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Best Cheap NYC Eats For Family Weekend?

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Okay New Yorkers, I need your help. It's my mom's 60th birthday and my family is congregating in NYC to celebrate in 2 weeks. Several of our group of 8 have never been to NYC so we want to make sure that they have a great time. But we are also on a budget! So I need your recommendations for great places for lunches and a dinner or two that will make us happy but not broke!

Particular recommendations are sought for places near shopping areas (our main activity) I guess in Soho (or other places). Also near the hotel on West 32nd Street.

We are thinking about Morandi's for the birthday dinner night.

Thank you for your help!!!

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  1. Can you give us a sense of your budget for the various meals (including tax, tip, alcohol or not)? Because, as you probably know, NYC is quite expensive, that will help us steer you in the right direction. Also, if you have any cuisine preferences etc.

    Thanks - sounds like a fun weekend.

    1. Try Chelsea Market for a huge assortment of stuff, including bakeries, thai, the best gelato (by Broadway Panhandler), soup, etc., the Excellent Dumpling House in Chinatown is just one block south of Soho and has great dumplings (don't stray far from the dumplings though), the Dosa Man, who has a cart on the south side of Washington Sq. Park is one of my favorite food experiences in all of New York. Burgers are great Le Parker Meridien on 57th street (go in the lobby and there is burger shack behind a velvet curtain) and how about the matzo ball soup at the Edison Hotel on 44th (? can't remember exactly the street; just google the Edison) Again, past the soups, the Edison isn't great, but it is very NY. Fairway on Broadway and 74th has a great little cafe upstairs, and it is a gem of a NYC grocery store to check out, very close to Zabar's and H&H. Have fun. fayefood.com

      5 Replies
      1. re: fayehess

        I disagree with the Burger Joint rec. It is terribly pedestrian.

        1. re: steakrules85

          What seems pedestrian to some (ouch) can be very impressive to out of towners. I have had guests come from all over the world and have picked the burger joint as a favorite. They love the velvet curtain hiding a (pedestrian) burger counter. Of course your guests are probably a lot classier than mine.

          1. re: fayehess

            I didn't mean it to sound like I'm too good to eat at a place like the Burger Joint. I am merely saying that I don't think their burgers are anything great- I can make a better one at home and for 7 bucks its a rip off.

            We are all entitled to our own opinions I guess you know.

            1. re: steakrules85

              You are absolutely right about the opinions and the burger and I shouldn't be so touchy. I'll get right off the subject and because of your name, go right to rec.'ing "Cut" in LA. Some of the best Kobe steak I have had, hands down. fayefood.com

        2. re: fayehess

          I haven't been to Excellent Dumpling House in years but was never impressed with them. Wouldn't Great NY Noodletown be a better bet for wonton or shrimp dumpling soup? I would think so.

          Sandi, my advice is to eat lots of Asian food. Various kinds of Chinese food and Malaysian food are available close to SoHo. For example, my favorite Malaysian restaurant in New York is Skyway, Allen between Division and Canal, but if that's not convenient, you could have an acceptable Malaysian meal at Nyonya, Grand St. between Mott and Mulberry (caveat: I haven't been there for years, but other hounds still like the place). Great NY Noodletown, Bowery and Bayard, is open late and is a good, inexpensive place for barbecued items, soups, and dishes with flowering chives and pea shoots. Congee Village, Allen just south of Delancey, is a terrific place for Hong Kong style banquet foods. Its main room has some decor and atmosphere, but the place is quite inexpensive for the quality and variety of food it serves. Nightmare on weekends, though; make sure you have reservations on a Friday or Saturday night! If you want Shanghainese food, you can go to New Yeah on Bayard between Mott and Elizabeth/Bowery. If you go there, get the eel special, and any number of cold dishes. Some hounds prefer Shanghai Cafe (I'm pretty sure that's the name) on Mott between Canal and Hester. A block north of there, on Mott between Hester and Grand, is the fantastic Banh Mi Saigon Bakery, where you can get a wonderful Vietnamese sandwich for lunch and take it to a park, such as the one on Spring St. and Mulberry, to eat it outdoors, if the weather is nice.
          And your hotel is in Koreatown, where you should go to Han Bat, 35 St. between 5th and 6th, for Dolsot Hyaemul Bibimbap (other stuff is also fine). Good banchan (side dishes provided gratis with the meal) plus bibimbap will run you around $13 for lunch or dinner. Another place with cheap food that's good and soothing is the Mandoo Bar, probably on the same block your hotel is on - 32nd between Broadway and 5th (but right near 5th). If you don't mind spending more money, you can get a great value in super-tasty Korean barbecue at Madangsui, on the same block as Hang Bat (35th St. between 5th and 6th). You are also within walking distance of Curry Hill, the Indian area that centers around Lexington Av., between approximately 26th and 29th Sts.

          You will have no trouble eating cheaply and well. Most of the restaurants you'll see mentioned on this board have menus up in menupages.com, and though the menus might not be fully current, they will give you a pretty good idea of what's on the menu and what the meal will cost, and you may see links to restaurant homepages, too.

          By the way, the Lower East Side and East Village are not far from SoHo, either, and you probably wouldn't want to miss having a pastrami sandwich at Katz's. It's not a cheap sandwich, but it's great! There are loads of other things to be had around here. If you have interests in particular cuisines, just mention them. Good pizza is also available in the area (including Arturo's on Houston and, reputedly [haven't tried it yet], L'Asso on Mott and Kenmare), and there are some good brunch places that will cost you around $20 or less, including Jane, which is just across Houston from SoHo.

        3. Il Corallo Trattoria would be great.
          Its in Soho. Big enough for your crowd, great service, delicious food, extensive menu, and really very reasonably priced. I think you'll be pleased.

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