Recommendations for 4 day visit
My friend and I will be visiting for 4 days in mid-May and would appreciate some of your favorite restaurant suggestions. Not looking for high-end establishments - food more important than swanky atmosphere. Will be staying in the Chelsea area but will be visiting various areas of the city so we aren't limited geographically. We are seeing a play on Broadway Saturday night, so a suggestion for that area would be helpful. We especially want to eat good Italian, Chinese, Pizza, Deli food, bagels, and other ethnic cuisines. We love all Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Russian/Eastern European, etc. Would also like to hear about good bakeries and diners. Anything not to be missed? Thanks in advance for your help!
Near the Chelsea area, the best Italian is Crispo but if you venture downtown a bit further, there is great Italian to be eaten at Lupa (affordable Batali), Babbo (expensive Batali), Peasant and Apizz (a little pricer but not too bank-breaking.) Cacio e Pepe and Frank in the east village are also very good. For pizza slices, definitely Joe's, Vinny Vincez or Bleeker Street's Nonna Maria Pizza. For pizza pies in a cozy sitdown atmosphere, definitely Lombardi's in Little Italy or Luzzo's or Una Pizza Nepoletana, both in the East Village.
There is also great and affordable Italian near the theatre district at Trattoria Trecolori. Another theatre district recommendation would be the bistro Marseille. For Chinese, head to Joe's Shanghai in Chinatown or Congee Village or Amazing 66. The best Jewish delis are Katz and 2nd Ave. Deli. For awesome Italian hero sandwiches, hit up the hole-in-the wall Crosby Connection that is now on Elizabeth Street.
For Indian, try Devi and for great Greek hit up Anthos or Kefi. Great hole-in-the-wall falafel is at Mamoun's in the West Village. Try momofuku ssam for a new-wave Korean food experience.
Veselka is a great Easter European diner in the village that's open 24 hours. Also, on the upper west side, make sure to go to Levain's Bakery and Zabar's and H&H bagels.
Go to Cookshop for brunch - it's delicious. The menu is American and features local and seasonal ingredients, as well as grass-fed beef and organic chicken. I highly recommend the grass-fed beef brisket with poached eggs, the burger, and their bakery items. I've only ever had brunch there, but my husband went for dinner recently and really enjoyed it -- hearty and comforting braised and grilled dishes. Cookshop is on 10th Ave. & 20th St. -- do call ahead for reservations: 212.924.4440 (www.cookshopny.com)
If you're looking for Asian, there is the ever-popular and much-written about Momofuku mini-chain: Noodle Bar, Ssäm Bar, and most recently, Ko. You can just show up at Noodle and Ssäm, but be ready to wait for a table. Ko is the newest place and seats under 20 people, plus, it's new and opened to rave reviews, so it may be extremely difficult to get a reservation. Check out the Momofuku menus on their site, but definitely order the steamed pork buns and a (huge) bowl of kimchi stew...although momofuku ramen is amazing, too. (www.momofuku.com)
Big Booty Bakery is in Chelsea as well (23rd St. btwn 7th & 8th Ave's) - Latin-influenced and quite large in size. My boss used to bring me this massive almond croissant from there so buttery the paper bag it came in would be drenched by the time he got to the office - I mean this in a very positive way.
Lombardi's, as skooldya1 mentioned, is great for pizza. Try the clam pie -- totally and completely covered in clams. Una Pizza Napoletana is in the Momofuku neighborhood, but a but tricky - I think they're only open Thursday - Sunday, starting at 5:00pm and closing when they run out of dough. No joke.
Levain on the Upper West Side is a tiny, tiny shop on W. 74th St., between Amsterdam & Columbus - much closer to Amsterdam and right beneath a Max Wax salon. The cookies weigh about a pound each and you can usually get them warm, right out of the oven. Chocolate-chocolate chip is the very definition of decadence.
I forget the name, but there's a bagel place (Bagels & Co., maybe) at W. 79th & Amsterdam that I like much better than H&H. I think the H&H ones are a little too soft - I prefer a crunchier exterior.
Artisanal is French, very traditional, with an extraordinary cheese selection.
Have fun in New York!
I've not been, but the general consensus on the board is that Aquagrill is FABULOUS for seafood. Their menu looks great.
For ethnic food, I highly recommend that you check out the Outer Boroughs board and take the subway to Queens. The best Asian, Indian, Mexican, Bukharian and just about any other cuisine you can think of is to be found out here.