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Dec 23, 2008 06:20 AM

New ideas for 3 dinners and 3 lunches in NY

The family and I are making the annual pilgrimage to NY after Christmas and sadly I haven't been keeping up with the food scene, probably in part because I need to tighten my belt in more ways than one. Nevertheless, we'd like some moderate recommendations. My husband wants to go to Carmines b/c he thinks it's the quintessential "festive" holiday restaurant, but I'm skeptical. We've been to most of the top Zagat spots. I hope to make it to Sri--whatever the name of the Thai place in Queens is. Also hoping for some sublime ramen.

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  1. You need to give us more specifics. Presuming by family you mean children will be in tow, what are their ages? What are your other cuisine preferences? Any picky eaters? And since people's view of what "moderate" means can differ substantial, what is your per person budget for *food only* (alcoholic beverages, tax and tip additional) for lunch? And the same for dinner?

    (The Thai restaurant in Queens is Sripraphai.)

    1. Yeah, don't go to Carmine's. There are so many better Italian places to go to, and many are fairly inexpensive. I join RGR in asking you to tell us what your budget is, so we can give you appropriate recommendations.

      1. Here are more specifics: Family means DH and 15 yo DD, who is an adventurous eater. No picky eaters, thank goodness. Moderate for dinner means entree choices under $25. For lunch, choices under $15 unless there's a fabulous price fixed lunch deal like Gotham.

        So what's a good alternative to Carmine's? My husband is really up for a festive, bustling Italian.

        6 Replies
        1. re: VAfoodie

          For Italian, I highly recommend Convivio, on Tudor City Pl., b/t 42nd & 43rd Sts. The most cost-effective way to go is the 4-course prix-fixe @$59 -- a bargain for food of this superb caliber. Very attractive decor, and the restaurant's name properly represents the vibe -- convivial.

          For Greek, our current favorite is Kellari's Parea, on 20th St., b/t Park Av. S. & B'way. Delicious food, friendly service, and warmvery pleasing atmospherics. We haven't been to their older sibling, Kellari's Taverna, in midtown, but I'm sure it would be just as good.

          For lunch, I think prix-fixe deals are an excellent way to go. Here are my picks:

          Eleven Madison Park has completely revised the pricing for the lunch menu. Following in the footsteps of Jean Georges, EMP now offer 2 courses for $28, $14 for each additional course + #12 per dessert. In addition, they have a special wine list, which includes whole and half bottles, for $28. Lunch is served Mon.-Fri. only.

          Tocqueville: 3 courses = $24 - (Mon. - Sat.


          Allegretti: 3 courses = $28 - (Mon. - Fri.


          Fleur de Sel: 3 courses = $29 - (7 days a week


          Devi: 3 courses = $25 -

          Enjoy your visit to NYC and Bon Appetit!

          1. re: VAfoodie

            For an Italian meal that you're describing above, you may want to check out Crispo, Malatesta Trattoria or Otto (the latter being more bustling). Each is moderate and has options to please everyone.


            1. re: VAfoodie

              For a dinner, I'd recommend Lupa, which in my humble opinion is one of the best restaurant values in New York.


              Another place that I really enjoy is Cacio e Vino.


              Cacio e Vino is Sicilian, so it may have enough overlap to please a fan of Italian-American "red sauce" dishes, and especially pizza.

              If your husband really wants family-style Italian-American and it has to be in Manhattan, I had a good experience as part of a group of 13 at John's of 12th St., but quite a few hounds pan the place.

              1. re: Pan

                Lunch or dinner- not fancy, awsome food. Nha trang centre, centre south of canal. don't miss the papaya salad!!

                  1. re: rkaene

                    RGR and Leah said a number of my suggestions. I'd also consider Perilla for dinner; if you choose right you can be within budget; although I'll admit it's stretching it.. but so good. I'm also a new fan of Resto for lunch. I really like the space & the service is spot on. I love mussels and they have a wide selection along w/ really good frites. Enjoy NYC!

            2. BTW, we're staying at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriot, so if there are any don't miss restaurants nearby in Brooklyn, bring 'em on. And if any of ya'll New Yorkers make it down to the Williamsburg, VA area, I'll be glad to point you to the five decent restaurants in the 7 city area!

              1 Reply
              1. re: VAfoodie

                I work right near there and do have comments about Downtown Brooklyn, but the place to discuss that is the Outer Boroughs board.