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Suggestions on my shortlist of fine dining restaurants in NYC (first time)

Hi fellow foodies,

I am new here and have found the forum and site very informative! Can you please suggest some of the better fine dining restaurants in NYC to try in 7 days? We plan to go to 5-6 restaurants for lunch/dinner.

My partner and I are going to New York City (first time) for a week next month and am putting together a shortlist of fine dining restaurants and other "Must eats!"

I went to find the 2011 Michelin guide to Best Restaurants in NYC, but my local bookstores do not stock it.

I have spent some time researching and reading restaurant reviews, and have so far have the following:

- Daniel
- Gordon Ramsay at the London
- Jean Geroges
- L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon
- Le Bernardin
- Masa
- Per Se
- The Modern
- Asiate
- Blue Ribbon

We are not rich enough to eat at all these restaurants, but given that its about 2 weeks before we leave for NYC, I wanted to decide on which restaurants and make a reservation before we depart.

We are not picky eaters and neither of us drink wine - as we are not intending to go for the tasting menu each time, (instead I was hoping we can do several 3 course lunch/dinner sets on offer). We have no particular preference on cuisine types.

If we were to do the degustation/tasting menu at one restaurant - which would it be?

I was wondering which websites you usually check for reviews on restaurants? The ones I have found so far are Yelp, MenuPages, tripadviosr and of course here.

I am reading older threads to find out restaurant recommendations, but if anyone can suggest a few fine dining places or give some feedback/advice (or name restaurants that I've missed), that would be greatly appreciated! :)

On top of the fine dining list, I am also looking into "must eat food/places in NYC" - would definitely want to try Pizza, Bagels, Steak burgers etc

I'm from Australia and will be staying in 53rd St and 7th Ave (near Le Bernadin!)

I've read the thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/781072 and all the informative replies/links there, so much information here! It's like a foodies dream website! :

)

Thanks!

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Per Se
10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

Asiate
80 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon
57 E 57th St, New York, NY 10022

Gordon Ramsay at the London
151 W 54th St, New York, NY 10019

Masa
10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

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  1. Depending on when your plans are, you may not be able to get reservations any more for some of these places.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      Agree with the comment above that it might be too late for reservations at some of those. That said, here's a stab at places you might enjoy as a first time visitor:

      Per Se: best food on your list and view over Central Park is very special during daylight hours.

      The Modern: overlooking the MOMA sculpture garden. Can combine with a visit to that museum. The Bar at the Modern is more casual but also very worthwhile.

      Jean Georges: great lunch deals in a wonderful space at Columbus Circle. To save $, consider Nougaine, the Jean Georges restaurant in the bar area of the same space

      l'Atelier du Joel Robuchon: use open table to reserve a space at the counter. Fun and delicious.

      Asiate : lunch or cocktail for the spectacular view.

      For general restaurant guides, see the online recommendations of the nYTimes and New York Mgazine. Have fun.

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

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

      The Modern
      9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019

      Asiate
      80 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

    2. lunch is a good time to eat more affordably at lots of upscale places: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/770973

      1. Agree that depending on the restaurant, the chances of getting a reservation are very slim. Your best bet is to hope for cancellations at a few places, try for lunch, or to take an early dinner (530ish reservation) or late supper (1030ish reservation).

        With regards to food review sites, I would say that Chowhound and egullet are the best choices and have the most discerning forum posters. Definitely the forums to read for fine dining. Yelp has too much noise.

        Most of what you are looking for in terms of NY must-eats have been written about many times over on these forums. Just keep searching and you will find way more information than you will probably use.

        With regards to fine dining restaurants, I think the most glaring omissions from the list are Eleven Madison Park, Corton, and Marea. My suggestion to finding out more about fine dining restaurants is to read a couple of threads, and keep track of the most regular posters. Often, they will be the most knowledgeable. Examples include RGR, ulterior epicure, gutsofsteel, uhockey, etc. Then you can click on their names and CH will take you to all their posts, where you can do more digging. I also tend to mostly post about fine dining, so you can also click on my name, look at my posts, and work from there.

        Glad you discovered CH and welcome to NY!

        -----
        Marea
        240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

        4 Replies
        1. re: fooder

          >> With regards to food review sites, I would say that Chowhound and egullet are the best choices and have the most discerning forum posters. Definitely the forums to read for fine dining.

          For upscale dining, you'll do much better on some of the more region-specific boards, like Mouthfuls Food for NYC, LTHForum for Chicago, Don Rockwell for DC etc. eGullet is far more cooking-centric now, with very little traffic for NYC dining. Also, Ulterior Epicure doesn't really post here any more (many of the more prolific bloggers don't).

          To the OP, I'd drop Gordon Ramsay, Asiate (unless you're really after a view), and Blue Ribbon off your initial list. Robuchon's L'Ateliers are spreading across the planet, so I don't think the NYC branch is a necessary visit. Masa should only be considered if you're absolutely comfortable dropping $600 per person on a kaiseki and sushi meal. Corton and EMP are good additions.

          -----
          Asiate
          80 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

          Corton
          239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

          Masa
          10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

          1. re: hcbk0702

            Mouthfuls Food can be pretty chatty though, so if you're a visitor just looking for reviews, you should know that.

            For New York dining reviews, I like Serious Eats.

          2. re: fooder

            After reading the link that rose water gave for fine dining lunch deals, have added these 2 restaurants to try for lunch:
            - Bouley
            - Toqueville

            Is there a significant difference between doing lunch vs dinner at the same fine dining restaurant (if both are 3 course meals) in terms of the food?

            Thanks for the suggestion fooder - not sure how accurate opentable is for real time booking/availability, but most of the restaurants still have tables during lunch time and early dinner

            I'll be reading as much as I can on these forums the next couple of days and start booking, as you've mentioned, there are a number of glaring omissions from my list. Thanks for the tip, will research based on the CH regular posters.

            I will need to plan around the attractions we'll be sightseeing as well, which might be a challenge.

            -----
            Tocqueville
            1 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

            Bouley
            163 Duane St, New York, NY 10013

            1. re: ausfoodie

              OpenTable is very accurate for the tables a restaurant has released to OpenTable. When a restaurant is on OpenTable, their entire reservation backend runs on OpenTable's software (like what the hostess sees at the podium, etc). If you call for a table, they are entering your information into OpenTable anyway. But as hcbk0702 notes, some restaurants hold back inventory from the web interface but not necessarily through other channels.

              Given that your trip is in 2 weeks, I'd book sooner rather than later.

          3. What everyone else said. The restaurants you have chosen typically book up 4 weeks in advance.

            Also most aren't open Sundays (not sure what days you're here). Most serve lunch but not every day of the week so plan carefully.

            I'd drop Blue Ribbon from the list of fine dining considerations. It is more casual than the others and doesn't accept reservations unless you're 5+ people. I do like it a whole lot but it sticks out on this list.

            1. Thanks for the all the replies, will take note of the suggestions.

              Will speed up the decision making process and start making reservations. Do most people book directly with the restaurant or is it fine to use opentable? I don't have a US cell phone number for this though so will most likely call direct, despite the 14 hour time difference!

              You are all very correct regarding the booking - I checked most of the restaurants from my list and most are booked out for dinner during the time I'm there (10th-17th May)

              I think I'll do lunch at a few places and choose one for dinner (tasting menu) - it'll all come down to which restaurants are available.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ausfoodie

                Lots of people use OpenTable, and it'll certainly be much more convenient for you. However, restaurants do not release all of their tables through OT, so you may want to call certain restaurants directly to maximize your chances of landing a reservation (or to get on a waitlist).

                From your list, Le Bernardin, Jean Georges, and The Modern all serve significantly less expensive lunches. I guess Asiate does too, but you should really skip it.

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

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

                Asiate
                80 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023