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Best Casual Restaurants on Ninth Between 42nd and 57th

hiddenboston Jan 11, 2008 06:22 AM

I'll be in NYC several times over the coming weeks, and am looking to go to at least a couple of the many restaurants along Ninth Avenue generally between the Port Authority Bus Terminal and 57th Street.

What are some favorites along that street? I'd prefer casual, reasonably priced, but with at least some atmosphere (no takeout places).


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  1. r
    RGR RE: hiddenboston Jan 11, 2008 07:14 AM

    Starting from 42nd & heading north:

    Marseille, corner 44th. French/Mediterranean - http://www.marseillenyc.com

    Cascina, b/t 45th & 46th - Italian - http://www.cascina.com

    Roberto Passon, corner 50th - Italian - http://www.robertopasson.com

    Uncle Nick's, b/t 50th & 51st - Greek

    Old San Juan, b/t 51st & 52nd - Puerto Rican & Latin American

    Uncle Nick's and Old San Juan are on menupages.com

    17 Replies
    1. re: RGR
      hiddenboston RE: RGR Jan 11, 2008 07:54 AM

      Thanks very much!

      1. re: hiddenboston
        xigua RE: hiddenboston Jan 11, 2008 08:15 AM

        My favorites are
        1. Amy's bread (if you ever stop for breakfast/ a snack)
        2. Chili Thai
        3. Afghan Kebab House


        1. re: hiddenboston
          Spiritchaser RE: hiddenboston Jan 11, 2008 08:25 AM

          As mentioned above I give a strong recommend for Cascina. We were just there before a show a few days ago. It was not our first choice but we waited too long to decide but happy accidents occur and this was one of them. The decor says Italian farm house, the service is efficient, the food is really good, solid, Italian fare. It won't change your life but you will most certainly leave happy. The manager is very knowledgable about the extensive Italian wine list (he is from Verona) and very personable (if that sort of thing is important to you).

          1. re: Spiritchaser
            hiddenboston RE: Spiritchaser Jan 11, 2008 08:32 AM

            That's funny--my GF sent me a link to the Cascina site a few days ago to see if I might want to go there for my birthday. Between your recommendation and her picking of the place, I think we might have a winner!

            1. re: hiddenboston
              Spiritchaser RE: hiddenboston Jan 11, 2008 08:53 AM

              You can't go wrong. Do yourself a favor and engage the manager in conversation, ask for recommendations on wine. After interacting with him he made sure to check on us repeatedly, it was very nice. And with dessert make sure to have the Miele (honey) Grappa. Happy Birthday.

            2. re: Spiritchaser
              RGR RE: Spiritchaser Jan 11, 2008 08:36 AM


              Thanks for that update on Cascina. We haven't been there in quite some time. (Since Trecolori re-opened, we tend to go there.) There have been some posts about disappointments at Cascina, so it's good to hear from someone with such a recent positive experience. Based on our experiences in the past, I agree entirely with your assessment. The only caveat: the little roly-poly waiter is not exactly a ray of sunshine though he gets the job done.

              1. re: RGR
                Spiritchaser RE: RGR Jan 11, 2008 08:49 AM

                I think you are talking about the rather, ah, "round" gentleman that has kind of been relegated to sitting out in front of the restaurant to add some character. I agree, not so cheery.

                I know you like Trecolori (I completely agree on that one BTW) but next time you find yourself needing a meal in the area you would be safe with Cascina.

                Sidenote: Supposedly Cascina has the largest selection of Grappas in NYC. I love grappa and based upon the book the manager went over with me I would tend to believe it.

                1. re: Spiritchaser
                  Ora RE: Spiritchaser Jan 11, 2008 08:53 AM

                  I must of ordered wrong, because I had a very disappointing meal the one time I ate at Cascina. My dining companion liked her meal though. Just didn't think the place was worth a return trip...

                  1. re: Ora
                    Spiritchaser RE: Ora Jan 11, 2008 09:06 AM

                    That's a shame but I think it illustrates the point that, with a few exceptions, the restaurant world is very fluid. I've seen rave reviews for places that I thought were "eh" and I've been to places that others have said "eh" and I've really liked (obviously). It's one of the advantages of having a great site like CH at our disposal, we never have to go into any restaurant completely blind.

                  2. re: Spiritchaser
                    hiddenboston RE: Spiritchaser Jan 11, 2008 09:00 AM

                    Grappa, huh? You just made my day!

                    1. re: hiddenboston
                      Spiritchaser RE: hiddenboston Jan 11, 2008 09:16 AM

                      Yeah, Grappa has that effect on me as well. Even if you dine elsewhere I would encourage you to go to Cascina for a dessert and some

                      1. re: Spiritchaser
                        LeahBaila RE: Spiritchaser Jan 11, 2008 05:16 PM

                        I think Cascina makes some of the best Bolognese sauce in town! It's a cute place.

                        Add: El Centro, Westside Cottage II (laugh and roll your eyes all you want...this place really hits the spot when you're craving Americanized Chinese food)

                        1. re: LeahBaila
                          Spiritchaser RE: LeahBaila Jan 11, 2008 05:34 PM

                          My GF had what I consider to be the best gnocchi (I am not a big fan of gnocchi). It was actually light tasting, wonderful.

              2. re: hiddenboston
                Striver RE: hiddenboston Jan 11, 2008 09:08 AM

                Big ditto for Marseille - nice wine selection there, too.

                I'd add Ollie's Sichuan on 42nd just west of 9th. Stick to the Sichuanese sections of the menu, and you'll find some very good - and interesting - eating at reasonable prices. For dessert, go around the corner to the Little Pie Company (43rd, west of 9th) and try a slice of their sour cream/apple/walnut pie.

                Also add Hell's Kitchen on 9th between 46th-47th for good contemporary Mexican and excellent margaritas.

                1. re: Striver
                  RGR RE: Striver Jan 11, 2008 10:38 AM

                  Well, it we're including places just west of 9th, there are a couple that can be suggested. For one, Ollie's neighbor, West Bank Cafe, Excellent New American cuisine.


                  And Le Madeleine, just off the corner of 43rd. French bistro cuisine.


                  I'm sure there are a few good ones just east of 9th as well, but none springs to mind just now.

                  Back on 9th proper, we can add Turkish Cuisine (that's the restaurant's name), b/t 44th & 45th. Menu on menupages.

                  1. re: Striver
                    theannerska RE: Striver Jan 11, 2008 09:01 PM

                    One more -- and this is almost right on 10th -- on 51st St is Azuri Cafe, home of the best schwarma sandwich in the city. The falafels get mixed reviews and I've never actually tried them, but the sides alone are worth the walk. There are some tables inside to sit and eat.

                    I've got to stop reading CH when the late night munchies hit.

                2. re: RGR
                  eatfood RE: RGR Jan 12, 2008 09:45 AM

                  I second Roberto Passon and Marseille, both are excellent.

                3. t
                  TaterTot31 RE: hiddenboston Jan 11, 2008 11:08 AM

                  Thai Basil is excellent, on 9th near 57th. It's a tiny place, but has a really cute interior & atmosphere.

                  1. r
                    rrems RE: hiddenboston Jan 11, 2008 06:08 PM

                    Lots of good suggestions here, but Marseilles is the absolute MUST. Also. if you are willing to go a few steps east of 9th, consider Vice Versa, Chez Napoleon and Orso.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: rrems
                      RGR RE: rrems Jan 12, 2008 07:03 AM

                      I've never been to Orso, which is on 46th, b/t 8th & 9th (aka "Restaurant Row"), but I've passed it countless times. It's more than a few steps off 9th, actually closer to 8th. This is not to say, of course, that your suggestion isn't a good one. :-)

                      1. re: RGR
                        rrems RE: RGR Jan 12, 2008 08:35 AM

                        You should try it, RGR. It's been a favorite of ours for years for after theatre because, unlike many theatre district restaurants, you don't get the bum's rush because they are in a hurry to close. It is also great to go at 8:00 when the pre-theatre crowds have just cleared out, and easy to get a reservation. The food is delicious, service polished, atmosphere lively but not noisy. Pizzas are great for sharing, appetizer portions are large, and I often order 2 appetizers instead of an app and entree and it is more than enough.

                        1. re: rrems
                          RGR RE: rrems Jan 12, 2008 12:14 PM


                          I know that Orso has a reputation for good food. In fact, when it first opened many years ago, it was kind of like the Babbo of its day, i.e., almost impossible to get a reservation, especially pre-theater, and I've presumed the latter has continued to be the case though that could have changed.

                          We don't eat in the Theater District unless we have tickets, so after 8 is out, and since I don't like to have to turn somersaults to get a pre-theater reservation, over the years, I've pretty much dismissed the idea of going to Orso. I see on their website that they're open on Sunday beginning at 11:30 a.m. and offer their regular menu. That would work for us. However, one thing does trouble me though. You say it's "lively but not noisy." Does that refer only to after 8? While I have no problem with lively, if it's exceedingly noisy when full, then it's not the place for me!


                          1. re: RGR
                            rrems RE: RGR Jan 12, 2008 07:02 PM


                            I know you are sensitive to noise, which is why I pointed that out, and not just after 8. To clarify further, by lively I mean busy and bustling, but not noisy by any means. The clientele tends to be mature (no frat boys and screechy girls) and civilized. I have never been there pre-theatre, but would expect it to be similar to after. I see that they now take reservations one month in advance (used to be one week), so it should not be so difficult.

                            1. re: rrems
                              RGR RE: rrems Jan 12, 2008 09:42 PM

                              Thanks for that clarification, rrems. Civilized is definitely a plus for me. Orso is now on my "go to" list.

                              1. re: RGR
                                G3B RE: RGR Jan 13, 2008 04:30 AM

                                I have been pre-theater and it is fine noise wise. Really not any worse than any of the other restaurants, i.e. Trattoria TreColori, Scarlattto in the nabe. The tables are more cramped and it is smaller space than the two that I have mentioned. However it is doable, I think. I am not crazy about raising my voice to have a conversation either.

                                1. re: G3B
                                  RGR RE: G3B Jan 13, 2008 05:29 AM

                                  One of the many things I like about Trecolori is that tables are nicely-spaced. Noise has not been a problem so far because since the move to 47th St., we've been there two times pre-matinee on Sunday, and it hasn't been been very busy.

                                  As far as hideously high noise levels are concerned, it's not just having to shout in order to have a conversation that bothers me, it also becomes a physical assault that makes me so uncomfortable that I can't wait to get the meal over with.. .

                    2. sing me a bar RE: hiddenboston Jan 11, 2008 07:25 PM

                      Wondee Siam 2. Had an insanely good meal there recently. Try the whole red snapper in chili sauce and the duck kra-pow (spelling issues!) I used to only go to the original a block down from 2, but it's so teeny that you may find it TOO informal! Have some Singha and the steamed meat dumplings too.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sing me a bar
                        idia RE: sing me a bar Jan 12, 2008 09:19 AM

                        Thanks to RGR, Spiritchaser and rrems I have found me a font of knowledge.
                        I have added Cascina and Orso to my ever-growing list of viable places to try.
                        At this rate, I'll NEVER get out of NY!!

                      2. g
                        G3B RE: hiddenboston Jan 12, 2008 12:29 PM

                        Just went to Gazala's Place on 48th & 49th on Ninth Avenue. Very good hummus and lamb. Very reasonable and casual. We had dinner here and then went a few doors down to Kyotofu for dessert and spent almost as much on dessert as we did on dinner. Also recommended on Ninth Avenue is Chappen on 51 St. good Thai food, Blue Point Seafood decent brunch on 46 St. and Vynl on 53 St. is good for their lunch specials. I also second Uncle Nicks.

                        1. iluvcookies RE: hiddenboston Jan 13, 2008 05:31 PM

                          Ok... this may be totally lacking in atmosphere, but Mee Noodles on 53rd and 9th has some of the best noodle soups in the city. There is table service and the staff is generally friendly. Very reasonably priced... you can eat well for about $10. It also gets crowded at peak times. But the food is great!

                          1. holland_oats RE: hiddenboston Jan 13, 2008 05:32 PM

                            nook can get a bit cramped, but has a good, homecooked vibe. nice dinner spot, excellent mellow brunches too.

                            746 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                            1. r
                              ric z RE: hiddenboston Jan 13, 2008 06:45 PM

                              I'll put the New Orleans influenced Delta Grill (48th and 9th Ave) in this category. Across the board, the food is solid (especially anything blackened or traditional Cajun/Creole) and the prices are very reasonable. The service can be a bit sloppy but for a casual dinner out.. it's a great option.

                              1. j
                                jwolf1 RE: hiddenboston Jan 13, 2008 08:29 PM

                                Check out Kemia under Marsellie for a cool bar and great food, but the service leaves something to be desired. The atmosphere is excellent, though.

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