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First Time NYC Visitor From SF

Hello All,

I will be visiting New York for the first time from San Francisco in February along with a friend who's mostly been only for business. I've read through the board and came up with a tentative plan below. We are not big drinkers and are hoping to keep an average food budget of about $100/person/day.

Day 1 (Thursday)
- Lunch: Grimaldi's & hot chocolate @ Jacques Torres
- Dinner: Perilla (open to other suggestions)

Day 2 (Friday)
- Lunch: Jean-Georges (How far in advance do I need to make lunch reservations? What do patrons typically wear during lunch? We are visiting either the Met or Natural History in the morning and don't want to dress too formal if not necessary.)
- Dinner: Degustation/Alta/Pamplona/Suba??? (Which one? I'd like a Spanish restaurant since that's something not prevalent in SF)
- Dessert: WD-50 (Will they be too busy to accept a dessert-only party?)

Day 3 (Saturday)
- Breakfast: Union Square Green Market? (Is the market even worth visiting in the middle of winter? What are some cheap breakfast eats around the area?)
- Lunch: Open, something casual and cheap
- Dinner: Eleven Madison Park (or another "splurge" restaurant that's uniquely New York)

Day 4 (Sunday)
- Brunch: Preferrably at a restaurant that takes reservations, opens no later than 11 AM, and is in a neighborhood where we could grab food for our flight home.

We are staying in Midtown East on Lexington in the upper 40s, are there any good breakfast (pastries, bagels, coffee, espresso, etc.) spots nearby?

All recommendations are much appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. For Spanish - Pamplona is not Spanish, but Mexican seafood - excellent though expensive. My favorite for Spanish is Casa Mono for lunch (you need a reservation) - but it is also expensive, though if you restrain yourself in a way that we don't, you could keep the bill down. I've also enjoyed Boqueria. I believe Alta is "small plates"/Mediterranean - not pure Spanish, but I've not been.

    Green Market - I enjoy going all year round. You could then walk down to Bleecker St. in the Village and check out Faicco's, Murray's Cheese, etc. Had a good hamburger at Stand last weekend - near the Green Market - also a great toasted marshmallow milkshake.

    Edit - my mistake about Pamplona - thought you were referring to Pampano.

    Breakfast - you could walk down to Madison & 38th to Chez Laurence, or up to 59th between 5th & Madison to Bottega del Vino for my favorite cappucino and breakfast panini.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MMRuth

      for breakfast hit essa bagel on 1st av and 20th st.,from there i would stroll down ave a and go to the coffee bar across from tompkins sq park,while your at it take a stroll through the park(interesting people watchin to say the least)

    2. pamplona is most definitely spanish - the chef worked under adria for a bit. check out pamplonanyc (i think).com for the menu. alex urena is his name. paella includes rabbit in it, bunuelos are nice, my friend is craving to go back (we last went to urena)...

      degustation is wonderful, but you have to sit at a small bar (like a sushi bar). i found it nice, but there are some who wouldn't. it's great to watch the chefs cook right in front of you. but the plates are tapa-style.

      btw, your friday will be tight at $100/person.

      wd might seat you at the bar for dessert...if you can't eat there, i'd check out chikalicious or p*ong. i don't believe chik takes reservations; pong does.

      if you're stuck on saturday, momofuku noodle bar (yes, i know you're coming from san fran) might be good. or poutine to go from pomme frites (french fries / gravy / cheese curd)...interspersed with a slice from ray's on 11th/6th ave, or joe's (on carmine/6th ave)

      or peter luger's in brooklyn, for a burger? or, similarly, queens for random ethnic you can't find in san francisco (ie. russian? ethiopian?) i can't throw our sripraphai because you can get thai that's top notch out there as well.

      don't forget to get a bagel while you're in town, but i can't offer suggestions there. i DO know that doughnut plant supplies dean & deluca in rock center with donuts, and other pastry shops provide to that location.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bob gaj

        You are absolutely right about Pamplona - my mistake - I read "Pampano"!

      2. i agree with the $100 dollars per person per day being a bit of a stretch for friday. that being the case, i would spend a little more and swap out jean georges for Gordon Ramsay at the london. I've been to jean georges twice for lunch and wasn't impressed either time (one time the sauce which had been applied with a sqirt bottle had tried to the plate it had been sitting there for so long). gordon ramsay is 45 bucks, jacket required, amazing food. only open for lunch thurs and friday.

        1. Breakfast - I'd actually probably get an egg and cheese on a roll, plus coffee, from one of the trucks - they're all over midtown in the morning - sometimes I really crave them, and I'll buy a bag of Kaiser rolls to replicate them, but I'm too much of a wuss to really slather on the griddle grease, so mine never taste as good. At some point, you should get a bagel from Ess-A (21st and 1st).

          Thursday - maybe do dinner at Katz's, and roll over your savings for the day to Friday? I'm also a huge fan of Momofuku Ssam Bar.

          Friday - I love Degustation - and while the SF is weak in Spanish in general, it is completely lacking in new-wave Spanish.

          For Saturday breakfast, I'd get a pretzel croissant and hot chocolate from City Bakery - (18th and 5th) - that should keep you warm while you're wandering around the Greenmarket.

          Saturday lunch - I've been holding off making any sweeping statements re: Turkish food in SF vs. NYC until I try A La Turca, but now that I've tried a new place in Berkeley that's drawing positive comparisons to A La Turca, I can say with some confidence that Turkish food is better in NYC. Consider Ali Baba (34th and 2nd) for delicious pide.

          Saturday dinner - since Daniel Humm came from Campton Place, I don't know if I would choose EMP if you're looking for something uniquely New York - I'd probably go to Le Bernardin for my splurge.

          1. nice choices overall...id go with:

            day 1: grimaldis and jacques torres...also walk across the street to almondine, which is a better bakery...i think they have the same owner...their sandwiches and coffee are good too.
            perilla for dinner is a great choice...get the duck entree...great place...great service...

            day 2: great lunch idea...i say you call ahead about jean georges...i havent been but the lunch special looks amazing.
            id definitely try degustation over the others here...nice room, fun time with the right company. not everything is a hit but the sweetbreads and short rib stuffed squid were great. also, great bottle of priorat on the menu.

            day 3: id go to city bakery nearby for breakfast...that place just rules.
            id go with 'ino on bedford for lunch. cheap, delicious italian meats and cheeses...small place on a great little street.
            eleven madison park...yr insane to think yr gonna do this place for that amount of money but its good.