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Mar 22, 2011 08:31 AM

Visiting this weekend, need restaurant ideas

I am visiting this weekend from NC. The last time I was in NY was almost 15 years ago!. I am staying on Park Avenue and need some suggestions for dinner. Breakfast and lunch will be a "play-it-by-ear". For dinner, it'll be 2 couples, no need for anything too fancy. One couple is not too adventurous as far as different types of foods. We are not looking to spend too much, but we realize it is NY. A good Italian, or a fusion place. Maybe a nice steakhouse. Any suggestions??

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  1. Zengo (Third Ave & East 40th St) for Latin-Asian fusion

    Wolfgang's (for steaks) has 2 locations on the East Side - you didn't indicate where you will be on Park Avenue, but note that the one at 4 Park Ave is very noisy and may be hard to book at this late date. You might have better luck at the one on East 54th & Third Avenue.

    4 Park Ave, New York, NY 10016

    622 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

    200 E 54th St, New York, NY 10022

    3 Replies
    1. re: boredough

      sorry, we will be staying at the Waldorf, so not really sure if that is within the vicinity.

      1. re: nckambal

        The Waldorf is at 50th St. The Park Ave. Wolfgang's is on the corner of 33rd St.

        Wolfgang's is o.k., but I would choose Keens over it in a NY minute.

        1. re: RGR

          Just to be clear, the new Wolfgang's is on East 54th (& 3rd), convenient to the Waldorf. I agree that Keen's is better, but assumed (wrongly?) that nckambal didn't want to venture too far. Still, in the grand scheme of NYC, Keen's isn't really that far after all.

    2. Our favorite NYC steakhouse is Keens, on 36th St., b/t 5th & 6th Avs. (closer to 6th). In addition to delicious steaks, chops, sides, etc., there is the unmatchable Old NY ambiance, i.e., walls filled with authentic American memorabilia and old clay smoking pipes suspended from all th ceiling + pipes belonging to famous people dating back to the 19th century in display cases in the vestibule. A porterhouse for two can easily feed four normal appetites, and sides are meant to be shared. For dessert, we adore the Coffee Cantata.

      Keens photos:

      With regard to Italian, some of the most popular spots are already solidly booked for this weekend. However, two places we like a lot and where OpenTable is showing availability are Ciano (on 22nd St., just of Park Av. S.) and SD26 (on 26th St., across from Madison Sq. Park).

      Ciano photos:
      SD26 photos:

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

      45 E 22nd St, New York, NY 10010

      19 East 26th Street, New York, NY 10010

      1. So the wife and the other couple have advised me that the goal for a restaurant is to find a local gem that most tourists wouldn't know about. Maybe a local place that is a favorite among NY residents. So places like a Morton's, would be out. Does that help?

        2 Replies
        1. re: nckambal

          Whether a tourist would know about Keens depends on how well-versed he or she is about the NYC dining scene and steakhouses in particular. Unlike Morton's, Keens is not a chain. It has been in its 36th St. location since 1885, and I would definitely consider it a NY gem.

          1. re: nckambal

            Two more non-touristy restaurants near the Waldorf are Avra Estiatorio and Pampano. They both feature seafood, Greek and Mexican respectively. I've had wonderful meals at both places.

            141 East 48th Street, New York, NY 10017

            209 E 49th St, New York, NY 10017

          2. I second both Keens, for a non chain local gem of a steakhouse, and Zengo. Zengo isn't too expensive and has an exciting enough menu for you and also has items that won't scare the not so adventurous (and the biblitoca de tequila is a lot of fun!) Are you adverse to travelling a little? I always have a great time at Eataly (I know, fellow NYers, it's a little kitchy and the wait is sometimes annoying) but its a lot of fun and the food is pretty good and definitely not too expensive. I've also had good meals at Bice too for decent italian in the area that wont rake you over the financial coals.

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

            7 E 54th St, New York, NY 10022

            622 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

            200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

            1. "play-it-by-ear" usually leads to disappointment. unfortunately, the bad restaurants often cost as much as the good ones, many exceptions aside.

              if you are anything like most visitors, you'll probably spend a late morning shopping and sightseeing around Soho and another morning around Central Park and the midtown sights. if so, i strongly recommend Ceci Cela and Petrossian Cafe for croissants as breakfast. they're both tiny places and both frequented by locals. they're often noted as being the number one and two croissants in New York, so it could be a fun note to compare the two for yourselves.

              also in Soho is Congee Bowery, a very inexpensive but clean Chinese place. in the West Village, Keste is serving what I think is the best pizza in New York. pies are upwards of $17 each and you'll need three to feed four people. still a cheap meal by New York standards. otherwise, take a good look at Otto's menu. the pastas are very reasonably priced at about $10 each and pizzas are just a bit more. i'm not a huge lover of their pizzas, but one for the table could go a long way. add to that a few pastas and some $4 veggie starters, and you'll be set. save room for the Olive Oil Gelato!

              if you're set on having dinner near your hotel, check out the recently opened Baotique. i haven't been yet, but early reviews seem positive. it's close by and the chef/owner has a well established reputation in New York.

              one suggestion're coming to New York to enjoy New York, so consider where you want to be for dinner, not what's close to your hotel. can't imagine you'll spend much time there.

              55 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

              Congee Bowery
              207 Bowery, New York, NY 10002

              1 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003

              182 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019

              Keste Pizza & Vino
              271 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

              Baotique at Covet Lounge
              137 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022