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2 days in Manhattan, recs needed

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Will be in Manhattan on Dec. 20-21 and would love some recommendations for dining -- pretty much eat anything, although probably not very interested in sushi or Mexican for this particular trip -- at a good restaurant, but something with a bit more of a relaxed atmosphere. Have a reservation for Union Square Cafe that Thursday night (can we get there from MSG in less than 30 minutes via cab at 9:00 p.m.?), but don't have my heart set on going there. Would like to go to Babbo, but am wondering if I can get a reservation at this point.

I know that both Babbo and Union Sq. Cafe are fairly popular with tourists. Any place that might be more popular among locals would also be great, as well as any lunch recommendations, even some stand on the street or a counter-only, eat while you stand joint.

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  1. no worries on the cab: you're only 17 blocks away -- you could walk in 30 minutes...

    but Keens Chophouse is walking distance from MSG if you feel like steak, prime rib, great single malt scotch/small batch bourbon, and old-NYC atmosphere...

    1. I would skip USC - nothing special at this point. You could just walk into Babbo at 9.30 and probably not wait more than 30 minutes.

      4 Replies
      1. re: john

        Thanks. I'll hold the reservation for now, maybe hit Babbo on Friday night. Any recommendations on a place to go in place of USC?

        1. re: Whigsboy

          Marseille. on the corner of 9th Av. & 44th St., is an attractive, bustling brasserie with very good French/Mediterranean cuisine.

          http://www.marseillennyc.com

          1. re: RGR

            Funny you mention Marseille, I ate there at random while I was in NYC and the prices were great and the food was solid. The wine cellar is an old bank vault -- cool!