Looking for "off the beaten path" but amazing eats
I know this is a broad request, but my husband and I will be up in Manhattan for 4 days and we are looking for interesting and decidedly NOT touristy places to eat. We are staying in midtown. Price range is not an issue, but we are also not looking for every meal to be stuffy and fancy...
Also any recommendations for markets?
I don't know whether or not you are into healthy dining (no butter for example in dishes), but you might want to give the unique Fig & Olive at 62nd & Lexington a try. There are 2 locations (soon to be 3 in the Midtown area) and their Mediterranean offerings with olive oil only are really quite fine. The place itself is a small walk-down with just a few tables.
We ate at Degustation in the East Village last night and thought it was really good. It's a Spanish small plates restaurant. There's only bar seating and you can watch the cooks at action. It really makes you appreciate how much work goes in every dish. They've also started a new 10-course tasting menu for $75, so you can try a lot of dishes. With the ten course menu, there are a few off-menu items as well. I overheard the group next to us (who ordered the 5-course) saying that they wouldn't be able to eat a 10-course meal. Portions were about half the size of the 5-course tasting menu, so you won't feel overwhelmed after the meal -- though the chef gave us an extra 3 courses so we were really stuffed. It's not your traditional tapas restaurant. A very unique experience. You would need to make reservations in advance as it's really a tiny place. I would also opt for an earlier seating as opposed to a later seating as you will not have to wait for a table with the earlier one.
To give you an idea of what the menu is like check out this link:
re: Miss Needle
Ditto Degustation and we liked Falai (LES) even better. Both are small places. You might want to do a search of this site there are many threads on Degustation and I think I posted a review of our experience at Falai. Degustation works best for two as there is no table seating.
Would you like to dine only in midtown or are you willing to branch out?
I'll list some non-touristy favorites of mine all over town to start you off:
Sukhadia's for lunch (Gujarati vegetarian -- do the buffet or get chaat -- and sweets; Midtown West)
Sushi Yasuda (omikase, expensive; Midtown East)
Shimizu (sushi, omikase, less expensive than Yasuda and good, but not as good as Yasuda; Midtown West)
Ouest (French; UWS)
Spiga (Neo Italian; UWS)
Kefi (Greek; UWS)
Mi Cocina (traditional Mexican, non-street food; Greenwich Village)
Pegu (small plates and cocktails; West Village / Soho)
WD-50 (micro-gastronomy or whatever you want to call it; Lower East Side)
50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002
318 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019
2315 Broadway, New York, NY 10024
505 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024
17 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036
200 W 84th St, New York, NY 10024
57 Jane St, New York, NY 10014
We are willing to venture anywhere in Manhattan to find great food.... we are visiting my sister so she can at least point us in the right direction if we give her the cross streets...
I am definately going to check out the suggestions thus far! Thanks... all suggestions are really appreciated.
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Im sorry to say but if youre not looking for touristy places, then you should not be in midtown. Thats all you will find there. For markets the obvious one is fulton street market where the city gets their fish. Outside of midtown, most NYC restaurants are not touristy so you wouldnt have a problem just finding one on site. I reccomend you go out to the burroughs as well. Bamonte's in brooklyn, one of the oldest (and still very old world) italian restaurants in NY. It would be a very quick cab ride. Shoot up to harlem for soul food. Amy ruths is really good. As far as sushi there are many many top of the line ones, blue ribbon for example. Azuki if you want mediocre and all you can drink sake. 9th avenue is always a safe bet, its all resaurants and clubs there.