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

countgrog Aug 20, 2009 08:21 AM

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. t
    tkm616 RE: countgrog Aug 20, 2009 08:51 AM

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

    1. bbqdawg RE: countgrog Aug 20, 2009 09:01 AM

      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
        countgrog RE: bbqdawg Aug 20, 2009 10:07 AM

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

        1. re: countgrog
          notsochubbychubette RE: countgrog Aug 20, 2009 10:10 AM

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

          1. re: countgrog
            windycity RE: countgrog Aug 21, 2009 06:56 AM

            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. re: bbqdawg
            nomadchowwoman RE: bbqdawg Aug 20, 2009 12:56 PM

            where's Porchetta?

            1. re: nomadchowwoman
              RGR RE: nomadchowwoman Aug 20, 2009 06:54 PM


          3. n
            notsochubbychubette RE: countgrog Aug 20, 2009 09:16 AM

            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
              City Kid RE: notsochubbychubette Aug 20, 2009 10:09 AM

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

              1. re: notsochubbychubette
                KTinNYC RE: notsochubbychubette Aug 20, 2009 10:38 AM

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

                1. re: KTinNYC
                  kim e RE: KTinNYC Aug 20, 2009 10:40 AM

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

                  1. re: KTinNYC
                    notsochubbychubette RE: KTinNYC Aug 20, 2009 10:41 AM

                    sorry you feel that way.

                    1. re: notsochubbychubette
                      KTinNYC RE: notsochubbychubette Aug 20, 2009 10:52 AM

                      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.

                  2. re: notsochubbychubette
                    Pan RE: notsochubbychubette Aug 23, 2009 06:05 PM

                    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.

                  3. nomadchowwoman RE: countgrog Aug 20, 2009 11:48 AM

                    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
                      Pan RE: nomadchowwoman Aug 23, 2009 06:10 PM

                      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. financialdistrictresident RE: countgrog Aug 20, 2009 11:55 AM

                      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
                        countgrog RE: financialdistrictresident Aug 21, 2009 06:27 AM

                        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
                          windycity RE: countgrog Aug 21, 2009 06:58 AM

                          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
                            City Kid RE: countgrog Aug 21, 2009 07:14 AM

                            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
                              financialdistrictresident RE: City Kid Aug 21, 2009 08:38 AM

                              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
                                City Kid RE: financialdistrictresident Aug 21, 2009 12:50 PM

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

                                1. re: City Kid
                                  financialdistrictresident RE: City Kid Aug 21, 2009 02:58 PM

                                  City Kid, that is correct.

                            2. re: countgrog
                              Pan RE: countgrog Aug 23, 2009 06:11 PM

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

                          2. r
                            rkaene RE: countgrog Aug 20, 2009 06:57 PM

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

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: rkaene
                              Pan RE: rkaene Aug 23, 2009 06:13 PM

                              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. m
                              msenter RE: countgrog Aug 21, 2009 01:35 PM

                              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
                                Pan RE: msenter Aug 23, 2009 06:16 PM

                                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
                                  mboxermd RE: Pan Aug 23, 2009 06:24 PM

                                  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
                                    Pan RE: mboxermd Aug 23, 2009 08:01 PM

                                    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
                                      windycity RE: Pan Sep 16, 2009 08:34 AM

                                      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
                                        Pan RE: windycity Sep 17, 2009 07:01 PM

                                        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
                                          windycity RE: Pan Sep 18, 2009 03:16 PM

                                          :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
                                            Pan RE: windycity Sep 18, 2009 04:09 PM

                                            [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. c
                                countgrog RE: countgrog Aug 26, 2009 06:40 AM

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

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: countgrog
                                  MMRuth RE: countgrog Aug 26, 2009 06:42 AM

                                  Where is the hotel?

                                  1. re: MMRuth
                                    RGR RE: MMRuth Aug 26, 2009 07:13 AM

                                    The Wellington is on 7th at 55th.

                                  2. re: countgrog
                                    Tanglebriar RE: countgrog Aug 26, 2009 06:59 AM

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

                                    1. re: countgrog
                                      City Kid RE: countgrog Aug 26, 2009 08:19 AM

                                      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. c
                                      countgrog RE: countgrog Sep 15, 2009 08:37 AM

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

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: countgrog
                                        kathryn RE: countgrog Sep 15, 2009 10:16 AM

                                        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. crabby_cakes RE: countgrog Sep 17, 2009 10:32 PM

                                        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. c
                                          countgrog RE: countgrog Nov 5, 2009 08:22 AM

                                          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

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