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Feb 27, 2012 07:23 PM

Early 30's couple visiting NYC

We're a couple in our early 30's from Toronto with a long weekend trip to NYC booked for March. Hoping to get some lunch & dinner recs - we've read several other threads but since there's so much to choose from, we'd love some advice based on our preferences.

First off, I'm a vegetarian (lacto-ovo) but my wife is not...and she's a fairly adventurous eater. So looking for places that can accomodate both of us. We have 3 lunches and 3 dinners to fill. We'll do one pricier meal but for the remainder we'd appreciate recs under $200 all-in (with alcohol) for dinners and under $100 for lunches.

We like all kinds of ethnic food but for this trip would prefer standard fare (Toronto is pretty good for ethnic eats). Of course, we're open to anything that should not be missed. We love casual and vibrant places with good food & drink - gastropubs, small plates, etc. For location, we're staying in Midtown but will travel to anywhere in Manhattan (and beyond, although that would be for a different board..)

We have 1 dinner reservation already made for Gramercy Tavern - my wife runs a restaurant up here and has wanted to experience a Danny Meyer restaurant for a long time. But plans are completely open other than that. We'll probably see a show one night as well, so would appreciate some suggestions for places open late for post-theatre dining.


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  1. > Hoping to get some lunch & dinner recs - we've read several other threads but since there's so much to choose from, we'd love some advice based on our preferences.

    Can you share what places have caught your eye so far, based upon reading other threads?

    > We'll do one pricier meal but for the remainder we'd appreciate recs under $200 all-in (with alcohol) for dinners and under $100 for lunches.

    How much for the pricier meal?

    For the other meals, just to clarify, it is $200 for BOTH of you or per person? How much alcohol do you wish to drink?

    For example, if you want dinner to be $200 for two people, before tax and tip, that gives you a budget of only $77pp give or take. If you count two $14 cocktails a piece, that leaves only about $50pp for food. But this can vary dramatically based upon how heavy a drinker you are.

    Given that items like a pricey bottle of wine can cost more than the food you're consuming, it is easier to give recommendations if you can name a per person price for food only (before tax, before tip, before drinks/wine).

    Vegetarian-friendly but not exclusively vegetarian restaurants

    Late night post theatre is tricky. It really depends what day of the week it is. Weekend nights are always easier to find more options; it also helps if you can get out of midtown.

    Best small plates -- many are NOT super-vegetarian friendly though:

    1. Would Gramercy Tavern be considered your “pricey” restaurant? If not then I highly suggest Daniel. My Octo-lovo brother-in-law and his wife had a meal there just recently which they said may be the best meal of their lives. Your wife could do the regular tasting menu which I also put right up there as one of my best meals.

      For lively atmosphere and great food I would say Locanda Verde and The Spotted Pig for lunch/brunch. And if you’re willing to travel downtown after your show why not try and get a seat at Babbo late night? If you split a few pastas and an entrée with a bottle of wine you should be under $200.

      BTW You’re not coming in the weekend of the 17th are you? If so just be aware midtown is madness for St. Patrick’s Day so you may want to do a show on Friday or Sunday.

      Gramercy Tavern
      42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

      110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

      Spotted Pig
      314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

      Locanda Verde
      377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

      1 Reply
      1. re: roze

        I second the Daniel suggestion; it's an unadulterated palace of pleasure and delivered one of the best meals I've ever had the joy of experiencing.

      2. I could offer more recommendations but super busy right now. I would say you should add Jean George to your list either lunch or dinner, whichever better fits your budget.

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

        1. For vegetarians, I find Italian is always a good option - either by doing pastas as a main, and some who even offer non-pasta vegetarian mains. Scarpetta has a full vegetarian menu for all three savory courses, though Del Posto and Babbo are my personal favorites. They both often offer true veggie secondi (as opposed to just getting another pasta dish) though they might not be listed on their websites - good to call and ask beforehand. They have a number of dishes in their catalogue they could potentially whip out for you.

          Del Posto is steal for lunch - $29 for three courses, $10 more to upgrade it to a "full Italian" four (so you get primi AND secondi instead of choosing one or the other) - the food is great, and it's well within your budget. Le Verdure, the veggie stand at Eataly, is also a great lunch option - it's more a celebration of veggies than purely vegetarian (there might be pancetta here or there to satisfy your wife) and it's often less crowded than the other food stalls there.

          Our better Indian restaurants are also great for mixed groups - I've been partial to Devi of the "big three" of late (the other two being Tulsi and Junoon) but you'd be fine at any of them. Devi is currently running a 30% off deal through as well, so you could even go so far as to do tasting menus and still stay within your budget.

          You might consider doing a full-on vegetarian place as well, but one that appeals to omnivores. Dirt Candy is the go-to for that. Chef Cohen is like the Wylie Dufresne of vegetables - the food is fun, playful, and quite hearty. I'm a borderline carnivore and I flat-out LOVE the place. It's actually quite adventurous, and would probably appeal to your wife.

          Public generally has a a few veggie apps and at least one veggie main course. And for your adventurous wife - well, I don't know if she can get kangaroo carpaccio up North, or if you've anywhere that makes Snail & Oxtail Ravioli nearby. If you happen to be here over the weekend, their brunch is one of the best in town as well.

          110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

          8 East 18th Street, New York, NY 10003

          Del Posto
          85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

          210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

          355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

          Dirt Candy
          430 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009

          211 E 46th St, New York, NY 10017

          200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

          27 W 24th St, New York, NY 10010

          Le Verdure
          200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

          1. Your budget is cool. I am devoted to the lower East Side but don't get nervous wandering a few steps out of bounds...

            Devi, definitely.

            Also Casa Mono on Irving. There's a vegetarian restaurant just up the street on Irving called Pure Food and Wine.

            Home has always been a good friend of mine, and Spotted Pig is not for vegetarians so it wouldn't be your night.

            Pylos is lots of fun.

            I could go on and on, but the best part of eating in NYC is the ethnic variety. Be safe and eat well.

            Casa Mono
            52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

            8 East 18th Street, New York, NY 10003

            Spotted Pig
            314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

            128 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

            20 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014

            Pure Food and Wine
            54 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003