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Jun 30, 2008 04:32 PM

Fun restaurants for 2 fortyish women tourists!

I will be coming to NY in a couple of days and staying at the 6 Columbus hotel right behind the Time Warner center. I have looked on the internet for restaurants to eat at and found a place called Tao which looks a bit exotic. I was wondering if we should go only for drinks or is it worth while staying for dinner?

If you have other suggestions.....we will be two 40 year old women looking to have nice dinners and drinks. We don't like too stuffy places either. Around the hotel, I had dinner at Bar Boulud, which I liked very much, and in the hotel at Blue ribbon but was looking for new places. I don't want places like Jean-Georges, a bit too expensive for my budget, but we both like to eat well. Just so you can see what are my tastes, I ate at Artisanal, Casa mono, Centro vinoteca, Campanile, Urena, Mercer kitchen just to name a few. If you have places in that vein....I will gladly accept suggestions for dinner and/or drinks.

My friend has never been to NY and wants to eat in Little Italy, because of the movies and television shows like The Sopranos, even if I told her that there aren't really good Italian restaurants on Mulberry. It will be my 15th trip to NY and I never ate there, but I want her to enjoy a trip so I thought that I could ask here if anyone knew of a good Italian restaurant on Mulberry. Frequent posters like RGR know that I like Campanile on 29th so if there is an equivalent restaurant on Mulberry, please let me know!

Thanks in advance for your answers!

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  1. I don't happen to think the food at Tao is very good (or exotic for that matter) and it isn't in the same league as many of the other places you mentioned. Drinks could be fun though. Near there, Alto is nice. As is Park Avenue Summer. BLT Market is ok.

    On the Little Italy question, just do a search. You'll find a few posts with almost the exact same question and a few answers. I don't eat there, so don't have any suggestions except to say: take your friend for a pastry and a walk to satisfy her, but eat somewhere nearby: perhaps Peasant on Elizabeth for good Italian and countless other non-Italian options.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Jorel

      Alto is excellent, albeit expensive. There is one place in Little Italy that some posters have recommended - I'll try to find the link.

          1. re: MMRuth

            Thanks MMRuth for working so hard for us:)

            Can't wait for Thursday!!

    2. Spice Market in the Meat Market, just south of 14th St, has delicious Asian-inspired street food, and a fun atmosphere.

      4 Replies
      1. re: roxlet

        Overpriced, mediocre food. Go to Chow Bar for better value pan-Asian.

        1. re: rrems

          They might also enjoy Chinatown Brasserie - I've not been to Spice or Chow Bar though ....

          1. re: MMRuth

            I was thinking about Chinatown Brasserie also...I thought that could be a place we could enjoy having a bite and a drink.

            Another one I was thinking of trying was Extra virgin in the west village. It seems to have good food for not too steep prices. What do you think?

            1. re: cricri7

              I'm not familiar with Extra Virgin, unfortunately.

      2. Several places I love that are well below Jean-Georges in price but have wonderful, creative food are Dovetail, Bar Blanc, Perilla, and Olana. I also like Marseille, Nice Matin, Crispo and O Mai as more inexpensive choices. These can be difficult to get in without reservations so you might want to look into that now.

        3 Replies
        1. re: rrems

          As a fellow forty-ish diner here is what I have enjoyed......Alta, Babbo, Perry Street, Balthazar, Perilla, Tartine, Bridge Cafe (lunch) Boathouse (lunch), Abbocato, and Orso. Spice Market was fun for a late night bite if you go for the atmosphere and expect o.k. food. Stanton Social was great for brunch.
          have fun!

          1. re: trishottawa

            These are good recs too. I'd particularly try to get to Perry St. for lunch/brunch. The food is great and it's a great buy at $24 for 3 courses.

          2. re: rrems

            I like O Mai as well for Vietnamese - lovely room too.

          3. In Little Italy, many of the restaurants are gone, but Angelo's has been around forever and while it can be touristy, the food is actually good. Get the gnocchi and the fried zucchini. Also, Umberto's is very old school Italian and has very good food. great fried calamari and clams.

            1. I just wanted to report to where we went finally....

              I had the best dinner ever and one of the best experiences in a restaurant at the bar room of the Modern at the MOMA. This is an incredible restaurant where everything, from the food, decor and service is first rate. We shared the shaved vegetable salad, arctic char tartare and steak tartare and both had the lamb, shank and loin. Everything was simply delightful! Everyone should go there.

              We went to Extra virgin and this was also excellent. On Friday, the special of the day is the seafood and fish bouillebaise and it was excellent. My friend wanted to eat in an old style Italian restaurant so we went to Monte's on MacDougall. The food is excellent there and not too expensive. We had lunch at Pastis...the food is good but the service is simply awful. We ended up waiting 40 minutes for our food! I will not be going back there even if the food was good.

              The one miss was Centro vinoteca. I had dinner there in March and the food was good but it went downhill. I now understand why the place was empty on a Thursday night and we walked by on Friday and it was still empty. I had the soft shell crab and it was almost uneatable. The table next to us also had a bad experience with their food. I will not be going back there!

              I talked about going to Tao but we only went for drinks. I am sure glad we did not eat there and will not be going back. First of all, it is too dark (great way to mask the food!) and too trendy for me. We saw many 16 to 22 years olds with Blackberry in hands screaming in the bathroom all dressed alike. Let's just say that this is not my crowd:)

              Thanks again for all your suggestions!

              2 Replies
              1. re: cricri7

                So glad you had a great trip - thanks for reporting back. Still haven't tried the Modern ....

                1. re: MMRuth

                  What are you waiting for MMRuth??? It really is an incredible restaurant. As for the food, it is the 2nd best restaurant I eaten in my life (the 1st would be in Chicoutimi, Quebec where I had the best meal of my life!) and for the decor, service and is the best experience I have ever had! Like I said in my review, I would try the formal dining room another time because you have the view of the sculpture garden while eating. It is really incredible!