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Murray Hill Restaurant Suggestions - GOOD ONES

I live in Murray Hill and I tend to eat out everywhere else in this city. This area has a reputation for bad or mediocre restaurants. Has anyone found restaurants in this area that they just love? I have one Italian spot that I frequent - Trattoria Alba. The decor is a little cheesy but the service is great and the food is consistently good. Please share your Murray Hill food finds with me. I'd like to explore my neighborhood a little more. Much appreciated!!

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  1. Ethos and Ali Baba are very good.

    1. I agree that Ethos (Greek) and Ali Baba (Turkish) are good options.

      Ali Baba's menu on MenuPages.

      Cosette - Teensy, charming French bistro with very good food.


      Sarge's Deli - First-rate pastrami and other tasty stuff. Vast menu. Open 24/7. (See MenuPages.


      Pio Pio - Peruvian-style chicken.


      Wolfgang's Steakhouse - One of the Luger spin-offs.


      5 Replies
      1. re: RGR

        I can't tell you how many times I walk past these spots. Thank you! I'm a big French fan so I can't wait to try out Cosette. My boyfriend is not a big Greek food fan but I will definitely try out Ethos with a friend. As far as Steakhouses go, do you prefer Wolfgang's over Primehouse? They're so close I'd like to try the superior one.

        1. re: kissy28c

          We haven't been to Primehouse, but we're not going to bother because too many reports I've read have been negative.

          We've had dinner once at Wolfgang's. The food was very good, and service was fine. The landmarked interior space includes a gorgeous Gustavino ceiling.

          1. re: kissy28c

            Cosette which I had never been to--has been replaced by another tiny French bistro, the name of which I forgot but which I highly recommend, especially the steak frites.

            1. re: maxinem

              it's Le Parisien.

              Le Parisien
              163 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                I mentioned the change in my 10/2711 post downthread. I, too, recommend Le Parisien. And, yes, the steak-frites are excellent.

                Le Parisien photos (including steak-frites): http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...


          1. I'm not a really big fan of that neighborhood for restaurants, either. But I can tell you that Ethos ad Turkish Kitchen are very good. I also like I Trulli for Italian. I also seem to recall several fairly recent threads on the best Indian restaurants in the Curry Hill area, if you are into that.

            1 Reply
            1. re: vvvindaloo

              I Trulli is one of our neighborhood favorites. Fabulous fresh pasta!! We love eating al fresco too!!

            2. I stayed a couple of times in the Murray Hill area and always go back to a couple of restaurants. If you like Italian, you should try Campanile on 29th between Madison and park avenue south. The food there is excellent and the service impeccable. The owner is always present and takes care of his clients.

              The other is Artisanal. Their cheese fondue is excellent and their wine list is extensive. They have a great selection of wines by the glass.

              I always had breakfast at Les Halles and had dinner there once and liked it even if everyone on this board will tell you not to go there.

              5 Replies
              1. re: cricri7

                For some reason, I never think of Campanile as being in Murray Hill though I guess it is on the cusp. Regardless, it is one of our favorite Italians for the reasons you mention.


                1. re: RGR

                  I would also suggest Olana on 29th and Madison and I agree with Wolfgangs being very good.

                2. re: cricri7

                  As i mentioned I do love French but I had a bad experience at Les Halles (Park Ave location). It was unfortunate because the food was wonderful but the service was horrendous! I went on a Wednesday night, it wasn't packed, but it took over 20 minutes for someone to get us water and then another 10 to take our drink order. I probably would have left if i had not heard great things about the cuisine. I'm sorry to say I won't be back anytime soon but I may be tempted to try them out for breakfast - at the John Street location.

                  1. re: cricri7

                    I'm not a fan of Les Halles John Street location. However, we had lunch Saturday at the Park Avenue location and it was good. I posted a report on a Les Halles thread.

                    1. re: financialdistrictresident

                      Really? Good to know. I was planning on asking some co-workers to join me at the John St location for breakfast (I work nearby). Should I not bother? I'm glad to hear you had a good experience at the Park Ave location. Maybe I'll give them another try.

                  2. I agree with Ethos, Ali Baba and Sarge's (in that order), and would add: 2nd Ave. Deli (no longer on 2nd ave; it's just west of 3rd).

                    Jaiya (Thai) and Bar Milano are in Kip's Bay, just south of Murray Hill, instead of Murray Hill proper, but if you don't mind the walk, they are both pretty decent.

                    Koreatown is just west of the Murray Hill / Kip's Bay area. Madangsui on 35th is notable, there. (And just south of Koreatown in the upper 20s around Lexington, there are number of really delicious south Indian places, including Chennai Garden and Saravannas.)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: cimui

                      We've had two dinners at Bar Milano, and the food was excellent. It's on the corner of 3rd & 24th, which I think of as the northern edge of Gramercy rather than Kips Bay. Regardless, in my view, worth the walk from Murray Hill.


                      1. re: RGR

                        Agreed! Bar Milano was a good experience. It seems to have received quite a few poor reviews but I loved it. The mixed drinks were also a fun treat. Their mixologist makes very cool concoctions. Loved the "Veneto".

                    2. In addition to those already mentioned, I'd add Notaro for Italian food on Second Ave. and 34 St., La Petite Auberge for French food on Lexington and 28 St., Sushi Sen-nin on E. 33 St. between Park and Madison. I lived in the neighborhood for 15 years; I moved uptown last year. Also, I'd add Benjamins on Second Ave and E. 33 St.

                      1. Not much for me to add here but just to list our favorites in order (since we've lived here for the last 5 yrs) - this is probably also a good order of most frequented.
                        1. Wolfgangs
                        2. Artisanal
                        3. Sarges
                        4. Cosette
                        5. Trattoria Alba & El Parador
                        6. Turkish Kitchen
                        7. Barbes
                        8. Bar Milano
                        9. I trulli
                        10 - Wild Edibles
                        Other honorable mentions - at least worth one visit (Franchia, Asia de Cuba, Curry Leaf)
                        As you can see there are some amazing places in this part of town if you just know where to look

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                          Asia de Cuba! I haven't thought about that place in years! I used to stay at the Morgan for work (in the late '90s before I moved here) and room service was from there. And I'd go down for dinner with friends and clients. Very hip & trendy, but that was 10 years ago. Good food from when fusion was funky.

                          Asia de Cuba
                          237 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016

                          1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                            Asia de Cuba just closed this month after 27 years at the Morgan Hotel. Decor was superb and food not bad.

                            1. re: manya12

                              I can't believe Asia de Cuba was 27 years old. 17 years seems more like it. I think it opened in the 90s

                              1. re: cccharley

                                I only managed to get there once a few months ago and loved it. It was packed on a weekday night. Too bad!

                          2. Bistangos for Italian, Lamazou for the best sandwiches!

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: venezuelan

                              hey venezuelan, would you tell me more about bistango? i've walked by so many times since it opened without trying it. it's a nice looking space.

                              1. re: cimui

                                I went a couple of times when I lived in the area. Nothing to go out of the way for, but a well-priced option if you're looking for a casual Italian meal in the area.

                                1. re: cimui

                                  Lucia pretty much hit the nail on the head.

                                  1. re: cimui

                                    i know this is an old, thread but i don't see a recent post on bistango. just want to add my two cents that it is a neighborhood gem. probably not worth traveling far for, but been there a handful of time and never had a bad meal. recommend to anyone in the area

                                    415 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

                                  2. re: venezuelan

                                    I second Bistango. Nice Italian in the neighborhood. They just renovated and it looks great.

                                  3. kissy, i hope you'll forgive me for asking a question on your thread, but hopefully this will help your discussion, too.

                                    does anyone have thoughts on these places:

                                    Hudson Place
                                    Bamiyan (Afghan; the one time I tried it, the food did not impress me, though I did enjoy the orange-rind rice)
                                    La Posada?

                                    23 Replies
                                    1. re: cimui

                                      We've been to Bamiyan several times over the years, most recently a few months ago. I think the food is more than decent, and I find the flavors interesting. I particularly like the pumpkin-filled turnovers (kadu) and anything with eggplant. I've also enjoyed the marinated lamb chops.

                                      1. re: RGR

                                        thanks, rgr. i love afghan food, generally. on my visit to bamiyan last week, i had Bouranee Kadu (sauteed pumpkin with yogurt and meat sauce) and Quorma Baunjaun. there was something oddly flat tasting about the baunjaun, a lack of the complexity and layering of flavors that makes me love this dish when it is well made. the kadu prep is hard to mess up (i make it at home), and it was unobjectionable.

                                        turnovers sound great, though. and i hadn't seen the lamb chops on the menu. i'll have to give it another try.

                                        really appreciate the feedback.

                                        1. re: cimui

                                          Hey, cimui,

                                          Despite what I said about eggplant dishes, we've never tried the Buanjaun. We did try two new (to us) dishes the last time, but darned if I can recall what they were. My husband says he thinks one of them was the Mantoo. But in any case, we liked them both.

                                          We haven't eaten at ThaiNY. Our new "go to" place for Thai is Lantern Thai, on the corner of 2nd & 18th (former location of Pongsri). We've eaten at Lantern 4 times, and without exception, all the dishes we've tried have been delicious. They've done a great job of refurbishing the interior with attractive modern decor. When it's full, the noise level is a bit higher than I find comfortable, so we've taken to going there for lunch when it is much quieter.


                                          1. re: RGR

                                            I'e had delivery from Lantern. It's pretty good for the price.
                                            I also really like the thin crust pizza served across the street at Posto!

                                      2. re: cimui

                                        We've been to Hudson place and ThaiNY once each. I think that pretty much sums it up. We found both to be very unremarkable.

                                        And just to refer you to my earlier post, we love Barbes - both the food and the vibe are great.

                                        When it comes to ThaiNY, we always skip it and end up at Jaiya Thai next door instead. We find the dishes to be more (I hesitate to use this word) authentic, and Jaiya uses better/ fresher ingredients. But Jaiya tends to be more spicy than ThaiNY, so if you don't like spice then this may not be your thing.

                                        1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                                          Very helpful discussion re: Jaiya v. ThaiNY, SRoF -- thanks! I saw that you'd recommended Barbes, above, and would love to hear more about why. What's good there? What's the atm. like?

                                          1. re: cimui

                                            Barbes is one of those places we end up at two or three times a year and always end up asking: "Why don't we eat here more often?"

                                            It's Morrocaan French food and does each separate cuisine very well, i.e. excellent cassoulet and equally excellent tagines. But they also do well where the fuse the two - for instance we've had an excellent moules morroccan-style.

                                            It's good year round: the summer you can go and order many of the appetizers and share them tapas -style. And in the winter you can indulge in the hearty duck cassoulet.

                                            And the atmosphere is cozy yet comfortable, they add a lot of small touches to the decor to make it very inviting... It's a transporting experience without the 'Morroccan in your face' decor that prevails elsewhere.

                                            1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                                              i'm sold. that sounds really wonderful.

                                              1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                                                I remember when the Barbes space was a French bistro, the name of which I can't recall. Funny how the mind doesnot or does work because we ate there once, and I do distinctly remember having salmon en croute for my main course. We never went back, so I guess the food did not exactly bowl us over.

                                                I've thought about trying Barbes, but yours is the first really positive description of the food that I've read. So, like cimui, I'll be putting it on my "go to" list.

                                                1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                                                  We go to Barbes for dessert/mint tea and also wonder why we don't go for dinner. I had dinner there once when they first opened and it was good. They also have outdoor seating.

                                                  1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                                    I am interested to try Barbes after living in the area for 6 years and have never been. Am I the only person that did not like Bar Milano? Went the other night and would never go back for the food.

                                                  2. re: Spends Rent on Food

                                                    hey SROF, i tried barbes friday night and just wanted to report back. the space is attractive and cozy; the service is wonderful; and i enjoyed my roasted tomato / goat cheese appetizer. but i think i may have ordered one of the weaker entrees on the menu, a lamb tagine with vegetables (carrots, turnips, and potatoes). you can choose to have it with prunes rather than veggies, as well. the tagine was really just very bland, without much of anything to distinguish the dish as moroccan rather than, say, british. it had very few spices, generally: a barely detectable hint of cinnamon and no cumin or coriander or chopped herbs. and it didnt' taste as if it'd been slowly stewed as tagines ought (the lamb was still tough).

                                                    it might have been bad luck ordering, though. there were many nice-sounding appetizers on the menu (in particular roasted pear with foie gras). i'll have to give it another try sometime.

                                                    thanks, again, for sharing your murray hill finds!

                                                    1. re: cimui

                                                      Hey, cimui,

                                                      I'm very disappointed to read your opinion of the tagine at Barbes. A restaurant that focuses on the cuisines of North Africa, and they can't manage to prepare an excellent tagine? That has me re-thinking whether I should bother going there.

                                                      1. re: RGR

                                                        To tell you the truth, I wouldn't think about going back, either--except that in Morocco, tourist food is prepared in a very bland manner, too. It is possible that the blandness speaks less to lack of skill in the kitchen than it does to a mistaken perception of what non-Moroccans like to eat and that French and fusion fare, as SROF recommended, are better. I'm also starting to run out of places to try in the area. :) If you do try it, please report back. I'm really curious to hear what you think!

                                                        1. re: cimui


                                                          I've not been to Morocco. Here in NYC, it was at the late, very much lamented Lotfi's that I first experienced Moroccan cuisine. That spoiled me. The chef/owner came from Morocco, so the food was, I think quite authentic. Certainly not bland and truly delicious.

                                                          Your comment about running out of places to try in the area got me thinking. There was a Moroccan restaurant on 2nd Av., b/t 34th & 35th Sts., which we tried a couple of years ago. I thought the food was pretty good, and we might have gone back at some point, but it closed. In that space now is Casaville, which has a Mediterranean menu that includes Moroccan dishes. I've heard zero reports about it.


                                                          1. re: RGR

                                                            I think Darna was the place on 2nd that you were referring to. We had such a great lunch there and then it closed several weeks later. We were so upset!

                                                            1. re: lucyj

                                                              Hey, lucyj,

                                                              Ah, yes! It was Darna. Thanks.

                                                              Several dishes on Casaville's menu are the same as Darna's. Two in particular jump out at me: briwatts and humus a l'avocat. We had these two apps when we ate at Darna, and they were delicious. I love pastillas, and Casaville's is composed with chicken, which appeals to me. Hmmm... I might give Casaville a try.

                                                              1. re: RGR

                                                                There's a Darna (kosher Moroccan) on the UWS, on Columbus in the upper 80s, I believe. I wonder if that's the successor... It's not bad at all.

                                                                Thanks for the heads up re: Casaville. I'll pop my head in.

                                                                1. re: cimui

                                                                  I doubt the UWS Darna is in any way related. Definitely not a "successor" because it was around before the 2nd Av. Darna opened.

                                                            2. re: RGR

                                                              I've eaten at Casaville. It's mediterranean tapas. From what I remember the food was very good, the bartender fabulous, but the servers were inattentive. Defintely give it a try.

                                                              1. re: RGR

                                                                I ate at Casaville once and won't go back. The food was passable, but the service was inexcusably bad. We ate outside, where the tables are far too small for 2 people to eat, let alone if you're having tapas. My wife ordered some tapas, I had a (lackluster) tagine. The table didn't have a square inch of space on it and I ended up getting a really nasty burn on my arm from the side of the red-hot tagine. I still have a scar and this was almost 2 months ago. I was never warned about how hot the plate was, and when I brought this up to my server, she said "Yes, I know they're hot." Thanks.

                                                          2. re: cimui

                                                            I'm really sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy the entrees. I've never had the lamb tagine, but if it was tough and bland then it certainly wasn't well-prepared.

                                                            I'm glad to hear you at least enjoyed the ambiance & appetizers. We usually over-order on the appetizers and split one entree between us. So far we've not had anything remotely bland... From my experience I'd say you may have run into a bad dish on a bad night.

                                                            I'll report back after my next trip.

                                                      2. re: Spends Rent on Food

                                                        I too was disappointed with the lack of spice at ThaiNY. Haven't tried Jaiya but will now!

                                                    2. People on this board don't often mention Toledo, a nice Spanish place in a townhouse on the same block as Barbes (south side). I've even held a group dinner there and they were wonderful to deal with and the food has always been spot-on. When you want somewhere that's not trendy or for scenesters, and you want to talk with your dining companions without yelling.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Up With Olives

                                                        tell me more, up with olives! what's good on this menu?

                                                        1. re: cimui

                                                          Oh, I wish I could remember. I know that the fish was good and not overcooked, and that the fried potatoes -- just a little thicker than potato chips -- that accompanied everything were killer.

                                                          1. re: Up With Olives

                                                            you remembered just fine, up. that's definitely enough to make me want to go. (i love potatoes prepared this way!)

                                                      2. I'll add my favorite Japanese- Mishima on Lex bw 30-31. Great lunch specials and awesome miso soup. Enjoy

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: cccharley

                                                          Hi Liz,

                                                          How would you rate their sushi? I've been on the hunt for good sushi in Murray Hill. On the border I found Amber on 3rd Ave btwn 27th and 28th. The fish was fresh. The pieces of sashimi were HUGE -I'm talking 3 or 4 bites worth. It just threw me off. :)

                                                          1. re: kissy28c

                                                            i've been to mishima twice. the first time was a great experience, with a very fresh-tasting sushi/sashimi platter. on the second visit, things weren't as good - some muddy-tasting fish and imprecise cutting, and the seaweed in my hand roll was so tough that i couldn't eat it. while i'd be willing to give it another try, i am a bit wary. also, the small second-floor dining room is kind of unpleasant - very cramped and sort of stuffy.

                                                            1. re: wleatherette

                                                              is Sushi Sen-Nin still on 34th bet. Park & Mad? i used to get really good sushi & sashimi there in the late '90's when i lived in the 'hood...

                                                        2. I'm surprised to see no one mention Belvedere on Lex and 31st. I've been there around 4 times over the past year or so, and I've found the food to be excellent, and the service very attentive. They usually have an extensive specials menu as well, and I usually find myself ordering from that.

                                                          1. The 2nd Avenue Deli reopened in Murray Hill neighborhood - it is at 162 East 33rd Street and is one of the classic kosher dlis -

                                                            Second Avenue Deli
                                                            162 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: weinstein5

                                                              Good choice, if you're looking for a kosher deli. Waaay better than Katz (even if it's not the same show). But 2nd Ave & Ben's (the other classic in my book) are expensive for what they are.

                                                              Ben's Kosher Delicatessen
                                                              209 W 38th St, New York, NY 10018

                                                              1. re: ManhattanPete

                                                                Please specify what you mean when you say that 2nd Av. Deli is "Waaay better than Katz." It's got a wider menu, to be sure, but its pastrami, though good, is markedly inferior to Katz's.

                                                                1. re: Pan

                                                                  I wouldn't even go so far as to say 2nd Avenue Deli's pastrami is "good." As I've noted before, the one time I ordered it, specifically specifying "very fatty," what I got was meat close to approaching shoe leather dry. And I'm not sure 2nd Avenue's menu is actually wider than Katz's.

                                                                  Btw, 2nd Avenue has been open now how long? And they still haven't managed to have a functioning website.


                                                                  1. re: RGR

                                                                    It's wider. They serve a bunch of "appetizing" items not traditionally served at delis, such as good kasha varnishkes. My repeated experiences with their pastrami have been good, so I think your one-off may have been a bad fluke.

                                                                    1. re: Pan

                                                                      I suppose it could have been a fluke. But I've had nothing but superb experiences with the pastrami at Sarge's, so between it and 2nd Av. (both convenient for us), I'll be sticking with Sarge's for pastrami. However, the round potato knish at 2nd Avenue was excellent, and I took home a hunk of knoblewurst, which was delicious. If, at some point, we go back to 2nd Avenue, I'll be ordering a knoblewurst sandwich.

                                                                      1. re: RGR

                                                                        Don't get me wrong; I'm not making any really strong argument for 2nd Av. Deli. It's quite expensive, and I live much closer to Katz's. I think 2nd Av. Deli is definitely worth trying but the pastrami isn't so good that it's important to give it a second chance, when you have better options. As a matter of fact, I don't know if I've ever actually ordered it, rather than just trying a little of my mother's, or whatever.

                                                                      2. re: Pan

                                                                        Pan, I agree that 2nd Ave Deli has good pastrami. I've had lovely, moist, fatty pastrami there and I like a lot of the appetizing (appetizers?), as well. And the latkes! Mmmm...

                                                                        However, I also probably do have to agree with RGR that Sarge's does often have (slightly) better pastrami than 2nd Ave. The downside is that whenever I eat in at Sarge's they have a suspicious habit of giving me a lot less pastrami than they do through delivery, I guess because they take a look at me and think I can't eat it all. Boy are they wrong. :)

                                                                        1. re: cimui

                                                                          When we order in from Sarge's, I never order sandwiches. I order my pastrami by the pound, and if I don't have any rye bread on hand, I order x number of slices. I then make the sandwiches myself. That way, I can control exactly how much meat goes on each.

                                                              2. While we're here, has anyone been to the following places in Murray hill and care to comment? I've walked by each of them hundreds of times and never stopped in:
                                                                1. Domenicos
                                                                2. Nicola Paone
                                                                3. Rossinis -Ok I'm stretching the boundary a bit, but I am interested...

                                                                1. Has anyone tried Moco Global Dining? I've heard good reports, but am mildly skeptical of the source.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: cimui

                                                                    It's the same restaurant that was there before - Maxie - and the same menu, just a different name. It's a very strange mixed menu a little of everything - most of it just average. Although it is a good happy hour spot since beers and sushi rolls are $4 apiece, outside that I'd skip it.

                                                                    1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                                                                      Ah, I just saw this for some reason -- thank you for your response, SRoF!

                                                                  2. Chiming in here... Penelope is wonderful for brunch.
                                                                    I'll second Bar Milano. I personally prefer ThaiNy to Jaiya. Incredi is really good Chinese food (not much atmosphere but fantastic takeout)
                                                                    My absolute favorite is Mexico Lindo -- best Mexican food in NYC, I think.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: candyapple13

                                                                      We finally broke down and tried Mexico Lindo a couple of years ago. I found the food to be rather mediocre. It is better than El Parador's. But that's the proverbial damning with faint praise.

                                                                    2. 1). EL PARADOR

                                                                      I would ignore the previous slam on El Parador and actually place it the top of the list of "must-eat" experiences in the neighborhood. If you think that El Parador and Mexico Lindo are even supposed to be comparable cuisine, then you have missed the point of being at El Parador. It is simply, hands-down, some of the finest, most flavorful, (albeit somewhat pricey) Mexican fine dining you will find anywhere in the city. Mexico Lindo, while good, is not meaningfully different from most Mexican places in the city.

                                                                      2). ALI BABA

                                                                      This is the place where real Turks go to eat Turkish food, not Turkish Kitchen or Sahara. You will be hardpressed to find a more diverse array of pide in the U.S.

                                                                      3). PIO-PIO

                                                                      Okay, so you can find this in bunch of other corners of Manhattan, but in a neighborhood starved of so many other good options it really sets out.

                                                                      4) NOODLES ON 28

                                                                      Though much more than noodles, and no longer on 28th street, this is as a solid a presentation of otherwise standard Chinese take-out (and who doesn't want that every now and then?) as you're going to find in this neck of the woods.

                                                                      5) PENELOPE

                                                                      Hands down the best brunch place in the neighborhood, and also a terrific place to get a glass of red late at night.

                                                                      6) BLUE SMOKE

                                                                      So this is just barely in Murray Hill, but we can claim it, if nothing else but for the Mac n' Cheese.

                                                                      I've enjoyed eating at Ethos, but it doesn't really improve on the Greek concept very dramatically. Rice is also good, but very overpriced for a place that only takes cash.

                                                                      I've also never tried (and am curious to hear others opinions on) Byblos, Marchi, Nicola Paone, and Trio.

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: vonbloompasha

                                                                        Maybe it is just me...had lunch at Penelope on Friday and we were less than thrilled. Had the Veggie Burger salad and the Grilled chicken sandwich. Both were bland and fair at best. Not worth the wait at all. Brunch might be a better option.

                                                                        1. re: vonbloompasha

                                                                          Byblos is excellent, authentic, Syrian/Lebanese style food made just like my grandfather, who had a Syrian grocery store on Atlantic Ave, used to make. Great service and ambience. I have never been there for the belly dancer but I hear it is a great show.

                                                                          1. re: Motosport

                                                                            Whoa, that's quite a recommendation! What do you like best there?

                                                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                No, Byblos is Lebanese.

                                                                                It's been a long, long time since we've eaten there. The food was good but certainly never rave-worthy. And as far as the ambiance goes, unless they've compeletely refurbished the interior, the lighting was very bright, and the decor was kind of tacky.

                                                                          2. Resto
                                                                            Tiffin Wallah
                                                                            Chennai Garden
                                                                            Kebab Factory (Kathi Rolls only)
                                                                            Tatany (take out/delivery sushi)
                                                                            Aki Sushi 3
                                                                            Blue Smoke
                                                                            newly opened Jimmy's Brother's BBQ (wasnt bad)

                                                                            1. Try ilili they are serving a prix fixe for lunch at $24.07 and dinner for $35.00. I think it's the best deal in town with the most selection.

                                                                              1. I'm late in the thread but thought you should check out these 2 restaurants. I use to work in the neighborhood and tried all the restaurants in the area:

                                                                                LIMON - tiny turkish restaurant. Super fresh food, not expensive, BYOB
                                                                                ZEREOUE - French/Tunesian. Slow cooked food in clay pots. Cozy dark place. No loud music. Its not gourmet but well prepared and tasty food.

                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                1. re: kliboiron

                                                                                  I don't consider Limon to be in Murray Hill (it's on 24th St., b/t 2nd & 3rd Avs.), but I agree it's a hidden gem.


                                                                                  I have heard of Zereoue, which is in M.H., on 37th St., b/t 5th & Madison. It replaced Frere Jacques, a French restaurant, in that location.


                                                                                  1. re: RGR

                                                                                    You really like Limon? I live across the street from it and just haven't been interested in trying. I guess I rarely see anyone in there and am skeptical. Esp considering I've seen it rename itself three or four times in the past few years but the menu stays essentially the same. Maybe I'll finally give it a try. Any recommendations?

                                                                                    1. re: ESNY

                                                                                      Limon really is very, very good relative to the comptetition nearby - it's not quite as good as Ali Baba, but probably 90% as good. We order from them at least once a week - their appetizer spreads are really good, and the tavuk shish (chicken shish kebab) is delicious and healthy, comes with a heavy side of grilled veggies and rice. One appetizer platter and one shish is easily enough for two hungry people.

                                                                                      1. re: ESNY

                                                                                        We've eaten at Limon several times -- a few lunches and one dinner -- and have also done take-out (just mezzes). During the day, it's been empty, but when we were there for dinner, all the tables were occupied.

                                                                                        We've pretty much stuck with just a few mezzes -- eggplant salad, phyllo scrolls, and stuffed grapes leaves, all very tasty. In fact, I usually don't like stuffed grape leaves, but Limon's are delicious. The pidah bread is some of the best we've had. We've also tried the grilled lamb chops, which were fine.

                                                                                        The previous occupant of that space was Marti Kebob, which was also Turkish, so Limon's menus is bound to be similar. But one of the waiters told me that Limon has a different owner.

                                                                                        I do think Turkish Kitchen and Ali Baba, the two other Turkish restaurants in that general vicinity, are better. But Limon is certainly good enough to warrant eating there occasionally.

                                                                                        1. re: RGR

                                                                                          I've read several good reviews on Limon and am considering having a birthday dinner there for a friend next week -- I liked the BYOB option. However, I am not going to be in the area to personally check it out and was wondering about the atmosphere/decor. I could only find 1-2 pictures online, and it looked extremely modest, altho reviewers have called it "cute & quaint". Can anyone comment on the interior of the restaurant -- while I'm convinced the food will be good, I do want the place to look nice enough for the occasion. It doesn't have to be fancy, just cute/charming enough. Sahara's might be a second choice. Thanks for any input.

                                                                                          1. re: Alberta516

                                                                                            I would describe the interior decor as plain, not cute or charming.

                                                                                            We've been to Sahara twice, albeit some time ago. It's way larger than Limon (that doesn't take much) and has nicer atmospherics. But I didn't care for the food. In that department, Limon is, in my view, the better option.

                                                                                            If you want the whole package -- i.e., very attractive atmospherics and delicious Turkish food -- I would suggest Turkish Kitchen, on 3rd, b/t 27th & 28th Sts.


                                                                                            1. re: RGR

                                                                                              Thanks RGR. My boyfriend walked over to Limon at lunch today and reported back that the decor is "dreary". Too bad as everyone seems to really love the food. Sahara was still on the top of my list so sorry to hear you didn't like the food. I thought also of Turkish Kitchen and may end up there or Pasha. Have heard recent complaints about service at Ali Baba. Thanks again! AK

                                                                                              1. re: Alberta516

                                                                                                We haven't been to Ali Baba in a while. Service was fine when we were there last, and I've not heard about those recent complaints. We've never been to Pasha.

                                                                                                If you'd consider Greek instead of Turkish, we just had a delicious meal at Kellari's Parea, on 20th St., b/t Park Av. S. & B'way. Excellent service and very attractive atmospherics. I think it would be perfect for a birthday celebration.


                                                                                                1. re: RGR

                                                                                                  Yes, I agree Kellari's is just lovely. Great roomy place to sit & talk. They have a happy hour offering a free (small) appetizer with each drink purchased and so I have met friends for drinks several times and ate there also not so long ago. Right now, I am on a strict budget (alas, those economic woes) and turkish comes in at less $ than Greek. Thanks for your responses!

                                                                                  2. sigh....even though it seems like there are alot of conflicting opinions, lol, im so jealous of this post. I've been desperately seeking a comprehensive list of Chelsea recs and have found very few everyday casual raves.
                                                                                    I gave in and tried Pongsri the other day.....horrible food.

                                                                                    1. Not fancy, but hands down some of the best South Indian food available in the US outside of going to someone's house. Saravanaas. Al lthe standards: Idli, Dosa are great. A pleasant and unusual surprise "Mixed vegetable Parota" -- it's amazing! It's not a fancy place but the food is wonderful.

                                                                                      81 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

                                                                                      1. Da Ciro--Lex between 34th and 33rd Streets ! We also live in the neigborhood and eat at Da Ciro almost weekly. The baby chicken (polleto--sp?) is superb!

                                                                                        1. We have lived in Murray Hill for 10 plus years and frquent Da Ciro--Lex between 34th and 35th--about weekly. Try the baby chicken (cooked in the wood oven). It's wonderful!

                                                                                          1. uy, murray hill... awful in so many ways including its food! this video sums it up well... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eylKBJ...

                                                                                            my favorites:
                                                                                            Blue Smoke
                                                                                            Mexico Lindo


                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: iFat

                                                                                              Thanks so much for posting the video. Someone just told me about but I hadn't looked for it yet.
                                                                                              Taking my son, who lives in Murray Hill, out for dinner for his birthday. OK, so the video makes them look horrible, and of course anyone who didn't grow up on the north shore of Long Island would hate it, but he loves it there. Was thinking of Asia de Cuba. Haven't been in years, but how is the food? Another thought, although not in MH, was Grammercy Tavern. Any other good ideas?

                                                                                              1. re: robinsilver

                                                                                                Here is my take on Murray Hill as someone who has lived here for 10 years or so and agrees with the original post - most nights you need to leave to get very good food.

                                                                                                Trattoria Alba - very solid Italian, for the area, top notch- try the mushroom/truffle pizza
                                                                                                Ali Baba - very good turkish
                                                                                                Cosette - nice French bistro, very traditional menu
                                                                                                Phoenix Garden - authentic Cantonese (though on edge of neighborhood)
                                                                                                Baoguette - not really Murray Hill but waking distance and has great Bahn Mi
                                                                                                Artisinal - great fondue, expensive though
                                                                                                Pizza - Patsy's and Totonno's are both pretty good but not elite thin crust joints

                                                                                                Casaville - good drinks, nice atmosphere, ok food, nothing special
                                                                                                Byblos - traditional Middle Eastern cuisine, a Syrian friend of mine says best in area but I was not impressed
                                                                                                Ethos - passable Greek at best

                                                                                                Pio Pio - unimpressive, no better than any rotisserie chicken joint and more expensive
                                                                                                All the Thai food, head to Wondee Siam instead, its worth the trip
                                                                                                Mexican - None

                                                                                                Phoenix Garden
                                                                                                242 E 40th St, New York, NY 10016

                                                                                                2 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016

                                                                                                Ali Baba Turkish Cuisine
                                                                                                212 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

                                                                                                200 E 39th St, New York, NY 10016

                                                                                                495 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10016

                                                                                                233 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

                                                                                                635 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10016

                                                                                                Patsy's Pizzeria
                                                                                                509 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

                                                                                                633 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10016

                                                                                                Pio Pio
                                                                                                210 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

                                                                                                61 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10010

                                                                                                1. re: cocoman

                                                                                                  The location that was Cosette is now occupied by another French bistro, Le Parisien. I think the food is even better than Cosette's. Still cozy but with different decor. And, thankfully, the previously very lumpy banquettes have been reupholstered.

                                                                                                  Cosette photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                                                                                                  Totonno's has closed.


                                                                                                  Le Parisien
                                                                                                  163 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016

                                                                                                  1. re: RGR

                                                                                                    We've also had some enjoyable meals at Coppola's, and Third Ave. and 27th. Relatively reasonable for NY, nice looking restaurant, and if you happen to be going to a show at Baruch College theater, it's very convenient. That was how we originally discovered it, although my son lives right there.

                                                                                                    378 Third Ave, New York, NY 10016

                                                                                                    1. re: robinsilver

                                                                                                      In my view, the food at Coppola's is mediocre at best. Lots of other Italian restaurants in the area that serve excellent food.


                                                                                                      1. re: RGR

                                                                                                        Unless it's improved recently, I'd have to agree. You can do better for the same price, if not slightly cheaper.

                                                                                            2. I'm amazed no one has mentioned Da Ciro, a neighborhood Italian (on Lex close to 34th Street) with many dishes , including pizza, cooked in the brick oven behind the bar. We go there at least twice a month and although pricey, we think of it as our personal favorite in the neighborhood. The baby chicken (cooked in the oven) is spectacular and many of the pastas are very good indeed.

                                                                                              Da Ciro
                                                                                              229 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: maxinem

                                                                                                Ditto on DaCiro!! Fabulous fresh pasta, salad and appetizers. Our only regret is that there were only two of us. We'll have to go back with friends and do some sharing.