New to Midtown East
I'm staying at the Radisson Lexington, midtown east, with my boyfriend late January. we are complete newcomers, from England, so I would love some ideas on where to eat!
We are looking for cheap and cheerful, under $30 each for an evening meal including taxes and tips. However it will be my birthday so one night we are going to spend a bit more, I would say around $60 each. I need some help from you guys because Im totally lost with this planning!
You'll find delicious, inexpensive Turkish at Sip Sak on 2nd Ave between 49th and 50th. Enjoy your visit!
I lived in that neighborhood for eight years.
Sip Sak is good, as is Taksim, up on 55th and 3rd.
Other good places:
Luna Piena on 53rd just west of 2nd.
Manchester Pub, 49th and 2nd.
Montparnasse and Bateau Ivre on 51st just west of 2nd.
If you want to spend a little more, you should check out Jubilee on 54th between 1st and 2nd... get the mussels.
I'm still in the neighborhood, and prices at all of these restaurants are up a good bit since you were here. You can't do dinner "out-the-door" for $30 at any of them. The prix fixe at La Mangeoire, La Mediterranée, Cibo and others are all about $35. now, without tax, tip, and drinks. For Chinese, Panda at the corner of 54th and 1st Ave. is still a bargain and will fit the budget, Entrées at Ali Baba (Turkish) at 49th & 2nd Ave. range from $16. - $24. Entrées at Pasta Presto (2nd Ave. @ 51st St.) range from about $13 - $19. Again, you have to add almost 9% tax and tip as well as drinks (with tax and tip). You can do really well at Angelo's Pizza (also wonderful salads and good pasta) at the corner of 55th & 2nd Ave.
I agree with SipSak (get the Greek salad and the vegetarian platter, only about $13 each and amazing), Bateau Ivre (mussels are like $22 and definitely are enough for two), and there's a new Thai place on 51st that's BYOB...I believe it's just called Thai51. for a bit of a splurge, Yama on 49th between 1st and 2nd is nice sushi.
If you are visiting prior to January 30, Restaurant Week opens up a lot of options for dinner, including Lever House, Pampano and Mia Dona. For more casual affairs the Shanghainese cuisine at Our Place, the Szechuanese and Grand Sichuan and the Lebanese at Naya are all very respectable.
If you are interested in Japanese Izakaya, there is Sakagura (excellent sake selection), Riki, Ariyoshi, and Aburiya Kinnosuke (best seafood among all), Yakitori Torys. Other Japanese food selection includes:
Hatsuhana (for sushi)
Cafe Zaiya (for Japanese Bakery, bento boxes and Beard Papa Cream Puff)
Menchanko Tei (for ramen and soba and snacks)
oms/b (for onrigi)
Katsuhama (for Japanese styled Breaded Fried Pork chops and curry rice)
I really highly recommend Alcala for excellent Spanish/Basque food. They are located at 342 E 46th St, (Btwn 1st & 2nd Ave). It is located right by the United Nations, and has an international clientele. It is in one of the last old buildings on the block - a tenement from the 1890s, has large windows in the front, exposed brick walls, and lots of Spanish pottery on the walls. The food is superb - especially if you like seafood, and they have a reasonable and very good wine list. I order a well priced white Rioja when I go. Service is attentive and personable, but not intrusive. This is a great spot for a special occasion. It's a little hidden spot for those in the know - and everyone I have ever taken there has loved it.