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Weekday Solo Dining in the Times Square district - Help me choose.

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I am headed to NYC next week for a conference. I will be staying in the Times Square area and unfortunately the days are long so I won't have much time to explore such a large city. So all I have are my dinners & breakfasts to get a taste of NY. I have no pretensions of looking for something non-touristy as I recognize I am in a very touristy part of the city.

I live in Toronto - we have all kinds of ethnic foods...(of varying quality)... so I don't necessarily need an "ethnic" experience unless it is quite sublime. I only have 4 dinners so I don't want to waste them - help me choose. Budget isn't really a consideration.

So far here is what I have in mind....

Ma Peche - and probably a stop at momofuko milk bar before I head home
Le Benardin - do they have a bar area?
Szechuan Gourmet
Jean Georges - not available
Hagi - on 49th street

For breakfast - probably le pain quotidien... I am not opposed to wandering around and stumbling upon a breakfast place. Although great coffee would be nice.

Are there any other things I should consider? I am open to other ideas - eg. casual street food. Toronto's street food culture is non-existent so I would be open to this as well.

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Jean Georges
1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

Hagi
152 W 49th St, New York, NY 10019

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

Szechuan Gourmet
21 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

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

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  1. Great idea about dinner at Ma Peche; it's become one of my favorite restaurants. Food is delicious and creative, and service is friendly and attentive.

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

    1. Breakfast options include Amy's Bread (9th ave near 46th) or Bouchon Bakery in TIme Warner Center, depending on the time you have to travel in the AM. Bouchon also might be an option for a light dinner; it might be fun to experience Time Warner Center. Obviously at the other end of the spectrum you could do Per Se in TWC.
      As re dinners; if you want to try a neapolitan pizza spot that would be completely comfortable eating alone, try Zigolini's. Not the top place in the city, but good nonetheless and would be close to your area.
      There is a new place in midtown with French cuisine: La Silhouette, run by a chef who has worked with both Daniel Boulud and Laurent Tourondel.
      A great option for you would be the Bar Room at the Modern.
      Also, if Jean Georges isn't available, perhaps Nougatine, its sister restaurant (more casual) would be? I know some people who actually prefer the experience there, in fact.
      If you let us know your cross streets we might be able to narrow options to a smaller radius if you are concerned about your long days. If you avoid Times Square itself, midtown really isn't such a bad spot!

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      Per Se
      10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

      Bouchon Bakery
      10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

      Jean Georges
      1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

      Amy's Bread
      672 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036

      Nougatine
      1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

      La Silhouette
      362 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019

      5 Replies
      1. re: orthorunner

        Thanks everyone for the great suggestions...

        I will be staying at the intercontinental. I can walk abit - willing to get up early to explore.

        Orthorunner - is central park safe to run in - early morning - say 6-7am?

        1. re: Apple

          The park is totally safe after 6am. There will be runners everywhere.

          For dinner, have you considered Marea? Its a great place to eat at the bar. Get the fuscilli.

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          Marea
          240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

          1. re: gramres22

            beejus... this menu is awesome. spaghetti with uni? I am all over it. Now... if I can get a reservation...

            (ps. thnks re: the park.)

            1. re: gramres22

              Agree with gramres; however, with the darkness lasting later with daylight savings time, I would recommend staying off the Harlem Hills until closer to 7am unless you have someone to go with. I still wouldn't consider it unsafe but it can feel a little more spooky up there when its dark. (It's still a 5 mile loop to go around up to 102 and down)
              Glad you enjoyed the suggestions. If you can explore and want coffee, another spot is Fika, on 58th near 6th. They have coffee and food items with a Scandinavian bent, as well as excellent chocolates to save for later.

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              Fika
              41 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019

              1. re: orthorunner

                Scandinavian bent - sounds interesting - we don't have that here (outside of Ikea of course ;) ) Of course the chocolates would be a great little gift for my team.

        2. Blue Fin (47th & Broadway, SW corner) is open for breakfast. Also lunch & dinner, of course, but I bet it's special for a nice breakfast: http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...

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          Blue Fin
          1567 Broadway, New York, NY 10036

          1. Le Bernardin has a tiny bar area which serves the full menu. Jackets are required for lunch and dinner.

            As an alternative to Jean Georges, consider Picholine.

            For an upscale breakfast in the Times Square area, try DB Bistro Moderne.

            Here's the NY Magazine list of the best food trucks. You can follow most of them on Twitter.
            http://nymag.com/restaurants/cheapeat...

            If you are willing to wander a bit from Times Square, here are a few other suggestions for food that you might not find in Toronto:

            Marea
            Aldea
            Nuela
            Kin Shop
            Casa Mono
            Momofuku Ssam Bar

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            Casa Mono
            52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

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

            Jean Georges
            1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

            DB Bistro Moderne
            55 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

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

            Picholine
            35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

            Aldea
            31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

            Nuela
            43 W 24th St, New York, NY 10010

            Kin Shop
            469 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

            1 Reply
            1. re: peter j

              I love the food truck listing. not on twitter but I will keep my eyes open for a pre-dinner snack. Will also check out your other recs. thanks!

            2. i would hit Petrossian for a croissant one morning, as well as Amy's (soda bread or oat scone) and Bouchon (sticky bun), both mentioned above by ortho. also, you mentioned interest in Milk Bar. they brew Stumptown Coffee there and, while it's not as good as what you'd get at the Stumptown cafe, it's still worth stopping in for if you are nearby.

              i would absolutely skip Hagi. it's a fine place to have a sake and some bar food, but their entrees are off-putting. don't waste a meal there.

              also, realize that from Times Square you'll be exactly three subway stops from TriBeCa, where you have Bouley, The Harrison, Locanda Verde (bit of a walk) and a host of other interesting options.

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              The Harrison
              355 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013

              Petrossian
              182 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019

              Locanda Verde
              377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

              Bouley
              163 Duane St, New York, NY 10013

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

              1 Reply
              1. re: coasts

                I should move to NYC - there are not enough days to eat...

                Maybe if I am feeling brave (read - not lazy) - I will hop on the subway and try another neighbourhood. I will check it out. Thanks so much for the suggestions - everyone!