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Advice on Food Itinerary

Hi. Coming to New York mid November for my boyfriends 30th birthday. I've been before its his first visit. We are staying in the Financial District - not that that will stop us from travelling for food! I've spent quite a lot of time on the boards taking your advice so my food plans have changed from what they were originally however I would really appreciate your comments/advice on the following choices:

Monday Night (his birthday but been travelling all day but something 'New York')
Either Tribeca Grill or Gotham Bar & Grill or Gramercy Tavern

Katz Deli for lunch (have read the LES food guide - looks fab)
Post theatre at either Marseille or West Bank

Lunch - not sure where we will be so a deli somewhere
Reccomendation for pizza place Financial District/Soho/Tribeca for Dinner?

Gray's Papaya for Lunch
Eleven Madison Park for Dinner

Lunch at Balthazar
Back to Scotland.....

Any good delis in the Financial District, we are staying at the Millenium Hilton, for breakfast? Any other suggestions welcomed.


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  1. Absolutely not Tribeca Grill - Gramercy Tavern is probably the better bet. Pizza I would go to Grimaldi's in Brooklyn - it is right under the Brooklyn Bridge and you can easily walk from downtown or take a taxi. Otherwise your two choices are Lombardi's and Adrienne's. Perhaps Wednesday lunch you could go to either Perry St or Jean Georges for the $28 2 course lunch deal. After theatre you should go explore one of the good late night dining options in NY - Blue Ribbon or Momofuko Ssam Bar.

    4 Replies
    1. re: john

      i agree not doing Tribeca Grill...of your three options, i'd say maybe Gotham

      For your post-theatre dinner, there are lots of downtown options you could do instead of Marsielle since you'll be heading downtown anyway...i like Balthazar late at night (or mid-afternoon) better than for lunch or dinner, and post-theatre Monday might be mellow and perfect...alternately, you could go to Lucien, small hipstery bistro in the E.Village w/ great bouillabaise and escargot

      -- another pizza option is Arturo's, on Houston St...i'd definitely avoid Lombardi's

      -- another fun late-night option for drinks/snacks is n33 at 33 Crosby, a small Spanish bar near Balthazar...food is nothing spectacular but the sherry selection is yummy and it's a very fun spot...and while i'm loathe to recommend any Batali joint these days, you might have a great time at Casa Mono (it could even be your first night in NYC dinner if you wanted something less formal than Gotham)

      And if your bf likes raw oysters at all, i think going to Grand Central Oyster Bar and sitting at the bar/counter is a must

      Have a great trip

      1. re: Simon

        p.s. i'm also a big fan of Tides, cute tiny seafood place in the LES

        1. re: Simon

          Thanks for all the advice. Certainly given me plenty more to look into. I really like the thought of Balthazar after the theatre and the Grand Central Oyster Bar would be good to try too - we both love oysters. Read a lot of good stuff on the boards too about Perry Street and Jean Georges so will look into those. Will get back on the internet tonight and go through your suggestions. All this planning is getting me more excited about the trip. Too much food so little time....

          1. re: scottishgirl

            Hi scottishgirl. I totally agree with Simon. Do not pass up eating delicious oysters at the Grand Central Oyster Bar.

            This restaurant is a New York landmark with Rafael Guastivino tiled vaulted ceilings. Athough there are two dining rooms, and an oyster bar, I love sitting at the counters so I can look at the dining scene and take in the beautiful vaulted ceilings.

            GCOB was opened in 1913 when Grand Central Terminal opened. There is New York City history here. Sure the cooked fish may not be as good as other more trendy restaurants but they come and go. As a visitor to Manhattan, I strongly suggest you and your boyfriend stop by the Oyster Bar and also go upstairs to the main lobby. It’s beautiful with commuters dashing throughout - like living poetry -that always gives me a great feeling that I know I’m in New York City. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis saved the GC Terminal from being demolished like the original Penn Station was. Go and see for yourself.

    2. I also stand firm against Tribeca Grill. I found the food unremarkable and the service lacking. Perry Street would be a much better option! I'm not the biggest fan of Gotham Bar & Grill for dinner, though the ambience is certainly nice.

      As for pizza in the Financial District, there's only one place I know that's open at night, which isn't terribly good. I did, however, really love the sandwiches at New York's Best Deli on Water and Fletcher Sts. For something a little different, Alfanoose is a great local choice for falafel (which is VERY New York).

      1. You've really done your homework and picked some great places. You might want to check out Chinatown, which is not far from where you are, and the food is incredible.


        About pizza, there are thousands of places and only ten are really good. Many of them are so bad that if they had photographed a slice of their pizza and tried to put it in the film "Trainspotting" , the censors would have cut it for being too gross.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Brian S


          I stored this tidbit from the messageboards some time ago. I am sorry I do not know to whom to attribute its authorship. (If you wrote it and are reading this, thanks!!) I kept it because it is a perfect explanation of NY pizza to me (a frequent visitor).

          ""My suggestion about the pizza is to do two things. First, avoid anything that's a chain or the size of a chain (Ray-Bari, etc.). Second, don't obsess. The more you worry about getting 'real NY pizza' the more disappointed you'll be when you take your first bite and say 'well, it's very good... but I thought my mouth would explode.' Hype kills everything. Find some local joints for a slice while you're walking between museums or sights or whatever you're doing. Sample them. Have a slice here and a slice there. And then some more at that place. You'll leave knowing that real NY pizza is an amalgam of all these pizza experiences coalescing into one great memory. Half of NY pizza is the attitude you have while eating it. Pizza is not a tourist food. Real NYers eat pizza. Tourists eat 'NY pizza'."

          1. re: Turtlejay

            I have to say, Im loving all this help and advice. Its lovely to have so many people as into food/dining out as I am - I think my friends (any maybe my boyfriend although he does love good food) think im slightly mad planning my trip around the food - sure i'll fit a few sites in though! Going to spend this evening looking into all your suggestions and will post my amended itinerary for further comment. Quite a few changes in mind already, And seriously, given the "Trainspotting" comment I might just give the pizza joints a miss!! Thanks again for the help.

            1. re: Turtlejay

              Turtlejay the source to your quote is http://www.chowhound.com/topics/38734... It's a poster I dont recognize but he is quite prolific and has his own blog. It is well written but I totally disagree. Real NYers eat at McDonald's. That's why there's always a 20 minute line there. And they eat there for the same reason they grab a slice. They are overworked, they have only a few minutes to grab some food and eat it as they walk. (Ewww) That's the NY attitude. They are worried about their work, they are scared of being fired, they could be eating sawdust and wouldn't notice cause their mind is far away.

              My dad used to eat pizza when he was a kid. He wasn't in a hurry. He was probably hanging out with friends. The place, in one of the outer boroughs, probably had a coal burning oven. It was very likely incredible. He told me that they called the pizzas quarters cause you paid 25¢ for the whole pie!!! One day the guy told him he'd raised the price to 50¢ and he was heartbroken. Now THAT is my idea of a real NY pizza!

          2. Thanks. Extra question - Is opentable the best method for booking? How long in advance does it take reservations? I tried a couple of times for restaurants but it says its still too far in advance - Just under 7 weeks until we travel (cant wait!)

            2 Replies
            1. re: scottishgirl

              If you're out of the country, OpenTable is the superior method as you don't need to spend all that money on long distance fees when calling. But bear in mind that restaurants don't book all their tables on OpenTable. You might get lucky calling them.

              1. re: scottishgirl

                If a restaurant is on OpenTable, it should say how far in advance the restaurant accepts reservations.

                Otherwise, I'd check a restaurant's web site, or, by calling them. Often times they only start accepting 31 or 30 or 28 days in advance. If your heart is set on a particular place, start dialing the second their book opens.

              2. In the Financial District best bet for breakfast is Financier Pastry Shop. Three locations in the area. Delicious light croissants and madeleines.


                8 Replies
                1. re: Miss Needle

                  OK, amended itinerary below. All your suggestions have really helped. So, thanks.

                  Monday Night (b/fs birthday)
                  Gramercy Tavern – Tavern Room

                  Tuesday Lunch
                  Katz Deli

                  Tuesday Post Theatre Dinner
                  Blue Ribbon

                  Not planning for Wednesday (get our appetites back)

                  Thursday Lunch
                  Gray’s Papaya

                  Thursday Dinner
                  Eleven Madison Park

                  Friday Breakfast

                  Friday Late Afternoon
                  Grand Central Oyster Bar

                  Think I should not eat for the next 7 weeks in preparation. Have also kept the following in mind if all doesnt go according to plan:

                  Grimaldis Pizza (Brooklyn)
                  New York’s Best Deli (Water & Fletcher Streets)
                  Shake Shack (Madison Square Park)
                  Arties Deli (83rd & Broadway)
                  Financier Pastry Shop (Financial District)

                  1. re: scottishgirl

                    I would probably skip GC oyster bar. If oysters are you thing, you can get them at Blue Ribbon. On Friday afternoon (if you are in midtown already) and money is not an issue (which judging by your intinerary I presume it is not) I would go have drinks at the mandarin oriental and enjoy the view of the park. if you are hungry you can either go to bouchon bakery for sandwiches/cookies or to whole foods if you are in a hurry

                    1. re: john

                      You can also get oysters at Balthazar! Yum.

                      1. re: john

                        GCOB is a NY classic...sure, the cooked food is so-so at best...but the OP's bf is visiting NYC for the first time, and a dozen raw oysters at the counter, some fried oysters, and maybe a salad, and one of the many great wines by the glass or a strong American ale: is one of the very very few culinary experiences i truly miss since leaving NYC...the oyster selection is fantastic (far more comprehensive than BR or Aquagrill)...sitting at the counter and taking in the bustle of Grand Central, it's a perfect place for a late-afternoon meal before leaving the city...

                        ScottishGirl, if you go there, have someone explain the little acoustic trick just outside the entrance where you talk into the wall...

                        1. re: Simon

                          Im intrigued - and you have totally sold it to me!

                          1. re: Simon

                            If you do decide to go to GCT (and I totally concur with the Oyster Bar recs), stop by the Campbell Apartment (in Grand Central) for a drink in a truly old-world setting.

                        2. re: scottishgirl

                          Hey, Scottishgirl,

                          Just want to make sure you know that reservations are *not* accepted in the Tavern Room.

                          Glad to read in your earlier post that you're considering taking my (in)famous LES Food Excursion. And that you've included Eleven Madison Park, currently my favorite NYC restaurant.

                          Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

                          1. re: RGR

                            Thanks RGR. Did read that about the Tavern Room. Your Food Excursion is intriguing. Trying to work out what a similiar tour in Glasgow would be?!

                      2. On the pizza issue...

                        4 possibilities have been mentioned - Arturo's, Lombardi's, Grimaldi's, and eating a random slice downtown. This last option is a really bad idea, I think; as someone somewhere put it, for every 1 dedicated pizzaiolo in the city, there are a hundred guys who will be happy to sell you a warm piece of cardboard under a gummy blanket of cheese.

                        Arturo's and Lombardi's are both pretty decent - they would certainly allow you to check off the "pizza in NY" box on your to to list - but neither is a contender for best pizza in NY or anything. They MIGHT be on a top ten IN MANHATTAN list...

                        Grimaldi's is excellent, if you have time - a number of people talk about how it's really fallen off since the "good old days", and it's not the best in the city, but I think it's still really excellent pizza. And the location (under the Brooklyn Bridge, about a block from the water, with a view across to the Manhattan skyline) is a tourist attraction in its own right. Also, then you could put your check mark in that much more prestigious "pizza in Brooklyn" box. They have excellent cannoli for dessert, too, and are a block away from the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. All in all, a great tourist experience in NYC. But time consuming, and you may have other plans.

                        Two other options spring to mind. If you can make it as far north as Arturo's, you can make it a little farther to Bleecker, where there are John's and Joe's. Personally, I'd much rather eat at any of the other places mentioned, but some people like those places, so I'll mention them just for the sake of completeness.

                        Or, down in the Financial District, there's Adrienne's Pizzabar. I haven't actually been there myself, but I've been meaning to go - it's co-owned by a respected Queens pizzaiolo, and apparently has very good "grandma"-style square slices in addition to good round pies. If you scan these boards, I'm sure you can find it discussed. If you don't have time to make it to Grimaldi's, this may be a good convenient alternative.

                        Aside from that, sounds like a great trip.

                        PS Immediately after posting, I noticed that the very first response mentioned Adrienne's. So I didn't actually bring anything new to the discussion... Oh well. Have fun!

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: ratatosk

                          thanks ratatosk - i visited the brooklyn ice cream factory on my last trip and loved it and i think it would be a good way to spend an evening.so thats maybe an evening option. Could we walk there from the financial district? How much is a cab roughly? Would we need reservations? thanks again.

                          1. re: scottishgirl

                            I live in Tribeca and walk to Grimaldi's when I go (which is not as often as I would like). It takes me about 20-25 minutes and it is a fantastic walk across the Brooklyn Bridge - as long as it is not freezing cold or raining I would take this route. A cab from the financial district is not too expenseive - $15 probably but could be more or less depending on if you are on the east side or west side.

                            1. re: john

                              Or just take the A train to the first stop in Brooklyn and take a little stroll around "quaint" Brooklyn Heights. (You'll need to look at a map to see where to go.)

                            2. re: scottishgirl

                              Grimaldi's doesn't take reservations. You stand in line outside until they have a table. Also: whole pies only, no slices.

                              (Grimaldi's has nice sauce, but the last few times I've been there, the crust was too wet/thin/soggy. Lombardi's often suffers from the same problem. John's is too cheesy and Joe's just isn't the same since they moved. I'd recommend checking out Patsy's in East Harlem or Totonno's, maybe Di Fara, but that's a whole 'nother discussion.)

                            3. re: ratatosk

                              Where in Manhattan is a place better than Lombardi's? (except Patsy's maybe)

                              also if you do get a slice of pizza somewhere, one rule to remember: NEVER get a reheated slice. Only eat a slice from a pizza still warm from the oven.

                            4. Scottishgirl, Grimaldi's may be a slice (mind the pun) of Old New York but the pizza really isn't worth bothering with although the walk across the bridge and in and around Brooklyn Heights certainly is. Adrienne's in the Financal District is far superior.

                              Also, unless you and your bf are averse to raw fish, I really would say that no gastronomy based trip to NYC is complete without a sushi experience. You could either do Yasuda (43rd between 2nd and 3rd), often recommended here or else, and this might work better for you in terms of proximity to your hotel, go to Bouley Upstairs (West Broadway and Duane) on the Wednesday you have set aside. David Bouley is an NYC chef of both repute and longevity and Bouley Upstairs is his 2.5 year old casual, informal, no reservations eatery incorporating an open kitchen serving up both New American and Italian dishes and also a small, 5 person sushi bar manned by two Japanese sushi chefs which serves surprisingly good Japanese inspired starters and sushi, easily the best in TriBeCa. So in one locale, you get 3 different types of cuisine allowing you to mix and match; you also get a quintessential slice of Modern New York as the place is cramped, buzzy and has that open kitchen. If you want to blend with some Old New York, start the evening with a martini across the road at Odeon.

                              Btw TriBeCa is only a couple of blocks north of where you are staying which gives you a number of options if you want to stay local.

                              One other tip - I really would try and find a slot for Degustation (modern Spanish, open kitchen, relaxed and trendy vibe, 239 E5th bt 2nd and 3rd), once again it is very indicative of Modern NYC and is somewhat unique, the kind of place that you're hard pushed to find in other places around the globe.

                              1. For good food and a cool "Manhattan" experience try out Stanton Social for small plates, good drinks, and cool atmosphere in the LES. I also love Public (supposed Austrailian meals with a lot of game). I actually think Public has better atmosphere. Both Stanton Social and Public you can get through Open Table. I find that a lot of NYC restaurants will have a set number of reservations through Open Table and when that is full they may still tables that you can get if you call the restaurant themselves.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: scully817

                                  Small point, but I think Public is more NZ and Aus. But I do like it. BB

                                  1. re: bombaybeauty

                                    Wow, actually, point well taken. I actually was thinking about that as I was typing it b/c I was planning a trip to NZ the last time I was there and their wine list actually have wines from the Marlborough region. Mad props!

                                    1. re: bombaybeauty

                                      Yeah I like Public too and it's a good shout. Also very worthwhile is their relatively recently opened small plates eatery/wine bar called Monday Room (http://www.themondayroom.com/) which is in a tucked away room adjoining the main restaurant, I'm very surprised it hasn't had more publicity on this board as it serves fine pan-Asian tapas and wonderful Spanish wines and is fronted by a charismatic Spaniard with a Dali-esque moustache.

                                      1. re: oonth

                                        I'm intrigued....now I must check out Monday Room. Thanks!

                                  2. Scottishgirl, You've gotten some good advice, but I wanted to reply to one question that didn't get enough attention: pizza in the financial district. Adrienne's Pizza Bar, 54 Stone St (212) 248-3838. I won't get into discussions of NY's best pizza, but it's a fine place, and if the goal is to get a good pizza close to home the this is an obvious choice. Cheers, BB

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: bombaybeauty

                                      That's the one pizza place I referenced earlier in this thread and the one I declined to recommend. I only get it if I've had a little too much across the street.

                                      1. re: JungMann

                                        I think i'll just move across permanantly. My holiday now seems too short! My sister is now also reading this thread and is hugely jealous of my trip!

                                        1. re: scottishgirl

                                          I've lived here for nearly 7 years and there's still so much I still need to culinarily accomplish!

                                    2. I forget if I've mentioned it already, but a lot of top restaurants offer three course lunches that are great bargains. Perry Street for $24, Fleur de Sel for $29 (or maybe it's still $24). If you got the exact same meal at dinnertime it would be at least $60. So it's a great way to dine at the best places relatively cheaply.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Brian S

                                        Thanks for the tip. Showed my b/f the post and he thought you were all professional restaurant critics!!

                                        1. re: Brian S

                                          Fleur de Sel is one of our favorites. Acc. to the website, the 3-course lunch prix-fixe is $29. And, btw, you cannot get dinner there for $60pp since the 3-course dinner prix-fixe is $76 + wine + tax + tip. That's precisely why that lunch is such a fabulous bargain. There is also a 5-course lunch tasting for $46 -- more expensive, but still a bargain for food of that fine quality.


                                          Tocqueville is another upscale restaurant that serves superb cuisine in elegant surroundings and offers a 3-course lunch prix-fixe for $24.07.


                                          1. re: RGR

                                            Here's my original post on Fleur de Sel to show you the treats that lie in store for you there: