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Non tourist trap near Times Square - mission impossible?

kansel Dec 8, 2008 11:13 AM

Hi everyone

Wondering if there is a decent casual diner or cafe close to Times Square that isn't one big tourist trap and open for food around 10pm?

It's a bit ofa tradition every time we visit NYC we have to go straight to Times Square to see the lights and then grab something quick to eat.

Previosuly we've eaten at Dallas BBQ but that isn't great.

Any ideas?


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  1. r
    RGR RE: kansel Dec 8, 2008 11:35 AM

    There are plenty of restaurants in the Times Square vicinity which are not "tourist traps" -- though you are bound to find lots of tourists in every restaurant around there since, obviously, it is an area that attracts tourists. Sounds as though you may be one of them? :-)

    We've not been to 5 Napkin Burger (yet), but there have been positive reports about it on this board. Open until midnight.


    For tasty Greek food, head to Uncle Nick's, on 9th Av., b/t 50th & 51st Sts. If you don't want a whole meal, you can share a variety of mezzes in a very casual taverna-style setting. Menu on menupages.com.

    6 Replies
    1. re: RGR
      kansel RE: RGR Dec 8, 2008 12:06 PM

      We love a good burger - this sounds great, thanks!

      Any ideas on the best place for a strip sirloin steak? I don't like bone-in meat so tend to go for the strip. Some place without too much seasoning as I have a distinct dislike of pepper. thanks!

      1. re: kansel
        RGR RE: kansel Dec 8, 2008 01:46 PM

        Keens, our favorite steakhouse, has two sirloins on the menu. I've never had either.


        As far as seasoning goes, unless it's steak au poivre, I'm not sure steaks are regularly seasoned with pepper, though the use of salt is common. Perhaps one of the steak mavens on this board knows more about this.

        You should post a new query about both the strip and the seasoning.

        1. re: kansel
          brendastarlet RE: kansel Dec 8, 2008 01:48 PM

          Gallagher's is always good. Heartland, even though it looks touristy, has good steaks. And there's a new branch of Ted's Montana Grill on 51st at 6th.

          There are also French choices on the outskirts of Times Square -- Marseille and Pigalle, both on 8th Avenue, come to mind. They have good steak frites.

          1. re: brendastarlet
            Pan RE: brendastarlet Dec 8, 2008 06:38 PM

            Heartland Brewery? Oh please! I went to the Empire State Building location (not my idea; it was a party) and had steak. The place SUCKS. BAD food. It just doesn't taste good. AND it's DEFINITELY a tourist trap. Stay away!

          2. re: kansel
            steakrules85 RE: kansel Dec 9, 2008 07:46 AM

            No bone-in steak!? FOR SHAME. But hey to each his own haha! I for one only order bone-in steaks when I eat at a steakhouse as most know by now after my many steak opines.

            Never been since I am a bone-in lover, but Sparks is SUPPOSED to have one of the best strip steaks (no bone) around and it is in your area.

          3. re: RGR
            s.piller RE: RGR Dec 8, 2008 07:27 PM

            Went to 5 Napkin Burger last week. Had a great burger at reasonable prices.

          4. m
            MWileyLach RE: kansel Dec 8, 2008 01:53 PM

            Not a strip steak place, but to your original post or a casual cafe... I work in Times Square and we often go to BLX café at 123 W. 43rd a half a block off Times Square. It is Belgian cafe with great Belgian beers on tap, as well as a yummy croque madam and burger. Not necessarily a destination restaurant, but as soon as you step inside you forget you are right off Times Square and feel like you are in a regular neighborhood joint.
            steak--- times square it not too far from ben benson's

            1 Reply
            1. re: MWileyLach
              i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream RE: MWileyLach Dec 9, 2008 01:14 PM

              I liked BXL too! They had huge burgers, good beer & mussels too. Totally feels like you're not close to Times Square.

            2. a
              ajs42548 RE: kansel Dec 8, 2008 05:29 PM

              In my opinion, walk up and down 9th Ave in the 40's and 50's. There are plenty of good reasonably priced restaurants on that avenue.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ajs42548
                Pan RE: ajs42548 Dec 8, 2008 06:39 PM

                Yep. That's definitely the best bet. Most tourists don't seem to make it that far west.

              2. salvati RE: kansel Dec 9, 2008 08:16 AM

                It's a tourist trap in appearance, but Virgil's BBQ serves up very good 'cue, ions better than Dallas BBQ. If you want to venture to Ninth Avenue, try Nizza; excellent French/Italian and affordable.

                3 Replies
                1. re: salvati
                  RGR RE: salvati Dec 9, 2008 11:25 AM

                  I think Virgil's is mediocre. Truly first-rate bbq can be found in that area at Daisy May's, on the corner of 11th Av. & 46th St., It's a cafeteria-style set-up. No decor to speak of. But who cares? The bbq is delicious! I didn't recommend it to kansel because Daisy May's closes at 9 p.m. on Sunday and Monday, and 10 p.m. the rest of the week.


                  1. re: RGR
                    salvati RE: RGR Dec 9, 2008 01:47 PM

                    Daisy May is better than Virgil's, though much further from Times Square.

                    1. re: salvati
                      RGR RE: salvati Dec 9, 2008 02:22 PM

                      True, Daisy May's is on the far west side, but it's definitely worth the trek.

                2. s
                  smooter RE: kansel Dec 9, 2008 11:29 AM

                  Great post. And replies. Reminds me of the time my aunt, a native New Yorker, tried to take my sisters (all vegetarian, but I'm the un-healthy eater in the group) to Howard Johnson's in or near Times Square. If the photos (of faded HoJo offerings) weren't enough to make you lose your appetite...my sisters made a quick retreat.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: smooter
                    Pan RE: smooter Dec 10, 2008 01:38 PM

                    That Howard Johnson's on 46th St. and Broadway has sentimental value to me, and it really wasn't a bad place. Their chili and grilled cheese, for example, were quite acceptable (not great, but acceptable), and the place had good ice cream sundaes and milkshakes. I miss it.

                    1. re: Pan
                      Striver RE: Pan Dec 15, 2008 09:51 AM

                      AFAIR, it was the only HJ's in the country with a bar. I loved their peppermint stick ice cream with hot fudge.

                  2. u
                    UWStoSONO RE: kansel Dec 10, 2008 05:47 PM

                    St Andrew's on 44th between 6th and 7th Ave.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: UWStoSONO
                      PAULSCOHEN RE: UWStoSONO Dec 10, 2008 07:00 PM

                      I 've never been to St. Andrew's but have heard that they have a great selection of single malts. i assume the menu has a Scottish bent to it. Any food recs?

                      1. re: PAULSCOHEN
                        BFC RE: PAULSCOHEN Dec 14, 2008 02:36 PM

                        At St. Andrews, I really like the fish and chips. I'm of scottish descent, and am always looking for a great fish supper. I think the waitress stated last time they use talapia (versus the usual cod or haddock) which made for a very tasty fish supper. Not sure if they are still doing that. That's all I've really tried there so I can't speak to the rest of the menu. The F&C goes very well with a BellHaven brew. If anyone has any other recs for F&C, I'd be interested.

                        1. re: BFC
                          secondbecky RE: BFC Dec 15, 2008 11:08 AM

                          I prefer the place next door - Scruffy Duffy's - excellent wings and great bartenders.

                          46th Street between 8th and 9th has a ton of restaurants - including one of my fave sushi spots Ocha. Good prices too. Also, Natsumi has great sushi, and a much classier atmosphere (on 50th b/w Bway and 8th)

                          If you want to spend some money, go to Churascarra Plataforma - a brazillian barbeque just west of 8th ave (on 47th I think, not sure). AMAZING meats and a top notch "salad bar."

                          I've been dying to try Five Napkin Burger for a while.

                          Steaks - del Friscos or the Palm.

                          1. re: BFC
                            secondbecky RE: BFC Dec 15, 2008 11:09 AM

                            OOPS, I'm getting my bars confused. I was thinking St. James.

                            Anyways, I'm totally on the St. Andrews bandwagon - AWESOME bartenders and buffalo calamari - could be heavenly.

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