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34th & Lexington

I'm coming to town with a few friends. It's my first time in new york and we're looking for good places to eat.

We're pretty much up for everything, burgers, pizza, italian, chinese, japanese, mexican. We'd like to eat at moderately priced places($20 plate), but are up for a splurge on 1-2 of the nights. We'd also like breakfast/lunch suggestions!

Can anyone also recommend good bars in the area?? Willing to go to different parts of town as well.

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  1. You are just a few blocks north of a lot of small, pretty inexpensive Indian restaurants and food shops. Walk from 29th South on Lexington, some are pretty good.

    9 Replies
    1. re: serious

      any specific suggestions? I think we'd be down to try some indian food one night. What's your favorite place & what meal do you suggest?

      1. re: DaisyDaisy

        Saravanaas, 26th St. and Lexington Av., is a great South Indian vegetarian restaurant. I went again most recently a few days ago and had a delicious meal.

        For Korean barbecue, go to Madangsui, 35th St. between 5th and 6th.

        If you want Jewish delicatessen food and aren't willing to go downtown to Katz's (which I would certainly recommend you do, for the pastrami [with the brisket being 2nd best if you feel the need to get anything else]), there's 2nd Av. Deli at 33rd between Lexington and 3rd - good but expensive. (Tongue sandwiches are priced punitively, at $20.95, but other items are less radically expensive; you can look at their menu here: http://menupages.com/restaurantdetail...


        For Sichuan food, go to Szechuan Gourmet, 39th St. between 5th and 6th. It's excellent! Stick to the spicy items, as the non-spicy ones don't tend to be interesting, based on my experience so far.

        I like the wafer-like pizza at Vezzo, 31st and Lexington. It's cheap and good, but it's certainly not the best in town.

        How long are you in town?

        1. re: Pan

          sorry should have noted that we're in town for about a week...

          1. re: DaisyDaisy

            Chennai Garden is also quite good, as is Tiffin Wallah (same owners as Chennai Garden).

            Also, for an interesting take on Chinese food, try out Chinese Mirch, which is Chinese food done Indian style.


            1. re: kathryn

              I hated Chinese Mirch the one time I went. It was very bad (extremely oily, and with poor-quality meat) and not cheap. Granted, that was 2, maybe 3 years ago, but has it drastically improved?

              1. re: Pan

                It's definitely on the oily side but I've never had a problem with the quality of meat. Maybe it's inconsistent. It's not the best restaurant in the neighborhood but one that is interesting, at least.

                1. re: Pan

                  I ate at chinese mirch and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a nice change of pace from your typical indian or chinese food. I didn't find it oily or find the meat of a poor quality. Maybe you hit a bad night (or maybe I just a hit a good one?), or it's improved since your last visit.

                  1. re: fooodie

                    That's certainly possible. But my experience was so bad that I'll never go back and, thus, will never know.

            2. re: Pan

              When Saravanaas has a line out the door, I've found Pongal to be an equally good option. The food and service and even the ambiance were great --- although I was somewhat put off that they treated me dismissively like a foreigner as with my light skin and features, it's hard to recognize I'm South Asian.

        2. Keens 72 W 36th St - go to the pub for an out of this world burger - not to be missed.
          Bon Chon Chicken 314 5th Ave- crazy good "Korean style fried chicken"
          Blue Smoke 116 E 27th St - for bbq and good beer
          Olympic Pita 58 W 38th st - falafel
          Ginger Man (Bar) 11 E 36th St - amazing beer selection
          Resto 111 E 29th St - burger or brunch
          Kang Suh 1250 Broadway - Korean BBQ

          that should get you going! hope others post, and have a great time.

          1. Pamplona has excellent take out lunch menu as well as a very affordable lunch prix fixe. I believe they also have a regular mojito happy hour.


            If you are feeling slightly more luxurious, walk a short bit and take advantage of the weekday lunch prix fixe at Eleven Madison Park. Two courses for $28, which is a steal if you look at the other menus.


            There is excellent espresso and coffee at Fika. They also look like they have interesting salads and sandwiches, but I haven't tried them yet.


            For burgers, Blue Smoke has an excellent burger (thick, bar style), or you can go to Shake Shack (thin, fast food style with a specialty sauce).


            You are also very close to the Grand Sichuan on 33rd and Lexington. I haven't been to this particular branch but the other ones are very good.

            There is also a deli counter tucked away on the 2nd floor of Kalustyan's (famous spice store):

            1 Reply
            1. re: kathryn

              That Grand Sichuan branch is fine, as long as you avoid the oyster appetizer (the oysters were clearly way too old and we sent the dish back), but it's significantly inferior to Szechuan Gourmet.

            2. I used to live in the neighborhood for 15 years (moved 18 months ago). Here are my recommendations:

              Sarge's Deli (much better and less expensive than 2nd Ave. Deli) Third Ave. between 36 & 37 Sts. Open 24 hours a day. Great for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

              Benjamin's, Second Ave. and 33 St. Very good continental food

              Artisanal, E. 32 St. between Park and Madison Aves. great place for brunch. Great cheeses.

              Sushi Sen-nin, E. 33 St. between Park and Madison Aves. wonderful sushi. some think it's pricey, I think it's because the sushi is really good.

              Notaro, Second Ave. between E. 34 and 35 Sts. good Italian food, moderate prices. they also have early bird specials.

              Eleven Madison Park, Madison Ave. and E. 24 St. great food, a bit of a splurge.

              La Petite Auberge, Lexington Ave. and E. 28 St. charming French bistro, very good food.

              Have a great time!

              3 Replies
              1. re: ellenost

                How does Sushi Sen-nin compare to other places around town (Kanoyama, Ushiwakamaru, Yasuda, etc)?

                1. re: kathryn

                  kathryn, when i lived in the neighborhood, Sen-Nin was my go-to place. granted, i haven't been there for quite a few years...but if the quality hasn't changed, it's very good. not quite up to the standard of some place like Yasuda or Kanoyama, but the fish was always very fresh, and the portions are generous - which makes their prices a little easier to swallow.

                2. re: ellenost

                  Benjamin, to my mind, is basically a diner, and it's just OK. My father loves their hamburgers and I don't eat hamburgers, but the rest of their stuff, I repeat, is just OK.

                3. Good bars is a pretty vague phrase. What exactly are you looking for? I don't even know where to begin, but:

                  Ginger Man on 36th & Madison has an obscene selection of beers on tap, if you're into that.

                  If you're in your early 20's and are looking for a post-college scene, there are literally dozens of bars on 3rd ave, roughly between 25th and 35th, that may appeal to you.

                  You can take a few stops on the 6 line to Astor place and walk to either the east or west village. There are countless options, depending on your taste.

                  If you're more into clubs, head to the west side.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: chet steadman

                    Asia de Cuba in the Morgans Hotel on Madison Ave between 36th & 37th might be a good fit. scene-y vibe, bar and restaurant. food is decent...not stellar, but some of the dishes are actually pretty good - the tuna pica and the ropa vieja never disappoint.

                    1. re: chet steadman

                      We're in our early to mid 20's (and all females). We've all got different tastes in going out, so I think we're mainly going to stick to lounges (cocktails and martinis), maybe a relaxed bar (there's a beer drinker with us), and a club or two over the weekend.

                      For clubs, I've heard about Cielo & Marquee... any other suggestions? We don't want to get stuck in line for 20 hours.... but would like it to be somewhere nice, trendy

                    2. sometimes people say "good suggestions so far" because they're being polite. in this case, you really do have a remarkably comprehensive list of all-star listings. almost all of these suggestions are excellent IMO, though I haven't tried a few of the places ellenost mentions and would personally skip sushi sen-in (it used to be good, i hear, and probably was good when ellenost lived in the nabe, but these days is a very bad value, serving mediocre sushi at a price point that would buy you excellent sushi elsewhere in town).

                      i'd also add:

                      ali baba (turkish, inexpensive)
                      ethos (greek, moderate)
                      chennai garden (south indian vegetarian, inexpensive; makes excellent masala dosa)
                      sarge's (not the most attractive decor, but i think the pastrami is better than katz's; also serves good chopped liver)
                      shake shack in madison square park (almost certain it's still open despite the cold weather, but please check)

                      for breakfast and brunch, penelope is well liked in the area.

                      re: bars, i second or third the suggestion of gingerman, esp. for beer and whisky, but know before you go that it will be PACKED, esp. since it's gotten a lot of press lately. if you're in your mid 20s and up, the bar attached to casa mono (long walk, but within walking distance) is excellent for wine and food. waterfront ale house is a really charming dive bar type of place with surprisingly good food, great selection of whisky/whiskey/bourbon/scotch. i think rodeo bar or texas bar or something like that has live music on some nights of the week, though i personally haven't been.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: cimui

                        The Shake Shack is definitely open in this cold weather but closes at 9pm. I wouldn't go there after the sun starts to set as it gets pretty darn cold after 4pm. The heat lamps weren't on a week or so ago, alas. And when they are on, they don't seem to do very much!

                        1. re: kathryn

                          yeah, sometimes all the heat lamps do is create small rainfall zones underneath them when the snow hits, but all the actual heat gets blown away. still, if you're a really devoted fan, the cold helps keep down the line and you can duck in somewhere, after, to eat.

                          thanks for the 9 p.m. verification! i have no idea how you *always* seem to know these things...

                        2. re: cimui

                          links and addys:

                          Chennai Garden
                          129 E 27th St, New York, NY 10016

                          Shake Shack
                          Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

                          Ali Baba Turkish Cuisine
                          212 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

                          Sarge's Delicatessen
                          548 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

                          159 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

                          495 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10016

                          Waterfront Ale House
                          540 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10016

                          Ginger Man
                          11 E 36th St, New York, NY 10016

                        3. Burgers - Totally agree with Shake Shack and Blue Smoke. I think Blue Smoke also has great deviled eggs and brisket.

                          Pizza - I'm currently in love with Bella Napoli on Madison Bet 30th and 31st. Brick 33 on 3rd and 33rd is also good (my friends are avid fans of that place as well as La Pizzeria on 3rd in the East 30's). Also Mozzarellis on 23rd bet. Park and Madison has some good slices if you are looking for specialty pizza (i.e. whole wheat, spelt, gluten free, etc.). I think the staff is rude and it's pricey, but the pizza is good and they do carry types of pizza hard to find elsewhere.

                          Italian - Bistango on 3rd and 29th

                          Japanese - Sushi Samba (on the pricier end) Park Bet 19th and 20th
                          Sounyko on 1st in the 50's is fun. The food is nothing special, but if you are looking for a night of drinking it's the place. They have a deal where you can eat unlimited sushi and have unlimited beer, sake and sake bombs for two hours. It's fun, rowdy and cheap.

                          Mexican - El Rio Grande 3rd and 38th. Best (and most deadly) margs in the city. Dos Cominos Park Ave in the 20's. I've heard Rodeo Bar has decent mexican too.

                          Indian - I second Saravanaas, 26th St. and Lexington Ave. Also love Copper Chimney on 28th bet. Lex and 3rd. Great lunch special for $8.95.

                          Also try Turkish Kitchen on 28th and 3rd. Great food and I'm pretty sure they have a moderately priced pre fixe brunch. Penelope on Lex in the 20's is a great brunch spot with yummy sweets (think nutella french toast and red velvet cupcakes). Primehouse might be fun for the pricier option on Park and 27th (I think?) Trendy steakhouse. If you want upscale ethnic food Pranna just opened on 28th Bet Park and Madison, beautiful space, think it's Indian, I've read good things.

                          1. Hey, Daisy,

                            Since this is your first time in NYC, you might want to consider taking my (in)famous LES food tour. As you walk the streets of this interesting, historic neighborhood, you will sample foods emblematic of NY. Here's the link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/493333

                            With regard to options near and in the vicinity of 34th & Lex...

                            I think Sarge's Deli -- open 24/7 -- is a much better option than 2nd Ave. Deli.


                            Molly's, on 3rd Av., b/t 22nd & 23rd Sts., is a lively Irish pub known for their excellent burgers. Skip the fries in favor of the onion rings.

                            If you aren't from Philadelphia, check out Carl's Cheesesteaks, on 3rd, b/t 34th & 35th Sts.


                            And if you aren't from a bbq-centric part of the US, Hill Country, on 26th St., b/t 5th & 6th Avs., has very good Texas-style bbq and live country music.


                            Via Emilia, on 21st St., b/t Park Av. S. & B'way, is a casual Italian spot. The homemade pastas are especially delicious with lasagna being the stand-out. They don't accept reservations and it's cash only.


                            Madeleine Patisserie, on 23rd St., b/t 6th & 7th Avs., has seriously delicious croissants, pastries, macarons, tarts, and quiches.

                            For upscale dining at "bargain" prices, Eleven Madison Park's lunch -- served Mon. - Fri. -- is 2 courses for $28. And they are also offering a special $28 wine list. The cuisine is stellar, service is both cordial and polished, and the space is gorgeous! You can dress casually.


                            Have a great visit to NYC and Bon Appetit!

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: RGR

                              Yay i'm so excited, thanks for all the recs. I'm comin in this week, so i'll keep i'll let you know how your recs turned out! keep them coming, as i'll have internet access.

                              any great street carts to try?? i've read a couple of chowhound posts, and i definately want to try to Halal brothers (?) for their lamb &chicken

                              don't forget, we're also site seeing, so we'll be all over town

                              1. re: DaisyDaisy

                                I really have nothing to add. Well, okay... two things to add. If you like thai check out Jai ya on 28th and 3rd. And someone mentioned Ginger Man. There's a new bar on 33rd between 5th and Madison called Rattle-N-Hum which has an impressive beer list. G-Man is just too crowded for me. Rattle-N-Hum is more low key, occasionally being a little empty.

                                Molly's is a personal favorite.

                                1. re: DaisyDaisy

                                  Street Carts:
                                  Chicken & Rice - 43rd and 6th
                                  Jamacian Dutchy - 51th st btw 6th and 7th
                                  Daisy Mae (BBQ) - 50th st btw 6th and 7th
                                  Halal Cart - 53rd near 6th
                                  Treats Truck - on Tues and Thurs @ 38th st and 5th (if she has it you have to try the pb & jamwich - it's crazy good)
                                  Patty's Tacos - 86th and Lex (If you are uptown you have to check this truck out for their awesome tortas, etc)

                                  I would suggest checking out the Cellar Bar at the Bryant Park Hotel (40th W40th st btw 6th and 5th)

                                  1. re: bosun

                                    is paty's back? if so - hooray!

                                    1. re: thew

                                      nope... but burrito deli on 97th is better and the tacos are 50 cents cheaper

                                      1. re: chet steadman

                                        when was paty's gone? i am not around there often, but whenever i was around 86th street in the afternoon hours the truck has been there. granted i haven't been there in more than a month. has something happened? i want to check out burrito deli! thanks for the tip, and if you haven't had a torta at paty's you should try one.

                                        1. re: bosun

                                          i have not seen them there since early autumn

                              2. I may be a bit late in my reply, but OMG Lex and 34th? That's where one terrific neighborhood Italian is located--Da Ciro on Lex beteen 34th and 33rd. We live in the neigborhood and eat there about once a week. Try the baby chicken--it's the best! Also many of the pastas are wonderful. Nice, low key ambeince with good service--not inexpensive--but what is in NYC?!

                                1. Had a terrific sandwich at Baoguette, east side of Lexington around 26th. Great for take out, seating is at a small 'shelf'' but these Vietnamese 'heroes' are wonderful and inexpensive.