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NYC 2 days, seeking my fav foods

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Hello I will be in Mahattan this weekend staying by Central Park. I am excited and long to try the specialties of NYC. I am on a budget. I am looking for a highly recommended old style Italian restaurant with lots of character (fav dinner is the basic spaghetti/meatballs), a cool, cozy, independent coffee shop (Greenwich Village maybe), a cheap but great breakfast/brunch, good lunch place in an area to explore, cheap but chill bar for drinks (I am 35). I love cool small places with atmosphere and make me feel like I am experiencing the place I am in, NYC. Maybe a good Indian restaurant, hamburger joint, etc. Any suggestions to enhance my short stay would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. I would definitely go to Cafe Habana for a Cuban and some Mexican corn on the cob..SMALL fore sure. Food is great. Area is great.
    Small hamburger joint, corner bistro. If you want to enjoy a burger outside, go to shake shack.
    Spaghetti and meatballs-Rao's

    Cafe Habana
    ecoeatery.com
    17 Prince St

    Corner Bistro
    331 W 4th St

    Shake Shack
    www.shakeshack.com
    Madison Square Park
    23rd and Madison

    Raos
    www.raos.com
    455 E 114th St

    1 Reply
    1. re: notsochubbychubette

      Why anyone would suggest Rao's to anyone is beyond me, considering that the food is mediocre, and far more important, it is utterly impossible for anyone who is not a long-time customer to get a table. A drink at the bar, maybe, a table no way.

    2. Where near Central Park are you staying (Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Central Park South)? That will help us come up with some ideas near you. Thanks.

      1. Some places that come to mind:

        Cafe - Joe (Waverly Pl. branch), Grumpy (Chelsea)
        Burger - Black Iron Burger (East Village)

        For old-school Italian you might consider Monte's (Greenwich Village) or John's of 12th Street (East Village).

        Arturo's has decent pizza (perhaps red sauce fare is OK too, never tried it) and is nice for its old Village vibe and live jazz.

        For brunch I like Mogador on St. Mark's Place.

        1 Reply
        1. re: boccalupo

          I'd say the pizza at Arturo's is very good, not just decent. Some of their other items (e.g., Eggplant Parmigiana) are fine, but the pizza, the character, and the music are really the draw.

          I had a good experience at John's of 12th St., though it is unpopular on this board.

        2. cafe reggio on macdougal street in greenwich village should suffice as the cafe you are looking for.

          i would also suggest going to katz's for lunch and walking around the lower east side and then chinatown.

          i've never been to john's on 12th street but i have walked by and looked at the menu - might be just exactly what you are looking for regarding the italian request.

          1. I'll pipe in with Indian. On the lower end of the price scale, I think your two best bets are Saravanaas (Lex. & 26th) for South Indian vegetarian and Minar (46th between 6th & 7th) for North Indian cafeteria-style fast food lunch (I think it's about $8 for a combo of 2 meats + 1 veg + rice or bread).

            Instead of meatballs, consider Biricchino for:

            Rigatoni alla paesana
            Rigatoni with homemade sausage and sundried tomato sauce
            $14.50

            Or Bianca for
            Tagliatelle Al Ragu’Con Piselli home made tagliatelle pasta with beff veal ragu and green peas 13.95

            http://petercherches.blogspot.com