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Best top 10 restaurants in NYC to bring out-of-town visitors?

I have visitors this weekend coming into town this weekend and I need some good suggestions of memorable restaurants with great food. So far, I'm thinking of Sushi Samba, and Cafecito, but I need some new tips. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!!!

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  1. That's a pretty broad request and there are so many places that would impress vistors (though depends somewhat where they are from).

    Any more specifics on type of cuisine, neighborhoods you want/don't want, casual vs. formal and your budget? You'll get more recs that way.

    I haven't been to Cafecito but I'd skip Sushi Samba. The atmosphere might be fun but I've found the food to be pretty disappointing.

    2 Replies
    1. re: pellegrino31

      Second pellegrino31's notion on Sushi Samba. Go for the drinks, flee to another spot for superior food. If you were heading to the one on 7th Ave. S, which is the better of the 2 (not saying much), Agave is practically across 7th Ave. S at W. 10th St. They offer very flavorful Southwestern cuisine. They also have jalapeno-infused tequila that makes for an incredible margarita experience.

      1. re: izzyeatsny

        We found Agave's food to be below average.

        What type of food and experience are you looking for?

    2. Where are your guests coming in town from???

      1. I agree w/ the recommendation to skip Sushi Samba. Instead, I'd have drinks at Spice Market (kumquat mojito - yum!) and then go across the street for sushi at Ono.

        I'd also recommend Anissa for dinner and if cost is no object L'atelier de Joel Robuchon as well.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mahalan

          yep, Spice Market will give you the atmosphere and yummy bites that I think you were hoping to get from Sushi Samba.

          1. re: mahalan

            Ono? I had dinner there a few weeks ago and the sushi was some of the worst I've ever had. I was amazed at the price for the unflavorful, limp fish they were putting on that rice. The skewers were good and the outdoor patio is very nice, but you can certainly find better food.

          2. My guests do not have any specific cuisine preference, but i'm looking for a place that is casual, reasonably priced and preferrably not sushi, since one of my guests is pregnant. They are coming from Southern California, so I planned to stay away from Mexican. We're willing to go to any neighborhood in Manhattan for a good meal though.

            5 Replies
            1. re: catalana96

              I don't know if any of these could qualify as a "top 10" but in terms of places to bring out of town visitors, you could do well at:

              - Blue Ribbon Bakery (modern American)
              - Crispo (Italian, and regularly gets solid reviews on the board)
              - Via Emilia (Italian)
              - Alta (small plates/tapas)
              - Stanton Social (small plates/loud & trendy)
              - Turkish Kitchen (Middle Eastern)
              - Ed's Lobster Bar (seafood, great lobster roll)
              - August (bistro)
              - Balthazar (it's one of those NYC institutions and I think the food is still great, atmosphere is terrific too).

              Others will have more recs I'm sure.

              1. re: catalana96

                You just said no sushi, but your original post says that you were thinking about Sushi Samba.
                I recommend: cafecito (you mentioned it above, and it is wonderful...just had it for lunch today), Crispo, The Stanton Social, Pylos...definately throw a French bistro in there, possibly one of the Momofuku's...

                1. re: LeahBaila

                  Yeah, I know I said no sushi, then mentioned Sushi Samba. I actually only go to Sushi Samba for their brazilian food (churrasco) and this really yummy banana rum chocolate dessert thing, which is to die for! Thanks for the tips though. I'm starting to lean more towards Cafecito, unless some more suggestions come along that strike my fancy!

                  1. re: catalana96

                    You might as well check out churroscaria plataforma.
                    Country Hill bbq for some more meats.

                    Must take them to pizza. My faves are outer borough thoh.

                2. re: catalana96

                  I don't think cafecito is good at all, it just responds to the idea americans have of cuban food, but i wouldn't go there with friends from southern california. I've had the hardest avocados there, their elena ruz sandwich is pretty bad, as is their cubano one. The only accepatable dish i've had there is the bistec de palomilla. I prefer Royale burguers from the same owners. Right now there is no good cuban place in the city, I'll stick with blue ribbon bak., balthazar, pylos et al. There are many great places in the city, just that cuban restaurants are not one of them. For good brasilian I will head to Trenton NJ or to Queens.

                3. The first time I went to NY, my friend who lived there brought me to the Mercer kitchen and I absolutely loved it! I thought it was a beautiful restaurant with a great ambiance. The food is good, not excellent but good. You can bring them to have a cocktail first at bar 89 next door on Mercer.

                  I brought my parents to Villa Mosconi in Greenwich village and we had a pleasant experience but it is not a young crowd. It depends on how old you are.

                  I second Ed's because I loved their lobster roll.

                  1. This may be selfish, but I tend to like to take visitors to places that I enjoy going to - usually they are relatives or friends, who are interested in what my life in New York is like. So, when parents/siblings come to town - we go to Pearl Oyster Bar, Pascalou around the corner from me, Iztocan Bistro, Via Quadronno, Anissa, Sushi of Gari, Blue Ribbon Sushi, Inase, Shun Lee West, Chin Chin, Kurio, Balthazar, Orchard and Zebu Grill come to mind for now. Visiting vegetarians also get taken to Hangawi and Candle 79 - especially memorable for the vegan from Ottawa.

                    To me what would be a memorable visit for some visitors would not be for others. Some of our visitors from London are thrilled to go to Rosa Mexicano and even reasonable not stellar sushi.

                    When trendy in-laws or their friends who can afford them visit - Le Cirque, Alto (recently), Mr. Chow (agh - but not as bad as I'd thought it would be), Sette Mezzo, Cipriani, Daniel.

                    To me, it all depends on the visitors.

                    Edit - I also like to take them to Kee's Chocolates in Soho and if they are in to cooking, to the USQ farmer's market, to Bleecker Street, to DiPalo's.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MMRuth

                      Oops - just saw the OP's clarification of what he or she is looking for. Sorry!

                    2. AOC Bedford. Share the roast pig. Start with the octopus appetizer. End with a cheese plate. Enjoy some good wine. Some cities and towns don't even have a single restaurant of this quality.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: batterypark

                        Another thought - Casa Mono - incredible Spanish wine list, delicious Spanish "small plates".