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Hardest question in New York City - all time favorite restaurant that you hope will always be around.

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  • aeros Jul 6, 2008 08:03 PM
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The one question that will have as many opinions as people living in New York City. The trendy, the consistently reliable, the timeless, the hidden gems, the local favorites, the best kept secrets, the most gracious owners.

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  1. This may be an impossible question for me - some of our long time favorites are already gone. It seemed like the end of an era... Now there are so many wonderful places it a matter of picking the best one for my mood or most recent cravings.

    1. Katz's

      1 Reply
      1. re: Lettucepray

        Yes - Katz's is great in so many ways, the food, the service, the experience... Definitely one I would have on my list.

      2. Does NYC include the outer boroughs- if so Peter Luger hands down for me ahhhh.

        1 Reply
        1. re: steakrules85

          Katz's is the first place that comes to mind. But there are some that have their own nostalgia and good for what they do. 17 mott Wo Hop downstairs, for their lo mein and chow fun . Big Nick's for the craziest menu. Nathan's coney island although it aint what it used to be. Peter Luger of course. Don Peppe's as the first family style italian restauarant in new york. And Veselka just because.

        2. The Four Seasons

          1. i prefer other food but the feeling i get from peter lugers supersedes all other restaurants. ive been going since i was a kid as it was my grandfather's favorite restaurant, and i take my dad there whenever i can. the food is not only always perfect but is nice to think my grandfather and his friends enjoyed it as much as i do.

            1. I love this question because you could answer this many different ways. First, I suppose there's the restaurant that has the most history and tradition, the New York-iest of New York restaurants which, if closed, would signal the end of an era, as vonwotan says. That, I think, would be Katz's or Carnegie Deli. Other places that would make New York not quite the same for me if closed (although I admit that since I am young, my New York historical memory is quite short): Cipriani's, Balthazar, Lombardi's, Sarabeth's.

              Then there's the restaurant where I've had the best meal. I don't think I've tried enough good food yet to pick just one stand-out meal, but I have had some really great food at Sfoglia and Bouley.

              Then there are the restaurants I go to regularly, where I know I'll have good food and good company, where I go to meet up with my friends for the catch-up brunch or dinner. For me, that would be Mercer Kitchen and Nice Matin. And the neighborhood restaurant for minor celebrations and milestones: Chef Ho's on the UES, where we always get the peking duck (not exactly a a renowned restaurant, but I think Chef Ho's has the second best peking duck in Manhattan, after Peking Duck House)

              Lastly, and this interpretation is my favorite, the restaurants that will always have a place in my heart because something special happened there, or because they were among the first places I ate when I first moved to New York: The West End, Max Cafe, Deluxe, Koronet's, Tom's, Pinnacle and Strokos (both disgusting but fond memories), Symposium, Meridiana, 'Cesca.

              1 Reply
              1. re: nyc.girl

                I know. There are so many ways to answer. Like songs, different restaurants evoke different memories and times. I love Po - from its very beginnings until now. Mas Farmhouse is wonderful, Wallse - wonderfully comfortable. Piccolo Angolo - like coming home. Home - wonderful garden setting. Aperitivo on 56th that has long closed. And the list goes on and on.

              2. Raoul's. Blue Ribbon Brasserie. Balthazar. Four Seasons. Gramercy Tavern. DoJo's. Tortilla Flats.

                1 Reply
                1. re: chow_gal

                  Delmonico's, Oyster Bar at GCS, Balthazar, Four Seasons, Katz', Carnegie, Sardi's, Tavern on the Green

                2. Orologio. Been going for years. Its always delicious.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: c11

                    Was taken there last weekend and thought the food was very mediocre.

                  2. My answer to this would have been Provence, but it just recently closed. So, my new answer is Le Bernardin, with the caveat of Chef Ripert in the kitchen.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: offthebeatenpath1

                      OMG...LOVE Le Bernardin
                      Also....Avra
                      The Palm
                      Blue Ribbon restaurant and Blue Ribbon Sushi
                      Scalinatella
                      way too many others to mention....

                    2. Jean Georges

                      :)

                      1. PETER LUGER'S!!!!

                        1. The oyster bar at Track's, New Wonton Garden, Taro, David's Brisket House and Gray's Papaya.

                          1. Oh, I think I'll probably be slammed on this board for saying this. But I'll say the White Castles in Sunnyside, Queens. It was there when I was a kid and it's still there now. Loved to eat it as a kid. As I got older, loved to eat it after drinking. Totally understood Harold and Kumar in that movie about how when you get a craving, nothing else will do. I really don't eat it anymore these days but I still have an affinity for that particular White Castles. If it closes, I'll really be sad. The one in Manhattan does nothing for me.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Miss Needle

                              Miss Needle
                              it's funny because , I grew up near the White Castle on Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn. I always thought these were better than any other white castle.
                              I also mentioned white castle in my list of burger places

                              1. re: foodwhisperer

                                Ha! We should have a White Castle Throwdown -- the one on Atlantic Ave versus the Sunnyside one.

                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                  I must throw in the WC on the corner of Bell BLVD and Northern Blvd in Queens. Every 20 years they knock it down and build a new one right in the old parking lot.

                            2. As we have expanded beyond Manhattan, I have to add DiFara's and Totonno's (Coney Island). [Although it is clear that no matter how much I hope, DiFara's will disappear in the next few years]

                              1. Momofuku's Ssam bar, Balthazar, Otto (only for it's proscuitto and this one pizza i get)

                                1. primehouse, houstons, avra, milos

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: speech23x

                                    The bar room at the Modern in the MOMA for me. I went to Extra virgin last week and the bouillebaisse was incredible (friday night special).

                                  2. Yes Luger's and Katz's also Patisserie Claude, Osm/b, Randazzo's in brklyn, Odessa on Ave.A and the Waverly diner

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: misnatalie

                                      Afraid to say that Claude is closing shop sometime in September. I was wondering why he didn't close to go home to France for Bastille Day. Apparently, he's moving back to France! Sad news :(

                                      1. re: y3n0

                                        Thanks for the update - that is sad to hear. I'll have to make sure to stop in before then.

                                        1. re: y3n0

                                          oh no, i had no idea. that's too bad. i am happy for him, though. i'll stop in and wish him a happy retirement.

                                      2. Yasuuuuuuuuuda!

                                        1. i'm surprised no one has said shopsins!

                                          (i'm not saying it, either, simply because i'm incapable of answering this question. there really are too many that i love, all in very different ways. but i am surprised. maybe all the moving about has weakened the foundations of this institution.)

                                          1. hmmm

                                            grammercy tavern
                                            degustation
                                            york grill
                                            tatany72
                                            sushi of gari
                                            sushi yasuda
                                            matsuri
                                            craft
                                            italian village pizza
                                            public
                                            tailor
                                            katz's

                                            i could go on.... and on.....

                                            1. molly's
                                              corner bistro
                                              spotted pig
                                              lupa
                                              babbo
                                              casa mono
                                              keens
                                              esca
                                              le bernardin
                                              shaffer city
                                              una pizza napoletana
                                              mike's deli
                                              roberto's
                                              ...and maybe 50 more.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: steve h.

                                                What about Po' and Arturo's Pizza?

                                              2. La Bonne Soupe

                                                1. Daisy May's - where else can you get a bbq'ed 30 lb pig in NY?
                                                  Mei leh wah (the old version with the old toison guys, not the new version that passes DOH and has 15 year old girls up front)
                                                  Jean Georges
                                                  Fu Leen - Best $5.50 lunch intown
                                                  Hallo Berlin (cart and restaurant)
                                                  Big Nick's - home of the 1 lb Sumo Burger for all you low-carb people
                                                  Cafe Zaiya - Beard Papa cream puffs and great Japanese fast food

                                                  1. Peter Luger
                                                    Toloache
                                                    Tulcingo del Valle
                                                    Ethos

                                                    www.thelunchbelle.com

                                                    1. Bravo Gianni.

                                                      1. I'm probobly gonna get beat up for such a low brow fave but for me there was really nothing to think about on this question. Kinsale on the UES. It's just such a great authentic NY Irish pub. Frank the owner, all the bartenders and Pauline the manager are like your best buddies every time you no matter how far between visits that may be. The Guiness pour is the best anywhere. They have a single malt slection that rivals many much higher priced, much fancier downtown places. And last but not least the shepards pie IMHO is the best in town. The burgers and lamb chop plate rival just about any of the venerables.

                                                        1. El Quijote - 23rd St.

                                                          1. I second Po - for some reason, the food and service there is always great and its not expensive. I've recommended the place to countless people and no one has ever disagreed with me.