need rec's for pre-opera dinner, met museum lunch, downtown lunch lunch, downtown lunch
Will be vacationing in NYC with my wife late March/early April. Can you recommend a dinner spot within short walk of Lincoln Center. (the only suggestion I have so far from reading CH board is Compass). Reservations and ability to get out in time for the show are musts. Also, will need lunch spot near Met museum of art, and lunch spot near the area where one boards the Staten island ferry. Budget for 2: $100ish dinner, $30ish lunch. will want beer/wine option with dinner (1 drink each). Don't need alcohol option for lunches. Open to many cuisines, excepting exotic/bizarre/challenging. Happy with soup/sandwich/salad type place for lunches, but other types of restaurants also OK. Prefer healthy ingredients and preparation. For pre-opera dinner, would prefer an atmosphere that's not overly casual since we'll be dressed up, but don't necessarily need "fine dining" (and aren't budgeted for that anyway). Thanks!
Lincoln Center Dinner: With your budget, Landmarc might be the best choice other than Compass.
Met Lunch: Definitely don't miss Café Sabarsky for top notch Austrian cuisine and phenomenal Viennese pastries in an old world atmosphere (if you would like to blow some of the calories you've saved on entrees).
Ferry Lunch: Burger Shoppe just opened nearby. I haven't been but the menu and layout looks great for something casual.
Being an opera fanatic, I am familiar with all of these spots.
Besides Landmarc, some other close possibilities in your price range are:
O'Neals - 2 blocks away
Lighter fare - Bouchon Bakery - 3 blocks away
Le Pain Quotidien for soups, salads, sandwiches, pastries - 2 blocks away
Bar Boulud - right opposite the MET
Josephina's - right opposite
Rosa Mexicano - right opposite
Nick & Tony's - 3 blocks from the MET
La Fenice - 4 blocks away
La Boite en Bois - 5 blocks away
We ate at Bar Boulud before the opera on Thursday night. We had no problem getting reservations and getting out in time for the show--my husband was able to get us reservations at 5 PM which gave us lots of time. We enjoyed our meal there as well, even though some of the reviews have been less than stellar.
I would recommend Josephina's for dinner before the opera. It is quite reasonable, convenient, and most of the crowd goes to Lincoln Center at that hour, so you will be fine.
I used to live right by Lincoln Center, attend a lot of operas, and be very lazy about cooking which translates into far greater familiarity with just about every restaurant in the vicinity that was around two or three years ago than I usually care to admit. I think the best option for a moderately-priced, nice, pre-opera dinner is Pasha (Turkish). You can dress up at Pasha and no one will blink an eye. They have a pre-opera prix fixe, but regular menu options are better. IMHO, it's much better than La Boite en Bois, Nick & Tony's, and O'Neals.
For a downtown lunch, in no particular order, look into Snack Taverna, Kati Roll, Indian Bread Company, Doyer's, Home, Po, Gray Dog, 'Ino, BarFry.
Since you have no idea what the weather will be, I strongly recommend someplace closer than Pasha - like Josephina's across the street. They are set up for the Lincoln Center crowd and have a reasonably good pre-theater menu. Check it out with the link below.
1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023
Also near the Met are Dovetail (I've never been but I'm planning to take my parents there pre-opera in May) and Kefi (again, I've never been, but it's supposed to be excellent Greek food at VERY reasonable prices). However, my go-to at the Met is Cafe Fiorello, right across the street. It's not cheap, but the food is good. It's also great if you want a quick after-opera dessert - get the cheesecake!