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Apr 13, 2010 07:00 AM

Help please for family friendly ($$-$$$)


We are taking our kids to NYC for three days...we are staying at the Affinia Shelburne in Murray Hill (Lexington and 37th (?). Need suggestions for family friendly places (pretty casual) that we could walk to (or subway - we plan to try it for the first time!). One kid is picky but will eat Chinese (americanized). I have searched posts and do have a list but would love some new suggestions. We want to try a NY pastrami, some good italian, some chinese, hot dogs).

We only have one thing planned at it is the Natural History Museum, so I thought we'd try a burger from the Shake Shack across the street. I wanted to try Tony's DiNapoli based on previous suggestions - feedback? My kids are good walkers and so long as the weather is ok, we plan to do a lot of walking around.

Thank you so much in advance!

Shake Shack
Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

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  1. For fabulous pastrami, Sarge's Deli is one avenue block away from your hotel, on 3rd Av., b/t 37th & 38th. Be sure to order it "very fatty."

    Photo of the pastrami sandwich at Sarge's can be viewed here:

    I've not been to Tony DiNapoli, but for traditional Italian-American fare, I highly recommend Campanile, a short walk from your hotel, on 29th St., b/t Park Av. S. & Madison Av. The food's delicious, service couldn't be more friendly and attentive, and the atmospherics are very pleasant.

    7 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      I called Campanile last night for a reservation this Saturday and they told me they were closed on weekends as things were very slow since last summer. Hopefully Trattoria Alba will be open - we were set for Italian in the hood when we arrive for the weekend.

      1. re: Berheenia

        Campanile has always been closed on Sunday but used to be open on Saturday evenings. I knew they had decided to close on Saturdays last year. At the time, Slavko told me that he hoped it would be temporary until the economy picked up. They used to get a lot of Saturday business from the nearby Carlton Hotel, but with economic downturn, business at the hotel slacked off considerably, which then affected Campanile.

        Acc. to Trattoria Alba's website, they are open for dinner every night.

        1. re: RGR

          We ended up at Trattoria Alba and loved it. From beginning to end it was perfect. When we arrived the place was probably a third full and by the time we left at 8:30'ish it was packed. Not bad for a Monday night...

          1. re: rachgrn

            Thanks for reporting back, rachgrn! Glad to hear you had such a positive experience at Trattoria Alba.

            1. re: RGR

              I had the chicken sauteed with fresh garlic slivers, broccoli rabe, a little cherry tomato, italian sausage slices, in a white wine/garlicy light sauce that was delish!! I can't wait to get back and try the pizza and salad. The couple behind us had wine, pizza and salad and it looked amazing. My husband and son swear the chicken parm was the best they ever had. We've tried chicken parm in just about every Boston North End restaurant and they said this blew it all away! FYI: they were very accomodating to my daughter who is a picky eater and got plain spaghetti with sauce on the side. TERRIFIC red sauce.

              1. re: rachgrn

                Thanks for providing those details. It's been years since we've been to Trattoria Alba. I don't remember them having brick oven pizza, so that must be a more recent addition. Definitely have to give it a try.

          2. re: RGR

            We took your suggestion and went to Trattoria Alba and loved every bite. It really is a blast from the past but that's what my husband loves - warm bread, ice water in goblets, caesar salad, red sauce pasta on the side and veal parmagian. All done perfectly. I had the special - a pasta dish with homemade pappardel, asparagus and sausage in a newer style sauce (not red). It was the best meal of the trip and the least expensive. We'll be back. Thanks for all your suggestions- you are my go to chow hound in Manhattan!

      2. I think you would love Penelope's for breakfast - warning it gets crowded - go early.

        Do not eat at the Museum- really expensive and not very good.
        Find a Papaya King(or Gray's Papaya) for lunch. There's one near the Circle Line which is a popular tour on a nice day.

        1. We live in the area and several of our favorites come to mind. Pastrami at Sarges or 2nd Av Deli on 33rd just West of 3rd AV. Try both and compare. Just down 37th on 3rd is Dukes for decent ribs and burgers. Above Dukes is El Rio Grande for great Mexican food. If you want to keep it simple you can get an upscale "Whopper" at Black Shack just up Lex on the West side. Ali Baba on 34th just East of 2nd Ave has good Turkish middle eastern food. In your hotel is Rare. Take a look at the menu and see if it suits you and your kids. For breakfast try Penelope on 30th and Lex or for a good simple inexpensive breakfast try Scotty's Diner just up Lex (39th) on the West Side.

          El Rio Grande
          160 East 38th Street, New York, NY 10016

          Ali Baba
          126 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

          Scotty's Diner
          336 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

          Black Shack
          320 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

          1. In your hotel, there is Rare, which makes my husband's favorite burger in NYC. The special burgers can get pretty big, but any kid would like the basic burger, I think. Plus, it's very convenient. Of course, Shake Shack is a great burger, too. I'd try both!

            I don't know why anyone would be compelled to try Tony's DiNapoli. I guess it's ok, but I wouldn't come to NYC for that. Instead, I would head to Chelsea (not a terrible walk, but also a quick subway ride away) for Crispo (14th between 7&8th, I believe), which is family friendly without overly catering to kids. The food is delicious!!

            I agree with the other post about Sarge's. Second Avenue Deli is also nearby and good, though it's not the original location and I haven't been in a while.

            If your kids like cheese, fondue at Artisinal can be fun, and that's close by your hotel as well. Hope that helps. Have a great trip!!

            Shake Shack
            Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

            240 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011

            Second Avenue Deli
            162 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016

            1 Reply
            1. re: jenhen2

              Thank you for the replies. We will try both 2nd and Sarge's for sure. Thanks for the photo! Looks outstanding. Sounds like there are plenty of options right in the neighborhood. All of the recommendations sound just perfect!

            2. Szechuan Gourmet isn't too far away and they have Americanized Chinese in addition to more traditional Sichuan fare. They are also pretty family friendly.

              Shake Shack is a very nice AMNH option. Pinch and 'Smac are also nearby if you don't feel like burgers. Oh, and the Jacques Torres UWS branch is within walking distance as well as Grom.

              Szechuan Gourmet
              21 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

              2 Replies
              1. re: kathryn

                thanks again for more great info! Any one have any opinions on Trattoria Alba E. 34th ?

                1. re: rachgrn

                  It's been ages since we've been to Trattoria Alba. The food was always quite good, and I've heard nothing to indicate that it's gone downhill. Nice surroundings as well.