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recommend the 2 best restaurants a visitor cannot miss out on

cuisine_junkie Apr 24, 2010 01:38 PM

arriving from toronto next week.....time for some culinary tourism.

can anyone suggest any must go to restaurants? ill be staying for 2 nights. also....lunch recommendations and cool lounges for nightlife would also be greatly appreciated. thanks!!!

  1. sgordon Apr 27, 2010 09:31 AM

    Two best? That's difficult. Depends on your tastes, really.

    That said... If I had to pick two, and only two, I'd probably say WD-50 and Eleven Madison Park. For lunch, get the $29 Prix Fixe at Del Posto. The best $29 lunch you could possibly imagine.

    Other recs, off the top of my head...

    Pricey: Gramercy, Babbo, Falai, Marea, Scarpetta (hmm... a lot of Italians right off the bat... I must be craving it...) The Modern, Tabla...

    Mid-range: Momofuku Noodle Bar (or Ssam), Prune, JoeDoe (I know, I know, some will be detractors on that last one... But hey, I dig what he's doing, AND he makes a slammin' brunch...)

    Chinatown Seafood Greats: Oriental Garden, Fuleen's, Ping's...

    Venture to Brooklyn: Rosewater, Henry's End, Applewood...

    Nightlife / Lounges: Stanton Social has great food and drinks, but the crowd can be very douchebaggy, especially on the weekends. Otherwise, any of the big "cocktail renaissance" places you've probably already heard about: PDT, Death & Co., Mayahuel, Apotheke, etc...

    Really, we have too many restaurants here. Tough to narrow it down without knowing a little more about your personal tastes. All I'd say is stay away from anything where you might find something similar back home. Like, don't bother with steakhouses and such - we have some good ones, sure, but I'm also sure you can get good dry-aged steaks in Toronto as well.

    50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

    Eleven Madison Park
    11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

    110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

    Del Posto
    85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

    Stanton Social
    99 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

    11 Division St, New York, NY 10002

    Momofuku Noodle Bar
    171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

    Oriental Garden
    14 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

    22 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

    68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

    54 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

    355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

    45 East 1st Street, New York, NY 10003

    9 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

    304 E 6th St, New York, NY 10003

    240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

    11 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

    The Modern - Dining Room
    9 W. 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019

    1 Reply
    1. re: sgordon
      princeofpork Apr 27, 2010 12:00 PM

      Perfect description of the crowd at SS.

    2. thew Apr 25, 2010 03:24 PM

      some places i love -

      momofuku ssam

      wd-50 - costly(seriously) fun and innovative

      craft - hve not been in a while, so i cannot vouch if the quality has dropped, but it's tom collichio's flagship

      sushi yasuda

      grammercy tavern



      sigiri - cheap sri lankan

      redhead - good pubby place w/ great fried chicken and a good burger


      italian village pizzeria

      marea (have not been but it's top of the list to try)

      the modern (also not been, also at top of try soon list)

      i could go on and on and on, so i'll just stop

      1. j
        jeannieh20 Apr 24, 2010 05:12 PM

        we're from toronto and we were just there this week and i must say that of the 3 dinner restaurants we went to (Agozar, Momofuku Ssam and Asia de Cuba) Momofuku Ssam was my favorite. Since the dollar is almost at par the amount of food we consumed was pretty reasonable. We were there on Tuesday night, arrived at around 5:30/6ish and were seated right away. It does get busier the later it gets. For the two of us including beer (1 each) the bill came up to about $140 pre tax and tip. and we ate a lot, we had the fuji apples with jowl bacon, country ham, spanish makerel, diver scallops, 6 oysters and steamed buns. I would almost compare it to Guu but as opposed to a pure japanese izakaya type food, it's a good fusion of japanese, korean, chinese and north american.

        Momofuku Ssam Bar
        207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

        Asia de Cuba
        237 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016

        1. k
          kathryn Apr 24, 2010 02:08 PM

          Previous threads that may help:

          Don't leave NY without eating these foods

          Pizza in NYC

          For cheap eats, try out some street food:

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

          Best brunch:

          Best foodie shopping:

          Best mixology / bespoke cocktails:

          Top Ten Bars for Beer Snobs

          Manhattan for 5 days over New Year

          Recommendations for "an adventure"

          Other hounds' itineraries/reports:

          Additionally, you can peruse the menus of many restaurants on menupages.com. And OpenTable.com is handy for making reservations. However, not all restaurants are on Open Table, and for the ones that are, they don't put up every single available table, so call if you can't find the time and date you want. The good ones will try to accommodate you or put you on the wait list.

          Restaurants in NYC take reservations usually 31, 30, 28, days in advance or similar. Sometimes restaurants take them by phone 28 days in advance but ALSO limit OpenTable to 27 days in advance. So the OT limit might be different from the phone limit. It's not a perfect tool but extremely helpful if you're not dead set on the MOST popular places.

          The most popular places will book up the day they open up their books. BUT you can ask to be put on the waitlist or call day on the day of and ask about cancellations. OR ask if it's possible to drop in and eat a full meal at a bar. A surprisingly number of upscale restaurants serve their full menu at the bar! But not all do, so call ahead.

          The hardest restaurants to get into are Babbo (one of the most popular in the city), Momofuku Ko (they only take reservations online and have only 12 seats), Rao's (every table "belongs" to a regular), Waverly Inn (did it ever officially "open"?), Minetta Tavern (non VIPs usually get stuck with the 6pm or 10pm slots), Gramercy Tavern (democratic but VERY popular), and Union Square Cafe (ditto). Places that recently opened and have gotten good reviews can also be hard to get into if you don't call early enough (like 4 weeks in advance or 10am on the dot 1 month in advance). Also, there are only a handful of places left in NYC that are jackets required, and none require ties (not sure how much upscale dining you wish to do except for your one standout meal but planning the right clothing can sometimes be difficult for travelers).

          The short list of restaurants that require jackets:

          If anything catches your eye, feel free to post a rough itinerary or list of spots you want to hit and we can give feedback that way. I find it's nice to do a mix of different genres of food, varying levels of fanciness, etc. to get a feel for the rich and diverse NYC dining scene.

          Gramercy Tavern
          42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

          110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

          Minetta Tavern
          113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

          Momofuku Ko
          163 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

          Waverly Inn
          16 Bank St, New York, NY 10014

          3 Replies
          1. re: kathryn
            financialdistrictresident Apr 26, 2010 06:38 PM

            Kathryn, this is an awesome post :)

            We will be taking some first timers around this weekend. Since we have so little time, we are focusing our dining on neighborhoods (EV, LES, Chinatown) and food they don't have at home.

            1. re: financialdistrictresident
              kathryn Apr 26, 2010 06:43 PM

              Can I come, too? :)

              1. re: kathryn
                financialdistrictresident Apr 26, 2010 06:50 PM

                I wish we had time for Astoria and RGR's LES tour . . .no Greek food or bagels/bialies in Saratoga you'd want to eat :)

          2. k
            kathryn Apr 24, 2010 01:58 PM

            Next week as in Sunday? Or later on in the week? I'm asking because it can be more difficult to get in on, say a Friday than a Tuesday.

            Hard to give recommendations on "must go" restaurants without more parameters. Dining solo? Do you prefer dining at the bar? Are you OK to wait a long time if a place is very busy? Any preferred cuisines? Atmosphere? Neighborhood? Price point, including tax, tip, and drinks/wine? Any avoids, allergies, special needs, things you're looking for?

            We're not really supposed to comment on "nightlife" here BTW.

            1 Reply
            1. re: kathryn
              cuisine_junkie Apr 25, 2010 03:14 PM

              ya i guess i was pretty vague! well no not solo....party of two. im arriving in for the weekend...friday & saturday. price is not really an option...im looking for more high end restaurants. i just want an amazing and very memorable dining experience although im certain i will find it as nyc has so much to offer. as for cuisine...one fusion option would be nice and a general one too. sorry i guess my vagueness remains!

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