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TOP 5 FOOD EXPERIENCES

  • d

I would be really interested to get your valuable tips on where to eat in Manhattan.
I am wanting to plan an amazing gastronomic week for a friend & I who are meeting up in New York at the end of Feb.
I live in Melbourne, Australia & he in London, UK, we will have 7 days & I am wanting to plan for him a really incredible food itinerary. We have both been to New York before on numerous occasions & we are both absolute food lovers. Hoping to have the quintessential experiences of your wonderful city.
Our interest lies in all things food & I would like to mix it up a bit in terms of cuisine, price and style.
We will be staying LES, but are happy to go anywhere within Manhattan & immediate surrounds.
Would really appreciate your local insights on where to eat/drink, from cheap & cheerful to 5 star, including your top 5 food experiences.
Thank you in advance.
Cheers

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  1. This is really too broad a request. There are thousands of restaurants in the city of New York. Could you give some price guidelines, cuisines you like and do not like, formality vs informatlity, cocktail/wine preferences, etc etc?

    2 Replies
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      I suppose it is broad, but I would like to know your ultimate experiences. Happy to spend our money on worthwhile taste sensations, but not in the over $300/head market for this trip, we have a lot of meals to cover, breakfast, lunch, dinner for 7 days.
      So if your must do experience is a sandwich, a 10 course degustation or a farmers market, I would like to know about it.
      All cuisines & are of interest.
      Thank you

    2. Your query is a very common one and there are many threads. Here's a start:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/759709

      1 Reply
      1. re: scoopG

        Hi ScoopG
        Thank you - have looked at your suggested reading & am leaning towards Prune, Blue Ribbon & Torrisi so far.

      2. Since you are staying on LES, you are in luck because you are very close to the F subway line. Get on an Uptown\Queens bound train and ride it about 20-30 minutes until you get to 74th Street Roosevelt. Once you exit the subway you will be within 1\10th of a mile of the restaurant, which is located at 74-06 37th Rd. Do not panic, you will feel like you are in India. At this location you will find the epicenter of Hyderabadi cuisine in America. There are no waiters or waitresses, the ambiance is very little. Pitchers of water sit on tables. You must try most of the menu.

        3 Replies
        1. re: AubWah

          Thank you - I LOVE good Indian food! Will put it on the list

          1. re: DAVJ

            Here's a New York Times review of the restaurant, Deccan Kebab:
            http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/22/din...

            1. re: DAVJ

              If you are willing to go out to Brooklyn or Queens, you'll have the chance to try a lot more of the different ethnic cuisines available in NYC: Thai, Korean, Indian, Latin American, Russian, etc. I'd post on the Outer Boroughs board if you are interested.

          2. I think that if you're coming from Australia, the Asian food may not be so special/impressive (at least, that was the impression I got from my resident from Australia).

            It's a broad request, but what the heck. Apologies for the stream-of-consciousness nature of what follows - there are planty of threads on the following, but maybe you'll get some ideas of what to focus on? I hope you both have an amazing trip!

            Top Five:
            (1) WD-50 tasting menu (caveat: the pastry chef just left, but reports are that the quality has not changed)
            (2) Locanda Verde - brunch or dinner (don't skip dessert!)
            (3) Del Posto (tasting menu, or if your wallet is getting skinny, then book the prix-fixe lunch which is only $30 and quite good - look up kathryn's review on this board)
            (4) Kaffe 1668 (hot coffee) and RBC (cold brewed) - my greatest regret about changing my workplace has been that I can no longer go to these coffee places daily.
            (5) Momofuku - lots of love/hate for the three restaurants on this board, but I think they are unique and worth a try, and the different restaurants offer flexibility with respect to price points and formality - take a look at their menus and figure out how formal/informal you'd want to go.

            One-off Items:

            - Doughnut Plant (LES, Grand Street) for interesting doughnut flavors
            - Il Laborotorio del Gelato/L'Arte de Gelato/Shake Shack custard (LES/Chelsea Market) for ice cream in a wide range of flavors
            -Jacques Torres/La Maison du Chocolate/ Kee's Chocolates - chocolate
            - Bisous Macarons (LES), La Madeleine, Bouchon Bakery - for macarons,
            -City Bakery's Hot Chocolate festival runs through February
            - Gulluoglu - Turkish dessert place
            - Soccarat Paella Bar
            - Coffee: Blue Bottle (Williamsburg), Caffe 1668, RBC, Abraco (also very yummy pastries)

            Quintessential New York
            - I generally hear Katz's Delicatessen, Russ & Daughters mentioned with respect to the New York deli experience - I 'd nose around on the boards to figure out which place(s) you'd want to hit up.
            -Steak: Luger's, Keen's, Wolfgang's each have their own followings. Other steakhouse-y, old-school clubby places: Wollensky's, P.J. Clarke's
            -Burgers: Shake Shack, Prime Meats (Brooklyn), Minetta Tavern, Corner Bistro (if it still exists),
            - Pizza - look up the most recent favorite places on this board - it
            - Italian: Maiolino, Babbo, Scarpetta, Torrisi, Lupa - see board threads for a range of options

            Cocktails/Wine/Tapas
            -Clover Club (Brooklyn), Pegu Club, Employees Only, PDT (crowded),
            - Casa Mezcal/Mayahuel (tequila/mezcal is specialty)
            - Cienfuegos (rum/punches are specialty)
            - Terroir; El Quinto Pino, Txichito (sp?), Boqueria, Taralluci e Vino

            Food Markets
            - Eataly
            - Greenmarket in Union Square
            - Chelsea Market
            - Columbus Circle (not really a market, but between the whole foods, the bouchon bakery, and all the restaurants, maybe worth a stop?)

            -----
            WD-50
            50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

            Lupa
            170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

            Russ & Daughters
            179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

            Katz's Delicatessen
            205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

            Kee's Chocolates
            80 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012

            Bouchon Bakery
            10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

            Corner Bistro
            331 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

            Babbo
            110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

            Minetta Tavern
            113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

            Doughnut Plant
            379 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

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

            Abraco
            86 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

            Boqueria
            53 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

            P.J. Clarke's
            44 W 63rd St, New York, NY 10023

            Employees Only
            510 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

            Pegu Club
            77 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

            Terroir
            413 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009

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

            Kaffe 1668
            275 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10007

            Locanda Verde
            377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

            Gulluoglu
            982 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022

            Cienfuegos
            95 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

            Eataly
            200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

            5 Replies
            1. re: firni

              Firni - thank you - a very comprehensive reply.
              Yes you are right about the Asian food - Melbourne has brilliant/amazing Asian cuisine, so I would rather stay away from anything traditional, however I have eaten at Ma Peche & would like to try more, I like that it is non conventional & different so will add one of the venues to my list.
              Thank you for the coffee spots - as you would know us Melbournians are very serious about our coffee & I find, as a general rule the coffee in USA to be rather sub standard comparatively - sorry if I have offended anyone :) but we have a very strong coffee culture.
              WD-50 has definitely been added to the list as have several of your other suggestion.
              Thank you for your time & thoughts.
              Cheers

              -----
              WD-50
              50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

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

              1. re: DAVJ

                Do you seek drip coffee or espresso when you are here?

                I love Stumptown, Abraco, Cafe Grumpy, 9th St Espresso. We actually have a lot of good coffee shops in NYC.

                -----
                Cafe Grumpy
                224 W 20th St, New York, NY 10011

                Abraco
                86 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

                Stumptown
                18 W 29th Street, New York, NY 10001

                1. re: kathryn

                  I am pleased to hear of good coffee reports. I obviously have not been to the right places for coffee. Will be sure to track these days - thank you.

              2. re: firni

                Torrisi Italian Specialties is more like Italian American cuisine with really good technique whereas the others are more traditional leaning.

                If you're into cocktails PDT, Mayahuel, Pegu Club, and Death & Co are my don't miss. Clover Club has a sister bar in Manhattan, Flatiron Lounge. Cienfuegos is good but not as good as the others.

                Second Txikito and El Quinto Pino -- it's Basque tapas, different from Boqueria's more traditional Spanish. Terroir and Tarallucci e Vino aren't Spanish tapas, but still small plates.

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

                Boqueria
                53 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

                Flatiron Lounge
                37 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

                Pegu Club
                77 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

                Terroir
                413 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009

                Txikito
                240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

                Mayahuel
                304 E 6th St, New York, NY 10003

                Torrisi Italian Specialties
                250 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

                Cienfuegos
                95 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

                1. re: kathryn

                  Torrisi Italian Specialties is going on the list - I checked out the website & it seems right up my alley.

                  -----
                  Torrisi Italian Specialties
                  250 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

              3. First, I'll second WD-50. Especially since you'll be on the LES. You can go with the tastig menu, or for less money make your own extended meal - say two apps, one entree, and dessert per person. You'd have about eight dishes to taste that way, same as you would with the tasting - plus you'd get amuses & pre-desserts gratis, most likely. That way you also get to have a little more input into your meal - and there's the fun of sharing, rather than everyone at the table getting the exact same plates. Depends on your preference, really - if you go, check out the tasting menu, check out the a la carte offerings, and see which grabs you. I'd just say don't lock yourself into one or the other, mentally, beforehand.

                Second, I'd cross a couple of things off the list: steakhouses and burgers. You can get steaks and burgers where you come from. We have some good ones here, for sure - but would you rather spend your time (and money) on something fairly close to what you can get back home, or on something that's really an "Only in NYC" experience?

                For your big sit-down meals:

                I don't know if you have particularly good Chinese where you're from - or, more to the point, what styles of Chinese you've got. If good Cantonese is something you lack, definitely do a Chinatown night - South China Garden and Oriental Garden tend to be the top vote-getters, and with good reason. SCG is a little cheaper, and better for land creatures. For seafood, OG is a little more pricey but hard to beat. Mind you, though, "pricey" for a Chinatown restaurant is midrange for most other cuisines, so I think it's worth the extra.

                If not WD-50 for your splurge meal, I'd do Eleven Madison Park. It's a bit more fancy a place, but the food is sublime and spectacular. They're a bit controversial - those who favor the old Haute French haunts tend to poo-poo EMP, but I know very few serious foodies who don't put it at or near the top of what this city has to offer right now. The only reason I'd do WD over EMP, if forced to choose between the two, is that WD is a bit more fun.

                If you're to do one great Italian meal while you're here, we have some great choices: Del Posto, Babbo, Scarpetta, and Falai would be my top picks. I like them all for different reasons, and would be hard pressed to pick one over the others. For cheaper, less fancy Italian, Frankies 17 Clinton Street Spuntino is hard to beat. And it'll be right in your nieghborhood.

                For great Japanese, I'd go with Soto, Kyo Ya, or Kajitsu.

                For cheap(-er) eats:

                Xi'an Famous Foods - Western Chinese, very different than what we're used to. Heavy on lamb and cumin. The lamb and pork burgers are wonderful things.

                Hung Ry - great new hand-pulled noodle shop, but the appetizers are as good as the soups if not better.

                You probably don't have much Latin food in Australia, so I'd pop into Cibao on Clinton (again, in your neighborhood) for a Cubano and an order of Mofungo - the first a pressed sandwich of pork, ham, cheese, and pickles, the second a mass of mashed plantains with scraps of pork and gravy. Delicious, hearty, filling - split them, and for $10 you won't feel like eating for the rest of the day.

                I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting, but your request is so broad. I'm sure I'll pop onto the thread again when things are narrowing down.

                -----
                WD-50
                50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

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

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

                Babbo
                110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

                Oriental Garden
                14 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

                Falai
                68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                Kyo Ya
                94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                Cibao
                72 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

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

                Kajitsu
                414 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009

                Xi'an Famous Foods
                88 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

                Hung Ry
                55 Bond St, New York, NY 10012

                6 Replies
                1. re: sgordon

                  Wow - thank you Sgordon.
                  As I have put WD-50 on my list I will follow your suggestion of making up our own menu - I like the sound of that!
                  Yes you are correct - Steakhouses & Burgers are not of interest - although I do love the shakes at Shake Shack. I am keen to try something like Daisy May's for the USA BBQ experience.
                  You are right we don't really have Latin food in Australia, so I would be keen to try your suggestion of Cibao.
                  Thanks again for your wonderful suggestions.
                  Cheers

                  -----
                  WD-50
                  50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

                  Cibao
                  72 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                  1. re: DAVJ

                    Have you had a pupusa, arepa, hurache, etc.?

                    Is there Mexican food in Australia? If not, I'd seek out some tacos & burritos while you're here.

                    What about lobster rolls? A New England specialty. Check out Pearl Oyster Bar or Luke's Lobster.

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

                    Luke's Lobster
                    93 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                    1. re: DAVJ

                      I would say Dinosaur BBQ if you like pulled pork. Hill Country if you want beef brisket. I like these both more than Daisy May's.

                      -----
                      Hill Country
                      30 W 26th St, New York, NY 10010

                      Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
                      777 W. 125th Street, New York, NY 10027

                      1. re: kathryn

                        I agree with Katherine here on Daisy May's - I've been, and the group was very disappointed with the quality. I'm also not a fan of Dinosaur, but I've only been to the one in NYC once and it was early on - so maybe they have gotten better? I really enjoyed BBQ at Rack n' Soul (near Columbia U) but haven't eaten there often enough to vouch for consistency. I also would suggest Hill Country and Blue Smoke. Not really sure if these are BBQ, but Rub, Pies n' Thighs, and Fette Sau are also popular.

                        Also forgot to mention earlier: Casa Mono and Degustation.

                        Latin American - Yerba Buena; Tehuitzengo Deli/Grocery (hole in the wall in Hell's Kitchen that serves amazing tacos); El Castillo de jagua (LES), Cafe Itozcan (east village - try the huitlacoche dish); Caracas Arepa Bar (East Village).

                        If your'e looking for really excellent Latin American food, it may be worthwhile to do a search of Queens on the Outer Boroughs boards - I think the more authentic Latin American food is out there.

                        Also - I'm not sure that

                        -----
                        Hill Country
                        30 W 26th St, New York, NY 10010

                        Casa Mono
                        52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

                        Caracas Arepa Bar
                        93 1/2 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                        Blue Smoke
                        116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

                        Yerba Buena
                        23 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

                        1. re: firni

                          Blue Smoke is good, but I think the atmosphere of the other places is probably going to be more interesting for an Australian.

                          Pies 'n' Thighs is a good call for Southern food. I'd also throw the Redhead into the mix.

                          -----
                          Blue Smoke
                          116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

                          1. re: firni

                            For Latin food, it depends, as there are all different kinds of latin food. For Cubanos I prefer Cibao, like I said above - Castillo de Jaguar I've found the pork a bit on the dry side on a couple occasions, but Cibao has been very consistent.

                            For Mexican, there are a number of good places that don't involve hitting the outer boroughs (not that there's anything wrong with that!) - I'll second Tehuitzingo, for sure, for classic tacos. And Pinche Taqueria will do (no pun intended) in a pinch.

                            For something more refined, Crema, Suenos, and Itzocan Cafe are all on my favorites list. In between price-wise (and conveniently on the LES) is Los Feliz, a more casual place from the chef of Crema doing fancified tacos (think foie gras, or pork belly and octopus) and small plates. They can be a little "fusiony" but they're good, regardless. Barrio Chino is also really good for their price point, great place to pop into for snacks and margaritas, and will be near where the OP is staying - only the wait for a table can be veeeery long.

                            -----
                            Tehuitzingo
                            695 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

                            Barrio Chino
                            253 Broome St, New York, NY 10002

                            Crema
                            111 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

                            Itzocan Cafe
                            438 E 9th St, New York, NY 10009

                            Pinche Taqueria
                            227 Mott St, New York, NY 10012

                            Suenos
                            311 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

                            Cibao
                            72 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                            Pinche Taqueria
                            333 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                            Pinche Taqueria
                            986 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022

                            Los Feliz
                            109 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

                    2. My Top Five:

                      1. Le Bernardin
                      2. Corton
                      3. Babbo
                      4. Marea
                      5. Casa Mono

                      -----
                      Babbo
                      110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                      Casa Mono
                      52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

                      Le Bernardin
                      155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

                      Corton
                      239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                      Marea
                      240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: fm1963

                        Thank you fm1963 - I will start Googling.
                        Babbo is of def interest.
                        Cheers

                        -----
                        Babbo
                        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                      2. London has a dearth of good Korean restaurants. There are the two Asadal places and not a lot more (I like the one in Holborn). Maybe ask for some recommendations in Korea Town. London comes up short with respect to Spanish tapas. I like Cigala but Manhattan's selection is far better. Italian? A target-rich environment.
                        Refine your query and we'll do our best.

                        1. Here are some threads on things I think NYC is good at, like brunch, bagels/smoked salmon, pickles, egg creams, pastrami, pizza, mixology, "ethnic" niches, street food etc.

                          Best breakfast and brunch:
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/707772

                          Please help me eat during a month in new york
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/716238

                          Don't leave NY without eating these foods
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/610739

                          Pizza in NYC
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6928...

                          BTW, I highly recommend RGR's self guided Lower East Side Gustatory tour but sub in Pickle Guys for Guss' Pickles:
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/493333

                          Best foodie shopping:
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/585538
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/697174
                          http://www.chow.com/lists/33
                          http://www.chow.com/lists/924

                          Union Square Greenmarket advice
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/705073
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/727570

                          Best mixology / bespoke cocktails:
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/609073
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/709227

                          Bars for beer geeks
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/733207
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/572919

                          For non-Western European/American
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/729498
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/731732

                          Foreign Street Grub
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/701278

                          totally obscure, odd, and intriguing menu items
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/722130

                          Great upscale dining
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/733990

                          -----
                          Union Square Greenmarket
                          Broadway and E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

                          Pickle Guys
                          49 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

                          1. It's been a while since I've lived in NY but I always enjoy returning and usually plan my food itinerary based on your criteria so I can best experience NY's strengths from high end to low end, from French, to Japanese, to Italian. My upcoming itinerary:

                            Day 1: Ess-a-bagel (can't go to NYC without having a proper bagel), Ippudo (ramen), Per Se (fine dining, about $300/pp. Substitute with Eleven Madison Park for a lower price point)
                            Day 2: Keste (pizza), Degustation (reasonably priced tasting menu)
                            Day 3: Co (pizza), Momofuku Ssam Bar (or Ma Peche)
                            Day 4: 15 East (sushi. Not sure what the sushi scene is like in Australia or London, but if its anything like France or Italy, this will be an eye opener), Convivio (Italian. But you should probably substitute with Babbo)
                            Day 5: Peter Luger (steak) on my way to JFK.

                            For you, you should probably replace Co or Keste with Katz's for pastrami.

                            Just my 2 cents.

                            -----
                            Per Se
                            10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                            15 East
                            15 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

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

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

                            Ippudo
                            65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

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

                            1. Five Fab Places in New York for your consideration:

                              1. Salumeria Rosi: Cesare Casella's restaurant-cum-deli with great food and a fun atmosphere. Super Salumi, and much more.
                              2. Gramercy Tavern. Dine in the Tavern Room if you find the dining room a bit pricy. Consistently the most popular restaurant in New York, for good reason. The food, service, welcome are all top notch.
                              3. Red Rooster. Marcus Samuelsson's (Top Chef Master #2) new soul food place in Harlem.Super hot buzz. The cat can BURN!
                              4. Blue Smoke. Good barbecue, but GREAT live Jazz. The combination is unbeatable. ;)
                              5. Babbo. There are other Italian restaurants, but Mario Batali has created a monster here. Food is wonderful, and the ambiance is hip and friendly.

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

                              Babbo
                              110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                              Blue Smoke
                              116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

                              Salumeria Rosi
                              283 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10023

                              Red Rooster
                              310 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027

                              1. Thank you to everyone for all of your wonderful & amazing tips & pointers. It has given me a great place to start.
                                I think I will start to formulate a bit of an itinerary & then I may do another post & then get your thoughts & tweek it from there.
                                Thank you again - you have all been of great help.
                                Cheers

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: DAVJ

                                  Jean-Georges, Degustation, L'Atelier, Minetta Tavern, Blue Hill at Stone Barns

                                  -----
                                  Blue Hill
                                  75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

                                  Minetta Tavern
                                  113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012