skip Scarpetta because we fortunately have a location here in LA...but *definitely* put it on your list for when you return home - it's my favorite restaurant in town right now.
if you like Southern Indian food, scoot across town to "Curry Hill" which is anchored by Lexington Ave from the mid 20's to about 3oth street. CH faves include Dhaba, Tiffin Wallah, Bhojan, Chennai Garden, and Saravanaas. hopefully those who have eaten in the area recently can tell you which one(s) they prefer these days. and while you're there, definitely check out Kalustyan's Market for an awesome selection of ethnic ingredients & specialty items.
123 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016
81 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016
127 E 28th St, New York, NY 10016
129 E 27th St, New York, NY 10016
108 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016
102 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016
Im in Curry HIll a lot, and just returned from a month in india so i feel pretty capable of describing the option there in good detail. Havent been to bhojan or chennai garden, but i like tiffin wallah for their more home-style preparation, and great value buffet lunch (still a good deal at dinner too).
Dhaba was pretty good when i was there last in the fall, though a bit overpriced for what it is, i felt.
Saravanaas is at the top of my list for when i get back around to wanting indian next - we ate at one of the delhi locations on our trip and it was outstanding. if the onion rawa masala dosa at the lex location is half as good ill be totally pleased.
one place that we take a lot of visitors in that immediate area is chinese mirch, which is indian-style chinese food (really popular all over india, much much less common in the us). its also got a little nicer atmosphere and not outrageous prices, check into older threads here for specific recommendations.
81 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016
I second the galleries, and walk on the Highline, and stop at Chelsea Market. The Jaquess Torres booth has excellent hot cocoa.
The Half King Bar is a bargain spot worth knowing about if you need something nearby in a pinch for brunch or something. Cookshop, Cafeteria, or Westville are even better for a nearby brunch or lunch. RUB is close by, for casual BBQ providing atmosphere isn't of concern. Red Cat, and Scarpetta are nice, in the area. Billy's Cupcakes for baked items, La Bergamote for French pastries, and Joe's or Cafe Grumpy for coffee, and treats. Hill Country Chicken and Eatally are nearby. Inoteca on 3rd Ave. and 25th is fairly cheap. Nuela is latin fusion on 24th, which is a new fairly trendy place that's good for some girls on the town to get dressed up, but budget might be a concern. SD26 is the same story, but Italian. The Standard hotel has a beer garden and there's the Hiro Cocktail lounge at the Maritime Hotel.
That said, you should give us some more guidance of more specifics about what you're looking for, and explore options Manhattan-wide instead of restricting yourself to the area.
224 W 20th St, New York, NY 10011
The Half King
505 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011
210 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014
227 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011
355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014
515 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019
Hill Country Chicken
1123 Broadway, New York, NY 10010
Ginger Man on 36th, Dba, Marshal Stacks, and Jimmy's 43, or The Blind Tiger.
Breslin/John Dorey at Ace Hotel also has decent beer selections.
Back Forty is mostly a restaurant specializing in locally sourced food, but their beer list is almost entirely of interesting NY, PA, and MA. beers, and if you can figure out when the happy hours are, they have really good bargain slider sized cheeseburgers.
190 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009
281 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014
11 E 36th St, New York, NY 10016
you've got some great cost-saving opportunities to keep mornings cheap. this way you can go big for dinner. definitely don't miss Murray's Bagels on 8th and 22nd. i'm always glad to be there.
you're also probably not too far from Chelsea Market. i always send visitors there with these instructions: pick up some breads from Amy's and a coffee from 9th Street Espresso, both in the market. If the weather is manageable, take your breakfast up onto the High Line and walk north to the end. you'll be exiting near the Chelsea art galleries, which provide for a full day's worth of entertainment. stop at Artichoke Pizza for a slice of their now-famous artichoke/spinach pie. breakfast, lunch and entertainment won't run you more than $10pp.
242 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011
affordable - every restaurant in manhattan is affordable to its clientele.
but if you mean very inexpensive; i would try Xian's famous foods; very inexpensive. But you may just want to look at the new hot inexpensive food recs mostly from kathryn.
Do you have the cross streets of your hotel? Are you planning around sightseeing? Shopping? A Broadway play or other activity?
How soon will you be dining? Are you looking to make a bunch of reservations or just walk in and grab a table? Do you mind a wait?
What's the most you're willing to spend per person, excluding tax (nearly 9%), tip (15-20%), and wine/drinks/etc.?
Any favorite cuisines you have? Cuisines you want to try? Or avoid?
Definitely inexpensive... We're off of 29th. We're from CA and staying clear from anything that we can get here (mainly Mexican). Plus we all LOVE food. Ideally, I would like to keep it $40 and under person taking food and drinks into consideration..
Some reservations, but maybe some walk ins.. So to make it easy for you, if possible suggest your top 4 restaurants.
29th and what avenue?
Does that $40 include tax and tip?
Are you from SF? LA? Other?
In that neighborhood:
The Breslin for breakfast/brunch
Cookshop for brunch
La Maison du Macaron for croissants and macarons -- let the macarons come to temperature
Doughnut Plant is opening a new branch in the Chelsea Hotel
Co aka Company for Naples inspired pies
Del Posto for lunch on a weekday -- four star restaurant for only $29
El Quinto Pino but order carefully to keep it under $40
2nd the recommendation for Chelsea Market
La Maison du Macaron
132 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011
85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011
379 Grand St, New York, NY 10002
El Quinto Pino
401 W 24th St, New York, NY 10011
20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001