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Memorable Places to eat near TS?

Hey, my name is Peter and I'm going to be coming down to the city with my girlfriend in the middle of October for a weekend for our anniversary. Going to be staying 2 nights, and going to see Grease on Broadway on Friday night. I'm looking for places for dinner for Friday before the show, Saturday, and Sunday earlyish(5 or so, have a plane leaving JFK at 8:45)

I personally am a sucker for a good steak, she loves great seafood(shrimp in particular), and good salty spicy bbq is something we both love.

What would you guys recommend for me?? I'm looking for one upscale place (not cheap but not $400 a person... maybe $100-150 for the both of us) and then a couple of more casual places.... I'm staying at the Westin, and I have no clue how to get around the city. Guess I'm looking for within walking distance or a short cab ride.

Thanks so much for the input, I can't wait to come and enjoy the city!

Also, if there are any quick easy good little places to eat for lunch, I'd be open to suggestions.

Thanks again,


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  1. Hmmmm, $150 for the two of you is on the, ah, lower end of upscale in Manhattan. Without any wine or cocktails, $150 for the two of you is $75pp, minus tax and 20% tip, that comes out to about $60 on food.

    NYC has more than a few good steak places, a handful not that many great seafood places (BTW the best shrimp I've had is gulf shrimp and I don't see it that commonly in NYC), and a burgeoning and respectable BBQ scene. Your options, of course, expand if you leave Midtown.

    Where are you coming from? If you're staying in Midtown, most anywhere in Manhattan is a "short cab ride" and the expense of cab rides can easily be estimated using online tools such as hopstop.com. If you are willing to spend 20 minutes in a cab, you can be in a lot of different Manhattan neighborhoods. Also, New Yorkers tend to say that "walking distance" is anything within a 1/2 mile to 1 mile away. Not sure what walking distance is like where you're from.

    Also, if you give us more on your itinerary, we can more easily suggest "quick easy good little places to eat for lunch" with the caveat that a lot of "good places" to eat for lunch have long lines because of the weekday lunch rush.

    1. You might want to look at places while arent exactly upscale but provide great value and service like the tasting menu at Lan, Insieme, and then go higher end at lunch like Jean Georges, or Perry Street where its a bargain.

      Times Sq is a major transit hub you can pretty much go anywhere because alot of the major train lines connect at times sq,

      1. Check out Etcetera Etcetera on 44th for your pre-theater dinner. You could both do appetizers, entrees, and dessert off the regular menu. The have some nicely priced wines and with tax and tip you would probably hit that 150. I think the food is very very good (it won't change your life but you will like anything you have) and the space is very metropolitan, service is friendly.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Spiritchaser

          Well, we don't need to worry about Wine, we're both 20, so probably shouldn't do that. Might be able to extend our anniversary dinner to about 200 for the both of us... and on Sunday, all we have planned is a massage in the hotel at 11-12, so we could probably go on a cab ride somewhere else.

          As to the rest of the weekend, the only things I actually have planned (it's a surprise for her so I'm doing all the planning) is Friday night at 8 is the show, And Saturday at 3 we have a 2 hr tour. I bought the New York Pass (probably a waste of money, but I didn't feel like waiting in line) so I want to go to the Emp State building, Satue of Liberty, MoMA, and any other places that would be cool to visit... Haven't planned times for those yet, but they can probably be pretty flexible.

          I'm coming from upstate NY, middle of nowhere NY heh... A good walk for us would probably be half a mile to a mile, so that extends things a bit. If there is some place that jumps out as a great place to eat for 100 a person, let me know because I wouldn't mind taking a cab to get to some better food for the same price..

          When we come in on Friday, we're probably going to be hungry so a good place between JFK and Midtown would be great. I think we're going to take the airport shuttle to the end of the line then just take the metro from there to times square, unless there are any suggestions on a better route short of a cab.

          Thank you guys so much for all the help, I really can't wait to come down and see the city!


          1. re: profanitypete

            Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are kind of an all day affair from the standing in line to get on the ferry, going through security, waiting for the ferry to leave, getting off the ferry, etc. (make sure you get your Monument Pass or else you can't go *inside* the Statue) and there isn't much food-wise on either Liberty Island or Ellis Island itself. I would probably stop off somewhere and grab some sandwiches to go (maybe wichcraft, Pret a Manger, or Financier Patisserie) and bring a picnic lunch.

            For the Empire State Building, it's near a lot of public transit, and if you walk a few blocks you'll be in Koreatown where there's some good food (IMHO the Top of the Rock has a better view and way shorter line). For most tourist destinations if you do a search like "title:MoMA" you can find lots of previous threads about them.

            For Friday, personally, I'd just rather drop off all the luggage at the hotel rather than fight with the bags and try to get off the train to get something to eat on the way. Be forewarned that the Airtrain + subway ride will be pretty long (not sure when you're coming in), so you might be pretty hungry by the time you check into your hotel.

            Reasonable tasting menus (most are under $100 I think, I'd aim for $75 or so without tax or tip):

        2. Hi:

          A gentle reminder that non-chow tips are beyond the scope of our boards, though we know you are just trying to be helpful.


          1 Reply
          1. re: The Chowhound Team

            Sorry about that, I will keep the questions to just chow.

            To everyone else, thank you very much for all of the great information, and I will be sure to post if I have any more questions.

          2. You should try Becco on 46th Street. The food is delicious and not terribly expensive. It's a bit busy pre-theater, but slows down after 8. The symphonia di pasta is always yummy.

            1 Reply
            1. re: melliempa

              I like Becco as well, but it's not the upscale experience that the OP is looking for.

              Pete, if you're looking for more upscale Italian I'd try Insieme. Also consider DB Bistro Moderne for more continental fare. Both could run you closer to $200 for two, but are an order of magnitude above Becco and the other places on restaurant row.

            2. There are a lot of reasonable restaurants around 9th Ave. Not far from the theater.
              Not necessarily steak but I would recommend Whym on 9th around 54th and also Marseille.
              I like Ben Benson's which is not far from the theater district but it may be a little high for your budget. Most good steak restaurants in NYC are high priced.

              8 Replies
              1. re: s.piller

                Just discovered a really nice place in the theater district: Etcetera Etcetera. Very friendly staff, reasonably priced, very welcoming and excellent food. A breath of fresh air in an area that doesn't usually offer much. I also like Bluefin in the W Hotel. Dinner is pretty expensive, but the weekend brunch (with a free mimosa!) is a good deal.

                1. re: niia

                  Thanks everyone for all the great input.

                  I think I'm going to head to etcetera for the pre Broadway dinner, and then maybe insieme on Sunday. Saturday may just be room service, and then head out to see the city at night, unless there are any restaurants that are like the Top of the Hub in Boston, sitting at the top of a tall building.

                  Anything like that in Manhattan?

                  1. re: profanitypete

                    Maybe you want to head up to the bar in the Mandarin Oriental but please resist the temptation to have dinner or drinks in the rainbow room/top of the rock. Way, way over priced and way, way past it's prime.

                    1. re: Spiritchaser

                      Thanks, noted. Bars aren't our thing, but we might give it a shot.

                      1. re: profanitypete

                        Hey, profanitypete,

                        You'll need to re-think your plan a bit because Insieme is closed on Sundays.

                        Instead, since you mention liking steak, you might want to consider going to Keens. It's on 36th St., b/t 5th & 6th Avs., so you can walk there from the Westin (on 43rd, near 8th) or grab a cab. Keens has been in that location since 1885, so in addition to excellent food, there is unmatchable Old NY ambiance. They open for dinner on Sunday at 5 p.m.


                        You also mention liking bbq, so you could go to the truly excellent Daisy May's, on the corner of 11th Av. & 46th St. Cafeteria-style service. Open Sundays from noon until 9 p.m.


                        If you want a 360 degree view of the NYC landscape from up high, there is The View, the lounge/restaurant at the top of the Times Square Marriott Marquis that revolves. Get yourself a couple of soft drink, but whatever you do, don't eat there!

                        Re: Becco (mentioned upthread). Mediocre pastas, exceedingly cramped seating, and a hideously high noise level. In a word: Avoid!

                        Happy Anniversary! Enjoy your visit to NYC and Bon Appetit!

                        1. re: RGR

                          Thanks so much for the info! Thanks for the welcome as well.

                          My only question now would be if I ate at keens at 5, think I could make it to JFK by roughly 7:45? Flight leaves at 8:45..

                          Really what I'm asking is is do I have time to eat there? or is it a place where we should expect to be there for 2 + hours.

                          1. re: profanitypete

                            You shouldn't have a problem getting out of there in 1 -1.5 hrs, especially if you sit in the pub room and let them know that you're in a rush.

                            1. re: profanitypete

                              At 5 p.m. on a Sunday, Keens is not likely to be very busy, so you will be seated immediately. (Still best to make a reservaton.) Presuming a 3-course meal, it shouldn't take more than an hour and a half for two people to eat, so if you finish at around 6:30, that will give you plenty of time to get to JFK by 7:45. Though I've always found Keens' service and kitchen to be very efficient, you should inform your server that you do have some time constraints.

                              A few other things to note. They give you a bowl of crudite and dipping sauce right after you are seated, so if you don't have huge appetites, you can consider not orderig appetizers. You can easily share one order of Caesar salad because the portion is huge. Certain main courses -- for example, the signature mutton chop and the lamb chops -- come with a vegetable, so be sure to ask in order not to duplicate sides. Sides are "for the table" and are meant to be shared.

                              One more idea. When you call to reserve, you can ask if your bags can be stored in the coat check room. That way, you don't have to go back to your hotel but can go directly to the airport.

                2. Hey Peter,

                  For a casual place in the area, I'd recommend Five Napkin Burger on 45th and 9th. It's a burger bar with really great service (my waiters were constantly on top of things with quick refills of beverages and were vigilant to notice if I needed anything) and I think a pretty decent burger for the area.