaurant. It will be a great growing experience for them.

    Have fun! Let us know where you land.

    1. I'm a 19 year-old native New Yorker/foodie so I definitely know where you are coming from...here are some of my picks, all of which are below 14th street, which has great areas for young people: Balthazar is classic, hip NY bistro, located in very trendy Soho. Pastis is the same type of place, in the very trendy meat packing district, though some people say the food isn't as good as Balthazar's (I disagree, plus it was on sex and the city many times). For Italian, check out Inoteca and Apizz in the east village. Mermaid Inn, also in the eat village, is one of the best seafood places around. Pearl's Oyster Bar has a lot of hype too, but the lines can be crazy. For pizza, check out Una Pizza Nepoletana and this new place, Isabella's Oven. Le Souk is in that same neighborhood, it's a mad fun Moroccan restaurant with hookah and belly dancers.

      1 Reply
      1. re: skooldya1

        Agree that the EV/LES has the right vibe. Respectfully disagree on some of your suggestions. I don't understand why everyone loves the Mermaid Inn which I found good but not great (to be fair, I have only been once and service was excellent). Not a fan of Balthazar or Pastis. Also went to Artisanal recently. Maybe it's just the noisy. lively, wannabe French bistro scene I don't care for? That said, it might be perfect for some 18 year old girls, especially if this is their first trip to NYC (lindajp747 didn't mention). Pylos, a lively Greek place in the EV might also work.

      2. This is the 2nd time for 2 of them -- They really liked Balthazar and VNYL, as well as 21 last time. Keep it coming with the suggestions - -love it! Thanks so much.

        1. Pastis is a cool place, similar in alot of ways to Balthazar but in the new hip meat market area,,, right up the street is Buddhakan,(a hip place too) a 12 million dollar renovation, next to chelsea market in the old Nabisco cracker building.

          1. Recommend Balthazar for dinner and Otto as well...Pastis would be fun..and Mesa Grill for brunch...Spending time and eating and shopping in both Soho and the Village, would be great fun for them...

            1 Reply
            1. re: jinet12

              They would love Tao. Although the food will not floor them the scene is very cool and they will feel very much in the NYC scene. Same for Buddakahn

            2. Hi lindajp747,

              I second on the suggestion of Otto, which is fun and is always good to see how an Iron Chef's restaurant is like.

              I will also suggest Momofuku Ssam Bar which offers some innovative unconventional Asian fusion food. The chef, David Chang, won the James Beard New Rising Chef Award, and I think it may be an inspiration to the girl who wants to be a chef in trying something different from the traditional fine dining / french / new american cuisines. I feel that they will have fun (with the food) and learn at the same time.

              Another restaurant that I will suggest is Stanton Social. This is THE place for 18 year olds. The food is decent, and it is definitely a scene. I think the girls will enjoy them.

              Also, assuming that all girls like desserts (at least I do), two places that you can enjoy great desserts in a more "grown up" settings are Chikulicious and P*ong. While they may not be classified as "fun", the food is certainly unconventional (in a good way) and interesting!

              1. I went to Stanton Social Club for the first time last night and I think if I was 18 I would have absolutly loved this place. (I should mention I'm 25 and I still LOVED this place). It's a lot of fun...small plates that you share that are pretty funky and inventive (think Kobe beef sliders, french onion soup dumplings, and moo shu rock shrimp wrapped up in crepes).

                Also when I was around 19 year-old my parents took me to Babbo for the first time. I was really blown away by the food and the entire experience. I was already a foodie at that age so I think if the girls enjoy fine cuisine you shouldn't worry so much about their age. The only thing I would suggest is taking them somewhere maybe not so old-school or stuffy. But someplace hip and chic with excellent cuisine. I know when I was 18 years old even though I appreciated the food, I also appreciated a place that I thought older, "cool" people would enjoy as well.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Elyssa

                  Agreed, 100%.
                  BTW, I'm 27 and I still love the Stanton Social.

                2. i would suggest degustation - it's located on e. 5th street in the east village, a vibrant neighborhood for 18 year olds. the restaurant is a bar surrounding an open kitchen with 16 or so seats. the budding chef would certainly enjoy being able to watch the food being prepared. while it is not the "scene" of some of the other places that posters mentioned, it is definately east village cool. and finally, the food is sublime. they have small plates (do not miss the poached egg or stuffed squid), or a 5 course $50 tasting menu. you won't be disappointed!

                  1. Thank you one and all for such great suggestions -- can't wait to get there and try these places!!