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Aug 1, 2008 09:30 PM

First Weekend in Manhattan, Open to Suggestions!

Hello fellow foodies

I will be making my first trip to NYC next weekend, and am really looking forward to some great eats at an affordable price. Not really looking for the fancy -schmancy, pocket-emptying eateries. Am really looking to spend no more than 20 bucks for a meal, as airfare and travel is pretty expensive these days, let alone in NY!
I will be staying at the UN Millenium Plaza next to the United Nations Building, which from what I read/hear, is not very close to the famously NY places to eat in town?
But i am absolutely willing to travel for a good bite, as long as it's in Manhattan. (though i am not sure how long these trips may take on average from our location via taxi/subway)

From various websites i've heard of hundreds of chic, hip sounding restaurants, but when it comes right down to it, I am unsure about the quality of food. Because of the nature of this trip (only 3 days) i am really looking for NYC's finest or MUST eats during my short venture!

I am really looking for some good:
1.) Asian (Korean, Chinese preferably --> dim sum )
2.) Middle Eastern / Mediterranean
3.) Pizza

and any other great suggestions are welcome!

I am going as a group of 3 and we are thinking about taking the taxi to reach some retaurants?? We are not really sure how pricey this sort of thing might be, or if the subway is clearly a better choice for travel.

Please help!! We are looking to have some of Manhattan's Finest!!
Thank you to all!!!

P.S. I've decided to find my way to Kat'z on Day 1, as it seems to be a NYC staple. My question then, is whether or not to go with the tongue?? All i hear is that i've got to try it? What do you think, is Tongue right for you?

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  1. Subway is much cheaper than cabs.

    Katz's is famous for their pastrami. That being said, their tongue is pretty awesome, but I would do pastrami first. If there are two of you you, one can order tongue and the other pastrami and give each other a half sandwich.

    You should look up RGR's LES (lower east side) food tour. All walking distance and katz's is amongst the places.

    Pizza is sort of a religious subject here
    Patsys 125th st is my personal favorite in manhattan, but I don't live here and don't eat pizza as often any more for obvious reasons. I have also not tried some of the newcomers Una Pizza and Artichoke.

    The best pizza in the universe is a square slice at Difara's in Brooklyn. But that can be a very painful experience as it is an hour subway ride each way on top of a 45+ minute wait in a hot, cramped store.

    As far as the other cuisines go, I will throw in Joes Shanghai for soup dumplings, I am not qualified to talk about other places as there are those with far more experience than me in Asian and Middle Eastern places who will soon answer you.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tpigeon

      One more asian place - Momofuku noodle and/or Ssam. Go for the pork buns, expensive $9, but awesome and pretty filling.

      1. re: tpigeon

        Definitely the pork buns! Here's a little tour I did of Chinatown with someone who had planned a route: (Note, if you do a search for title:chinatown or for title:"dim sum", you'll find recs from posters with a great more knowledge and experience there than me.)

    2. For Middle Eastern or Mediterranean, I had a great meal the other night at ilili. As it's our first time in NYC you could go for drinks before hand at 230 Fifth Avenue.

      1. The UN Millenium is on 1st Avenue and far from a lot of the action in Manhattan as well as subway lines. You will have to walk 10-15 minutes to get to Grand Central, which is a few blocks to the east, in order to get to the 4/ 5/ 6 trains. That will be about a 15 minute walk. Yes, it's a big convenient, but why do you think their rates are so affordable? :)

        Google Maps will give you great walking directions to places, time estimates included. Use which will give you point to point directions on the subway, service interruptions included. You can also use them to look use estimated tax fare to your destination.

        Best Asian in town is probably gonna be in Queens for you. Your budget is very low if it includes tax, tip, and drinks. Sales tax in NYC is 8.375%. Tipping is usually 20%. That leaves about $16 for food and drinks!

        For Katz's, tongue? I suppose. For what you want is the Pastrami on Rye. Check our RGR's Guestatory tour for how to "do" Katz's right. I've included the link.

        For Chinese, I love spicy food and consequently really enjoy Grand Sichuan and Szechuan Gourmet a lot. In Chinatown, I also really like Nice Green Bo (fka New Green Bo) for sentimental reasons, but I've heard downhill reports which I can't confirm since I always order the same exact dishes. Peking Duck House might be a novel experience for you guys. It's one of the few white table cloth joints in Chinatown and the Peking Duck is great. For dim sum, I'd do Dim Sum Go Go (or go out to Flusing to try Ocean Jewels, Perfect Team Corporation, etc). There was also recently a spread in the NYT about the riches of Flushing and the insanely delicious street food and mall stall food there, check it out if you're interested. You can fill your bellies for $20pp very easily.

        For pizza, my current favorites in Manhattan are Luzzo's, Una Pizza Napoletana, or Patsy's of East Harlem (and only that location). If you are willing to go out of Manhattan, the world of great pie opens up a bit to include Di Fara and the Coney Island of Totonno's (and only that location is good). John's of Bleecker is an OK choice if you need to stay in the West Village or Midtown, otherwise, go somewhere else. Grimaldi's in Brooklyn is historic also has a *great* location but I have problems with their quality control. You will heard a lot about Artichoke on these boards but IMO they don't make true NY style pies. Ditto for Otto. Lombardi's is historic but I gave up on them after one too many soggy pies. NB: Most of the places that are reputable in NYC do not serve slices. The exceptions are Artichoke, Di Fara, and Patsy's, off the top of my head.

        I agree with nearly all of these pizza picks:

        Previously on CH:

        Hot Dogs

        RGR's Self-Guided Gustatory Tour

        Other takeout treats:

        Eats for visitors:

        Cheap eats and street food (makes it easier for you to try lots of thigns and stay under budget

        Best under $10