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Mar 22, 2009 07:04 PM

Anniversary meals

Ok, back again for anniversary from florida....last time everyone was very helpful. We tried Lupa, Babbo, Balthazar and Becco. This time we are staying in Financial district but have from friday noon to sunday 4pm. We are doing show sat, not sure if 2pm or 8pm. Wife is looking for nice a Lupa in terms of selection. Also wants to try best pizza(not trying to start pizza wars on what is best, but have heard Joe's, Johns, Uno, etc...would like somewhere in EV or WV. Also looking for nice Chineese meal...have heard great things on Oriental Garden(keep in mind very limited in florida in terms of selection for us). I for one am looking for good mussels, tried Cafe Brussels(sp) and enjoyed. Also great breakfast ...leaning to Balthazar again for early 7:30 am breakfast. I am also looking for nice tapas, spanish style, seafood etc. Lastly looking for nice place to have a great drink/wine with view if possible before dinner.

Want to stay below 50th if possible, we love village area and would like to stay below $150 before drinks on meal if possible for Lupa style meals and same for others listed.

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  1. > Joe's, Johns, Uno

    I hope you meant Una Pizza Napoletana and not Pizzeria Uno! UPN is probably the best choice in the East Village. Joe's is a slice takeout joint. John's on Bleecker Street is OK. But if you really want the best in NYC you'll need to travel a little bit out of those neighborhoods.

    4 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      We can travel out if you think its worth it....what would you rec. on pizza?

      1. re: anniversary

        The usual suspects for best pizza in NYC are typically: Lucali, Franny's, Di Fara, Totonno's of Coney Island, Una Pizza Napoletana, John's of Bleecker, Lombardi's, Grimaldi's, Patsy's of East Harlem and Artichoke. I would also add the newly opened Co. to this list. (I have been to all of these but Lucali and Franny's.)

        Unfortunately, Totonno's of Coney Island just suffered a fire but they hope to be back in operating condition 6 weeks. Meanwhile, I would try to get out to UPN or Co. for pies (they are pies only) and Di Fara and Patsy's (for slices). Given that you are visiting on a weekend, expect lines for dinner. Although if you arrive at Di Fara before noon on a weekend, the line isn't so bad.

        Check out this awesome trip that someone did in only a few days where they hit up 7 of the greats:

        1. re: kathryn

          i have been to lombardis...i read up on CO this past week in the new york mag....who do you rate it?

          1. re: anniversary

            Definitely top in Manhattan right now. Top 5 if you compare against other boroughs (although the Co. pizza is definitely Naples-style so it's a little bit apples vs. oranges to compare them against Di Fara, Totonno's, etc).

    2. I am Asian and I frequently visit Chinatown so I will recommend Chinese meals.

      I haven't been back to Oriental Garden on Elizabeth Street for a while but the last couple of times I was there I really liked their seafood dishes so you can try them. Just a word of caution, don't be shy to ask and confirm the price of seafood from the fish tanks before you order because a lot of the seafood dishes are "market price" and if you happen to order a 5 lb+ King Crab at ~$60 or $70 a pound it may break your budget.... (King Crab is probably one of the more expensive seafood but I think dungeness crabs are around 1 to 2 lbs each for a total of $30-45 per crab so you should be ok.... ) There are also other dishes on the menu (chicken, beef, etc) that cater to both Chinese and non-Chinese and the waitstaff speak decent English so in case you are not Chinese you won't feel left out.

      Another Chinatown place I like is Peking Duck House. I believe you can order a Peking Duck for the two of you to share and plus maybe 1 entree (or see if they have "Peking Duck Pre-Fixe Dinner" for 2 people). If you order a la carte and get too many dishes on top of the Peking Duck, you will end up with a lot of leftovers because the duck can be greasy and the pancake they wrap the duck meat in can get filling too. But overall, the food is solid and the ambiance is a little nicer than other Chinatown places.

      I also like Dim Sum Go Go but a lot of folks here don't like it so you can read up on topics regarding that place to make your own decision. I believe dimsum is available at dinner time (at a slightly higher price than lunch but it's less crowded) and it's doesn't have dim sum cart service (it's made to order.) They also offer some relative "contemporary" and innovative HK style entrees that are not typically available at traditional Cantonese restaurants in Chinatown.

      Lastly, you can check out Amazing 66 on Mott Street. A lot of people here seem to like it. I have not personally visited but it seems to be quite popular with people here.

      I wish you will have a great anniversary and great food with it!

      19 Replies
      1. re: bearmi

        we are fine with nice beef and pork chinesse as well...only one we have ever tired was Wo Hop on mott i believe...

        1. re: anniversary

          I see. I think both Peking Duck House and Oriental Garden offer non-seafood dishes so you should be ok. I have visited with non-Chinese friends who do not eat seafood there and they all enjoyed the food there. These two restaurants are a little pricier (~$25 to 50 a person depending on what you order) than other Chinatown places but the ambiance and service (plus a waitstaff who speak English) are nicer than other places.

          1. re: bearmi

            ok so cantoon garden or szechaun gourment....which one for chinesse food?

            1. re: anniversary

              For two people, it's easier to handle the portions at Szechuan Gourmet, I think. Otherwise, it's simply a question of whether you prefer Sichuan or Cantonese food, although I think Szechuan Gourmet is probably better, overall except for non-spicy dishes. Then again, that could well be due to my preference for Sichuan style...

              1. re: Pan

                how spicy is spicy....mild spicy? any opinions on dim sum as well we are stuck between dim sum go go or dumpling house...thanks!!!

                1. re: anniversary

                  No, VERY spicy. If you don't like your food very spicy and numbing, don't go to Szechuan Gourmet. I've found their non-spicy items boring. The problem with Cantoon Garden is that their portions are humongous, so a party of two would be likely to have leftovers from a single dish. If you want to go to a Sichuan-style place that has some good non-spicy dishes and doesn't usually make things quite as spicy as Szechuan Gourmet, you could try one of the Grand Sichuans.

                  I like Dim Sum Go Go, but the dumpling house is one of those 4 dumplings for $1 place, isn't it? Totally different type of place. If you want cheap pork dumplings and such and don't mind a limited selection, go to a cheap dumpling house. If you want a greater variety, including some fancier items, go to Dim Sum Go Go.

                  1. re: Pan

                    which Grand you have we link or village location...did a search and tons came up. what about chinatown brasserie for mild?

                    1. re: anniversary

                      Oh, if you don't mind spending money, Chinatown Brasserie presumably remains the best dim sum place in Manhattan, and they also have excellent cocktails. I haven't been there for over a year because it's expensive and can be annoying in some ways, but both times I went, the dim sum items and cocktails were wonderful.

                      In terms of Grand Sichuan, their flagship is at 24th and 9th, but it can be mobbed to Kingdom Come, especially on weekends. That's the one I'd most recommend, though, with the caveat that I haven't been to the new 7th Av. South location. Here's the official Grand Sichuan website, with all the locations and menus:


                  2. re: anniversary

                    I think the "mild spicy" dishes at these authentic Sichuan restaurants can sometimes be "very very spicy" for people who don't eat spicy food. So you will have to be careful if your body doesn't have a high tolerance for spicy food or you can order non-spicy dishes like Pan has recommended (just confirm with your waiter/waitress).

                    I am Chinese and I eat Chinese food all the time, spicy or not. Not to sound extreme but there were a few times that I almost needed a diaper the day after I ate "spicy" dishes from various Sichuan places such as Szechuan Gourmet or Grand Sichuan.

          2. re: bearmi

            You are correct. Dim Sum Go Go does offer dim sum items at dinner, for a higher price.

            1. re: bearmi

              what does being asian have to do with it? are you chinese? and does being chinese give you some magical knowledge?

              1. re: thew

                Yeah.. of course. Because I don't want to mislead people who are not magical to unauthentic dining experiences.

                1. re: thew


                  If you look at bearmi's 4/05 post time stamped 10:59PM, you will notice s/he states s/he's Chinese.

                  Not some sort of magic, but in my view, someone who is of a certain ethinicity and has grown up eating that particular cuisine can often provide specific insights that those of us who have not might not be able to. I think it's especially helpful to those have not had much experience with the cuisine being discussed or have had experiences that have been less than positive.

                  1. re: RGR

                    i guess i have to disagree. is every american an expert in american cuisine? or do some think mcdonalds is the height of american eating?

                    is s/he chinese born or american born? does that make a difference or is just having the physical characteristics enough?

                    can a chinese person be an expert in french cuisine, maybe even more than they are to chinese?

                    i just don;t buy it.

                    1. re: thew

                      This is not about "physical characteristics." My reference was to someone who grew up in a certain culture and had experience eating the authentic cuisine of that culture. However, it was never intended to be a sweeping statement, i.e., all Chinese people are experts on Chinese food.

                      And, yes, a Chinese person can certainly be or become an expert on French cuisine.

                      1. re: RGR

                        Thank you for the clarification. Sometimes it's just hard to make a point with people who are just here to argue... sigh..

                      2. re: thew

                        Thew, you keep missing the point here. I have already stated that I eat in Chinatown often and I don't eat much of other non-Asian cuisine that's why I responded to the original post recommending Chinese food.

                        I was born here but grew up in Taiwan. I go home to Taiwan about every 4 to 6 months and I eat in Chinatown and Flushing all the times so I have had my share of Chinese cuisine. I am not going to give you my bank account number and social security number though.... ha...

                        By the way, I eat at McDonald's often too and I will make a recommendation on American food even though I am Chinese but just because I go there often. Their Chicken Nuggets are the best and the ones in Taipei serves some pretty good Cream of Corn Soup for about US$1!

                        1. re: bearmi

                          bearmi--i don't think you have to justify that you have an understanding of chinese food and being chinese gives you some validity. and to be honest, whether you were born/raised here or there doesn't even matter. is it that difficult for white people to get that many/most people of ethnic background grow up eating their culture's food? my Mexican husband (born/raised in LA) knows Mexican food better than those that are not because he grew up eating home-cooked Mexican food. I'm Chinese (born and raised in So Cal) and grew up eating Chinese food. My parents don't eat anything but Chinese food, so yes, for the love of God, it is more then conceivable that I know Chinese food better than white people! it's absurd that this is even an argument on this board. i will ALWAYS trust a Chinese person before a non-Chinese person when it comes to Chinese food recs. Period.

                          1. re: kim e

                            Yeah, it's a kind of "all things being equal" statement. While there are obviously some Chinese people who lack taste and whose opinions aren't worth a damn, all things being equal, there's a greater chance that someone who grew up eating Chinese food in the home habitually and who is fluent and literate in Chinese and therefore faces few if any handicaps in obtaining whatever a Chinese restaurant makes will be more likely to have more authoritative opinions on Chinese restaurants in Chinatown. I wouldn't say I'd always trust a Chinese person before a non-Chinese person, though, because there's always the matter of taste, so it still depends on WHO the people involved are. But all things being equal...

                2. You might enjoy Casa Mono for Spanish food - portions are a bit bigger than regular tapas, but still meant for sharing - it's one of our favorite places, and lots of reports on it here.

                  1 Reply
                  1. anything on mussels...or something better than balthazar?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: anniversary

                      For Spanish I'd recommend Tia Pol, Las Ramblas and Alta. Also I like pizza at Luzzo's on 1st Ave in the EV. For Italian, Apizz on the Lower East Side.

                    2. I second the tapas recommendations for Tia Pol, Alta and Casa Mono. They're all consistently delicious. Tia Pol doesn't take reservations but they're rarely busy at lunch time so that could be a nice option for you. Definitely order the ham croquettes and the crispy squid po'boy if you go there!

                      I also second the Chinese recommendation for Peking Duck House. Chinatown Brasserie and Shang are very good too if you would prefer somewhere on the trendier side. Shang's menu is definitely creative and a bit unusual so, while it's delicious, I wouldn't recommend it if you're looking for more traditional Chinese fare.

                      In terms of Italian, I think you and your wife would really like Bellavitae in the West Village. I'm also a fan of dell'anima and Crispo.

                      I'm more of a brunch eater than breakfast, but if you're willing to eat a little later in the morning, Five Points is really delicious. I also love City Bakery and they open early. It's a cafeteria-style buffet and they also have great pastries (try the pretzel croissant!).

                      It looks like you've gotten plenty of recs for pizza, and I'm not really sure about mussels...maybe Pastis? or Markt?

                      Hope that helps. Happy Anniversary!

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: sam920

                        very helpful...thanks...i was told today about Resto for mussels?

                        1. re: sam920

                          Casa Mono is open continuously throughout the day and also takes reservations (as well as walk-ins). They also have an open kitchen that you can watch from the counter seating.

                          I would not recommend Shang as I found the food there to be overwrought, too complicated, and just plain not tasty enough.

                          1. re: kathryn

                            Crispo? any thoughts...i am leaning toward it.....

                            1. re: anniversary

                              Always solid in my opinion. I have been there for celebrations before. It has a somewhat romantic vibe because of lighting, etc. But, it can be loud.

                              1. re: Lucia

                                Yeah, as in VERRRRRRY LOUDDDD! And if it's not the music that's loud, it's the party of 15 or whatever that's in one room or the next.

                              2. re: anniversary

                                I was really disappointed with my meal at Crispo and would never return.

                                1. re: trishottawa

                                  I've had both very positive and somewhat negative experiences there. Do you remember what you ordered when you went there?

                                  1. re: Pan

                                    I had the risotto balls which were fine. Then came the pasta...UGHH. A gooey mass of pappardella with a surprising amount of kale and a tasteless sauce. I was most put off by the kale which had not been rinsed so that there was grit in every mouthful. The last straw was that our server seemed oblivious to the fact that my dinner was virtually untouched. So many great restaurants and I chose that one! I have just booked Lupa for this spring's trip so hopefully I will have redeemed myself!!

                                    1. re: trishottawa

                                      Yikes! I've never had that bad an experience at Crispo! But you should have sent it back.