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cheap pre-opera dinner (if such a thing exists)

  • j

Are there any good restaurants near the Metropolitan Opera which do not cost much more than $20 a person? Knowing us, we will probably be running short on time, so the quicker and closer to the opera house, the better. Thanks.

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  1. Bin 71 on Columbus (70th/71st) fits the bill. It's a tiny wine bar, with a nice atmosphere. They serve panini, salads and some more substantial entrees. You should be able to get out of there for around $20/person.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Desidero

      Try La Fortuna at 71st off Columbus (pictures of opera singers on the walls too!)
      It used to be John Lennon and Yoko Ono's hangout.

      1. re: Desidero

        I doubt it, actually. Portion sizes are tiny, and you'll need a few different plates apiece to make it a meal. Good suggestion, but it's not exactly inexpensive.

      2. There is a new hummus place called Nanoosh on Broadway between 68th and 69th. Fast service and yummy lavash wraps.

        1. The Westside Diner is also a good option for cheap and quick, though it might be a little more downmarket than you're looking for.

          1. Arte Cafe on W 73rd isn't bad. They have an early bird (order by 6) prix fixe for $13.95. Their a la carte prices would be within your budget too.

            1. Shun Lee Cafe (which is next door to the very expensive Shun Lee Palace and they share a kitchin) is fun. I think it's 6.50 for a plate off the dim sum cart and 12-17 for entrees. Also, it's very close at 65th and Columbus.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Prue

                They also sell sushi in the cafe now, though I've not tried it. I do find their dim sum rather on the heavy gloppy side myself. There's also a Pain Quotidien across the street.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  I was not aware that Shun Lee West (across from my home away from home -- The MET) was also called Shun Lee Palace. Somehow I always thought Shun Lee Palace was their other restaurant on the East.
                  If this is really true that the name of this restaurant is also called Shun Lee Palace, I shall kick myself because I am constantly there and could have made Open Table reservations so many times I can't count. Say it ain't so.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      THanks MM.

                      I also goofed I think.
                      I don't really think you can get out of La Fortuna for $20 a person.
                      Actually your two best choices would likely be Le Pain Quotidien at 65th off Broadway (right across from the MET) or Westside Restaurant which is your basic diner at 69th & Broadway.

              2. consider having a light dinner at the first intermission, which usually last about 30 minutes. the sandwiches and brownies at the Met's snack/beverage bars are very good. Also by not eating alot ahead of time you stay awake and tuned to the music and just have a nice light snack in the middle of the opera. we do it all the time.

                1. If you stick to the burgers and sandwiches (which are solid), P.J. Clarke's is right across the street from the Met plaza. It's really the closest cheap option, and what we went for last time we were at the opera.

                  1. We had less than two hours between events at Lincoln Center on Sunday, and decided that the marathon crowds would make many options difficult-so we ended up at the Olympic Flame Diner, over on 10th ave and 60th. It was very good as far as diners go, and pretty pleasant-and they got us out in plenty of time. I especially enjoyed the pasticcio.

                    1. Another cheap eats is Ollie's at 67th & Broadway.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: idia

                        Exactly. Stick to the dim sum (appetizer) items and you'll eat well.

                      2. Cafe Ronda has respectable burgers. Pair it with a glass of wine and you can come out at around 20/head. It is admittedly, a little bit of a walk from the M.O. house, though.

                        Right across the st. from the opera house, there's an oft-shunned place called Sushi a Go Go. The sushi is not to be trusted, but you could do worse than the cooked entrees, here. Also relatively inexpensive as long as you stay away from the overpriced cocktails.