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Feb 21, 2012 02:54 PM

Going to Manhattan for the first time - Restaurant Recs??

I'm going to be in Manhattan this coming Friday-Monday. Not really familiar with the East Coast eats and I'm looking for some restaurant/eating suggestions that are a MUST during my visit. $-$$$.

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  1. You're being very vague. Any types of food you are seeking? Price range? What part of New York? Upscale or casual? One person or several? There are many threads about good NY restaurants on Chowhouund - just look them up. Also, you can go to CitySearch and find recommendations there. Or you can look at archived restaurant reviews in New York papers and mags.

    2 Replies
    1. re: thomas64

      I'll be staying at the border of Chelsea and the West Village. Price range would be $-$$$. Upscale or Casual...i can do both. And it would be for 2 people. Just want to get a gauge of what places are a MUST to hit up. Thanks!

      1. re: ashin

        Your biggest obstacle will be whether or not you are willing to wait for a table. Since you are planning so late in the game, many restaurants that do take reservations will be fully committed or have only the very early or very late tables left.

        Lots of restaurants book up 3-4 weeks in advance here.

        $ to $$$ is kind of vague. Expensive can be VERY VERY expensive here. While it is easy to offer the cheaper/more moderate places, you'll need to be more specific in regards to the most you are willing to pay for a meal. Are you thinking: $100 max per person? $200 pp? More?

        Near the border of Chelsea and the West Village, I'd definitely hit up dell'anima, Pastis for brunch, maybe Chelsea Market, Scarpetta (dinner only), Legend (Sichuan), off the top of my head. Maybe Coppelia. Really it depends what is available in your own hometown -- you might have a Scarpetta there or have lots of access to Sichuan food, etc.

        9 9th Ave, New York, NY 10014

        38 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10003

        355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

        88 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011

        207 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011

    2. Assuming you have never been to NYC...

      Only in NY type foods: bagels and smoked salmon, pastrami on rye, pizza, hot dogs & papaya juice, black and white cookies, cheesecake, egg creams, pickles, halal carts.

      Are you interested in street food, too?

      Best bagels in NYC:
      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.

      Best pizza:
      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.

      We also have some of the harder to find Chinese cuisines: Henan, Shaanxi (Xian Famous Foods) and Fuzhou in Manhattan, and many more in Queens and Brooklyn (Shangdong/Qingdao and Dongbei to name a few).

      scoopG's Chinatown list (dependent upon where you are coming from these may be exotic or not... most places don't have Henan or Xian style food though):

      You might also want to consider creative Asian, like at Momofuku Ssam Bar, Wong, Fatty Cue, Takashi, RedFarm. More expensive than Chinatown but not near the level of a four star restaurant like EMP or Le Bernardin. Not sure what the Asian scene is like where you currently live.

      Here is a list of my favorites in NYC:

      My 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 creative brunches (sometimes every day of the week).

      Not sure if you are from the South or not, but you might be coming from a place where there isn't any Southern or BBQ food. Also if you are unfamiliar with East Coast eats, look into having a lobster roll. I am told they are sometimes hard to find out West, for example. I might look into Pies 'n' Thighs, the Redhead, Blue Smoke, Hill Country, Luke's Lobster, Pearl Oyster Bar...

      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

      For non-Western European/American

      Foreign Street Grub

      totally obscure, odd, and intriguing menu items

      Russ & Daughters
      179 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

      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

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

      Blue Smoke
      116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

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

      32 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

      Patsy's Pizzeria
      2287 1st Ave, New York, NY 10035

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

      Locanda Verde
      377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

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

      Luke's Lobster
      93 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

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

      349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

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

      456 Hudson St, New York, NY 10011

      47 W 20th St, New York, NY 10010

      Fatty 'Cue
      50 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

      7 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014

      529 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

      1. Welcome to NY.
        You can't beat Kathryn's comprehensive list but here are my greatest hits. I live in the neighborhood where you're staying, you'll also want to get around. Call ahead and suggest walk in strategy/bar seating if booked.
        Peter Luger, Keens, Strip House, Minetta Tavern for steak
        Corner Bistro - burgers
        Chelsea Market - Friedman's, Lobster Place, L'Arte del Gelato
        PJ Clarke's (the original) - drinks and burgers
        Grand Sichuan Chelsea
        Murray's Bagels - two locations (Chelsea and Village) - smoked salmon, cream cheese, etc.
        Barney Greengrass - smoked fish
        Katz's - pastrami sandwich
        Dim Sum Go Go - dim sum
        Imperial Garden - Chinatown seafood
        Saigon Bakery - banh mi sandwich (#1 - pork)
        Motorino, Keste, or Co. for pizza
        Carnegie Deli - touristy but still good
        Good - brunch
        any place with the word Momofuku

        Barney Greengrass
        541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

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

        L'Arte del Gelato
        75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

        Corner Bistro
        331 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

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

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

        Banh Mi Saigon
        198 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

        Murray's Bagels
        242 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011

        Murray's Bagels
        500 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

        Minetta Tavern
        113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

        Dim Sum Go Go
        5 E Broadway, New York, NY 10038

        Carnegie Deli
        854 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019

        Grand Sichuan
        229 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

        43 E. 19th St., New York, NY 10003

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

        The Lobster Place
        75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

        89 Greenwich Avenue, New York, NY 10014

        P.J. Clarke's
        915 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10022

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

        Friedman's Lunch
        75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

        230 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

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

        Strip House
        13 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

        Momofuku Milk Bar
        251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

        349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

        1 Reply
        1. re: Chuck Lawrence


          Similar situation; semi-annual visitor to Manhattan; never thought about Chelsa bet there?

        2. Lots of great recs. I know it's in there somewhere but don't miss Katz's. They are open all night on weekends and the place is a real NY experience. If you are out late head over there in the wee hours. @ 2Am Katz's is packed.
          You might want to also try Chinatown for a late/early snack. Great NY Noodletown is great fun @ 2 AM.