HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

First Visit to NYC - Solo - DIning Advice

l
lindmar Oct 20, 2011 08:16 PM

Hey

So I'm coming to NYC this weekend for the first time and looking for some dining suggestions.....

I'm travelling solo and looking for some fun/interesting places where a solo diner can eat.

Here's the itinerary.... I'm assuming a lot of this is based on reservations.

AS well, I'm pretty open to most kinds of food. I enjoy great restaurants and just good eats. I like sushi, italian, steakhouses, french, seafood, burgers, bbq etc. Pretty open to anything and everything.

I'm visiting the memorial Saturday around lunch - will probably just grab something quick & easy before or after this time.... What's around there that might suit that?

For dinner, was thinking Momofuku (if a solo diner can get in) or some really good sushi? Suggestions? I've been told East Village would be a great area to hang around and find dinner. I tend to be leaning toward sushi at some point.

Beyond that, I'm thinking about some late night pizza - was looking at Batali's place and can snag a 10:30 reso on Opentable to Otto (overrated or a good pie??)

Sunday - looking for a breakfast suggestion.

Sunday night - same - looking for something cool and fun to do solo. I'm staying in the Times Square area on Sunday night, which isn't ideal, but that's the way it goes. I'm fine with taking cabs or getting around though.

Monday morning - looking for another breakfast joint...

Thanks for any advice.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. k
    kathryn RE: lindmar Oct 20, 2011 08:36 PM

    Saturday: I assume you meant the 9-11 Memorial. There's a newish taqueria by the Toloache folks. You can also walk to the new TriBeCa Shake Shack. It's a tough neighborhood on weekends to find quick bites.

    Saturday: which Momofuku? Noodle Bar? Ssam Bar? Ko? I assume Noodle or Ssam, as Ko can be tough to get a reservation for. A solo diner won't wait too long at Noodle or Ssam Bar. Maybe 20 min. Neither take reservations unless you're a big group.

    For sushi, it really depends how much you want to spend. I assume you want to sit at the bar and order nigiri and not crazy rolls. In the East Village, I like Kanoyama, but they do not take reservations on weekends. Ushiwakimaru is also pretty close by, and you can reserve for the sushi bar. Same for 15 East. Much depends on your wallet!

    Don't go to Otto for pizza. Their pies aren't that good. I love the antipasti, salads, pastas, gelato.

    For a late night slice, try South Brooklyn Pizza (locations in the East and West Village), or Joe's.

    For solo brunch on Sunday: Minetta Tavern or brave the line at Shopsin's. (Shopsin's isn't open on Mondays.)

    For Sunday dinner, maybe walk up to Yakitori Totto from Times Square?

    For Monday breakfast, Clinton St Baking Company or the Breslin. Both have crazy long lines on the weekends, so Monday is a good day to hit them up.

    -----
    Yakitori Totto
    251 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

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

    Shopsin's General Store
    120 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

    Minetta Tavern
    113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

    Otto
    1 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003

    Kanoyama
    175 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

    Ushiwakamaru
    136 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

    Momofuku Noodle Bar
    171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

    Joe's Pizza
    7 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

    Clinton Street Baking Co.
    4 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

    The Breslin
    20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

    South Brooklyn Pizza
    122 1st Ave, New York, NY 10009

    Toloache Taqueria
    83 Maiden Ln, New York, NY 10038

    Shake Shack
    215 Murray St, New York, NY 10282

    Percy's Pizza
    190 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012

    2 Replies
    1. re: kathryn
      t
      Tommy D. RE: kathryn Oct 21, 2011 08:03 AM

      I'd skip Toloache in the financial district. The quality is not as good as the original in the theater district.

      If you like Korean fried chicken try Bon Chon on John Street.

      -----
      Bon Chon Chicken
      104 John St, New York, NY 10038

      Toloache Taqueria
      83 Maiden Ln, New York, NY 10038

      1. re: kathryn
        l
        lindmar RE: kathryn Oct 21, 2011 11:49 AM

        Thank you for this! very helpful.

      2. s
        Simon RE: lindmar Oct 21, 2011 10:04 AM

        -- i second Ushiwakamaru, but definitely make a reservation at least several days in advance and be sure specify for it to be at the sushi bar...

        -- other places i like dining at the bar: DBGB, Kin Shop, and Scarpetta...in addition to yummy food, all have excellent bartenders and good peoplewatching...Pulino's can be fun too...

        -- if you happen to be in the East Village for breakfast, Cafe Mogador has great Middle Eastern egg dishes and wholegrain pancakes

        -----
        Cafe Mogador
        101 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

        Ushiwakamaru
        136 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

        Scarpetta
        355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

        DBGB
        299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

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

        1 Reply
        1. re: Simon
          l
          lindmar RE: Simon Oct 21, 2011 11:51 AM

          Ushiwakamaru looks amazing.
          Thanks you.

          -----
          Ushiwakamaru
          136 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

        2. sgordon RE: lindmar Oct 21, 2011 11:03 AM

          Saturday lunch - not much in the financial district to choose from, especially on the weekends. If you're down for a sit-down brunch, Marc Forgione makes a damn fine one and is a short walk from there. Also you could head East to the Seaport area - unfortunately on Saturday the New Amsterdam Market is closed, but there are a couple of nice spots. Made Fresh Daily is lovely little cafe where you can get sandwiches and such to go, maybe take them and eat out on the pier. Barbarini Alimentari is a decent little Italian place with a few outdoor seats, decent for pastas (stick to the hand-cut ones, IMHO) and salads. Also the Bridge Cafe, the oldest dining establishment in NYC (supposedly) which has one the better eggs benedicts in town.

          Another option would be to find your way through Chinatown on your way down. You could grab a lamb or pork "burger" from Xi'an Famous Foods to go or some noodles to stay. You'll find quite a bit of love for Xi'an on these boards if you do a search.

          Dinner - shouldn't have too long a wait (if at all) dining solo at either Momofuku, I'd go for Momofuku Ssam Bar, personally - the food there is a little more ambitious and refined. But there's nothing wrong with a bowl of ramen and an order of pork buns at Noodle Bar, either.

          Don't think Otto is worth going out of your way for. It's okay, just nothing terribly special. Another option would be dining solo at the bar at Babbo. Go around 4:30 to get in line for a table when they open at 5:00. You might even have luck going later since you're solo, but no guarantees.

          Sunday - I think Public is doing (one of) the best and (one of) the most interesting brunches in town right now. You could also wait in line at Prune, or ifthe lines are crazy long go to JoeDoe down the street from them. JD's duck hash w/ duck eggs is spectacular.

          Sunday night - again, Babbo could be an option if you did Momofuku the night before. Probably less crowded on a Sunday (though it's always crowded) - you could always give it a try and if they're too busy, hit one of the other great options in the neighborhood. Kin Shop is great, and Soto for a (rather expensive) sushi fix. If you're a fan of uni and have money to burn, Chef Soto is one of the true masters of the briny little critter in his composed dishes (which I'd recommend over straight-up sushi)

          For straight-up sushi, Kanoyama is great and has a very esoteric menu of seasonal special fish - but again, those can get very expensive very quick. Best to go with some regular varieties and round out your meal by trying one or two of the specials, unless you're a hedge fund manager - an all-special sushi meal could easily hit three figures. A little further up the price ladder is Kyo Ya, a little basement place that can be a positively transporting experience, especially if you get their kaiseki menu (which would include some sushi) - though that usually needs to be booked in advance.

          Monday morning - around Times Square? Not much. Lots of generic options, and a few high-end places like DB Bistro Moderne. You could wander down to Eataly and have something more lunchy, though it depends what time you're leaving I suppose.

          -----
          Soto
          357 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10014

          Babbo
          110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

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

          Otto
          1 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003

          Kanoyama
          175 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

          Barbarini Alimentari
          225 Front Street, New York, NY 10038

          Bridge Cafe
          279 Water St, New York, NY 10038

          Kyo Ya
          94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

          Public
          210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

          Prune
          54 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

          Marc Forgione
          134 Reade Street, New York, NY 10013

          JoeDoe
          45 East 1st Street, New York, NY 10003

          Made Fresh Daily
          226 Front St, New York, NY 10038

          Xi'an Famous Foods
          88 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

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

          Eataly
          200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

          New Amsterdam Market
          South St Peck Slip, New York, NY 10038

          Xi'an Famous Foods
          67 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

          10 Replies
          1. re: sgordon
            k
            kathryn RE: sgordon Oct 21, 2011 11:15 AM

            I've been to Public for brunch but it's been a while but I do recall loving those Turkish eggs! How are the blood pudding waffles? Other recommended dishes?

            1. re: kathryn
              sgordon RE: kathryn Oct 21, 2011 12:51 PM

              I'm normally not a fan of sweet brunches but Chef Farmerie was making the blood pudding waffles (with foie gras butter!) at Meatopia this past summer. I wound up having three helpings. Awesome - I wish he offered them for dessert on his regular dinner menu, I'd totally get them. For brunch I'm usually down with the venison burger or the tea-smoked salmon benedict with yuzu hollandaise. Also the quinoa hash browns are my regular side dish. Herby lentil salad if I'm feeling like going light is great, too.

              -----
              Public
              210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

              1. re: sgordon
                k
                kathryn RE: sgordon Oct 21, 2011 01:12 PM

                Thanks! Sounds amazing, I can't believe I've not been back for so long.

                It's probably because I've been too much brunch time at Minetta Tavern, the Breslin (it wouldbe interesting to see if his blood pudding is better than April Bloomfield's), Locanda Verde... and trying new places.

                -----
                Minetta Tavern
                113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                Locanda Verde
                377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

                The Breslin
                20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001

                1. re: kathryn
                  sgordon RE: kathryn Oct 21, 2011 03:36 PM

                  The blood pudding is mixed into the waffles - it's not really detectable taste-wise, to tell the truth. Maybe a hint in the background, if you eat the waffle on its own. That said, the foie gras butter makes the dish.

                  I like Bloomfield's. Also a big fan of the Morcilla at Despana - just get a pack to go and cook it up at home with whatever, awesome stuff.

                  -----
                  Despana
                  408 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

                  1. re: sgordon
                    k
                    kathryn RE: sgordon Oct 21, 2011 05:29 PM

                    Foie butter sounds awesome.

                    Despana does have great blood sausage too. Mmmm.

                    -----
                    Despana
                    408 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

            2. re: sgordon
              l
              lindmar RE: sgordon Oct 21, 2011 11:52 AM

              Yeah - I have wanted to try Momofuku for a long time. I tried to do a reso online but wasn't able to.

              Is Ssam Bar in the East Village?

              1. re: lindmar
                k
                kathryn RE: lindmar Oct 21, 2011 12:15 PM

                Momofuku Noodle Bar and Momofuku Ssam Bar both take reservations online ONLY for large groups. You can't make a reservation as a solo diner for either restaurant.

                Momofuku Ko is a reservations required restaurant but it is so small that the reservations go very quickly. They are posted 6 days ahead of time at 10 AM Eastern. It is significantly more expensive than Noodle Bar and Ssam Bar. Ko does not offer a la carte dining, it is tasting menus only.

                All three (Noodle Bar, Ssam Bar, and Ko) are in the East Village.

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

                Momofuku Noodle Bar
                171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                Momofuku Ko
                163 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                1. re: kathryn
                  l
                  lindmar RE: kathryn Oct 21, 2011 05:19 PM

                  thank you

              2. re: sgordon
                l
                lindmar RE: sgordon Oct 21, 2011 11:57 AM

                Thank you. Not opposed to leaving Times Square Monday morning. I dont really want to stay there but cant cancel my hotel

                Babbo is on my list too. Thanks for this.

                -----
                Babbo
                110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                1. re: sgordon
                  l
                  lindmar RE: sgordon Oct 21, 2011 12:14 PM

                  Just wanted to add - not a hedge fund manager :-)

                2. a
                  alysa316 RE: lindmar Oct 22, 2011 02:54 PM

                  Not too far from Otto, there are two other pizza joints that are much much better - in opposite directions from there!
                  Keste (on Bleecker Street near 7th Aveo, and Motorino (East 12th Street neat 1st Ave).
                  I don't think either one takes reservations and I'm not entirely sure how late they're open, but they're the best two pizzas in Manhattan IMO.

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

                  Motorino
                  349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: alysa316
                    l
                    lindmar RE: alysa316 Oct 26, 2011 05:57 PM

                    Just want to thank everyone for the advice.

                    Momofuku Ssam Bar was decent. Pork buns were delicious but almost too sweet. Didn't feel they had a great balance to them.

                    Shake Shack was fantastic. Dogs. Burgers. Cheese Fries. Delicious.

                    Ushiwakamaru was incredible. Hands down some of the best sushi I've ever had. I liked how it was a bit "soup natzi'ish" when the chef would place once piece of sushi in front of me and say "NO SOY SAUCE"...or..."NO WASABI" I had a variety of chef recommended pieces - ranging from $6-9 bucks a piece. I'm used to paying ten bucks for a whole roll of sushi but no comparison.

                    Babbo - Maitre'd was a total prick. I'd never go back to this place or recommend it based on that. That being said, enjoyed a delicious glass of wine at the bar.

                    John's of Bleecker Street - some of the best pizza I've ever had. I stumbled on to this place and a bunch of locals were lined up - they all told me it was the best. I realized reviews are pretty mixed on chowhound for Johns. I tend to think this was one of the best I've ever had. Crust and toppings were just way too fresh.

                    O Cafe on 6th Ave & 12th Street - One of the best slow drip coffee's and scones I've ever had.

                    There was more - but this is the bulk of what I ate.

                    I can't wait to go back to NYC. Thanks for all the help and advice.

                    -----
                    Babbo
                    110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

                    Shake Shack
                    Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

                    Ushiwakamaru
                    136 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

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

                    O Cafe
                    482 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                    1. re: lindmar
                      s
                      Simon RE: lindmar Oct 26, 2011 06:13 PM

                      -- i'm delighted that u enjoyed Ushi Wakamaru...for your next trip, you might want to try my other fav sushi 15 East (more pricey and diff vibe and style) to compare...but Ushi is normally my go-to place...

                      -- and while i would have wished all your NY experiences were good ones, i'm gratified to hear someone call out Babbo for the gneral nastiness of the hosting...for this reason i do not go to any Batali restaurant, ever...

                      -- thanks for reporting back :)

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

                      Babbo
                      110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                  Show Hidden Posts