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Jan 13, 2008 08:58 AM

Local advice

Hello, happy new year.

We are visiting Manhattan in March and would very much appreciate a few tips on where to eat. In particular:

- any good place / places near Times Square (where we're staying) - doesn't need to be posh or expensive (though it may be) - just needs good ingredients well handled. We're a bit worried that there'll be lots of touristy places round there and it would be great to get some tips about what to avoid. .
- a couple of good curry house recommendations.
- a good late night eaterie near Times Square. Anything interesting.
- one super-duper recommendation for a birthday dinner for 2.
- what is the second best steak house in Manhattan?

We're going to Gordon Ramsay just to see if it's different from the UK ones.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. i advise eating AWAY from times square if possible

    10 Replies
    1. re: intrepid

      I guessed that might be the case. Is there anywhere OKish between the Shubert Theatre and Times Square itself?
      Any thoughts on curry houses?

      1. re: blatanttourist

        If you search the board, a stroll up Ninth Avenue to the 50's has the type of restaurants you prefer, but I cannot name any specifics......I am sure others will provide you with some recommendations in this area.

        1. re: fourunder

          Cheers, I'll take a look - is it easily strollable would you say? Don't mind a 20 minute walk or so. Where on the board are they?

          1. re: blatanttourist

            Go to the Manhattan board now.....there is presently a thread titled:

            Best Casual Restaurants on Ninth between 42nd and 57th.

            Yes, it is strollable. Also, check any information Theater related. There's John's Pizza and Tony di Napoli's?.....for rustic Italian

            1. re: fourunder

              The last time I went to the 44th St. location of John's (which was a few months ago), I found it almost epitomized mediocrity.

              1. re: Pan


                I will not defend the food, other than to say it is inexpensive rustic Italian......

                but the space is beautiful and I believe it falls into the parameters of the OP's original query. I suggest the OP Google John's and decide for themselves.


                1. re: fourunder

                  When I went it was super-crowded, though, which creates its own ambiance. Is there a time of day when it's not crowded?

            2. re: blatanttourist

              If you don't mind the walk (great!), this area's good eats include Kyotofu, Pam's Real Thai, Empanada Mamas, Hell's Kitchen, and much more -- all generally pretty inexpensive, expecially with the British pound to dollar conversion rate!

              Caselulla is a very nice, but very crowded, wine bar in the area. it's moderate to expensive.

          2. re: blatanttourist

            go to vice versa for italian 51 st btwen 8-9th ave

            1. re: intrepid

              Here's a second vote for Vice Versa.
              For French, you might want to try their next door neighbor, Rene Pujol.

        2. There are decent places to eat near you, but you will be spending more for the same quality food than you would in some other parts of town. This is not just because it's touristy; it is also a major financial area, so restaurants tend to cater to expense account diners.

          Some places near TS that I like:

          Insieme (Italian, expensive, W. 51st and 7th Ave) -- People complain that it's overpriced for too-small portions, and that's probably the case, but the flavor and ingredients generally are very good.

          Sukhadia's (Gujarati, very inexpensive, good chaat; W. 45th btwn 5th and 6th) -- It's much better to go at lunch time for the buffet or for the chaat than for dinner.

          Utsav (mostly north Indian, moderate; 6th ave. and 46th st.) has decent curry.

          Other honorable mentions:

          Keen's (steak, expensive)
          Del Frisco's (steak, expensive)
          Grayz (cocktails and bar nibbles, expensive)
          Anthos (Greek, expensive)
          Bar Americaine (regional / southernish American, raw bar, steak, expensive)
          The Modern Dining Room (nominally Alsatian, expensive -- BEAUTIFUL space, good special occasion dining)
          Town (hmm... European / American, I think, expensive; interesting architecture)
          Aquavit (Scandinavian, expensive)
          Sushi Den (expensive)
          Shimizu (sushi, moderate)
          Sea Grill (rockfeller center, expensive)
          Morell's Wine Bar (rockefeller center, expensive)

          Unfortunately, I can't really help out on the late night dining or the second-best steak since I don't do either in the area, really.

          If I had to do it in midtown, I'd personally celebrate a birthday at The Modern or Aquavit.

          Hope you have a very nice visit! And please report back about Gordon Ramsay. I still haven't been to any of those restaurants.

          1. We find a "Taste of India" to be quite good and moderately priced. It is on 44th St, between 5 & 6, closer to 5th.

            We recently ate dinner at Marseille on 48th St.- we thought it was very good.

            1 Reply
            1. re: pobo

              Marseille is on 9th AVE. at 44th St. :-) I agree it is excellent. Also agree with above recommendations of Vice Versa, and would add Orso and Chez Napoleon.

            2. For late night eating, go to Koreatown. Most of the restaurants on 35th St. and 32nd St. between 5th and 6th on those blocks are open 24 hours, and there's at least one (Woo Chon) on 36th near 5th which is open until 2 AM, according to (oddly enough, Woo Chon's own website doesn't seem to mention their open hours!). And when I say open 24 hours, I mean you can order anything from their dinner menu at any hour of the night and get a full banchan (complimentary side dishes).

              Not really a curry house, but try Ariana Afghan Kebab House on 9th Av. between 52nd and 53rd Sts. I've enjoyed their food for well over 20 years. Get the Aush, the Aushak or Bolanee Qandana, the Sultani Kebab, the Pumpkin Curry, and any of the other side dishes that appeal to you. All of the other dishes I've tried have been good.

              Another thing you should do, since you're in the area, is go to Poseidon Bakery, 9th Av. between 44th and 45th Sts., which has a delicious selection of both sweet and savory pastries, though there's nowhere to sit there.

              1. if you want good curry then check out curry hill. it is the neighborhood of lex in the 20's. i'm sure you could do a search on the area on this site.

                1 Reply
                1. re: fein

                  Curry Hill is, I think, mostly south Indian -- which doesn't really do curries. It's a wonderful place to go for dosa, vada, utthapam and that sort of thing, but if it's curry you're after, I'm not certain it's a better neighborhood than any other.