5 day trip to NYC...Where would you eat and drink?
If you're willing to spend $40+ on dinner (before tax, tip, wine/drinks), you don't have to focus exclusively on cheap eats.
Also I would not focus on burgers, ice cream, and sushi, but instead on things that are either unique to NY, feel very New York-y, or that you can't find in Toronto.
Only in NY type foods: bagels and smoked salmon, pastrami on rye, hot dogs & papaya juice, black and white cookies, cheesecake, egg creams, pickles, halal carts.
Are you interested in street food, too? That can really help your budget as well.
Summary: the freshest bagels are the best; bagels don't age well at all.
I'm fond of red onion, capers, regular cream cheese, and tomato on mine. Try a few smoked salmons before you settle on one, they're surprisingly different (and lox is not the same as smoked salmon, because lox is salmon cured in salt brine, and most people actually prefer the more modern, Nova-style smoked salmon). You can get a mini-sized bagel sandwich at Russ & Daughters, too, if you wish. Takeout only.
Best breakfast/brunch in NYC:
It is (IMO) at the Breslin, Locanda Verde, Shopsin's, Clinton St Baking Co., or Minetta Tavern.
Really, it depends what you're looking for: gas oven style, coal oven style, Naples style? A slice? A pie? Takeout? Sit down? Or is standing up OK with you?
There are a few distinct styles of round pizza found in NYC: New York gas-oven style, Neopolitan style, and a hybrid style of the two that is also unique to New York (usually coal oven). Then to throw another wrench into things, some places are known more for square pies (like Artichoke).
Note that lot of famous places like John's of Bleecker, Grimaldi's, and Lombardi's are pies only. Hard to make a recommendation without knowing what you're looking for: whole pies or slices, gas oven vs. coal oven.
If you are limiting yourself to only Manhattan, my favorites, agnostic of oven type:
John's of Bleecker, if you ask for it well done. Get it plain or with one topping, max. I'm partial to their green peppers. This is classic coal-fired NY-Neopolitan hybrid style pie. They do sometimes undercook/under char it, though. Whole pies only.
Motorino for Naples style. Delicious but not really historically "New York" style. Crimini and sausage, spicy soppressata, or whatever their special pie is. Wonderful crust, quality toppings. Whole pies only.
For both you may have to wait in line. I have also enjoyed Patsy's in East Harlem (coal oven) in the past but it is a bit far uptown dependent upon where you are starting from, and I've not been very recently. Whole pies OR slices if you want.
South Brooklyn Pizza or Joe's for a slice (gas oven). Joe's is a bit less crisp/more chewy and on the more cheesy sied and has a more uniform appearance. South Brooklyn is more crispy and has an interesting cheese blend (mozzarella, grana padano, and fontina) with fresh basil, and the cheese and sauce are more scattered, which you usually don't see at slice joints.
IIRC Toronto has pretty good Asian food. BUT we have some of the harder to find Chinese cuisines: Shaanxi (Xian Famous Foods) and Fuzhou in Manhattan, and many more in Queens and Brooklyn (Shangdong/Qingdao, Henan, and Dongbei to name a few).
Most of these are well within your budget, which is nice.
My other favorite unique places in NY serve Xian (Chinese) food, Issan (Thai) food, organic/local/sustainable Japanese BBQ, authentic Basque (Spanish) tapas, creative diner food, pretzels, hot dogs, halal food, steak, upscale rustic Italian, Italian subs, creative Italian-American, high end non-sushi Japanese (like kaiseki), creative desserts, molecular gastronomy, mixology/creative cocktails, and upscale brunches (brunch is served every day here, sometimes even for dinner).
My favorites are here:
Also I'm not sure what is available in Toronto, but do you have good Southern food? BBQ? How about New England style lobster rolls? These foods might be fun and interesting for you to have while in the US.
I might look into Pies 'n' Thighs, the Redhead, Blue Smoke, Hill Country, Pearl Oyster Bar, Luke's Lobster, in addition to classic NY places like Russ & Daughters, Katz's Deli, John's of Bleecker, brunch places like Breslin, Locanda Verde, Shopsin's, Clinton St Baking Co., or Minetta Tavern, and obscurer Asian places like Takashi, Zabb Elee, and Xian Famous Foods.
Don't leave NY without eating these foods
I highly recommend RGR's self guided Lower East Side Gustatory tour but sub in Pickle Guys for Guss' Pickles and note that Economy Candy's address is incorrect:
2 Day NYC Tour focusing on eating, please help with suggestions...
Restaurant Advice for 2 day trip to NYC
Foreign Street Grub
totally obscure, odd, and intriguing menu items
Russ & Daughters
179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002
205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002
Pearl Oyster Bar
18 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014
49 Essex St, New York, NY 10002
30 W 26th St, New York, NY 10010
Shopsin's General Store
120 Essex St, New York, NY 10002
113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012
278 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014
116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016
7 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014
32 Spring St, New York, NY 10012
108 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002
328 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003
2287 1st Ave, New York, NY 10035
349 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003
377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013
Clinton Street Baking Co.
4 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002
Xi'an Famous Foods
81 St. Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003
93 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009
20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001
349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003
456 Hudson St, New York, NY 10011
47 W 20th St, New York, NY 10010
75 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
190 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012
Given that I live here, my answer is going to be different than what I would recommend that you as a visitor try. If I knew the world was ending, I'd probably visit all of my favorite neighborhood hangouts and places I had nostalgia for....
Also everything that Cheeryvisage said.
Budget per person without tax, tip, drinks?
Picky eaters? Tolerance for waiting for a table? Is this a last minute trip or are you well outside the typical "30 days in advance" booking window here?
We are staying in Chelsea, our budget is a mid-level budget. Say 5-15 for breakfast 10-20 for lunch and 20-40 for dinner per person. That's flexible if the place is a MUST.
We'd like to know
Best Ice Cream:
Best cheap bar:
Best anything that you can say is a MUST:
Also we'd like to venture over to Brooklyn to check out the nightlife, we are mid twenties and don't have a bed time anymore. Would rather be at a fun bar then a pretentious one.
Also I know its not food related, but whats one of the best things to do?
We leave on the 20th of Oct and stay until the 24th.
Your help is appreciated.
You don't say where you are coming from geographically, but by NYC standards, your budget it in the inexpensive category, not mid-level. As for "Best," that's totally a matter of opinion, so I can only suggest what I like.
Burgers: Shake Shack, Blue Smoke, The Spotted Pig
Shake Shack photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157626882686067/
Blue Smoke photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157627598128859/
The Spotted Pig photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157626548589197/
Pizza: Motorino for Neapolitan style; Vezzo for thin crust
Motorino photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157623999255016/
Note: For Brooklyn recs, post on the Outer Boroughs Board.
Best Sushi: At your budget, Sushiden is perfect. I go to the 6th Avenue location. Their $32 "Kiri" sushi set is excellent.
Best Burger: I guess Shake Shack. Or, if you shoot for the high end and do dinner, Minetta Tavern's Black Label Burger.
Best Ice Cream: I like Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. Their mango flavor is my favorite currently. For gelato, La Cremeria is beloved on this board. The two places are in the same general neighborhood, why not visit both?
Best Pizza: What RGR said. I also like Keste Pizza & Vino.
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
65 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013
Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010
113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012
123 W 49th St, New York, NY 10020
Keste Pizza & Vino
271 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014
178 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10012
IMHO, the best burger is at Wolfgang's. Shake Shack is a fast food tourist trap, in my opinion, with some very clever marketing. It is NOT worth a meal if you only have 4 days in NYC.
You can get good ice cream in other part of the US - you don't need to have it in NYC.
Best sushi here is way beyond your stated budget.
Do you want neopolitan pizza or "NY" style pizza?
Where are you coming from?
Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010
4 Park Ave, New York, NY 10016
5 days left on earth: Per Se and Masa.
5-day trip: Well, what's your budget? What's your cuisine preference? What neighborhoods do you prefer? When are you coming? Have you done a search on this board, or taken a look at existing threads just from today and yesterday?
10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019
10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019