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Family of five (three teens) will be in NYC. Want food that is budget and fun

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Next week we have three days in Manhattan. I would like to have a list of various good spots that are not too mundane yet not too expensive as we are five people. We all love to sit down and eat together so a little comfort at the end of the day would be great. We eat all kinds of foods and will be all over Manhattan. Ethnic is a plus.

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  1. Before we can help you, I think you may need to define a few more parameters. Manhattan has literally thousands of restaurants.

    Define "too expensive," please. Some out of visitors think $25pp including tax and tip is too expensive... :)

    Being that you are five people, you will fine that some spots will be a bit cramped, or, have a long wait since they don't have that many large tables. Would you prefer making reservations instead?

    Is your party adventurous? Such as, would they eat things like sushi and other raw fish? Would they be into things like sweetbreads, foie gras, brains, pig's head, fatback, etc?

    Since you will be all over Manhattan, could you give us a look at your itinerary so we don't recommend spots that are too out of the way?

    1. I think any/all of these could work for you all (check menus, addresses, info @ www.menupages.com):

      Chinatown Brasserie
      Bridge Cafe
      The Smith
      Bowery Bar & Grill
      Blue Ribbon Bakery
      Los Dados
      Bar Stuzzichini
      Rickshaw Dumpling Bar
      Pop Burger
      Chelsea Brewing Co.
      Blue Smoke
      Le Pain Quotidien
      Via Emilia
      Bar Americain
      BLT Market
      John's Pizzeria
      Uncle Nick's
      Sarabeth's Central Park South
      Serafina (entire chain
      )Kellari Taverna
      Cascina Ristorante
      Luna Piena
      Mama Mexico
      Patsy's Pizzeria
      David Burke @ Bloomingdale's (only if you can snag a booth)
      Landmarc (Time Warner)
      Bouchon Bakery
      Taco Taco
      Candle 79
      Central Park Boathouse


      1. Kathryn has provided an excellent list of specifics that will help us make appropriate suggestions. I will add a few more more:

        1. Is this your first visit to NYC? If you've been here before, where have you eaten?

        2. Where are you coming from? I ask this because, for example, if you are coming from an area of the US that is known for stellar bbq, I don't think it makes much sense for us to recommend bbq spots here.

        3. Are you looking only for dinner spots?

        1. Hi, if you and your family will be in midtown/Times Square area, I highly recommend the following places (especially for lunch, but their dinner prices are economical too). I found out about them thanks to this website. You should have no problems, everyone that posts here is very helpful and very knowledgeable.
          Bali Nusa Indah: Indonesian (between 45th and 46th Streets on 9th Avenue). Lunch specials start at 7 dollars.

          Saigon 48: Vietnamese (W.48th Street and 8th Avenue). Lunch specials are about 7.95.

          Chili Thai (this restaurant is very tiny but if you go early for lunch, 5 people may be OK).

          Enjoy NY.

          1. One other place you and your family may enjoy would be Havana (I think the full name is Havana Central) on W. 46th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. Charming place, big menu selection.

            1. Without knowing any specifics beyond what you have told us, but assuming that you do eat all cuisines, I would recommend the following low-mid range restaurants:
              Crispo, Chelsea
              Otto (great for salumi/cheese platters, grilled pizzas and olive oil gelato), Greenwich Village
              Lupa (tough reservation to get), Greenwich Village

              Ethos, Murray Hill

              Israeli/Middle Eastern:
              Taim (take-out felafel, good for lunch), West Village

              Asian Fusion:
              Momofuku Noodle Bar or Momofuku Ssam (must have the porkbelly buns), both East Village

              Shake Shack (good for lunch, burgers and shakes in the park!), Flatiron
              BLTBurger, Chelsea

              Florencia 13, SOHO

              Hampton Chutney Co. (dosas, good for lunch), SOHO
              Copper Chimney, Murray Hill
              Bombay Talkie, Chelsea

              Old NY-style Pizza:
              Lombardi's, Little Italy
              John's of Bleecker, West Village

              I recommend you do a search on the Manhattan board for these, as they have all been discussed, several of them on a near-constant basis!
              I have selected these based on the fact that they serve good food, are teenager-friendly and will cost between $10-40 per person. If you can go a little bit higher, to the $25-50 range (which might be necessary for certain trendy places, good Japanese or seafood), I would add a few others.
              I limited the options to Manhattan, as I assume that is where you are staying. If you would like options for your neighborhood, such as bagels for breakfast, please let us know where that is.
              Welcome to NY :)

              1. Meskerem Ethiopian Cuisine
                124 MacDougal St in Greenwich Village
                Lunch $6-8, Dinner $10-14
                Very casual, low key, heaping plates of good food served to share.
                I highly recommend the Special Tibs (lamb in a honey wine sauce) & Doro Wat (chicken in a red wine & Berberé sauce)

                Little Poland
                200 2nd Ave. in the East Village
                Very casual, essentially a little, old Polish diner
                The pierogis are notable authentic. Be sure to get a side of apple sauce or sour cream to dip them in.

                M&I International Foods
                249 Brighton Beach Ave in Brighton Beach (next to Coney Island
                )Russian grocery store, lunch counters downstairs & restaurant upstairs
                The best knishes. ($3-$5)
                Brighton Beach is the Russian version of Chinatown. Spend an afternoon taking the N train (express) to Coney Island & walk over to Brighten Beach for some series noshing.

                Don't forget pizza!
                Ben's Pizzeria
                123 MacDougal Street (in Greenwich
                )Slice $3-$5
                Open 8am Close 5am-ish (yes, am)
                Real NY pizza caters to NYU students, locals, & tourists. I like the broccoli pizza. The amount of broccoli on it is a little ridiculous, but still great.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Undercover

                  I want to thank everyone for so many comprehensive suggestions. I can't wait to look these up on Menupages. We will be touring Manhattan and are happy to try most foods. Yes, we eat raw fish but I think that it may be out of our price range. We live in Los Angeles and most of us visit NY often to see family.

                  1. re: sweetslover

                    Since you are from the LA area, I'd skip the Thai, Mexican, and Vietnamese recommendations, as well as the dim sum houses. You can do better and for cheaper back home.

                    Pizza, Katz's deli, bagels & smoked salmon, maybe throw in some burgers, Italian.

                    The Momofukus will probably be out of your price range.