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Aug 9, 2008 09:42 PM

Parents in town for the weekend - where should we eat?

My parents are coming to nyc to visit for the weekend in a few weeks, and I'm wondering where we should have dinner. We're from the sf bay area, so they're used to eating really great food. I have a reservation at Babbo on friday night, but I'm wondering where we should go on thursday and saturday for dinner. I don't wanna do anything extremely expensive - I'm looking for restaurants that are in the same general price range as Babbo. Any suggestions?

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  1. Momofuku and Hearth in the EV. Apizz on the LES.

    1. Since you are doing Babbo, why do Apizz, which is also Italian? And Hearth does lean Italian.

      What are your parents' cuisine preferences? Do you want to eat in any particular neighborhoods?

      1. Babbo is an excellent choice, especially with the dearth of authentic Italian (i.e. not the Cal-Italian ones) in the Bay Area.

        A French restaurant/bistro would also be nice. Balthazar is a good bistro that is a destination for both locals and visitors. Very French and solidly covers the bistro basics.

        Artisanal is a fair substitute, especially with their unmatched cheese and fondue offerings

        Non-French, but with the ambiance of a bistro in the nice, very NYC neighborhood of the Village would be Little Owl and/or Market Table. .

        A good Spanish Tapas dinner is another one that I long for whenever on a prolonged stay in the Bay Area. Casa Mono is a personal favorite and is popular in this board for their excellent raciones (larger portion tapas) and a very deep Spanish wine list.

        19 Replies
        1. re: RCC

          Thanks for all the great suggestions. We actually ate at Balthazar the last time they were in nyc, and they really enjoyed it, but I'm looking to try something new. I considered Casa Mono because I love that neighborhood, but I was thinking that I might not want to do 2 different Batali restaurants (even though Casa Mono is very different from Babbo.) My parents aren't huge fondue fans, so I'm thinking maybe not Artisanal, and my dad doesn't really love asian flavors, so I ruled out Nobu and any sushi place. I was considering Pastis, just because I think they would enjoy the MPD scene, but I'm also thinking about just doing drinks in that area after dinner. I'm also considering maybe Perilla? Craftbar? Any other ideas?

          1. re: mcm1900

            Also, maybe somewhere in LES? Either Inoteca, The Orchard, or Allen and Delancey?

            1. re: mcm1900


              The Orchard is an Italian-fusion place (my description) and we have enjoyed our dinners there, especially their flatbread appetizers and risotto, when available. The crowd’s usually a bit on the youngish but not casual and the ambiance is slightly glitzy but lively.

              We like Inoteca on Rivington. This one is definitely on the mid-20s to late 30’s type of crowd, very lively and the delicious Italian tapas (actually bigger portions than regular tapas portion, imho) are complemented by a deep and well-priced Italian wine list. The truffle egg toast is a must try. I am not sure about reservations, though, as we’ve always walked in, sometimes with as much as 20 minute-wait for a table or a couple of stools at the bar.

              We’ve walked by Allen and Delancey many times and I see it not quite as lively as say, Inoteca nor the Orchard, but there’s some reviews on this board that you can look up.

            2. re: mcm1900

              It appears prefer to remain downtown. How about Allen & Delancey? We haven't been yet, but it gets uniformly good reviews on this board.


              In case you are willing to venture much further north, we just had a very good experience at Bar Boulud.


              1. re: RGR

                Well, I actually live WAY uptown (I'm a med student at Columbia) so Bar Boulud is more conveniently located for me (although nothing's really that close to 168th and bway). Bar Boulud looks like a great option. I was just looking into downtown restaurants because my parents never go to nyc, so I wanted to show them the LES scene. I think I'm gonna try to get a reservation at Allen and Delancey for Thursday night, and for Bar Boulud for Saturday night. I know Inoteca doesnt take reservations, so even if we decide we wanna go there on Thursday night, I want to have a backup plan.

                1. re: mcm1900

                  I've really enjoyed Bar Boulud - I would suggest, if there will be three or four of you, that you ask for a booth when you make a reservation. We've only eaten (two of us) at the bar, but if I were with other people, I'd much prefer a booth rather than one of the tables. Though, if the weather is pleasant, the tables outside look very nice. We've been wanting to try Allen & Delancey - do let us know how your meals turn out, and have a great visit with your parents.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    Ok I just tried to reserve Allen and Delancey for Thursday night, but they can't take us until 9:30, which might be a little late for my parents. Any other ideas?

                    1. re: mcm1900

                      I think The Orchard is a good back-up plan in the LES

                      1. re: Lucia

                        Nevermind! I called Allen and Delancey and they took us at 8:30. I'll let you all know how it is!

                      2. re: mcm1900

                        I'm not an Allen & Delancey fan but to be fair I only went once. My friend loved her bone marrow, other than that we were underwhelmed. It's so dark. We felt better after we walked over to Falai for dessert. What about near by Rayuela for Latin cuisine? Check out the menu at It's not Italian and should fit your budget. We went last night again and I posted a report if you want to do a search. They are on

                        1. re: financialdistrictresident

                          Yeah, the "really dark" aspect of Allen and Delancey doesn't thrill me. Rayuela looks great though - maybe I'll switch the reservation.

                          1. re: mcm1900

                            I'm also thinking about Market Table (if I can get a res) - not in the LES, but looks great.

                            1. re: mcm1900

                              Also, I was thinking we were gonna do Bar Boulud on sat night, but after reading the reviews in the new york magazine restaurant guide, I might reconsider. What do you think?

                              1. re: mcm1900

                                Is Bouley upstairs a better option?

                                1. re: mcm1900

                                  mcm1900, I have not been to Bouley Upstairs, only Bouley and too many years ago to be helpful. There are a lot of posts about Upstairs if you do a search. I received a response from a hound I respect after my 4/6 post "where to eat next?" that advised Market Table (another hound had suggested Market Table to me) was greenmarket fare and Perilla was better and cost less. I have not been to Bar Boulud (RGR, a well respected hound, went recently see post above). We went to Dovetail recently (uptown and opened in 2007). I posted a report on our experience. Rayuela is Latin (it's hard to get good Mexican in NYC, better in California). One of my best memories is when my sister I took my dad out to dinner. You are lucky to have both parents, enjoy their visit!

                                2. re: mcm1900

                                  I appreciate fdr's kind words about me (in post below). I must say that MMRuth is a very respected member of the Chowhound community, and since she likes Bar Boulud, I continue to encourage you to go there, especially if you and your parents are into charcuterie.

                                3. re: mcm1900

                                  Market Table is very loud and the food, while good, is overpriced for what it is. I would choose Perilla for better food and more comfortable atmosphere. Allen & Delancey has an odd ambience, though I have enjoyed their food. I also agree with the recommendation of Dovetail. Very creative food in an upscale casual atmosphere. If you do a search you will find many posts about it.

                                  1. re: rrems

                                    I'd also choose Perilla over Market Table. Market Table is solid overall but some of the dishes are not as interesting. Great space, though. I love Upstairs--great, inventive food, and the price is right--but they don't take reservations. It's pretty loud and cramped. I'd still take my parents there, though, since I think they'd appreciate the food.
                                    I haven't been to A&D or Bar Boulud, so can't compare.

                                    1. re: rrems

                                      rrems, my experience at Dovetail was mixed. Overall, it was one of the better restaurants I have been too. Not worth the hype or price in my opinion (and it's so far uptown for a downtown girl). It's another dinner at Robuchon where luckily I will be dining tomorrow :) So much food, so little time - I must get to Perilla . . .

                  2. over by columbia you have amy ruth's soul food, and dinosaur BBQ