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First time in NY

We are headed to NY for the first time ever coming from Los Angeles. Im in need of help for eating though and with the massive amounts of places to go id like some friendly advice. We would love for one night to be a higher end dinner as we are going for our 10 year anniversary. We are arriving on a Friday afternoon and leaving on a Wednesday afternoon. We are staying around Time Square.

Im also interested in going to Les Halles as Im a big Bourdain fan and have read decent reviews on here.

We plan on hitting Carnage Deli and Juniors but any other advice would be gravy. Mainly for dinner restaurants or must not miss places.

We are also going in two weeks so some of the places like EMP ive already seen are booked up.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. "We plan on hitting Carnage Deli and Juniors but any other advice would be gravy."

    This is probably my favorite post ever :)

    It's Carnegie Deli, it's cash only, and my picks there would be pastrami on rye, matzoh ball soup and cheese blintzes. I'd get your meal at Carnegie and then hit Junior's for cheesecake. (There's a Junior's location in Times Square, and I'm sure the lines will be long an a weekend, but you could grab some cake to go and have it in your hotel)

    You should search this board for posts by kathryn and RGR... they are two of the more prolific posters here and they know of what they post. You will get very good recs from their posts, often down to the time of day to go and what to order.

    Good luck and enjoy your trip!

    2 Replies
    1. re: iluvcookies

      Haha. True, hopefully it wont be Carange :)

      Thanks for the advice on the Deli and Juniors.

      1. re: ranole

        No, no carnage, unless you order your sandwich with mayo and lettuce. Then, I make no promises (LOL!)

    2. All the way from Los Angeles to eat at Les Halles???? Not that's its bad but too many other great places to try!!

      1. i would avoid Les Halles...Bourdain has had nothing to do w/ the place for many years, and the reviews here are generally very negative...

        1. 1. The Carnegie Deli has not been good for years, since co-owner Leo died in the '80s. Go to Katz's instead. (THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.)

          2. Anthony Bourdain has had nothing whatsover to do with Les Halles for, well, not quite as long as Leo's been dead, but a long time. Les Halles is an extremely mediocre restaurant (if "extremely mediocre" isn't a contradiction in terms). Go instead to Balthazar or Minetta Tavern or, well, anywhere.

          1. Skip Carnegie and hit up Katz's, Sarge's or 2nd Ave Deli if you want good deli.
            We love Juniors!! It's a large space. We have rarely encounterd a line but if there is a line it moves quickly. My favorite: Strawberry Cheese Pie!!! We had one for our wedding cake.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Motosport

              I too prefer Katz's, but if OP wants to stay around Times Square, Carnegie is certainly not a bad choice.

              1. re: iluvcookies

                sarges is only 5 or 6 blocks from grand central and is open 24/7. might not be the top of the heap but i have done well there at 3am.

                1. re: hyde

                  There are already too many threads on which deli is better.... can we all rally around the OP for once and not go down this road again?

                  People who don't live here want to see and do things that we as NYers may find boring or uncool. It doesn't mean they are, but we are just used to having these things around us all the time. My friends in Montreal groan when I tell them I want to go to Schwartz's, because they can go anytime they want. But I'm only there for a week every 2 or 3 years. Therefore, I will be at Schwartz's, even if they try to tell me another place is better.

                  1. re: iluvcookies

                    I don't think the Carnegie is uncool or boring. I think that, in its current iteration, it's inferior. I think we would be doing the OP a disservice not to tell him that.

                    1. re: Sneakeater

                      as an out of towner myself the idea that you can get ANY deli at four oclock in the morning makes me giddy with delight, never mind a place where you can have a conversation with the counter person on the quality of the schmaltz they put in the chopped liver.

                      i was mostly just stating so the OP would know there is deli 24/7 a few blocks away, but then, i am a night guy and find myself out and hungry at 3 or 4 whenever i am in the city.

                      1. re: hyde

                        Don't get me wrong, hyde. The late-night availability of a place as good as Sarge's is one of the things the keep me sane (to the extent I am).

            2. If you have your heart set on Carnegie Deli I understand your strong desire to go there, but I have to agree with others about the drop in quality and that Katz's is much better (also, there can be insanely long lines to get into Carnegie). I honestly think you if you skip it you really won't be missing much, and you're going to be much happier with Katz's.

              2 Replies
              1. re: von_levi

                Sarge's on 3rd Ave & 37th is not too far, far superior and open 24/7!! It's a nice walk on a balmy Manhattan evening!
                Then again, Katz's is the ultimate, a quick subway or taxi ride from Times Sq and open till the wee hours on weekends!!
                Coming all the way from L.A. go to the best. Katz's has great food and is a unique NYC experience.

                1. re: Motosport

                  Katz's is actually opening from 8AM on Friday through 10:45 PM on Sunday.

              2. This is all great info. I do not mind going out of Times Square. We are coming to NY to experience it so Id like to eat at the best. Thanks for the warning about Les Halles, ill keep that in mind. But again it is our first time here and what we hear about in LA is Carnegie Deli and stuff. We might try that AND Katz.

                4 Replies
                1. re: ranole

                  Now that is a splendid idea, going to both Carnegie and Katz's. I wouldn't do it on the same day, unless you have some super secret, cholesterol blocking, miracle drug.

                  One day, when I'm in LA, I will have to go to Langer's. That's a place I'd love to try.

                  Enjoy your trip :)

                  1. re: iluvcookies

                    Langer's is great. Its more of a brisket sandwich though as they cut the pastrami very thick. Though it is very flavorful. If you come to LA and want pastrami there is also Johnnies Pastrami too, which is very good. Though my favorite sandwich place is Filipes.

                    1. re: ranole

                      Good tip on Langers.... If you prefer pastrami cut thicker, then Katz's is the place.... they hand cut their pastrami and corned beef. Carnegie and the others slice theirs on a meat slicer, so it's thinner.

                      You can search the myriad threads here that dissect the various nuances of pastrami sandwiches, if you desire.

                  2. re: ranole

                    Since it is your first time to NYC you may not realize how small Manhattan actually is and how easy it is to get around. It's a far cry from getting around in L.A..
                    I prefer walking if the weather is nice or the subway but even the taxis are inexpensive compared to other cities.

                  3. Here's my list of favorite restaurants that I posted for an LA visitor a few months ago:

                    For your higher end dinner, I would try to do on Monday or Tuesday of your trip, which are less popular days to dine out. Note also that on the very high end, many restaurants are closed on Sundays.

                    For example, on 8/7 for 2, I see openings at:
                    The Modern - Dining Room
                    Del Posto
                    Jean Georges
                    Blue Hill
                    Gotham Bar and Grill

                    1. I recently came to New York from Los Angeles so this might help.


                      1. This from a visitor who remembers his first time in NY not too long ago...

                        Go to Carnage Deli, go to Les Halles, go to Juniors, who cares if theres better or its passé - scratch them off your list!

                        Walk wide-eyed in Times Square when you arrive, then again slack-jawed at night.

                        Heres the tricky part: although Times Square is touted as the cross-roads of the world, TRY to tear yourself away. Please don't settle for Bubbagump or Olive Garden or Hard Rock simply 'cause its convenient and you're hungry. Noooo, walk over to 8th or 9th to find a more interesting, non-disney neighborhood.

                        Plan out a few other must-trys (not every meal, just a select few, leave other slots open for free styling) and make a loose plan.

                        Theres a lower-eat-side walking guide on the boards - very good info.

                        Saunter Chinatown.

                        Take a subway to some destinations.

                        Have a blast.

                        Frequent some dive bars on your anniversary.

                        Plan out your next trip.

                        ....well FWIW, thats the stuff I'd do anyway

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: porker

                          Well you will be happy to hear we DONT eat at chain places like Bubbagump and Olive Garden. Being in LA we also enjoy good local food, which is why Im seeking advice. And dont worry, we will have no problem heading outside of Times Square.

                          1. re: ranole

                            Sorry to say, Bubbagump closed. At least I think it did. Maybe that was ESPN Zone?

                            Is Langer's any good??

                            1. re: Motosport

                              Yes I think Langer's is good. Depends on if you like thick cut pastrami or not. short of the pastrami its a typical deli.

                        2. Instead of Les Halles try some of Bourdain's favorite restaurants in NYC, which include Barney Greengrass, Le Bernardin, Marea, Momofuku Ko, Minetta Tavern, Salumeria Rosi, Takashi, and Sushi Yasuda.



                          1 Reply
                          1. Would definitely hit Takashi (no reservations for parties less than 4). Surprised no one mention The Breslin Bar and their killer lamb burgers. For lunch, hit up Sub No. 7 for some of the best sandwiches on the face of the Earth.

                            1. Here's RGR's LES walking tour (although from 2008, still relevant, I think)
                              and a coupla others