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Favorite Restaurants on W46th Restaurant Row?

Until recently, I've never eaten at any of the restaurants along the strip between 8th & 9th ave on W 46th st. I've always assumed the food in them to be subpar, the restaurants having sprung up there to capture the theatergoers and times square tourist crowds. The hawkers out front didn't help.

But every assumption warrants a challenge. Do any of the W46th restaurants serve great food?

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  1. I don't know about "great," but over the years I've had good meals at Orso, Firebird, and Becco.

    1. I am definitely not a fan of Becco. Mediocre pastas, uncomfortably packed seating, and a noise level so hideous that normal conversation becomes impossible.

      We've been to Le Rivage and Les Sans Culottes. In a word: Avoid!

      Though we haven't been to Orso or Joe Allen's, based on the positive things I've read, I would consider trying them, but I wouldn't expect *great* food.

      1. When I eat on Restaurant Row, I usually wind up at Les Sans Culottes. Nothing special, but their "sausage tree" appetizer is fun and the food is bistro-style stuff, mostly solid. I've had decent steak, duck breast, moules frites, etc there. Their chocolate mousse is good for dessert. The prix-fixe price is quite reasonable, too, for all the food you get ($21 or $22 last time I was there). I've tried several others on the strip, including Joe Allen, Firebird and a couple of others, and they're okay, but generally mediocre. I try to avoid the whole row when possible, simply because I know there's better food on the other side (9th Ave.).

        1. Queen of Sheba at W46th and 10th. Best Ethiopian in Manhattan.

          1 Reply
          1. re: yt28

            Pomaire on 46th is a great Chilean Restaurant. I haven't been there in a few years, but the few times i went it was really good.

          2. I am probably in the minority but I like Becco - for certain times. The all you can eat 3 pasta tableside deal is a nice price ($22, including a caesar or antipasto) and I am fond of the pastas, though usually only 2 out of the 3 are actually home made pasta. Sauces range from good to excellent for a reasonably priced manhattan restaurant, in my opinion.

            Rest of becco's stuff is just adequate at best. I agree with what others have said about tight seating, bad noise, and frequently inattentive service. Best time to go is a weeknight for dinner - weekend nights, forget about it. The once kept my girlfriend and I waiting 1hr + for an 8pm reservation we had made a week in advance with no apology.

            1. My tentative foray into W46th dining involved a pizza from Tramonti Italian Rest & Pizzeria last week. Effusive reviews at menupages and yelp had led me to expect the food there to be "amazing," "delicious," "absolutely sublime," and "some of the best pizza I've ever had."

              I ordered a pizza rustica, a tomato sauce and mozz pizza with sausage and mushrooms. The crust was very crisp, but that was probably because it razor thin. It was also extremely bland - tasting like a saltine cracker, minus the salt. I'm not sure whether the cheese was just mozz or included other cheeses, but it was rather more smelly than I usually care for on this type of pizza. The sausage hunks were generous in size, but mostly tasted of just fat with little spice. Sauce was ok, nothing special. A solitary and small fresh basil leaf sat forlornly near the center of the pie (more basil could have made up for a number of the other shortcomings).

              This is not a contender for one of the better pizzas in Manhattan; you'd do better with a Domino's. Can't comment on their other dishes. Perhaps those truly are "absolutely sublime."

              1. The only one I would recommend is Orso. I normally go after theater, but have on occasion made it a destination on its own because the food really is quite good.

                1. i've only had becco and bangkok house. the latter was good years ago. not so great lately and i share the sentiments re becco.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: nativeNYer

                    Hey, nativeNYer,

                    Exactly which sentiments with regard to Becco do you agree with? I'm not in any way a fan and would avoid it like the proverbial plague while CarGuy likes it "for certain times." He and I differ about the pastas though he does agree with me about the sardine-style seating and unbearable noise level

                    1. re: RGR

                      hi RGR,
                      just found your post now. seems my recent post list is not updating regularly.

                      i was agreeing with the negative sentiments stated about becco. i think i must have missed the positive becco posts here. sorry.

                      we chose the pasta sampler and, while I really like the idea of unlimited pasta of three different varieties being tossed onto my plate, something was just off. it's hard to explain as i felt it all had a hint of potential but all the flavors seemed diluted. there really was something unique about the taste but, in my opinion, it seems to be ruined by a result of quick mass production prepared without care and by skimping on ingredients. i really wanted to like it, though, and i feel that it is a shame that, for whatever reason (cost of rents, increasing cost of ingredients, apparent absence of lidia (with not even a lingering sense of her guidance, etc.)), it just didn't cut it. I liked the atmosphere a lot. Very attractive space, done well but without all the noise.

                      1. re: nativeNYer

                        Hey, nativeNYer,

                        Yes, the site is experiencing serious problems and, among other glitches, posts are not updating properly.

                        The last time we were at Becco (and it will be the last time) was a few years ago. Before that, we hadn't been there in a very long time. Back in the early days, which pre-dated Lidia becoming famous, things were quite different. The ayce pastas were well-prepared and very tasty; tables were not jammed into every nook and cranny; and the noise level was fine. I think Becco has become a vicitim of its own success, and everything about it has suffered.

                        1. re: RGR

                          agreed. although my experience there is limited to one, very recent visit, the details of your past experiences are exactly what i had expected to hear. it is tragic.