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Jul 11, 2008 09:20 AM

Visiting Manhattan

First timer to NYC. Staying near MSG.

Where do I go to find truly authentic New York food? Most likely lunch or really late dinner (after midnight).

Thanks for your suggestions.

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  1. Hi. Can you give us a sense of your budget, how many people, any food restrictions or preferences? "Authentic NY food" covers some things like Katz's for a pastrami sandwich, bagels, pizza - those are the first that come to mind, but we've got thousands of restaurants, so it would help if you could narrow it down a bit for us.

    This might help you too:

    6 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Sorry. My budget is rather small, and my time is limited. Not looking for a drawn-out sit-down meal. Just quick, affordable, authentic NY food.

      I understand Delis are very NY, but what else is there? How late are most places open? I might be eating dinner past midnight.

      1. re: Orange Whip

        Lots of places are open past midnight, especially those catering to the post-bar crowd. Do you *only* want take-out eateries or are you OK with sitting down briefly for a short meal at a more casual place?

        Places open late:


        You can also check for hours for specific restaurants.

        1. re: kathryn

          Sitting down is fine. I want to eat what NYers eat.

          1. re: Orange Whip

            I guess the tricky part is that a lot of New Yorkers eat a lot of different things. I only went to Katz's for the first time earlier this year and rarely eat bagels or pizza (just as an example). But, if you can find the time to swing down to Katz's for lunch, I'd recommend it

            1. re: Orange Whip

              I'm a NYer and of those mentioned in the previous links, I love Blue Ribbon Bakery, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Pastis, 'inoteca, Katz's Deli, Veselka....and the occasional slice from Joe's (although it ain't what it used to be).

              RIP Florent.

              1. re: Orange Whip

                Last night I had octopus salad at Gascogne. Today for lunch I had mandoo (Korean dumplings) at Mandoo Bar. Tonight I am going to Balthazar for oysters, steak tartare and other French brasserie fare. I am a NY-er. That's what I eat. Does that help?

        2. I would try Katz's Deli on Houston Street for sure; get a nice pastrami on rye!

          1. you might also want to try cafe habana for a great cuban sandwich and fantastic mexican corn (may even see a celebrity or two)...inexpensive, as is katz's...

            1. I think that what the other posters are trying to tell you is that your question is way to vague. There are tens of thousands of restaurants in Manhattan alone, so to begin with you need to narrow down your preferences. New York is is one of the most diverse cities on the planet - so you can find every possible type of cusine- and New Yorkers eat them all.
              As MMRuth has noted, Maybe what you mean is traditionally New York centric food like bagels, pizza, deli.
              If that's the case then you should know that there are very few old time delis left- the very best is Katz's on the lower east side (worlds best pastrami) or for kosher deli the Second Avenue Deli in midtown. Many different opinions on the best pizza in Manhattan (general consensus is that the absoloute best in the city is DiFara in Brooklyn). Seasrch this board for pizza as well,as bagels in Manhattan.
              Price is a critical point- you say you want inexpensive, but you really need to let us know what uour price range is. Food in New York generally costs more (sometimes quite a bit more) than the same item would run in most other places in the US and Canada- so a New Yorkers idea of cheap might be a lot different than yours.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Ann900

                What about Carnegie Deli?

                Ideally spending $20 per meal.

                I'm looking for authenticity, and quality of any type.

                If you, Ann900, we're going to eat at ONE PLACE with the criteria given, where would that be?

                1. re: Orange Whip

                  Carnegie Deli would certainly not be my choice. It's something of a tourist trap and much better pastrami, corned beef and other deli items can be found elswewhere - it's also way overpriced.
                  If visitors ask me for the best to go for a "real New York expeerience" I always send them to Katz's.If you go, DON'T get table service. Stand in line at the counter and order and have a dollar ready for the cutter's jar.
                  For bagels I suggest Ess a Begal on the east sie- the bagels are very good and you can sit down. My favorite New York bagels are Absolute Bagels on Broadway and 107- I don't know know if that's to far for you (take the 1 train to 103 and walk up Broadway 3 blocks).They also have a few tables where you can sit.
                  Many of the places that Albertahound are quite good, but not really a "New York experience." For example, Shack Shake has great burgers *it's what they're known for) but I bet that wherever you live there is a place for great burgers. Amy Ruth has decent )but not great) soul food, but that's not "real" New York- it's southern. You get the idea

                2. re: Ann900

                  The question is not too vague. And sure, Katz's is great, but there are so many great, cheap only-in-NY places, such as:

                  NY Noodletown
                  Shake Shack
                  Pommes Frites
                  Patsy's Pizza
                  Amy Ruth's
                  Corner Bistro
                  McSorleys - for beer, not food

                  These are just a few off the top of my head. It doesn't have to be so complicated!!

                3. Artisanal has fantastic cheeses and is a reasonable walk from MSG - you could have a cheese plate for lunch accompanied by wine - great wine list by the glass. Not authentic NY food, but an authentic NY experience, I think.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MMRuth

                    My father taught me about 50 years ago--before I came for my HS graduation gift and fell in love with this city -- that if you want a terrific New York experience, eat eggs at any all-night diner. That sounds like what you want.