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Aug 28, 2008 12:06 PM

Quintessential New York restaurants for that NY experience

Hello, my friend and I are planning a trip to Manhattan, and I'm having a heck of a time deciding on restaurants. We want that "NY" experience, not the most expensive or exclusive........We know about Katz and Grimaldi's but what else is out there that we couldn't find at home. I'm looking for about 10 total, breakfasts, lunches and dinner.

Thanks so much in advance, I'm looking forward to your responses!

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    1. Not sure where "home" is but if you want down-home Puerto Rican cooking and want to check out the East Harlem 'hood you might try La Fonda Boricua on 106th St. between Third and Lex. I particularly love the pulpo (octopus) salad and the chicharonnes de pollo -- the best fried chicken -- but you can get all the Puerto Rican specialties. VERY inexpensive.

      1 Reply
      1. re: City Kid

        i completely agree. although fonda has become pretty popular, i think it is worthy of a mention alongside katz's, difara, etc.

      2. Home is Southern California, Temecula wine country to be exact, if that helps LOL!

        1 Reply
        1. re: tjcletsgo

          Well then New Yorican/East Harlem might be an interesting experience for you. I love the neighborhood and I think you would find this place very homey...Spanish, if you know some, is very handy there.

        2. Keen's Chop House -- with history to spare, unlike any place in any other city. From the vintage posters to the ceiling full of notables' clay pipes (Babe Ruth among them), this is a unique experience.
          Sammy's Roumanian on Chrystie St., a fire trap of a basement restaurant, where every evening is like a bar mitzvah celebration, serving Jewish-style soul food (not Kosher).
          Gramercy Tavern is just a great place...but I would also suggest 11 Madison Park, which is a stunning space with 40 foot ceilings in a 1920's/30's era building. Great service, terrific martinis, great wine list.
          Food is not great but the Rainbow Grill for the decor and views is unparalleled.
          Veselka on 2nd Ave and 9th for great breakfasts, open 24 hours. More touristy than it used to be, but still a scene.
          Golden Unicorn on East Broadway for a realistic Chinese dim-sum meal; not fancy but in a ballroom like setting (seen better days). Food may be too realistic if you're not open to that -- some funky home cooking, good selection of dumplings on circulating carts.
          Restaurant Daniel or Le Bernardin for best of the tops -- elegant and charming rooms, terrific dining.
          Sakagura on E 43rd between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. More Tokyo than NY, but a unique experience that is like Tokyo in location (office building basement) and selection.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Wa Shoku

            Fully agree with the Keens suggestion. Note that while there are rows of old clay smoking pipes suspended from all the ceilings, the pipes belonging to famous people dating back to the 19th century are in display cases in the vestibule.