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Single guy, first time in NYC, but going solo...

So, I am going to be going to NYC the first week of August. However I will be travelling alone which is not something I am used to. Early 30s, used to the LA scene where I live.

I will be staying at the Maritime hotel for 4 or 5 days. Excuse my ignorance, but it appears it is in the Meat Packing District, but I am not sure if that is also part of another larger area?! (16th St. between 8th and 9th ave)

So I have 3-4 days and 3 nights unplanned and am looking for good places to eat. I really don't care if its $100 or $5, but I really am not into HUGE travel for dinner, rather keep it close. I will not be driving, so walking or subway it is. Daytime, willing to travel to some must eat place wherever.

Just looking for any suggestions on places that might be "You have to try" but that are also suitable for going solo. People watching/fun is better, restaurants with good bars, nightlife, etc.

Appreciate any responses and insights.

Oh yeah, type of cuisine is irrelevant, love it all. I know its sorta vague, but thats really it. If there is anything I simply 'have to try', a New York experience, or something so unlike LA, appreciate the thoughts!

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  1. i'm nearly always eating alone when in new york and have quite a list of places with great food where i'm likely to strike up a conversation. my new fav is co. as the tables are all sort of communal and the food is fantastic. after just one visit to baogette in the east village the waitress remembered me--when i went back a month later, she remembered what i ate and where i sat. i loved that. porchetta is great, also in east village, but the last time i went, a few days ago, the blonde girl behind the counter was kinda surly. i wouldn't miss momofuku noodle or ssam, both very comfortable alone. once, i went to tailor alone and had one of the best meals of my life. it was a bit weird though as i was the only one eating the whole time i was there. a couple of new jersey broads stopped in for drinks and nearly fell of their stools when they got the bill, but except for the bartender who was downing a bag of m and m's, i was the only one with food on my plate for the whole nearly two hours.

    1. Barbuto is right around your area. Good open-air scene with a good bar for solo-dining. Plus, it's right outside the Meatpacking district so you're not fully exposed to that trash.

      http://barbutonyc.com/

      1. I occasionally eat at the bar at Alta on 10th between 5th and 6th. It's great for going solo and it's usually hopping.

        1. Therer are lots of restaurants that are good for eating at the bar if that's your peference. Degustation only has bar seating (do a search as it is discussed often here) , Casa Mono, Union Square Cafe, the tavern room at Gramercy Tavern, Telepan, Ouest and Gotham Bar and Grill all come to mind for bar eating. I'm also an Alta fan.

          1. Right there in the Maritime is La Bottega which serves up really good Italian. I've been there several times & really enjoy it. You might be loathe to eat in the hotel, but trust me, the food is good & there's normally an interesting crowd there. I recommend the pork chop.

            http://www.thursdayclubnyc.com

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            La Bottega
            88 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

            1. i go to LA often so let us know what LA places are more your scene.

              barbuto and alta are good suggestions for bar eating...they both have long bars...and are bustling enough so that you feel comfortable. you may even meet someone at both places.

              at barbuto, the buccatini carbonara is insanely good...so is the roast chicken. at alta, everything is solid...i usually always get an order of gnocchi.

              other spots in the area...tea and sympathy on greenwich off hudson (8th ave) is great...its very cramped but their welsh rarebit is a favorite of mine. tavern on jane is a great bar/grill on hudson and jane...good local crowd...great burgers...better than corner bistro across the street...though corner bistro is worth it to say you tried it...i suggest going at noon on a weekday or 1am on a weekday night...prime time usually means reheated and bland burgers.

              1. Scarpetta, at 14th and 9th, is excellent.

                It's probably worth going to at least one of the Momofuku restaurants, since there's not really anything like it anywhere else. They're a half-hour walk, or a few stops on the L train from where you're staying. Momofuku Ko is worth doing, but since the reservation system opens at 10am each day NY time, you might not be so excited to be up at 7am daily just to be frustrated by it.

                2 Replies
                1. re: craig_g

                  Agree with Scarpetta.

                  I would also add John Dory if you enjoy fish. It's relatively new and a very fun spot. They have a bar facing a massive fish tank which is a nice distraction for someone dining alone.

                  1. re: stephaniec25

                    Also you're staying pretty close to the Spotted Pig. Good food but also good if you want a beer or two before you crash.

                2. Gramercy Tavern's on 20th off Park, which is not too far from you. It's one of my favorite NY places. It's upscale and expensive, but also comfy and relaxed. There's a great bar, where I've often seen people eating entire meals alone, as well as a laid-back "tavern" section in the front. The bartenders are pros, and know how to make you feel comfortable without talking you to death (unless you want them to). The food is amazing, there are lots of great wines and interesting cocktails. People-watching probably isn't big there--it's not a "scene" at all, although I've seen some actors and other celebrities there once in a while. Very close to you is Son Cubano, on 14th -- solid food, active bar, good music, lively crowd, people-watching, friendly staff. I'd skip it Friday-Sunday, though, when it's overrun by tourists (no offense). And if you like hot dogs, you have to go to Gray's Papaya on the Upper West Side. It's just a stand-up-and-eat, bare-bones place, but the dogs are phenomenal and it is a beloved NY institution. Have fun!