Coming to NYC and need some foodie help
My wife and I are coming in to celebrate our 1 year anniversary in NYC with some sightseeing and lots of good eats. We're very adventurous eaters, don't shy away from any type of cuisine, love street food and high end as well. We'll be in town for 3 days and would like help for ideas during our trip. I've searched the boards and other sites, and would like some help/suggestions. We'd like to spend around $20pp for our meals (not inc. drinks, etc), except for dinner on Saturday where we'd like to have a more romantic place, at around $60pp (preferably prix-fixe or a tasting). I know its a tall order to ask of you all, but suggestions are really appreciated. Here is our itinerary, so restaurants nearby would be most welcome:
- Lunch near South Street Seaport - no ideas yet!
- Dinner near Greenwich Village/SoHo - no ideas yet!
- Lunch near Central Park/UWS/UES - thinking of picnic in Central Park or a light lunch...
- Pre-theatre "snack" (theatre is near Times Square) - ideas were Margon or Biryani cart
- Late dinner (kind of fancy?) - some ideas I had are Telepan, Balthazar, Casa Mono, Kittichai and TOWN
- Lunch in Harlem - maybe Amy Ruth's, Dinosaur BBQ or Miss Maude's?
- Early dinner near Grand Central Terminal - my idea was Szechuan Gourmet
I'd also appreciate any suggestions for places to go for late-night drinks with a laid back - i.e. no loud music - vibe. Thanks for the suggestions, and I'll be sure to post up reviews when we get back!
edit: we eat anything, really, but aren't fans of Italian or "American" (i.e. simple burger and fries, etc.). A great pizza, Southern soul food, Cajun, etc. are however, all welcome!
There are many threads on South Street Seaport/Fidi (Chinatown is also a good option). You might want to do a search. What type of cuisine and price range?
Casa Mono is not fancy. It's a small casual place. Balthazar is a lively french bistro and is also fairly casual, not fancy IMHO.
And I think your Chinatown idea is a good one, and is a nice way to save some money on lunch, that might be then allocated to another meal. Banh mi at Saigon Bakery and some dumplings else where, plus ice cream at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory would make a good lunch in my book.
Actually it's J.M. Family Noodle Restaurant (on one of my older menus. I noticed the menus in the restaurant have a slightly different name now), 19 Henry Street (near PS1). I usually get a barbecued rice plate (roast duck on rice $5-ish). I've tried the roast duck noodle soup and vegetable noodle soup.
A quick comment on Saturday night - I've not been to Kittichai for a couple of years now, because I wasn't enthralled with the food there, particularly given the cost. It is nice to have a cocktail outside in front of the hotel though. Maybe someone who has been more recently than I will chime in.
I love the food at Casa Mono, but it is a bit cramped, and can be noisy, so might not be what you are looking for in terms of romantic. Also, while I always enjoy going to Balthazar, I don't think of it as romantic either. You might want to look into Le Gigot, in the Village, which has excellent French food, cozy ambiance and a well priced prix fixe with good selections on it.
On the UES, near the park is a place I like called Via Quadronno, that has wonderful panini, that you could either eat there, or bring to the park. Or, if the UWS is more convenient, you could pick up food for your picnic at Zabars/Fairway/Citarella.
> Dinner near Greenwich Village/SoHo - no ideas yet!
It can be challenging to keep it under $20pp in these neighborhoods. Maybe Rhong Tiam (Thai)?
> - Lunch near Central Park/UWS/UES - thinking of picnic in Central Park or a light lunch...
Keep in mind these are 10-3pm is prime brunching hours in NYC, so if you want to do a sit down meal you might be fighting the crowds.
If you want to picnic in Central Park, I'd do takeout from Shake Shack, or maybe some take out nibbles from Salumeria Rossi, Whole Foods, Bouchon Bakery, or Zabar's. Of course, you should probably have a backup plan in case it's raining.
> - Pre-theatre "snack" (theatre is near Times Square) - ideas were Margon or Biryani cart
I see you've been reading midtownlunch.com. Are you certain these folks are out and about on weekends?
Since you mentioned great pizza as a nice to have, how about an early dinner at Co., in Chelsea? They open at 5pm for dinner. One pie per person puts you at just under $20pp.
> Saturday where we'd like to have a more romantic place, at around $60pp (preferably prix-fixe or a tasting).
$60pp before tax, tip, and drinks is pretty low for a tasting menu. Have you looked into Degustation?
> - Early dinner near Grand Central Terminal - my idea was Szechuan Gourmet
the seaport sucks for food...yr best bet is to go eat in tribeca and walk over...for lunch, i suggest walkers...old school bar and grill...great crowd, solid food, great drinks. or bubbys on hudson a block away...food is less amazing but its always a pleasant scene. walking distance to seaport...maybe 5-8 minutes.
dinner in greenwich/soho...on the cheapish side, check out bianca, cash only, no reservations italian...solid fare, semi-romantic. or da andrea for better italian on 13th off 5th ave...less romantic but best italian in my opinion. or check out ino on bedford for small plates, italian meats and cheese and wine...everything is excellent and cheap.
for lunch near central park...see if le bonne soupe is reopened by then...they had a fire but should be open any day now. great for simple, casual french fare and cheap.
margon isnt exactly a light snack sorta place...unless you split the cubano sandwich perhaps. great joint though...a favorite of mine.
dinner on sat? id skip that lot...look into perilla or barbuto or little owl if you can get in...romantic, solid food places, good nights out...barbuto is a bit more lively.
for drinks, check out brandy library or angel's share...on a more laid back tip, try tavern on jane, walkers, or keens bar.
Re: $60 prixfixe for Saturday, you could look into Convivio. The setting in the hidden-away Tudor Square Park is very nice, and while the resto might not be called totally romantic (although the outdoor tables could qualify), the price and food quality are exactly right. $59 for a four-course prix fixe that's really, really good. It is Italian but quite unusual, not red-sauce by a long shot.
Re: Sunday near GCT, a fun choice is Sakagura, an underground (literally) sake bar with yummy Japanese bar food. A more adventurous choice than Szechuan Gourmet, especially if you are doing Chinatown the day before.