NEED SOME IDEAS
L.A. Chowhound will be in Manhattan for a week in Sept, staying near 70th & Amsterdam. Would appreciate ideas for; 1. Breakfast 2. Dinner 3.Deli's (chicken soup - pastrami) 4. Bagels
5. Pizza 6. Coffee House.
Would be great if close to my apartment, but I'm willing to go most anywhere if you think it's worthwhile.
You didn't say how much you want to spend. Go to Barney Greengrass for at least one breakfast. Go down to Katz's on the Lower East Side for a pastrami sandwich, order it from a counterman, ask for it juicy, tip at least $1, and ask for tomato pickles along with either sours or/and half sours, whichever you prefer. Go elsewhere for chicken soup. You can get some good home-style chicken soup at Stage Restaurant (NOT Stage Deli) on 2nd Av. between 7th and St Marks. It's a Polish restaurant that consists of a single lunch counter with bar stools only. There are too many types of pizza for me to give you a recommendation without more info on what kind you like best (e.g.: New York-style coal-fired, Neapolitan style, but there are other styles, too). I also really can't give you a general answer to a "dinner" recommendation, any more than you probably could to a similar question in relation to LA. How much do you want to spend, what styles of food do you like, etc.?
Artie's Deli on 83rd and Broadway does some respectable "Jewish-style" food, pastrami and chicken soup included.
Zabar's "annex" on 80th & Broadway is very good for a quick sit-down bagel and lox, but Greengrass is more of a restaurant. In any event, don't miss checking out Zabar's, just because.
Pizza - you'll do best to leave that neighborhood, and head to Arturo's (NY coal oven), Motorino, Co., Keste.
Definitely explore as much of the city as you can. Where you are staying has not traditionally been an eating out Mecca.
For your trip. I would recommend you focus on things that are either unique to NY, feel very New York-y, or that you can't find at home.
I posted a list of my favorite places for some LA hounds a little while ago.
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 upscale brunches (brunch is served every day here, sometimes even for dinner).
My favorites are here:
1. Breakfast - do you like sweet or savory? How long are you willing to wait for a table? Brunch lines can be very, very long.
Try breakfast/brunch at Breslin, Locanda Verde, Shopsin's, Clinton St Baking Co., or Minetta Tavern.
2. Dinner - way too broad a question to answer without knowing what cuisine, price range etc.
Are you dining solo? Do you want to eat at a bar or counter? Or do you want to sit at a table? The popular restaurants here book 3-4 weeks in advance. You may be too late for some of them.
3. My favorite chicken soup is chicken in a pot at 2nd Ave Deli. It's a huge portion though. For pastrami, Katz's
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Best coffee house: do you want drop coffee or espresso? A pour over bar? Does having a place to sit and hang out matter to you? Or do you just want amazing quality coffee? We have Stumptown, Blue Bottle here now, and places part of the new wave of espresso... Abraco, Grumpy, 9th St Espresso, Third Rail, Joe the Art of Coffee....