Bewildered Brit Needs Help.........
We are visiting Manhattan for the first time later in November and for the last couple of weeks we've been doing some research on where to eat and drink. However, we feel swamped by all the information available and need some help from the NYC horse's mouth, so to speak. One problem is that New Yorkers seem very adept at finding things wrong with restaurants/eateries (nothing wrong with that, we like a good complaint ourselves), so when we find somewhere that looks good in the Time Out guide or NYMag etc and then go on to read "real" reviews, someone will always find something bad about the place! Just to fill you in about what we're looking for.....Firstly, we're staying for five nights at the Tribeca Grand - we're looking at 5 or 6 breakfasts, lunches/brunches and dinners. We're not looking for high end dining, just good quality food in a good atmosphere. Neither of us eats meat, but we do eat fish (but my wife only does so of it's face has been removed, it is skinned, boned and cut in the shape of a teddy bear and doesn't taste of fish). We like ethnic food, particularly Indian and Chinese and are partial to good quality pizza. This doesn't mean we'd exclude other types of restaurant though. A few reviews mention places, particularly Chinese as being "dirty" - we like authentic, but would prefer to avoid this! For breakfast and dinner we'd probably stay localish (within safe walking distance or short cab ride for the latter) but for lunch we'll probably be out and about - one day we aim to walk over to Brooklyn to Williamsburg, another day we'll try the Staten Island Ferry, and we'll spend one day uptown. Other days TBA - one of them will be Thanksgiving. Any bar recommendations would also be gratefully received - we like a cocktail and good beer (microbrewery stuff). I know all this info is probably available on the boards already, but we are already up to our necks! Thanks in advance. Steve nd Sue
Try Motorino for pizza.
if you like dim sum, try Red Egg in Chinatown. there is also a vegetarian chinese resto in tribeca called, Buddah Bodai and its is also a bring your own.
In tribeca, i'd go to landmarc for dinner.
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Lombardi's would be fairly close to you for pizza.
I would recommend not getting Indian for in NYC because it is infinitely better in Britain! (I studied abroad in London, and miss the cheap Indian there so much.)
If you like ethnic food, you should try Mexican if you are here. NYC is not the best place in the States to get Mexican by any measure, but it has Britain beat by far. Downtown, for vegetarians, I like La Esquina (go to the taqueria upstairs or the cafe which has waiter service but no res) and Barrio Chino (small, noisy, long waits, but good).
dba in the east village has an enormous beer selection, but i am not sure about microbrews.
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I hear what you are saying. Way too many people go to the internet just to complain and a good deal of the time they are complaining because they are simply ignorant of how things should be. That said, I hope we can help as the sheer number of restaurants can be overwhelming.
For Good Microbrews there are a few good places.
West Village-Blind Tiger Ale House, probably the best selection in NYC and they have decent food there. You will be on Bleeker street with good Pizza (John's). There is also Murray's cheese shop which is excellent down the block.
East Village-DBA is another good beer bar that usually has cask offerings. If you are in the area you can bring food in as they do not serve any. The East village has a lot of good offerings. There are a number of Indian places on sixth street where you can get take away and eat at the bar. Another option which would be good is to get some classic Jewish NY food and take it to DBA and enjoy with a pint. Just down the block on Houston you will find Russ and Daughters. They have a wide assortment of smoked and cured fish. Ask for an open faced bagel so you can try two different types of fish, Sable and Nova are the two most popular. Your girlfriend might find it to be a bit too fishy but it is really good and very NYC. On the same block there is Yonah Schimmels Knishery. You can pick up a few Knishes here. If you have never tried one, it is worth it.
Midtown-Rattle N Hum-another good microbrew bar with a wide variety of American craft offerings. The food in this area is not so good but you can walk down Lexington until you get to the 20's and you will find a strip of Indian places with vegetarian offerings. Also if you would like some Korean food you could walk over to 32nd between 5th and 6th avenues. There is a vegetarian place called Hangawi which is very good and I am a complete omnivore.
In Williamsburg there are a number of bars that offer craft beer. There is another outpost of DBA, Mugs, Spuyten Duyvil, the Brooklyn Brewery.
If you are wondering which American microbrews to try, start a post on the beer board.
Hopefully others can offer more vegetarian selections as this is not my forte. Most of the Chinese or other Asian places I go to are meat reliant. Good luck and enjoy New york.
Hey, Steve and Sue,
Nice to hear that you'll be making your first trip to NYC. Here are a few suggestions.
I highly recommend Pampano, on 49th St., b/t 2nd & 3rd Avs. It serves modern Mexican cuisine and has a fish/seafood centric menu. Good service. Very nice ambiance. At lunch, they offer a 3-course prix fixe for $28.
Photos of our most recent dinner there can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157622437790792/
Pearl Oyster Bar, in Greenwich Village, is another good option. More casual than Pampano. The lobster roll is excellent! Since they don't take reservations, I think the best time to go is for lunch at around 2 - 2:15 p.m. (they stop serving lunch at 2:30), when you probably won't have a wait. There is both bar and table seating.
Here are photos of our lunch there in June: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157621756115621/
For options on Thanksgiving, the list on OpenTable, though not totally comprehensive, is a good resource.
Since this is your first time in NYC, you might want to consider taking my famous Lower East Side noshing tour. As you walk the streets of this interesting, historic neighborhood, you will sample some quintessentially New York foo. One caveat: The tour starts at Katz's; however, but since you don't eat meat, and Katz's is all about the pastrami, skip it and start the tour at Russ & Daughters. Here's the link to the tour: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/493333
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Not sure if you want to consider Italian but athough it does not get much mention here, Ecco on Chambers Street is often quite good, especially if you stick to the specials. It has an appealing "old New York" ambiance and a nice bar area--stop in and take a look when you pass by....
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lucky you since you're staying downtown, you will be a short cab ride from anywhere in tribeca, soho, west village, east village, chinatown, and lower east side. 5 min walk from your hotel is Bubby's for bkfst (popular neighborhood brunch spot), and for dinner Locanda Verde (v. reasonable italian in the Greenwich Hotel). also good for b/l/d nearby is Landmarc. La Esquina prev mentioned is good and a 20 min walk (or short cab) away, as is Balthazar for french. Pbly will want to cab to Chinatown -- depends on how people define dirty there. My husband doesn't like eating there in general but I have no probs with it. Jong Fong or Golden Unicorn for wknd dimsum are popular, Congee Village is good as well as Joe's Shanghai (none of these are hole-in-wall places and are popular enough). Good bars for a nightcap near your hotel -- Macao Trading restaurant has a nice bar area with interesting cocktails, Brandy Library for your single malts, Anotheroom (beer and wine only). I hate being deluged with reco's in a new city as well -- my strategy is to pick the areas/neighborhoods I want to visit, and have a list of 3-4 restaurants in each one (for back-ups in case one is closed, or wait is too long, etc). But I'm kind of a big planner like that. Have fun and enjoy your stay -- once you're here, you'll see tons of places you'll want to go to!
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Chinatown is a short walk from Tribeca - as in, 10 minutes - so no need to take a cab if your feet are in good shape, unless you want to.
I agree with some of the recommendations I've seen in this thread and strongly disagree with others.
If you want dim sum, unless you're willing to either (a) go to Flushing or Brooklyn or (b) spend a lot of money at Chinatown Brasserie on Great Jones and Lafayette (not in Chinatown), your best bet is Dim Sum Go Go. I do not recommend any of the big eating halls (Jing Fong, Golden Unicorn, Grand Harmony, etc.) as anything special.
For non-dim sum Cantonese food (breakfast, lunch, or dinner), Great NY Noodletown is a reliable old standby. They have good seafood dishes if you want them, such as shrimps with yellow chives or pea shoots, and also good Lo Mein with Ginger and Scallion. The place is in fact dirty, so if that puts you off, don't go, but I've never had one bit of trouble from their food in close to 30 years of eating there.
Congee Village is also good and has some interesting vegetable dishes, such as Eggplant Vegetables with Bean Curd and Lotus Root with Special (i.e., red) Bean Sauce, and their razor clams are excellent, so it may be worth your while to visit. It's really in the Lower East Side, so a longer walk from Tribeca.
As for pizza, stay away from Lombardi's. I'm bemused by tourists waiting on line to get there; they're living off their reputation from long ago and their publicity. My favorite place is the New Neapolitan-Style Keste, and I also look forward to trying the much-recommended Motorino soon. For New York-style coal-oven pizza, there's Patsy's in East Harlem and Arturo's in the Village. Arturo's may particularly please you because they have an excellent Clam Pizza.
One last thing: For Williamsburg recommendations, make sure to post to the Outer Boroughs Board. Have a great trip!
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