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One day in New York...

Visiting from Chicago and plan to spend the day of Dec. 24 in New York City. For ease of travel, we would like to stay in manhattan and hope to find places in walking distance of eachother.

We like most kinds of cuisines- french and italian the most- eat mostly seafood, but will eat red meat when it's of the hormone free/grass fed/free-range kind.

1. I'd like some recs for a not to expensive brunch/lunch spot. about $10-15. Something with a cozy atmosphere, relaxed pace, eclectic menu, good coffee. No delis, no steak and potatoes please. And hopefully somewhere we can still make a reservation

2. Fun, foodie oriented events/ places to go/ things to do. Checked out dean and deluca last year, will probably stop back.

3. I made a dinner reservation at the Artisanal Bistro of Park ave. Is this place pretty good? I was intrigued by the wine and cheese lists. Last year we checked out Balthazar and really enjoyed it.

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  1. artisanal is pretty much the same as balthazar... for the most part. you should also check out a voce on madison, i love that restaurant. don't know why you'd be going to dean and deluca, there are better "foodie" shops around and i would hardly consider D&D a destination spot if you were here for just one day. di paolo's on grand bet mott and mullbery has amazing italian cheeses and salumi's. also try and go over to curry hill to kalustyans. its the most amazing indian grocery store of all time. it's on lexington and 33rd i think. amazing!

    1 Reply
    1. re: artfuldestruct

      DiPalo is my favorite food store in NYC, but on December 24 it will be an absolute zoo. So will most of these stores, but DP is tiny and gets crowded quickly.

    2. If you enjoyed Balthazar, I think Artisanal is an improvement and a fantastic choice.

      1. 1. Brunch is usually a Saturday/Sunday thing so it's hard to say who will be serving a weekend brunch on Dec. 24 a Monday. However most nice brunch places in in NYC tend to run > $15 when you include tax and tip. But check out this thread for suggestions on a nice weekday breakfast:
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/417656

        2. Zabar's, Citarella, Fairway, do all 3 if you happen to be on the UWS. See also Chelsea Market, Union Square Greenmarket, Essex St Market.

        1. 2. Chelsea Market is fun to browse around
          3. Artisanal is good, not great, but solid.

          1. It's not cozy but you might want to go to Shopsin's in the Essex Street Market and have the slutty pancakes. Yum. Sad to say it will run you at least $15. If you go to Chelsea Market as per kathryn's post below you could have breakfast at Sarabeth's (small, somewhat cozy and meets your budget).

            Agree with artfuldestruct and then some regarding all these French bistros: Artisanal, Pastis, Balthazar, Schillers (Balthazar's cheaper version). They are all fairly similar, lively and noisy. Of the lot I liked Artisanal the best and they have a prix fixe dinner. Get the fondue, wish I did. The mac and cheese and brick chicken underwhelmed me. My friend loved her steak (she had the prix fixe). Our favorite was the praline cheesecake.

            2 Replies
            1. re: financialdistrictresident

              the bigger draw for me going to artisanal would be their cheese selection. if that's something that interests you, you should definitely save room for it. other than that, yes it's really the same regurgitated bistro food, but it is executed well.

              1. re: artfuldestruct

                Agree, artfuldestruct Artisanal is all about the cheese. The cheese plate (forgot to mention) and cheesecake were the highlights of the meal for us. When I go back I'll definitely get the fondue of the day.

            2. Savoy (in soho) has a great lunch that isn't expensive: $12 for 3 dishes, great service, lots of organic and free range food. Then you can wander east to Essex Street Market and Economy Candy, which isn't posh, but couldn't be much more fun, kind of like a museum/warehouse of sweets.

              2 Replies
              1. re: hungrycomposer

                Thanks for the recs! Very helpful. I'll definately check out savoy- i remember walking by them last year and thought they looked great.

                I'm not set 100% on Artisanal. I chose it b/c besides being open, i wanted a french bistro that wasn't super expensive and in my searches not much else turned up. I liked balthazar and hoped this place would be nicer and the 250 or so cheese list was a pretty big draw. I had hoped to go to blue hill but sadly they were closed that day.

                1. re: pierrot

                  I'm not a fan of Artisanal. Instead, you might want to consider Marseille, on 9th Av. & 44th St., an attractive brasserie that serves very good French/Mediterranean cuisine. Service is much better than at Artisanal, and though it's a bustling place, the noise level never reaches the annoyingly high level at Artisanal.

                  http://www.marseillenyc.com