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Coming to NY in late October looking for good but not exp meals

me and my wife will be in Manhattan in late October. Looking for good places to eat but on a budget. Not neccessaryily carts but for NYC inexpensive gems. The last time there got some preety good reccomendations like Becca. Italian, Chinese, pizza, burgers, sushi, etc.
Staying in the Times Square/Broadway area and will be on foot or cabs.

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  1. if you don't mind loud and chaotic, Otto (batali/bastianich rest.) has good, inexpensive food and wine list.

    1. I recently had a great meal at The Redhead in the East Village. I also enjoyed the roast pork sandwich at Porchetta.

      5 Replies
      1. re: bbqdawg

        Cafe Habana has been mentioned to me before
        as has Republic. Might need to try both

        1. re: countgrog

          a cuban sandwich and corn on the cob at habana always hits the spot.

          1. re: countgrog

            Skip Republic - bland and boring pan Asian food that's not as cheap or as good as you could get at more authentic restaurants in Chinatown and Flushing.

          2. cafe habana for a cuban sandwich
            Dim Sum at Red Egg
            Shake Shack for Burger
            bar stuzzichini for italian (small plates)
            Republic for noodles
            SEA for thai

            6 Replies
            1. re: notsochubbychubette

              Also note the half-price drinks and dim sum at Red Egg if working within budget contraints. Incredible bargain!

              1. re: notsochubbychubette

                Republic is crap there are 100 better restaurants in Manhattan for noodles.

                1. re: KTinNYC

                  i completely agree. there are lots of fantastic hand-pulled noodle places in C-town for half the price of Republic.

                    1. re: notsochubbychubette

                      In the words of 2 other hounds who have said it better then myself;

                      "Republic is an glib, bland, awful place and i can't understand why anyone would go there in the first place."

                      "I think Republic is mediocre. But it is good for noodle freaks who are not focused on authenticity and find themselves hungry in Union Square."

                      I do not exaggerate when I say there are 100 better places for noodles on the island of Manhattan.

                  1. re: notsochubbychubette

                    With the caveat that I've been to Red Egg only once so far, I believe you're very likely to have a better meal at Dim Sum Go Go. Red Egg is cheaper, but DSGG is not expensive for lunch (until 4 PM, as I recall); expect to pay under $20 for a large meal (Red Egg could be closer to $10).

                    As for Thai food, if you want food with real Thai taste, go to Wondee (the original, not Wondee II) on 9th Av. between 52nd and 53rd, tell your waiter/waitress that you want really spicy food like they like it, and order from the "Secret Thai" menu and any Thai-style specials they tell you about only.

                  2. Have had good food at all of the following.
                    In Times Square area:
                    John's Pizzeria (there's a Times Square location)--good, well, pizza
                    Ruby Foos--Asian fusion chain, but tasty and inexpensive, on Broadway
                    Wu Liang Ye--excellent spicy Chinese food
                    Blue Chili--Asian fusion, very good apps, especially
                    Near TS:
                    Burger Joint--inside Le Meridien hotel (w.56th, I think)
                    Topaz Thai--right near Le Meridien, terrific food and prices
                    Le Pain Quotidien--several locations, at least a couple near TS, a good European chain for breakfast or lunch, with excellent breads, pastries, soups, salads, sandwiches
                    Mangia--several locations. Incredible selection, good value cafeteria style or take-out.
                    A bit farther:
                    BLT Fish Shack (W. 17th)
                    Craftbar (Broadway, near Union Square)--excellent food, reasonable if you stick to small plates or a plate of pasta
                    Cafe Habana (Prince St.)--Cuban, always crowded, but good and cheap
                    Sapphire Indian--near Lincoln Center (lunch buffet is the bargain here)
                    The Village:
                    Otto (One Fifth Ave.)--fabulous pizza, pasta, salads--nothing over $15; don't miss it.
                    Fish--Bleecker St., the specials--lobster dinners or oysters, for ex.-- are priced spectacularly; the decor is rustic at best but great french fries, music, village characters
                    Cabrito (Carmine St.)--wonderful, interesting Mexican
                    Mercadito (7th Ave. & Grove)--tasty Mexican small plates
                    Lupa (Thompson)--you can eat a fabulous plate of pasta for $18 or less; daily specials are also very reasonable. The place is always mobbed, for good reasons. Make a res.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                      Le Pain Quotidien is reliable and good, if you happen to come across one and feel like having a sandwich and a tart, or something like that.

                      I have found the 44th St. location of John's Pizzeria thoroughly mediocre.

                      Some good places near Times Square are Uncle Nick's, Wondee Siam (which I already mentioned in this thread), Ariana Afghan Kebab House, and Pam's Real Thai - all on 9th Av. - and Szechuan Gourmet, on 39 St. between 5th and 6th, which is the best Sichuan-style restaurant in Manhattan. For almost anything else that's inexpensive to moderate, I'd go to other parts of the city.

                      By the way, I like Lupa a lot but have found it really annoying to try to get reservations. They never seem to have anything that isn't really early or really late. Try to get into Lupa, but if you can't, there are several good Italian places in the East Village that are a level down from Lupa but also cost less (not that Lupa is expensive; it isn't), including Supper and Cacio e Vino.

                    2. What's your budget? If you are coming from an area that does not have fine dining you might want to consider lunch at one of the upscale restaurants (EMP, etc.). Many have $30 lunch prix fixe. For dinner check out prix fixe. Not sure if downtown is an option but Table Tales Cafe (American) on Water Street near the South Street Seaport, etc. had a 3 course prix fixe. Good and moderately priced.

                      If you venture downtown Veronica's street cart is also delicious and good on the pocket book. Casa Adela on the LES has excellent bacalau (Puerto Rican style), no ambiance, good for the budget. Other ethnic eats like Ukranian National Home (they still hand grate their potato pancakes) are also easy on the pocketbook.

                      Marseille is very good and has a prix fixe. It's in the theater district where you will be staying.

                      Second Lupa rec. Very good food and value priced. Tough to get a reservation on short notice. If you are open to sitting at the bar for dinner that's the way to go.


                      7 Replies
                      1. re: financialdistrictresident

                        Does the Ukranin National Home do Peirogi's?

                        Trying to keep lunch for 2 in the $30-$40 range. Dinners we can do a little more.

                        1. re: countgrog

                          Prix fixe lunches can be your best bet for trying really high end places such as EMP or Jean Georges, and then you can always go cheaper for dinner especially if you go to Caracas Arepas in the East Villege or Chinatown.

                          1. re: countgrog

                            The Ukrainian National Home is a great choice if you are on a budget. They do pierogis but they are called verenyky and they are wonderful! A much better, more authentic experience than better know places nearlby like Veselka.


                            1. re: City Kid

                              UNH makes pierogi. If you have time you may want to ventur eto Greenpoint (search Outer Boroughs Board) for Polish food and even more inexpensive food.

                              1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                I think peirogi and varenyky are the same thing except that the former is the Polish word and the latter is the Ukrainian word.

                            2. re: countgrog

                              Yes, but I went to Little Poland (2nd Av. between 12th and 13th) recently and thought the pierogies I got there were better.

                          2. Red Egg is great, also Nha Trang Centre (Vietnamese) in c town, Kefi on the UWS

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: rkaene

                              Strong second for Kefi, with the caveat that it can be VERY LOUD there. It's best to get reservations there because it's one of the few really good, affordable restaurants on the Upper West Side, so it can be mobbed. Nha Trang Centre is fine but has never amazed me.

                            2. not sure whether or not this is in your budget but you can get a great 3 course lunch at the Nougatine room at Jean Georges. I've done this a couple times and it was great, although I haven't been there in a couple years.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: msenter

                                I recommend the lunch prix fixe at Jean Georges (the main room, not Nougatine, because if you're already going there, why not?), if countgrog is willing to stretch his/her budget a bit. It'll cost more than $40 including tax and tip, but the last time I was there, I believe I paid $156 all told for 3 people, including a very fair tip.

                                1. re: Pan

                                  DO NOT go to Kefi - The food was just ok - the service was TERRIBLE - the restaurant was loud - the main course came before we even had a chance to finish the appetizers - all the plates were left on the table thru out the meal - there are so many better Greek places to go to - if you want Greek - try Pylos in the East Village!

                                  1. re: mboxermd

                                    I had great service the last time I was there and actually have never had anything but good service there. I guess there may be some bad waiter there that has never served me. I live a block from Pylos and prefer Kefi, which is also cheaper. I find the controversy about Kefi tiresome, because my experience is that the food has always been consistenly tasty and the same every time, the service has always been good, the price is right, and the only real drawback is that the place can be loud and packed - but I'm willing to accept that some people simply have had bad experiences at the place.

                                    1. re: Pan

                                      I grant that both the service and food can be mixed. I went for the prix fixe about two months ago and while it was quiet during the beginning, the food was blah and the dessert (rice pudding and the walnut cake) was nothing special. The previous time (non-prix fixe), the service was nothing special either, but I don't expect white gloves treatment at that price point.

                                      The most recent time we went, it was incredibly delicious minus one bad mussel in the mussel salad. Plus we didn't have to wait very long even though we had a reservation (I think one time we had to wait 40 mins w/ reservation) plus they actually accommodated our group of 5 (originally we reserved for 4) with little fuss.

                                      Everyone was very happy with their food and stuffed. I think it's a very reasonably priced restaurant with decent food and I'm happy to return there esp for the sheep's milk dumplings. Though I have to say I was less than impressed by the branzino.

                                      1. re: windycity

                                        I love their branzino and have, every time I've gotten it at the old location and the new one. I believe you that you've experienced inconsistencies, but I haven't. The salad has always been overdressed and the rest of the food has all been reliably good.

                                        The only inconsistency I can think of is that I've sometimes gotten pieces of walnut shell in the walnut cake.

                                        1. re: Pan

                                          :p Ick. Is that analogous to getting scales in your fish dish on the list of culinary crimes or does it rank lower, say around receiving the wrong appetizer?

                                          1. re: windycity

                                            [shrug] It's not wonderful but didn't bother me all that much, because the pieces were small enough to be merely annoying, rather than potentially injurious, and the cake tasted good. Receiving the wrong appetizer could be worse, depending on context.

                              2. How about a good cheap breakfast near our hotel (The Wellington)

                                4 Replies
                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                    The Wellington is on 7th at 55th.

                                  2. re: countgrog

                                    There is a cafe called Park Cafe there at the hotel that serve a good cheap breakfast especially their french toast.

                                    1. re: countgrog

                                      Certe: on 55th St. between 5th & 6th Aves. Mainly takeout and catering with a cozy back room, friendly with great food ranging from bagels and homemade danish and muffins to full breakfasts.

                                    2. any good food carts (want to get the Chicken and Rice experience) near the Times Square, Rockafella Centre areas?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: countgrog

                                        The famous halal cart on 53rd and 6th (ROUND containers, yellow bags, staff in yellow shirts, SE corner during the day, SW corner at night) for chicken and rice.

                                        Checkout midtownlunch.com as well.

                                      2. Indus Express is near Times Square and does good Indian food. You can eat well for uner $10. There are tables in the back. Akdeniz is also in that area and does good Turkish food. It's more expensive than Indus Express, maybe bout $25 for two people.

                                        1. back from our NY trip that was cut short by the swine flu. Cut down on eating as well
                                          Sat had lunch at Carneige Deli-it was across the street from our hotel and while I perfer Katz, my wife and I split the Woody Allen and it was Ok.
                                          Drank our sat dinner at Amsterdam Ale House prior to concert atBeacon Theatre
                                          Sunday breakfast at Park Cafe was very good
                                          Lunch- chicken and rice from Halal Cart
                                          dinner- a pizzia from John's Pizzeria was very good
                                          Monday breakfast Bagel from little across from wherer NBC shoots Today show, we eat there everytime we go to today show. It is Ok
                                          lunch a burger from some overpriced chain fern bar type place. Burger was Ok but service sucked because we were in jeans not not buying $200 bottles of wine.
                                          dinner- was getting sick so had soup at Park cafe
                                          breakfast- Fluffy Bakery- very forgettable
                                          Lunch- more soup at Carneige deli
                                          dinner- after a show a friend took us to bella Napoli- I was so sick couldn't tell you how it was but my wife enjoyed hers.

                                          John's Pizzeria
                                          260 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036