HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

Seriously need help choosing restaurants.

k
katbri Jun 14, 2011 11:40 AM

I have been researching Manhattan restaurants for the last three days and feel like my head is spinning! Every time I think I might have a list I do more research and get more confused. I have been to NYC a few years back and a friend that I am traveling with is a first timer. Please please help me put together a list of restaurants.
Here is what I think might be the problem, I am on a budget. I am looking at a maximum of $30 breakfast, $40 for brunch/lunch and a couple of dinners at $60 and one at $100 (including drink/tax/tip per person). Is it possible to eat great food at that price point? Food guidelines are nothing too adventurous or heavy in the seafood department, one of my dining companions is allergic to shellfish.

Someone has recommended Macao Trading Company, La Esquina and Tap Room. What do you think?

-----
La Esquina
106 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. n
    NYDebola RE: katbri Jun 14, 2011 11:53 AM

    Where are you staying/doing things? Are you coming for food, or eating along the way? You're on the Manhattan Board, but if budget is an issue you might consider a not very scary food adventure to the outer boroughs for lunch/dinner/entertainment, etc. For example I've been blown away by a number of restaurants in Ft Green area which are 2/3 the price of comparable eats in Manhattan.
    As for your budget, I think it's totally reasonable depending on your alcohol consumption.

    6 Replies
    1. re: NYDebola
      k
      katbri RE: NYDebola Jun 14, 2011 12:15 PM

      I will be staying in the 52nd and 6th area. We only have three days so will be sticking to the city and probably be doing some touristy things.

      One more thing, any unique/cool bars you can recommend to have a cocktail or two?

      Thanks so much!!!

      1. re: katbri
        n
        NYDebola RE: katbri Jun 14, 2011 12:34 PM

        Easy breakfasts of good coffee and croissants/granola yoghurt are Le Pain Quotidien or Pret A Manger (both are 50th Btwn 6-7th). Skip Au Bon Pain. Others will weigh in with diner recommendations for Bacon and Eggs.
        I don't do the bar scene much, but since you're right there, pick up tickets to go to Top of the Rock around sunset (you can probably find discounts online) and have a touristy drink in the Ice Rink Cafe before you head up.

        1. re: katbri
          k
          kathryn RE: katbri Jun 14, 2011 12:38 PM

          If you can list the "touristy things" you are doing, we can help find restaurants nearby (i.e. Empire State Building, Broadway show, shopping in Soho, etc).

          Cocktails in Manhattan can run up to $12 and up these days. If you wish to visit one of our city's premiere cocktail lounges (PDT, Death & Co, Pegu Club, Little Branch, etc.), it may blow your budget.

          -----
          Little Branch
          22 Seventh Ave South, New York, NY 10014

          Please Don't Tell
          113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

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

          Death & Co.
          433 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009

          1. re: kathryn
            k
            katbri RE: kathryn Jun 14, 2011 01:51 PM

            So far what we have planned is crossing the Brooklin Bridge, Central Park and walking areas like Meatpacking District, Soho, Flatiron District.

            thanks!

            1. re: katbri
              k
              kathryn RE: katbri Jun 14, 2011 01:52 PM

              Central Park is quite large -- you should try to plan it such that you know whether or not you'll be entering/existing from the UWS, UES, south end, north end, etc.

          2. re: katbri
            ellenost RE: katbri Jun 15, 2011 07:25 AM

            You should try Ma Peche for either lunch or dinner since you'll be able to stay within your budget and it's close to your hotel (West 56 St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.). Wonderful cocktails too!--especially the Seven Spice Sour. Ma Peche serves delicious French-Vietnamese cuisine. They have a nice mixture of meat, chicken and seafood (and a number of non-shellfish seafood dishes). Service is friendly. For a real bargain, they have a $25 prix fixe at lunch where you get a choice of 3 appetizers, 3 main dishes and a choice between 2 Milk Bar Cookies.

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

        2. k
          kathryn RE: katbri Jun 14, 2011 12:37 PM

          > maximum of $30 breakfast, $40 for brunch/lunch and a couple of dinners at $60 and one at $100 (including drink/tax/tip per person)

          I assume by drink you mean cocktails. Hard to make recommendations without knowing how many cocktails you plan to have. Can you give a figure for just food? It is possible to eat well at any price point but your figures will be easier to work around if you give cost for only food. For example, $40 for brunch, minus tax and tip, leaves only $31 to work with. If you have two cocktails at $12 each, you'll have very little left for brunch food ($7)...

          Your parameters (budget + no seafood) are still pretty broad.

          1. How much per meal for just food?

          2. Are reservations a must or are you OK with waiting for a meal?

          3. Any favorite cuisines or items you cannot get at home?

          4. When is your trip?

          5. Any special features or atmosphere you are looking for? Other considerations?

          9 Replies
          1. re: kathryn
            k
            katbri RE: kathryn Jun 14, 2011 01:07 PM

            Great questions, thanks so much for helping me out.

            1. How much per meal for just food? - Ok this is price point just for food: Breakfast $20, Brunch/Lunch $30, Dinner $50-$75. I do like to have cocktails and wine with meals and then some, I am accustomed to pricey beverages.

            2. Are reservations a must or are you OK with waiting for a meal? - Reservations would be nice but if the restaurant has a bar area we can have a cocktail and wait that would be ok.

            3. Any favorite cuisines or items you cannot get at home? – There can be seafood on menu just not heavy on the seafood. We love all food, I really enjoy Steakhouses, French, Asian and since I am in NY American cuisine would be great.

            4. When is your trip? – July 13 -16th

            5. Any special features or atmosphere you are looking for? Other considerations? I would like a restaurant that is fun, hip, New Yorkish scene....does that make sense?

            1. re: katbri
              k
              kathryn RE: katbri Jun 14, 2011 02:12 PM

              > There can be seafood on menu just not heavy on the seafood. We love all food, I really enjoy Steakhouses, French, Asian and since I am in NY American cuisine would be great.

              Where are you traveling from? I gather that you are not from the US? From your posting history, looks like you're from Toronto?

              If you're not from the US and don't travel around the US often, my recommendations might include John's of Bleecker (for NY coal oven pizza), Katz's (for pastrami on rye), Keens (for their porterhouse for 2 -- great historical decor, too), Russ & Daughters (for takeout smoked salmon & bagels), Pearl Oyster Bar (for a New England style lobster roll), Redhead or Pies 'n' Thighs (for great fried chicken), Hill Country (for Texas style BBQ brisket, sausage, and ribs).

              When you say Asian, do you mean Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indian, something else? And within those cuisines, there are of course many subgenres... I'm not sure where you are from but it's very possible that Toronto is stronger than NYC is in some Asian cuisines. But also weaker in others.

              In the research you have done so far, have you picked out any restaurants that look good to you?

              > When is your trip? – July 13 -16th

              Many popular Manhattan restaurants take reservations 31, 30, or 28 days in advance. The most popular book up quickly so you should act fast.

              Here's some sample itineraries from Australian & French visitors that have come through recently:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/789080
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/789080
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/787026
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/780317

              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

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

              Looking for new, good, hip, not $$$$$, from mid town and south
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/785674

              Best "scenes"
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7511...
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7607...

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

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

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

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

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

              John's Pizzeria
              278 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

              The Redhead
              349 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

              John's
              823 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10017

              1. re: kathryn
                k
                KateBChi RE: kathryn Jun 14, 2011 02:58 PM

                kathryn wrote:
                "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"

                I did this tour a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I did Gus's pickles and wasn't unhappy but haven't tried Pickle Guys.

                I am not a breakfast person myself so I would get a bagel and s'mear and a cafe latte somewhere and apply my breakfast allowance to the dinner allotment or for cocktails.

                For lunch Jean George's is the best fine dining bargain.

                NYC is almost outrageously rich in great dining locations. When I go to NYC I tend to stay about where you are except at 50th and Fifth. I always go to MOMA and eat at the Modern both bar and restaurant. For lunch this is within your price point. For dinner the bar is but the restaurant only if you allocate your breakfast money to dinner. Because I invariably accompany my SO who is always in midtown on business we tend to eat in midtown within walking or short cab ride of our hotel. In the vicinity I like Seasonal Restaurant. I went there initially because it was close and had schnitzel which is my SO's favorite dish (he can't "live" without it) but really liked the food and the vibe plus the wine choices. It is also within your price range.

                Kate

                -----
                Pickle Guys
                49 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

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

                1. re: KateBChi
                  r
                  RGR RE: KateBChi Jun 14, 2011 03:34 PM

                  Kate,

                  I'm very pleased to hear that you enjoyed my tour. :) Guss's Pickles has closed. Ergo, The Pickle Guys substitution.

                  You are, unfortunately, not correct with regard to lunch in The Modern Dining Room being within katbri's price point. Her stated budget is $30. The Dining Room's lunch prix-fixes are 2 courses for $55 or 3 for $70. Even if she allocated her $20 breakfast budget to lunch there, she'd still fall a bit short. Also, I think she'd be severely limited as to what she could order in the Bar Room at lunch with her budget.

                  There are options for bargain upscale lunches that would not strain her budget. Though not in Midtown, it's worth going to the Union Square area for Tocqueville's 3-course lunch prix-fixe, which at $29 is a steal for cuisine of such high caliber. The wine pairings are $15. Service is pleasant and attentive, and the elegant dining room is one of the most beautiful in the city.

                  Tocqueville photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                  http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

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

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

                  1. re: RGR
                    k
                    KateBChi RE: RGR Jun 14, 2011 04:01 PM

                    Ouch! I guess that I don't pay close enough attention to prices. I must have not eaten two courses which isn't surprising as I can't eat as much as I once did ... Aging has advantages :-). I always thought that NYC was expensive until I went to London last week.

                    Your tour was a delightful excursion! Kudos!

                2. re: kathryn
                  k
                  katbri RE: kathryn Jun 15, 2011 06:13 AM

                  What a terrific post! Thank you so much!

                  I had a few friend travel to NYC this year and recommended Macao Trading Company, La Esquina and Tap Room.

                  Just wondering what you think?

                  -----
                  La Esquina
                  106 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

                  Macao Trading Co.
                  311 Church Street, New York, NY 10013

                  1. re: katbri
                    k
                    kathryn RE: katbri Jun 15, 2011 05:57 PM

                    I've not been to those places, so I can't comment.

                  2. re: kathryn
                    k
                    katbri RE: kathryn Jun 15, 2011 09:20 AM

                    Question about Keens, will they allow 4 people to eat the porterhouse for 3 or are they strick about that.

                    1. re: katbri
                      r
                      RGR RE: katbri Jun 15, 2011 11:00 AM

                      Yes, they will allow that. In fact, I think 4 people can even share the porterhouse for 2. It is a boatload of meat.

                      Keens photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                      http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

              2. Windy RE: katbri Jun 14, 2011 04:14 PM

                I'm also planning a trip this month, and have been trying to cram in 100 or so restaurants into less than a week.

                One thing that's very helpful if you aren't that familiar with NYC (or even if you are) is to use Google maps. Create a saved map and add place pins for all the restaurants and places you'll be visiting. Then you can see what's in each neighborhood and map out a few hours. If you zoom in, you can also see place listings you haven't added.

                Unfortunately it doesn't print very well. But it's helpful when you're not sure where Kenmare Street is or how far Chinatown is from the Museum of Natural History. It also shows public transit, walking times, and cab fares.

                Since you're planning on walking over the Brooklyn Bridge, you can add Dumbo restaurants to your list. And I'd encourage you to hit at least one flea market or street fair to get the full NY experience.

                Show Hidden Posts