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What not to miss for first time visitor?

Manda2831 Jan 26, 2009 05:23 PM

I'll be visiting Manhattan with my boyfriend for the first time over an extended Easter weekend (April 10-13) and want to know what I shouldn't miss both food and location-wise. We're staying at the Fitzpatrick Manhattan (687 Lexington Avenue) in Midtown south and east of Central Park. We would prefer to stay in Manhattan because of cost, but we're happy to use the subway, taxis or the bus. We love all things ethnic and aren't afraid to try anything. The more "New York" the better. Thanks so much for any suggestions that you might have!!!

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  1. s
    Simon RE: Manda2831 Jan 26, 2009 06:27 PM

    hi Manda...welcome to NYC...

    your question is very broad...there are some specific things which Manhattan does well, but what you might like best also a lot depends on what city you are visiting from and what types of food you've tried/enjoyed in the past...for example, if you are visiting from LA, i wouldn't bother trying NY's Thai food...if visiting from Vancouver, i wouldn't bother trying NY's dimsum...

    that said, here are some things you might enjoy:

    -- Italian...NYC has a wide range of Italian restaurants...you should get some great NYC pizza (do a search and you'll get a plethora of opinions, but Arturo's in Manhattan or Grimaldi's over the Brooklyn Bridge are places to start)...there are also lots of cute small, moderately priced Italian places like Malatesta in the West Village or Cacio e Vino in the East Village...and delicious upscale contemporary Italian food like Scarpetta...

    -- Manhattan is blessed with a lot of good spicy Sichuan food...if you like very spicy food, try Grand Sichuan (24th/9thAve) or Szechuan Gourmet (39th/5thAve near-ish to your hotel)...

    -- Chinatown has many good options for Cantonese...Amazing 66 on Mott St is one my new favs...and Cantoon Garden (where i've yet to go) is getting raves here for lobster and squid, etc)...

    -- i also recommend going to Russ&Daughters and getting a bagel w/ smoked salmon to go...and most hounds will rec that you also go to Katz's near there for a pastrami sandwich...

    -- Manhattan also has Japanese food of all kinds...consider Ippudo for ramen noodles (4th Ave near Union Sq)...or many sushi places...or yakitori on St.Mark's...etc...

    that's a few things to consider...give people some more feedback on what you like (and whether those options sound like what you are looking for) and i'm sure many people will chime in with good suggestions...cheers....

    1. k
      kathryn RE: Manda2831 Jan 26, 2009 06:29 PM

      - Where are you from? i.e. we don't want to recommend genres that are better done in your hometown
      - What kinds of foods do you like to eat? Cuisines you love? Cuisines you hate?
      - What is your budget? Budget is the biggest limiting factor when eating out in NY.

      1. p
        Pan RE: Manda2831 Jan 26, 2009 09:14 PM

        Don't miss Katz's. It's a unique New York experience, and their pastrami will just put a huge smile on your face.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Pan
          LeahBaila RE: Pan Jan 27, 2009 04:39 AM

          Second that!


        2. s
          steakrules85 RE: Manda2831 Jan 27, 2009 04:52 AM

          If you like steak you guys need to go to Peter Luger in Brooklyn. Simply an institution and the nation's best steakhouse.

          1. f
            fourunder RE: Manda2831 Jan 27, 2009 06:31 AM

            I would have to respectfully disagree with the idea of passing on foods you like simply because you may have a better rendition of it in your own back yard. One of the great things about travel is to seek out history and great food from the venerable food institutions the visiting locales have to offer. It would be a shame to miss out on some choices simply because it is not perceived as the best, now or ever...or slipping in the minds of some. Peter Luger is a great steak, but it would not stop me from ordering a steak in Chicago. With regards to Dim Sum....I have not been to Vancouver since I was a kid, but I have been to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and New York. All are different somewhat...but I enjoyed them all. I'm going to Austin in a few weeks, and if the opportunity is available, I would consider eating Dim Sum there just to see what it is like.

            In no particular order, here are some suggestions.

            Katz's for Pastrami
            Russ and Daughter's for Smoked Fish
            Kossar's for a Bialys
            Doughnut Plant
            Keen's, The Old Homestead or Peter Luger's for beef...(take in the history and not the glamour)

            Peasant on Elizabeth Street for Italian...http://www.peasantnyc.com/index.htm
            For Italian pastries....http://www.venierospastry.com/ or http://www.ferraracafe.com/index.php

            Serendipity for Frozen Hot Chocolate http://www.serendipity3.com/main.htm

            Zabar's or Chelsea Market for Food Stores http://www.zabars.com/, http://www.chelseamarket.com/

            Chinatown for Barbecued Meats or Wonton Noodle Soup. For Roasted Duck go to Bing Wong on Mott Street. For Red Roast Pork and GREAT Suckling Pig go to NY Noodletown on Bowery Street. And for Soy Sauce Chicken and all the other meats...go to Hsin Wong on Bayard Street... all three places are within two blocks of each other.

            Dim Sum...Jing Fong for Cart service. Dim Sum Go Go or Oriental Garden for menu service.

            Soup Dumplings at New Shanghai Cafe

            Ping's Dried Beef on Mulberry

            My suggestion for a Sunday is....start in Chinatown for Dim Sum between 10-11:00 AM. Afterwards, walk down the Bowery and take (RGR's) Lower East Side Walking Tour http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/475219, hop over to Grand Street and go for the Bialy, doughnut and pickle. Up Grand Street for some Chinese window shopping and cheap eats. Back over to Little Italy and Chinatown for dinner

            1. k
              kessdarln RE: Manda2831 Jan 27, 2009 08:27 AM

              I'm from the West coast but visit often and food is one of the things that I look forward to enjoying.

              I agree with the other posts, Sunday is the day to go to Chinatown, Little Italy, as that is Market day. Dumpling House is very cheap and delicious. Also, Get a coconut from the street vendor and drink that for $2.

              Warm garlic bread with gorgonzola fondue is $9 at Michael Jordan’s in Grand Central Terminal on the balcony and is a must for me every trip.

              Gray's Papaya on Broadway and 72nd make sure to try the mustard and onion sauce, only a few bucks for a dog and drink.

              Corner Bistro on 4th near 8th Ave is a great place to get a delicious burger and a beer for under $10.

              Katz Deli on Houston of course is a tradition.

              Finally, you can eat relatively cheap, Check out this article about the best Cheap Eats for under $10: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/475390

              3 Replies
              1. re: kessdarln
                Pan RE: kessdarln Jan 27, 2009 01:54 PM

                I think it's good to go to Chinatown on weekdays, when it's less crowded but still (as always) bustling. But there isn't much reason to go to Little Italy.

                1. re: Pan
                  MMRuth RE: Pan Jan 27, 2009 02:07 PM

                  Re: Little Italy - I think stopping in at DiPalo is worth going to Little Italy for, particularly given its proximity to Chinatown.

                  1. re: MMRuth
                    Pan RE: MMRuth Jan 27, 2009 03:33 PM

                    Yes, but more for someone who's actually living in New York. Unless the original poster would want to keep some cheese, et al., in her hotel fridge.

              2. s
                secondbecky RE: Manda2831 Jan 27, 2009 10:19 AM

                Definitely Katz - you'll remember it from When Harry Met Sally orgasm scene. Although 2nd Avenue Deli is not where it once was (it's now on 33rd and 3rd - closer to your hotel), it's still got a great pastrami sandwich as well. And you cant go wrong with Mendy's (you might remember that from Seinfeld).

                Johns in Times Square for pizza. Since you'll be in Times Square anyways (I'm sure you will be at some point), stop in at John's on 44th b/w 7th and 8th for really good thin crust pizza in a pretty cool setting. However, try the John's of Bleeker if you're down in the village - a little more "rustic" of a setting. There's sometimes a line there though.

                Grey's Papayas are actually littered around the city, so no need to go to the UES for one. And honestly, I'd pass on them and get a vendor dog instead anyways. Or if you want a gourmet dog, there's a new place called DogMatic just west of Union Square that is pretty amazing.

                Corner Bistro is a good solid NYC institution for burgers, although the wait can be long.

                4 Replies
                1. re: secondbecky
                  abud RE: secondbecky Jan 27, 2009 10:43 AM

                  I suggest Artichoke or Luzzo's for pizza.

                  1. re: abud
                    secondbecky RE: abud Jan 27, 2009 10:51 AM

                    oh love Artichoke, however, it's not a sit down place
                    Co. is pretty new and is getting amazing reviews too

                    1. re: abud
                      Pan RE: abud Jan 27, 2009 01:56 PM

                      When's the last time you went to Luzzo's? It used to be great, but my last experience was so bad, I'm never going back. I'd recommend going to either East Harlem Patsy's (1st Av. between 117th and 118th) or Arturo's (Houston St., corner of Thompson) for a real New York experience and good pizza.

                      1. re: Pan
                        abud RE: Pan Jan 27, 2009 04:38 PM

                        I went to Luzzo's for the first time the other night (Sunday) and was really, really impressed. I like Patsy's and Arturo's too but the pie we got at Luzzo's was beyond. I guess they have good night and bad nights.

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