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not too pricey near 37th and Madison?

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hi hounds! we're comin up from DC this weekend (Friday/saturday) and are staying at either 35th or 37th and Madison. I'm really excited to see what NY has to offer, as I've only been once before and it was such a quick trip i only got to drink and not eat, much to my dismay.

That being said, we are adventurous eaters looking for anything unique to the area and not super expensive (under $30 pp not including drinks). Would love to try some awesome pizza, italian, new american, greek or french. Not really interested in sushi, indian or thai. Street food recs are always appreciated too! Hope I've given enough details!

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  1. A good tip is to use menupages.com to look up menus and Opentable.com to book tables (however, not all restaurants are on OpenTable and some tables are held back for diners who phone to make a reservation).

    Here's a recent cheap eats thread:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/635360

    New York Magazine and Time Out New York have the best street carts and cheap eats guides, respectively:
    http://nymag.com/restaurants/features...
    http://nymag.com/restaurants/cheapeat...

    **Don't Leave NY Without Eating... (don't miss this thread)**
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/610739

    NYC for visitors:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/597021
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/610107
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/604369
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/605545
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/603298
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/589834

    I highly recommend RGR's self guided Lower East Side Gustatory tour:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/493333

    Best pizza in NY:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6111...

    As for places near by your hotel, these might help:

    Lunch Spots Around Park + East 33rd
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/507698

    Dinner near 37th & Lex?
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/529898

    34th & Lexington
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/583900

    HELP PLEASE! Dinner tomorrow near East 38th Street
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/603090

    1. For more interesting and less pricey restaurants I'd recommend getting on the number 6 train and getting off at Astor Place (or bus or cab) and head into the East Village. It is like 10 -15 minutes away from where you staying.

      For not so pricey Italian there is Cacio e Vino and Gnocco Cafe. A bit more spendy would be In Vino, Lavagna and Perbacco.

      For New American there is The Redhead.

      For pizza there is Luzzo, Veloce and Una Pizza Napoletana.

      For Greek I'd recommend Pylos (but again a bit more than you want to spend).

      No really great French places in the lower price ranges. Jules, Flea Market and Lucien are not too pricey bistro type places though.

      Penelope is a cute American place not far from where you are staying. Also a well-known brunch destination.

      You will also not be far from Shake Shack which is in Madison Park and has lots of fans for its take on American fast food.

      4 Replies
      1. re: boccalupo

        Una Pizza Napoletana is $21 per small sized pie (each feeds, say, 1 person), so I might imagine the OP would have sticker shock...

        1. re: kathryn

          I was thinking the same thing, but it still falls OP's stated price range. Although the other pizza places I mentioned are less pricey. (Of course any other pizza place would be less pricey than UPN).

          But if I were coming to NYC and wanted to try great pizza I guess I might splurge on UPN.

          1. re: boccalupo

            I never understand this line of thinking. I've seen so many posts saying things such as I wouldn't take out a second mortgage to buy Una Pizzeria Neapolitana's pizza" or "I can't justify spending $20 on Mexican food" as if there are not incredibly delicious preparations of pizza - a dish with an incredible amount of regional variety to say nothing of the quality & quantity of the toppings - or Mexican food - the cuisine of an entire country.

            It is, of course, if you, the individual, does not want to or can not afford to spend $X for Y dish at Z restaurant - who am I to say that UPN's pizza is so much better than Luzzo's that it is definitively and always worth the difference in price to everybody. For example, I don't appreciate wine enough to extract utility from a $100+ bottle, but I am pretty sure other people can taste the difference. I don't begrudge them.

            There is no question that, to me, and many others, UPN's pizza is of such high quality that it is sometimes worth me paying $21 for a filetti or marghareita pizza, which will compose my entire meal, just as it is sometimes worth me paying $23 for beef cheek ravioli at Babbo when I can also get good ravioli at, say, Bianca, for half the price.

            To me, $21 spent at UPN buys you an amazing meal; so what if it happens to be pizza. If others don't feel the same, it's fine (like me with wine) but to treat it as ridiculous or the province of the wealthy is irritating.

            1. re: Jorel

              wholeheartedly agree with your precept about cost. my problem with UPN is that i dislike the attitude that the customer is always wrong. the pizza itself? righteous. the experience? less so.

      2. Serge - 33rd and Madison--French bistro--only been once but I liked it.
        Da Ciro - 33rd-34th and Lexington - Italian- eat there weekly- great brick oven
        Sarges - 36th-37th 3rd Ave-classic delicatessen w/ wonderful pastrami
        Ethos - 33rd-34th 3rd Ave--Greek -- order out from there regularly

        Also a very food Moroccan between 5th and Madison and 36th St but can't recall the name

        2 Replies
        1. re: maxinem

          The restaurant whose name escapes you is Barbes. Actually, it's not strictly Moroccan as the menu includes French and Mediterranean dishes.

          http://www.barbesrestaurantnyc.com

          1. re: RGR

            I second Barbes. Interesting, cozy, not too expensive.

        2. Triomphe is excellent and not too far from there

          2 Replies
          1. re: foodwhisperer

            what are the prices like there? the menu looks really great but there are no prices on it!

            1. re: littlew1ng

              Menupages (good resource in general) has prices for Triomphe's menu.

              http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...

              Triomphe is rather pricey.

          2. Pls use menupages.com to view menus/addresses:

            Ali Baba Turkish Kitchen
            Ethos (Greek)
            Rare Bar & Grill (great burgers)
            Les Halles (French brasserie)
            Novita (fantastic Italian)

            www.thelunchbelle.com

            5 Replies
            1. re: LeahBaila

              Just to note that while MenuPages is an excellent resource, the menus are often not totally current. Even some of the other info can be wrong. For example, it's best to check directly with restaurants about hours of operation. So, if a restaurant has a website, it's usually better to go there -- though sometimes those are not kept up-to-date. All of the restaurants on your list have websites.

              1. re: RGR

                And often a link to the restaurant's site on menupages.

              2. re: LeahBaila

                Btw, Leah, the one time we had dinner at Novita many years ago, I thought the food was nothing special. What about it make you say it's "fantastic"?

                1. re: RGR

                  The bread and breadsticks were fresh, the olive oil was earthy and fragrant, the crab and shrimp in my seafood salad were probably the freshest I've tasted in recent memory, my homemade buckwheat tagliatelle was perfect with grilled shrimp, tomatoes and artichoke, and our dessert (halved baked peach with housemade vanilla gelato) was the perfect way to end the meal.

                  www.thelunchbelle.com

                  1. re: LeahBaila

                    Thanks for your response, Leah. Aside from the fact that my husband and I abhor the olive oil dipping thingy, that all does sound very good. Maybe I'll consider giving it another try sometime since it is only a short walk for us.

              3. For French I'd recommend Cosette on 33rd between lex and 3rd. I also second the following recommendations above:
                Da Ciro for pizza
                Sarges- for the pastrami
                Rare - if you just want a burger.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                  Good call on Cosette...Charming & authentic little place.

                  www.thelunchbelle.com

                  1. re: LeahBaila

                    My problem with going to Cosette is that the banquettes are so lumpy, seating is uncomfortable. I know I sound like "The Princess and the Pea" here, but I really wish they'd reupholster. The food is delicious, and the ambiance is, as you said, charming.

                    1. re: RGR

                      Agreed, the banquettes are very lumpy. :)

                      www.thelunchbelle.com

                2. thanks guys :) i think we have kinda narrowed it down to da ciro or gnocco, and will probably grab lunch at sarges. any thoughts on these picks? and how are the pasta/non-pizza stuff at da ciro?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: littlew1ng

                    The pastrami at Sarge's is first-rate. Be sure to order it *fatty*.

                  2. thanks guys for all the recs! unfortunately during this stay i was surrounded by non-foodies who approached food as a cushion for booze; the first night we ordered pizza from some nondescript location that was good, but not great, then the next day had brunch at a place called choice around 26th and lex...terrible service and completely forgettable food. but i will be back up soon and pocket all these recs for next time! my bf has promised we can have dinner somewhere next time we come to NY, as the past few times we haven't really patronized the culinary scene.

                    1. Next time, hit either Olympic Pita or Kati Roll Co.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: a_and_w

                        BTW Olympic Pita has morphed into Baraca ... http://midtownlunch.com/2009/06/03/th...

                        -----
                        Baraca
                        58 W 38th St, New York, NY 10018

                        1. re: squid kun

                          Uh oh. Sounds like not much has changed, but this still isn't a good sign. No more eggplant or carrot salad are two big strikes. Also...sushi?!

                          1. re: a_and_w

                            i ate here this past weekend. not bad, but they ran out of a lot of menu items! the highlight of our meal was the buffalo chicken appetizer.