Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
May 25, 2012 06:42 PM

Last Minute Anniversary Trip to NYC

OK, I know I am supposed to search the boards, but my wonderful wife just sprang a last minute 25th anniversary weekend trip to NYC on me. And we arrive next Friday. We're pretty serious eaters, and normally I take lots of time to plan our trips around food. I've spent the last couple of hours trying to get into the places I know in NYC, and the ones highly recommended in recent threads, and the bottom line is they are all way booked up. I lucked into a Saturday lunch at Jean Georges (they must have had a cancellation) and we're planning on Momofuku Ssam one meal (so no reserv possible). But after that, I've got nothing after a couple of hours sitting here at the computer

So where can we still book in for amazing, thought provoking, innovative food (lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch) with 7 days to go? So where are the great spots you love to eat that simply haven't hit the hype machine to the extent they are booked up weeks (OK, or a week) in advance? Manhattan preferred.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. How long are you in town for? Friday morning? Afternoon? Evening? through Sunday morning/afternoon/evening?

      Your biggest issue will be Saturday night, likely. I would not set my hopes on going to a 4 NYT star experience given that you are planning so late. Requiring "amazing, thought provoking, innovative food" + ability to still make a reservation 1 week in advance is going to be tough. The "hype" machine gets started pretty early here in NYC (before some restaurants even open). How about settling for just delicious? :)

      On, searching for June 2, I see primetime (7-8pm) tables still available at:
      15 East
      Ai Fiori
      Jung Sik
      The Modern - Bar Room

      Acme has early tables, as does Empellon Cocina, and many more places have later tables (9pm or 10pm) such as Corton, etc.

      Are you willing to wait for a table? The more flexible you can be, the more likely you are to get into the spots you want to dine at. Especially for restaurants where you can potentially grab seats at the bar or at tables reserved for walk-ins.

      Also you can dine without a reservation at the Salon at Per Se (a la carte menu with coffee table seating), the bar at Le Bernardin (full menu), the bar at Del Posto (full menu, I would call to confirm DP is still doing this), the Lounge at Daniel (full menu), the bar and lounge tables at Eleven Madison Park (a la carte only).

      Note also that Babbo serves lunch now Tuesday through Saturday and they are not on OpenTable; you must call to make a reservation. You might be able to squeeze it in dependent when you arrive on Friday.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        Babbo is also a place you can just walk in and dine at the bar. They are actually on opentable now, but Kathryn is right that they do not take reservations for lunch. They do for dinner on OT for parties of only 3 or 4, however seemingly never have an open time slot when I play around trying to find a table.

        If you are willing to dine early 5:30-6, you may actually be able to snag a table at a notable spot. I know Gotham Bar and Grill usually has a 530 open. Picholine may also be worth a shot. If you really want to go to a specific place and can't get online reservation your best bet is to call the restaurant for cancellations.

        1. re: steakrules85

          Right, forgot about that. Babbo are now on OpenTable for not for parties of only 2.

      2. Try Toqueville- I second the per Se Salon rec. loved both. Bouchon Bakery for a casual lunch.

        5 Replies
        1. re: rkaene

          Second Tocqueville. It is so underrated and undermentioned it is comical.

          1. re: steakrules85

            It's not undermentioned on these pages. And that's not a criticism of the place by any means. I've had two lunches there and both were thoroughly delightful, so I'm a fan, too!

            1. re: Pan

              Some regulars do think Tocqueville's been under the radar here and elsewhere. At least one of their posts has been picked up in CHOW Digest (soon to be rechristened Best of Chowhound) ...

              1. re: squid kun

                This is from 2009, almost 3 years ago.

                1. re: steakrules85

                  And I find that in recent times, Tocqueville is regularly mentioned among the better restaurants in Manhattan on these pages.

        2. Great places that are usually relatively easy to book:

          Jeanne et Gaston
          Kin Shop
          Yerba Buena Perry

          and I second Junoon and Oceana, mentioned above.