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Visiting from the Midwest

This will be my 2nd time in NYC... visiting with a friend
Staying in Chelsea... looking for some good eats.

Right now on the food agenda we have...
For Breakfast
Murray's Bagles

For Lunch/snacks
The Burger Joint
Crumbs Bakeshop

For Dinner
Tortilla Flats
The Striphouse
Carmine’s (pre-theatre)

For lunch/breakfast we're looking to just grab something on the go... not too fancy.
We both like casual places... enjoy Tex-mex, Mexican, Steak, Italian and some good old bar food.

Any places we should add to the list? Places we should take off?

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  1. Breakfast:
    Quick hits: Murray's is good. Cafeteria isn't worth it. Other quick stops: La Bergamote, Bird Bath, Madeleine Cafe, Patisserie Claude, Amy's Bread. For brunch in/near Chelsea, I like Maroons, Petite Abeille, Florent, Morandi, Rocking Horse, Extra Virgin, good, and countless others I'm probably forgetting.
    Cupcakes: I don't like Crumbs at all. My favorite is Billy's (even better cakes). Also in Chelsea, good sweets at Amy's and Little Pie Co.
    Burgers: I like the Burger Joint. My favorite is Shake Shack
    For dinner Italian, Crispo is great and very close to Chelsea. Also in the area, you can't go wrong w/Lupa or Po
    For steak, Striphouse is a good pic in the area, but beware that service can be lacking and you'll have to wait for your reservation.

    1. For Breakfast
      Murray's Bagles--KEEP THIS

      For Lunch/snacks

      For Dinner
      The Striphouse--NEVER BEEN...HEARD GOOD THINGS
      Carmine’s (pre-theatre)--NEVER BEEN, BUT MANY MIXED REVIEWS

      1. No to Cafeteria. Go to Markt if you want more upscale (but not fancy) with the option of outdoor seating, or the Malibu Diner if you just want decent and cheap.

        Also take Carmine's off the list. Go to Le Zie instead. It's in Chelsea, not in the theater district, but it's a 5-minute cab ride away.

        Definitely keep the burger joint (assuming you mean the one at The Parker Meridien), although if the weather is nice and you don't mind the line, Shake Shack can be a good choice. (The burger at burger joint is better, but the setting of Shake Shack on a nice day can't be beat.)

        If it's a nice day when you go to Grimaldi's, make sure to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge on the way back. If you have time, you should walk around Brooklyn Heights, and especially the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, while you are on that side of the river.

        1. Burgers and bagels? Why not try some really good places? Many top restaurants have bargain prix fixe lunches. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/441212 One not on that list: remember the big splash Aquavit made when it opened in Minneapolis? Well, the original branch is here, and they have (as far as I know) an excellent $25 lunch in their less formal cafe.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Brian S

            "Good places"? Murrays and the burger joint ARE good places. In fact, I only recommend good places. If they're not good, I don't recommend them.

            1. re: Blumie

              Maybe I phrased it wrong. If you mean Murray's smoked fish store at Bway and 89th, yeah it's a good place.(I dunno about the Burger Joint, I think even Goodburger near Union Square is better, but that's another story.) But it's a whole different thing than Perry Street Restaurant and Fleur de Sel.

              (Le Zie IS really good, by the way, I didnt notice you recommended it.)

              1. re: Brian S

                Pretty sure the Murray's referred to by the OP (and Blumie) is the bagel place, not the smoked-fish place.

                Murray's Bagels
                242 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                Murray's Bagels
                500 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                1. re: squid kun

                  You're right. But for people who like lox, bagels, etc, Murray's fish store and Zabar's are must-eats. (Takeout only)

          2. I'm a Midwestern expat, myself, and frequently entertain out-of-town guests and know that all your choices would appeal to them in one way or another. I second BrianS's suggestion about trying a nicer, more upscale restaurant for a prix-fixe lunch. Burgers you can always get at home, but near Chelsea you could try Fleur de Sel, Gotham Bar and Grill or even Highline and get a terrific deal on fantastic food that you'd be hard-pressed to find in most of the Midwest. Still, ain't nothing wrong with a good burger.

            I do take exception to one place since Tortilla Flats doesn't have very good food. It's more about the margaritas and hanging out. If you're looking for good Tex-Mex in that 'hood, try Mercadito or Crema. If you just want bar food, 1849 has the greatest wings and nachos in the area and terrific specials.

            10 Replies
            1. re: JungMann

              1849 sounds great. I love some good greasy bar food!

              As for lunch... we're planning on more "on the go" food. We're more interested in spending $ on dinner.

              We plan on grabbing a slice, then walking over the Brooklyn Bridge... seems like the thing to do!

              We have been to Magnolia's Bakery, and we were just looking to try something else... Amy's and the Little Pie co sound great!

              What is a good suggestion for a pre-theatre dinner?

              1. re: Kfren09

                For pre-theater dinner, definitely not Carmine's! There's far better food to be found in that vicinity.

                Trattoria Trecolori, on 47th St., b/t B'way & 8th Av., is a favorite of mine and many other Hounds. Well-prepared, tasty homestyle Italian food. Friendly, efficient service. Comfortably-spaced tables and attractive decor.


                Marseille, on the corner of 9th Av. & 44th St., serves excellent French/Mediterranean cuisine. It's a bustling brasserie with eye-catching decor.


                West Bank Cafe, on 42nd St., b/t 9th & 10th Avs., serves delicious New American cuisine. Good service and very pleasant atmospherics.


                1. re: RGR

                  RGR and I share recommendations, and I agree with the above suggestions - but I'd also add as pre-theatre options Roberto Passon (Italian, 9th and 50th - excellent pastas), and Viceversa (Italian, 51st btw. 8th and 9th), where I had an excellent dinner last night in a very warm and pleasant setting.

                  Avoid Carmine's, unless you want large quantities of middling food and lots of noise.

                2. re: Kfren09

                  I'm not sure Grimaldi's has slices -- I've only ordered full pies there. Perhaps someone can tell us. In any event, still go, even if you have to order a whole pie.

                  As for pre-theater, RGR's suggestions are excellent. For more upscale pre-theater options, I like DB Bistro Moderne, for fabulous Alsatian-influenced French, and Sushi Zen, for upscale sushi and other Japanese food.

                  1. re: Blumie

                    I believe they don't sell slices at Grimaldi's. Though I havent been there in years, because every time I eat a whole pie (and of course I order the biggest size) I gain weight.

                    1. re: Brian S

                      no slices. 2 people can share a pie..just plan a lighter and healthier dinner. Dont do Grimaldis on the day of your theatre show unless you change to a post theatre dinner.

                      1. re: Brian S

                        No slices but 2 people can share a pie as an early brunch. Or you can do the lunch special and pizza for dinner. High end places always leaves me hungry after a couple of hours.

                    2. re: Kfren09

                      The reason we suggested lunch is that the restaurants which offer $24 lunches will require you to spend at least sixty dollars at dinner time... for the same food!

                      1. re: Kfren09

                        Grimaldi's doesn't sell slices. It is not one of those 'grab a slices' kinda places. You'll have to wait in a line, which depending on time of day and day of week, can be quite long. Then you can only buy pizza by the pie. You can get a pie to go, but i beleive that is also a hassle. Look on the Outer Boroughs board for more info.

                        1. re: chow_gal

                          I've always found getting a pie to go to be quite easy, particularly if you call ahead.

                    3. It doesn't sound like you will, but don't let anyone talk you out of eating inexpensive food in NYC. Absolutely have some bagels for breakfast and hamburgers for lunch.

                      Grimaldi's definitely does NOT sell slices, and you have to wait in line a little while (especially on weekends), but it's worth it. Get a cannoli for dessert, even if it is lunchtime, or head down the street to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory and eat some ice cream cones on the pier, looking across at Manhattan.

                      I'd probably go with something Italian over the Tex-Mex place - when in Rome, and all that. But then, I'm from Texas, so maybe I'm just being picky.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ratatosk

                        Amen to "I'd probably go with something Italian over the Tex-Mex place - when in Rome, and all that. But then, I'm from Texas, so maybe I'm just being picky"

                      2. Yeah, I have to agree with both of them. Not really a Tex Mex town, but you can certainly get your fill at 'Flats. The experience - if you go for a late dinner - may be better than the food itself.

                        Pre-theater I would highly suggest walking up 9th avenue (Hell's Kitchen). It's really the food melting pot of NYC imho. Everything from French to Thai to fantastic Hispanic food (El Deportivo and El San Juan are both great). I also really like a few of the burger joints further up 9th. Btw 51st and 52nd @ 9th, there's Island Burgers and Shakes, and a new - and terrific - joint around the corner on 52nd is Lucky's Famous.
                        You can take the A train from Chelsea (it runs up and down 8th Avenue) up to midtown if you like. Enjoy!

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: GreezySpoon

                          Not really a Tex-Mex town, but if you want authentic Mexican it's a different story.


                          1. re: Brian S

                            Thanks for all of the advice! We're going to look elsewhere for Italian/our pre-theatre meal!

                            We were thinking Grimaldi's for an early dinner, then walking over the Brooklyn Bridge.

                            I think Flatts will fufill what we're looking for... a great atmosphere, margaritas and some chow!

                            Thanks again!

                            1. re: Kfren09

                              Well if you're dead-set on going to Tortilla Flats, be sure to keep an eye out for the famous actor whose fall from grace has landed him a new recurring role...as one of the servers at the restaurant!