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If you were entertaining first time Tourists to New York??

What restaurants would you recommend and why? Can be any ethnicity and in any price range? I have been to New York many time as a visitor but I don't know everything. Just looking for some help. Many Thanks Chowhound Family.

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  1. It would greatly depend on where the tourists are coming from. For example, I wouldn't recommend farm-to-table to a Californian, or Italian or French to a European, etc.

    It would also depend on their tastes: not all tourists are interested in "only in NY" staples like pizza, pastrami, or black and white cookies.

    Most importantly, it would depend on their budget. For instance, it would be useless recommending Scarpetta to someone who thinks that spaghetti just isn't worth $24.

    If you could provide more details regarding your guests you would get some targeted responses.

    5 Replies
    1. re: peter j

      These guest are coming from Bermuda and money is no object. BTW...There are no really great restaurants in Bermuda. These folk love gastronomic adventures.

      1. re: Ottojr

        Butler Hall near Columbia is very pretty, has great views and has a wonderful brunch. Dinner there is pretty special too.

        Leaves (near the Cloisters) has good food and a gorgeous planted patio that is very fun in warm weather.

        Beauty & Essex on Essex Street downtown is very new yorkey...one enters through an old-timey pawn shop. Also, Bacaro on Division...has great small plates.,.gnocci is to die for.

        1. re: liz212

          <Butler Hall near Columbia is very pretty, has great views and has a wonderful brunch. Dinner there is pretty special too.>

          Terrace in the Sky closed last fall. Has something opened in its place?


          1. re: liz212

            The one near the Cloisters is called New Leaf Cafe and while it's good I'm not sure it's a destination restaurant, unless you want something in the area.

          2. re: Ottojr

            If money really is no object and you're looking for a place with a straight city vibe, I'd save yourself the trip up to 118th and instead choose something within the Time Warner Center: Masa, Per Se, Landmark would all fit the bill (stretch it, even!).

        2. Drinks at Robert at Mad in the MAD on columbus circle. Food is good not awesome, room and view are great.

          1. Le Grenouille
            Gramercy Tavern
            Locanda Verde
            Casa mono
            Ma Peche
            Blau Gans

            random list, but a couple different price points, scene, and cuisines. Have a look at the menus and pics etc. Not all easy tables, not sure what your lead time is..

            1. Les Helles two locations but the 411 Lexington at 29th is most convenient. The menu is loaded with wonderful things one can't get many places such as blood sausage. If you stay to mainstream food their red meats are great (goat/lamb; selections of beef). The other location is 15 John Street, one block down from Fulton and a block in from Broadway. This is Anthony Bourdain's restaurant, and has been there long, as he used to be a chef.

              I would recommend many others such as Chinatown places, as well as Yamakage Tokyo on 2nd ave up from 53rd for raw fish and other authentic items. Why, because NYC has many ethnic Japanese and the owner is the cook.

              The Chinese gets complicated due to the regional differences in cuisine, but I would at least check out some Fuzhou places, such as Lao San (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/833720). I argue go there due to the fact that NYC boasts a large population of people from Fuzhou, and the authentic style is quite authentic due to catering to the Fuzhou locals.

              Depends what you are looking for, and what you like and don't like. I could go with more recommends, but the above would be quite uniquely NYC, and if you were to ask me.

              8 Replies
              1. re: jonkyo

                First off, the 29th St. Les Halles is on Park Av. S., not Lex. Furthernore, it is not now and never has been Bourdain's restaurant. (You make it sound as though he owns it.) True, he was the chef there, but that was many years ago, and his involvement at this point is zero. As far as John St. goes, he has never been involved in any way.

                What about it is "uniquely NYC"? It's a French brasserie, of which there are many here. And if I were to pick one to take visitors to, it would definitely not be the Park Av. Les Halles because the food is mediocre at best.


                1. re: RGR

                  "and his involvement at this point is zero"

                  Not quite true, Bourdain is still called "Chef-at-large", whatever that means, of Les Halles. There is still some sort of involvement no matter how tenuous. He certainly has not made a meal there unless the cameras were recording for many, many years.

                  1. re: kurtt

                    I hadn't looked at Les Halles' website, but I just checked the Park Av. page, and it shows "Carlos Llaguno — Executive Corporate Chef." I couldn't find that Bourdain title you mention, but they are hawking his books. Still, there may be people who think he either (a) owns the restaurant and/or (b) still cooks there. They need to be made aware that neither is true. As for the John St. location, Bourdain himself has made it clear in the past that he's never had any connection there.

                    All that said, the thing that counts is the food, and at the Park Ave. location, it's mediocre at best.


                    1. re: RGR

                      Instead of going to Les Halles, they should go to Po, so they can taste the work of Mario Batali.

                        1. re: RGR

                          there is nothing wrong with LES HALLES or PO. they are what they always have been, middle of the road. if someone wants to go due to whatever connection to these populist chefs its fine. just do not order any beef dish at LH, its awful.

                2. re: jonkyo

                  Jonkyo - You try very hard and your efforts are very very sweet, but the Les Halles comments are outright wrong. Please do some research.

                  You seem to be relatively new to NYC - which does not discount your opinions by any means - but I think your excitement sometimes gets the best of you.

                  That said, a fresh point of view can be very valuable to readers!

                  Enjoy your new city!

                  1. re: jonkyo

                    What sets Yamakage Tokyo apart from other Japanese restaurants (besides that the owner is the cook)? What do you like about the food?

                  2. I would go to the Four Seasons for a NY vibe, Keen's for a wonderful steak house experience, a deli like Stage or Carnegie, somewhere with a view like the Boathouse or the River Cafe. And drinks at iconic places like the Carlyle, Algonquin, unfortunately the Oak Bar at the Plaza is closed at the moment but there seems to be some people interested - it is (was) my favorite bar in NY. If money is no object I'd go to Per Se.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: bronwen

                      Is there really and truly hope the Oak Bar will re-open? I heard some stuff last year..all about a bathroom..that some prospective operators were trying to get put thru. I'm with you, it is one of my tops hang-outs in town when available. I just wish they would not put a TV in there.

                      1. re: hazelhurst

                        Hazelhurst - I know, who needs a TV when you've got those wonderful murals and windows overlooking Central Park! There were 2 French brothers interested in it but that seems to have fallen through but a couple of weeks ago I read about a corporation interested in it.

                      2. Katz's Deli: the pastrami is life-altering
                        Rubirosa: nothing like some good ol' fashioned, red-sauce Italian...and amazing pizza
                        Minetta Tavern: everything about this place this just utters "New York." A great brunch option, as well.

                        1. -Katz's
                          -Patsy's (117th street only)
                          -He Nan Flavor (downtown) or for the real experience, Xi'an Famous Food in Flushing
                          -Luigi's Pizza (686 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY)

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: hyde

                            LOVE He Nan Flavor...good call.

                              1. re: AubWah

                                * Cold cucumber wedges: garlic-y, salty, and crisp - even better than the version that I had at Cafe China
                                * Homemade steamed pork dumplings: I found the dough to be a little thick, but overall, these were pretty standard dumplings
                                * Soup dumplings: I thought that the dumpling meat, which I assumed to be pork, had an odd fishy aftertaste. Fail.
                                * Pancake with pork: if you pass the restaurant on the street, you will notice a woman making "pancakes" through the window. These fluffy bread disks were stuffed with sweet, shredded pork.
                                * Grilled pepper chicken with rice: imagine sauteed green bell peppers and white onions - a la fajitas - dotted with chunks of brown-meat chicken and served alongside a mound of sticky, white rice. Not being fond of brown chicken meat, I ate everything but.
                                * Spicy big tray chicken: regarding the brown chicken meat, see above. This spicy, broth-y dish was chock-full of potatoes, red pepper, cilantro and hand-pulled noodles.
                                * Egg & tomato hui mei: scrambled egg, stewed tomatoes and hand-pulled noodles came together magically in this dish that proved to be my favorite.
                                * Black bean sauce hui mei: I loved how the robust, meaty black bean sauce complimented the bland hand-pulled noodles.

                          2. Money no object and there's no love for EMP on this thread? Plenty for Per Se. Can't go wrong with either if you're in the mood for pampering and high end cuisine.

                            1. How about something downtown? Annissa or Prune?

                              1. Red Farm - Excellent dim sum and stick to the dim sum. A lively NY atmosphere and something they're not likely to experience in Bermuda.

                                Tori Shin - Excellent grilled skewers, also a very boisterous atmosphere and unlike anything in Bermuda.

                                Annissa - Gorgeous food, excellent service and an all-around fine dining experience

                                WD-50 - Molecular gastronomy, something for the adventurous eater and they may have seen Wylie Dufresne on TV. Since he is very often in the kitchen (unlike some celebri-chefs), they might get to meet him and that always adds a special note to the meal.

                                EMP - One of the finest restaurants in the city and a fun experience, the NY egg cream soda is uniquely NY and always trotted out towards the end of the meal.

                                Chikalicious - Because dessert should not be ignored.

                                Doughnut Plant - See above.

                                Taim - Great falafels, rude service, like NY, highs and lows.

                                Peter Luger's - Take a taxi, bring cash and be transported to a place where the walls smell like meat and the waiters are stocky and brusque and the porterhouse is like butter ladled with butter.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Pookipichu

                                  I haven't had any rude service at Taim, but I prefer their sabich (eggplant sandwich) to their falafel.

                                  1. re: Pan

                                    They've been laughably rude to me on several visits, one time the "restaurant" (little seating area) was empty and I was sitting down, I hadn't ordered yet and this man came up to me and told me to get up and wait outside until I order. The other time, my friend and I ordered two platters and they only gave me one condiment tray, I asked for another and the same guy who was rude to me before told me I needed to share and if I finished the condiments I could get more. I don't mind sharing my dipping sauces but what if I did? I know that some people don't like others dipping in their sauce.... Anyhoo, I brush it off because I don't eat falafel often, but they've been very obnoxious in manner, tone and actions.