My boyfriend and I will be visiting Manhattan in a couple of weeks and are looking to make dinner reservations for the evening of 3/7. We would like to go to an ethinc spot.... somewhere different, where we can have a meal that we wouldn't necessarily find in our home-city of Boston. We're up for South/Central America, Middle-Eastern, or what ever else you guys might come up with. I would like to stay away from Asian, as we eat a lot of Asian food in Boston. We're staying in mid-town and seeing an afternoon show on that day, but are willing to travel outside of mid-town for a great meal..... but would like to stay within Manhattan. We are hoping for a place that is reasonably priced, ie, entrees not much over $20, and has a bar. Any suggestions?
you can try:
pio pio salon on 95th and amsterdam for some damn good peruvian chicken. good prices as well.
kashkaval on 9th avenue (i think it is between 56th and 57th) for mediterranean/middle eastern cuisine. great, great, great selection of spreads and salads, cheese platters, charcuterie, the spinach-feta borek (spinach and feta in pastry) is yummy, as is their fondue. the kebabs with orzo or bulgur are also good, but not as outstanding as the rest of the stuff. price is definitely reasonable and the ambiance is warm and good for a casual date feeling. there is only wine here, i think, and probably beer.
kefi is an AMAZING greek place on columbus between 84th and 85th street. you'll want to make a reservation as it is very busy, but you shouldn't have much trouble if you look now. this is truly great food for the price. they have wine for sure, and maybe some beer. i would recommend the sheep's milk dumplings, meatballs, grilled octopus, crispy cod. SOOOOOOOOO good!!!!
caracas arepa bar is down in the east village on 7th street just off of 1st avenue, i think. it has nice venezuelan arepas (corn patties) stuffed with all sorts of fillings. pernil, cheese, avocado, beans, beef, etc. you'll certainly stay under your budget there. they offer wine and beer and wine based cocktails.
for hummus, i would suggest the hummus place. it has a few locations. one down in the west village, in soho, and also on the upper west side. really excellent hummus (highly recommended by israelis, who, of course, say that it isn't anything close to in israel, but many consider it their favorite hummus in new york). warm, fluffy pita bread, good labneh, and they also offer shakshuka and falafel and salads. they offer wine.
you could also try taim for GREAT falafel sandwiches and also sabich (fried eggplant with egg, hummus, tahini, pickle, salad). it's more of a casual take out or eat-in quickly kind of place. they have smoothies, but i doubt they have alcohol.
i've heard good things about beyoglu, but have never been. i have a few turkish friends who love sevens turkish grill on 72nd street and also turkuaz on 100th and broadway.
no korean? i know that there is not a single good korean place up in boston. i spent quite a bit of time up there....
good luck and please let us know what you end up doing!!
how about ethiopian? there's a drought of that in boston as i recall... i love meskerem (47th/10th near the shows, or macdougal near bleecker) but their midtown loc is hit or miss as far as the bar goes (they keep losing & regaining their liquor license, it seems). that said, i keep going back... ghenet in soho is also good, but i do prefer meskerem in general.
agree on korean as well. there's a great place whose name i never remember - on 32nd, head east away from the crowd of places between bway & 6th, it's on the north side of the street, right across from a hotel. very sleek space, great food. someone on here knows the name, i'm sure.
near theatre district, great thai as well, though you didn't mention asian - i love pam, on both 47th or 49th & 9th.
my recommendation for ktown would be cho dang gol on 35th between 6th and 5th. it's literally the only place that actually doesn't use MSG in ktown. many places say they don't, even when you request, but still use it. the book-uh gui (grilled pollack) and the traditional casseroles are just great as is the marinated mackerel that comes as a free side dish. it really comes closest to real korean home cooking in my opinion.
then again, the OP doesn't really want to have asian here. maybe since boston is so lacking in korean food, she may want to try?