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Bringing my Mom to NYC...

Want to show my mom the best of NYC... on a budget. My husband and I are visiting Manhattan with my mother in a couple of weeks. She's from a very rural part of the south, and has only been to NYC one other time, (with me, when I was in high school) 20 years ago. My husband and I like to visit New York at least once a year, but our tastes are quite a bit different than Mom's. I'm looking for restaurants that have a nice, friendly atmosphere, but not too fancy... true New York places. Ideal price would be no more than $20 per person/lunch, $30/dinner. Many thanks!

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  1. Do those numbers include tax, tip, and wine/drinks? What cuisines are you interested in (or not)? What parts of town (or not)?

    2 Replies
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      Thanks for the reply gutsofsteel. No, I was assuming that tips/drinks/tax would be in addition to those prices. We like anything. Mom particularly enjoys Thai food, but she's generally up for whatever. I think she'd enjoy authentic Italian, Columbian, Cuban, good pizza... great burgers... etc. She'll be interested in anything authentic and different from wha't she's had before... which, as you might guess, is just about anything, as she lives in the middle of the country and seldomly has dinner out.

      1. re: sojoilm

        We're staying near MSG, so I guess anywhere in that area or Chelsea. But we'll be all over town, and will travel for good food.

    2. $30/pp dinner is fairly low, at least for "nice friendly atmosphere" - but there are certainly some NYC classics & a couple newer places that'd fit the bill - some of these are better for lunch than dinner, mind you:

      Katz's Deli
      Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop
      Veselka
      Frankies 17 Clinton Street Spuntino
      Momofuku Noodle Bar
      Lupa (if you just do an antipasti & pasta)
      Republic
      Vanessa's Dumpling House (ultra-cheap eats, good for lunch if you're doing a Chinatown wander)

      ...and any number of Chinatown places: South China Garden is great, Wo Hop is not as great but an NYC institution. Joe's Shanghai and Joe's Ginger are quite popular for soup dumplings, and not bad. (And let's not let the mere mention of Joe's turn this into yet another "Flushing has better soup dumplings!" thread, okay?)

      ...and of course, Shake Shack.

      -----
      Lupa
      170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

      Vanessa's Dumpling House
      118 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

      South China Garden
      22 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

      Joe's Shanghai
      24 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

      Wo Hop
      17 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

      Veselka
      144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

      Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop
      174 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

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

      Joe's Ginger
      25 Pell St, New York, NY 10013

      3 Replies
      1. re: sgordon

        Thanks! Those suggestions sound great! I appreciate your help!

        1. re: sgordon

          Shake Shack was just the suggestion that gustsofsteel was going to make.

          1. re: sgordon

            Let's not forget pizza! Motorino? Keste?

            -----
            Motorino
            349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

          2. Hells Kitchen area would be worth a visit - 5 Napkin Burger or Eatery would be good choices as long as you don't mind a little noise.

            13 Replies
                1. re: sojoilm

                  Also, for lunch you might want to check out La Bonne Soupe one day - pretty good and very good value. I think it's $18 for a big bowl of soup, salad, unlimited bread, a drink, and a dessert

                  -----
                  La Bonne Soupe
                  48 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

                2. re: uniqueusername

                  Eatery is nice.

                  Are you into ethnic eats...like Indian or Turkish?

                  1. re: pbjluver

                    We love Indian... Mom's had Indian food exactly one time, and she seems to enjoy it. She likes spicy dishes, and seems to be game for anything, really. So ethnic suggestions are great. We've never had Turkish food, so maybe that would be fun for all of us. Thanks for your help. We'll check out Eatery, too.

                    1. re: sojoilm

                      I'd recommend Dhaba for an Indian meal.

                      1. re: sojoilm

                        Turkish / Mediterranean food is yummy and very healthy

                        For a delicious mid-priced dinner (or lunch) in a very warm setting
                        visit Beyoglu...great service and food...casual dress.

                        1431 3rd Avenue at 81st St., New York, NY 10028-1802
                        (212) 650-0850
                        Open Mon-Thu,Sun 12pm-10pm;
                        Fri-Sat 12pm-11pm

                        Google them.

                    2. re: uniqueusername

                      Hells Kitchen will have some great spots for you, including 5 Napkin Burger; other interesting cuisines there include Israeli (Gazala Place), Ethiopian (Queen of Sheba), as well as Casselula, a great wine and cheese spot with lots of fantastic cheese selections (not sure if it's up your alley but worth popping in if so). Also agree with kathryn's suggestion of Neapolitan pizza such as Keste or Motorino. Other options:
                      DBGB
                      Bar Boulud
                      Kin Shop
                      ABC Kitchen
                      Redhead (IF your mom would find it fun to see how NYC does Southern cuisine!)
                      And lots of other good options mentioned in this thread!

                      -----
                      Bar Boulud
                      1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

                      DBGB
                      299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

                      Motorino
                      349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                      ABC Kitchen
                      35 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003

                      1. re: orthorunner

                        For Ethiopian in Hell's Kitchen, I recommend Meskerem. I strongly agree with the recommendation of Gazala Place.

                        -----
                        Gazala Place
                        709 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                        Meskerem
                        468 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

                        1. re: Pan

                          When I walked by the other day it looked like they were "closed for renovations," the only reason I didn't mention them. Would recommend checking before coming in case they are not open!

                          1. re: orthorunner

                            Oy, "Closed for renovations"! The scariest sign for New Yorkers! Thanks for telling me.

                          2. re: Pan

                            Another vote for Meskerem. Love it.

                            -----
                            Meskerem
                            468 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

                      2. Would she like an authentic French bistro? La Petite Auberge is one of the last of its breed and the food is excellent. The atmosphere and service are charming. Ordering a la carte may put you a bit over budget but they offer a 3-course prix-fixe for under $30 that has many choices, and a salad is included with all main courses. The souflees are really great but unfortunately not on the prix-fixe (though one will serve 2 or 3 people).

                        -----
                        La Petite Auberge
                        116 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: rrems

                          That sounds nice... we'll look into it. Thanks for the suggestion!

                        2. you'll be right near Koreatown, so you should consider Madangsui or Don's Bogam for Korean BBQ.

                          and for something that isn't "ethnic" but is totally NYC, take her to Keens Chophouse.

                          -----
                          Keens
                          72 West 36th St., New York, NY 10018

                          Madangsui
                          35 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

                          Don's Bogam
                          17 E 32nd St, New York, NY 10016

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Madangsui and Don's Bogam will cost considerably more than $30/person, don't you think? As in, closer to $50?

                            sojoilm: I would suggest Grand Sichuan on 24th St. and 9th Av. if you like Sichuan-style (spicy) food.

                            If you'd consider places on 9th Av. in the 40s and 50s, that opens up more places, and there are also some good Indian restaurants centered around Lexington Av. between 26th and 29th Sts., if that holds any interest for you.

                            1. re: Pan

                              Bhojan, in particular, among Indian restaurants in that strip of Lex offers vegetarian choices that you are unlikely to get in the rural south and will keep you well within your budget. And if you want a riff on the rural south theme, take your mother to a South Indian restaurant on the same strip and get her the largest dosa you can find.

                              While you're in the area, take her to Kalustyan's and ask her to count how many varieties of rice they have.

                              -----
                              Kalustyan's
                              123 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

                              Bhojan
                              102 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

                              1. re: Pan

                                hmm, i thought they'd be doable for $30 per head just for food, but maybe i'm misremembering the prices! i guess Han Bat and Kunjip would be good alternatives then...?

                                -----
                                Kunjip
                                9 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

                                Han Bat
                                53 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  At Han Bat, I recommend the Hyaemul Dolsot Bibimbap, and that would cost, I think, $17.50 before tax and tip.

                                2. re: Pan

                                  Mom definitely likes spicy... so we'll look into those.

                                3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  You could certainly do Bi Bim Bap, or any number of other non-BBQ items, for well under $30/pp at most of your K-Town joints. For BBB, I'm partial to Kum Gang San, there's a decent Banchan there that rotates pretty regularly. And it's a fun atmosphere - I mean, there's a piano on top of a waterfall for chrissakes.

                                  As to Keen's - unless you're just going have appetizers and then leave, there's no way you could do them for $30/pp. Most of the steaks run $40-$50.

                                  -----
                                  Kum Gang San
                                  49 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

                                  1. re: sgordon

                                    I took a look at Kum Gang San... it looks like fun. Keen's will probably be a bit pricey for this trip, and Mom is not much of a steak person.... thanks for your help!

                                    -----
                                    Kum Gang San
                                    49 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

                                    1. re: sgordon

                                      i was thinking the bar menu at Keens, but it doesn't sound like even that would be worth it if the OP's Mom isn't much into steakhouses.