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not too pricey near 37th and Madison?

littlew1ng Jul 13, 2009 02:53 PM

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. k
    kathryn RE: littlew1ng Jul 13, 2009 03:26 PM

    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:

    New York Magazine and Time Out New York have the best street carts and cheap eats guides, respectively:

    **Don't Leave NY Without Eating... (don't miss this thread)**

    NYC for visitors:

    I highly recommend RGR's self guided Lower East Side Gustatory tour:

    Best pizza in NY:

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

    Lunch Spots Around Park + East 33rd

    Dinner near 37th & Lex?

    34th & Lexington

    HELP PLEASE! Dinner tomorrow near East 38th Street

    1. b
      boccalupo RE: littlew1ng Jul 13, 2009 03:38 PM

      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
        kathryn RE: boccalupo Jul 13, 2009 03:39 PM

        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
          boccalupo RE: kathryn Jul 13, 2009 04:03 PM

          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
            Jorel RE: boccalupo Jul 18, 2009 02:38 PM

            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
              david sprague RE: Jorel Jul 19, 2009 09:44 AM

              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. m
        maxinem RE: littlew1ng Jul 13, 2009 07:27 PM

        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
          RGR RE: maxinem Jul 13, 2009 07:40 PM

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


          1. re: RGR
            LBNJNY RE: RGR Jul 15, 2009 11:22 AM

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

        2. f
          foodwhisperer RE: littlew1ng Jul 13, 2009 09:28 PM

          Triomphe is excellent and not too far from there

          2 Replies
          1. re: foodwhisperer
            littlew1ng RE: foodwhisperer Jul 14, 2009 01:17 PM

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

            1. re: littlew1ng
              boccalupo RE: littlew1ng Jul 14, 2009 01:46 PM

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


              Triomphe is rather pricey.

          2. LeahBaila RE: littlew1ng Jul 15, 2009 05:59 AM

            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)


            5 Replies
            1. re: LeahBaila
              RGR RE: LeahBaila Jul 15, 2009 07:19 AM

              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
                City Kid RE: RGR Jul 15, 2009 07:44 AM

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

              2. re: LeahBaila
                RGR RE: LeahBaila Jul 15, 2009 07:31 AM

                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
                  LeahBaila RE: RGR Jul 15, 2009 07:59 AM

                  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.


                  1. re: LeahBaila
                    RGR RE: LeahBaila Jul 15, 2009 09:15 AM

                    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. Spends Rent on Food RE: littlew1ng Jul 15, 2009 06:38 AM

                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
                  LeahBaila RE: Spends Rent on Food Jul 15, 2009 06:43 AM

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


                  1. re: LeahBaila
                    RGR RE: LeahBaila Jul 15, 2009 07:29 AM

                    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
                      LeahBaila RE: RGR Jul 15, 2009 08:00 AM

                      Agreed, the banquettes are very lumpy. :)


                2. littlew1ng RE: littlew1ng Jul 15, 2009 08:06 AM

                  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
                    RGR RE: littlew1ng Jul 15, 2009 09:09 AM

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

                  2. littlew1ng RE: littlew1ng Jul 19, 2009 08:50 AM

                    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. a_and_w RE: littlew1ng Jul 19, 2009 09:56 AM

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

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: a_and_w
                        squid kun RE: a_and_w Jul 19, 2009 12:29 PM

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

                        58 W 38th St, New York, NY 10018

                        1. re: squid kun
                          a_and_w RE: squid kun Jul 19, 2009 01:54 PM

                          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
                            kosherfoodies RE: a_and_w Oct 28, 2009 08:08 PM

                            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.

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