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Oct 8, 2010 11:18 AM

Eating alone in NYC

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.

    170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

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

    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

    355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

    240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

    2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

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

    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 It's safe to walk around the neighborhood through the evening.

      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.

          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

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

          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.

            175 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

            546 Laguardia Pl, New York, NY 10012

              1. re: Chuck Lawrence

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

                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

            45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

            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.