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Eating alone in NYC

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I am going to be in NY for a week on a conference on my own and was looking for some suggestions on restaurants that are good to eat alone at without reservations or the unwelcome sneer of the matradee. I am staying at the Renaissance New York Hotel 57 so places fairly close to here would be preferred, but not manditory. I am looking to spend about $30-$50 on a meal not including beverages. Any variety of food options are welcome from higher end to good local hangouts.

This is also my first time to the city so anything that is a must try is also welcome as a suggestion.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. In New York City, solo dining is very common and any restaurant that sneers at you isn't worth your business! We see a lot of solo business travelers here and you won't be out of place.

    The nicer restaurants that have a bar separate from the main dining room will serve either the full menu at the bar or have a decent bar menu. They may even welcome you at a table if they have availability. And a lot of the more casual restaurants are counter seating to begin with, making them solo diner friendly.

    Any preferred cuisines? Your hotel is at 57th and Lex, which can be an expensive part of town. Close-ish to your hotel are Ma Peche (might be a bit more expensive than $50) and Bar Room at the Modern. If you like Japanese, go down to the 40s on the east side and try Aburiya Kinnosuke, Soba Totto, or Hide-Chan Ramen.

    For even more options, I'd head away from the hotel to dine. Downtown, try the front room at Maialino, the bar at Scarpetta, Casa Mono, Lupa, Gramercy Tavern's bar, the bar at Prune (it's small though), Pearl Oyster Bar (it's about 1/2 counter seating any way), the bar at Perilla, Momofuku Noodle Bar or Momofuku Ssam Bar, El Quinto Pino or its sister restaurant Txikito (I think Txikito might be a little over your budget dependent on what you order though), Hearth.

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    Lupa
    170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

    Pearl Oyster Bar
    18 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014

    Perilla
    9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

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

    Casa Mono
    52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

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

    Aburiya Kinnosuke
    213 E 45th St, New York, NY 10017

    El Quinto Pino
    401 W 24th St, New York, NY 10011

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

    Soba Totto
    211 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017

    Scarpetta
    355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

    Txikito
    240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

    Maialino
    2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

    Ma Peche
    15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

    LexBar
    130 E 39th St, New York, NY 10016

    5 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      From 57th & Lex you can wander down to 53rd bet. 3rd & 2nd for Luna Piena (Italian), 53rd on 2nd for La Mangeoire (French), 54th just short of 1st for Jubilee (also French). Every place midtown is accustomed to single diners both because it's the business district and because a lot of singles live in the area. The local chinese place is Panda at 54th & 1st. There's Taksim on 2nd bet. 54th & 55th for modestly priced Turkish. Le Bateau Ivre (230 E 51st Btwn 2nd & 3rd) is a cute little wine bar & restaurant (French again) that's open late and is surprisingly good. Le Relais de Venise is at the corner of 51st & Lex - Steak, Frites & salad is all they serve. Kind of cute, well priced. Their wine is missable. Check menus at menupages.com. It's safe to walk around the neighborhood through the evening.

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      Taksim
      1030 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022

      Luna Piena
      243 E 53rd St, New York, NY 10022

      Le Bateau Ivre
      230 E 51st St, New York, NY 10022

      La Mangeoire
      1008 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10022

      1. re: Jane A.

        Thank-you SO much for the suggestions thus far and I am hungry already thinking about all the choices!

        Luna Piena looks like a nice Italian joint.....funny enough I have read a lot of mixed reviews of Ma Peche. I like the concept but am not 100% sure how the dining experience will be.

        Soba Totto looks great as well. Thanks again for the suggestions.

        -----
        Luna Piena
        243 E 53rd St, New York, NY 10022

        Soba Totto
        211 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017

        Ma Peche
        15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

        1. re: deecee76

          Forgot to mention Angelo's Pizza, corner of 55th & 2nd. Great thin crust pizza and wonderful salads, if that's what you're in the mood for one evening.

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          Angelo's Pizza
          1043 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022

        2. re: Jane A.

          Panda ?! Like in the Panda chain? Ugh !! Awful !!

          1. re: toitoi

            Not a chain. Independent - been there for years.

      2. imo sushi places are good spots to dine alone especially at the bar. you'll be near Sushi Seki which i heard good things about. only bad thing is that sushi can get expensive since it's generally not very rich so you'll have to order more to fill up. But if you're willingly to travel 15 east and Sushi Yasudo have good lunch deals. BTW at 15 East if you sit at the sushi bar you're not limited to the sushi items you can order off the kitchen menu too.

        1. Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote - salad, steak, and frites - $24 prixe fixe, many solo diners, 52nd St and Lexington Ave
          PJ Clarke's - a NY classic, great cocktails and hamburger - 55th St and 3rd Ave
          Wondee Siam - order off the "Thai Menu" - BYOB - 9th Ave btw 52nd and 53rd
          Marumi - sushi bar in the Village
          Katz's Deli - pastrami sandwich in the Lower East Side - a must try
          Keste - great pizza in the Village - Bleecker Street

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          Wondee Siam
          792 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

          Marumi
          546 Laguardia Pl, New York, NY 10012

          3 Replies
          1. re: Chuck Lawrence

            How does Marumi compare to Nori, Kanoyama, Ushiwakamaru? If I was going to spend $50 on a sushi dinner, those would be my first picks.

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            Kanoyama
            175 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

            Marumi
            546 Laguardia Pl, New York, NY 10012

            1. re: kathryn

              Marumi is very reasonable.

              1. re: Chuck Lawrence

                I mean in terms of sushi quality (just nigiri), how does Marumi compare to those?

                -----
                Marumi
                546 Laguardia Pl, New York, NY 10012

          2. You've gotten some good recs here. In addition, I'd suggest Teodora near 57th and Lex and Mia Dona at 58th near 3rd for regional Italian (Teodora is Emilia-Romagnan and Mia Dona is Puglian).

            Also, Convivio (Tudor City Place near 42nd St and 1st Ave) is only a little bit above your price range and would be a nice splurge for upscale Southern Italian cuisine.

            -----
            Mia Dona
            206 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022

            Convivio
            45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

            LexBar
            130 E 39th St, New York, NY 10016

            1. You really should go above your budget at eat at the counter at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon. Degustation would be another good choice, but you would have to get on the subway.

              1. jean georges for lunch
                emp for lunch
                del posto for lunch

                1 Reply
                1. re: tldmatrix

                  Eleven Madison Park's lunch is priced higher than JG or Del Posto now, BTW.

                  Three courses for $56, Four Courses for $74

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

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

                2. jean georges for lunch
                  emp for lunch
                  del posto for lunch
                  bar boulud
                  http://teenchefteddy.blogspot.com/201...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: tldmatrix

                    uproot got 4 stars from the ny times? putting it in the company of Per Se, Daniel, Bernadin, Jean Georges, Masa?

                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                      um...definitely not.

                      Uproot got "don't miss" in the NJ section. Which probably equates to 1 star in NYC. Just about every restaurant in the CT/NJ dining sections get "worth it" which would mean they are 3-star restaurants (like Alto, Corton, etc...which isn't even close to true)

                  2. A few blocks walk to the west are (1) The bar/barroom at The Modern.It's at the Museum of Modern Art,West 53rd btwn 5th & 6th Avenue. Good drinks/food and a pretty cool setting.it's usually bustling but you would feel very comfortable there on your own.(2) Beacon restaurant, west 56th btwn 5th 6th Ave. Good variety on the menu with most entrees cooked in their wood oven.
                    Also I reccommend a 10 minute walk about a dozen blocks or so downtown to Cipriani Dolci at Grand Central.This rec. is really for drinks.I haven't eaten there,although they do serve food. It's located at the west end of Grand Central overlooking the Grand Concourse.One of my favorite places to have a drink or two while taking in the hustle and bustle of commuting NYers.There are other restaurants overlooking the concourse, Michael Jordan's Steakhouse and Metrazur, if you would prefer to have a meal there.

                    -----
                    Metrazur
                    Grand Central Terminal, New York, NY 10017

                    Cipriani Dolci
                    89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

                    1. Don't forget all the great Indian restaurants on 58th between 3rd and Lex. I prefer Chola if I'm alone and it is nice and casual.

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                      Chola
                      232 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022