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1 night dinner help, 1st time in NYC

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Hello All,

I need some advice. I will be in NYC for the first time ever (originally from CA but in MD for school) for the night of 11/30 and I will be staying at one of the Marriotts by Rockefeller Center.

I am looking to spend no more than $25 (food, pre-tax/tip) for my first NYC dinner but am unsure of what and where. Basically, I want something that screams "NEW YORK!"

Overall, I am quite an adventurous eater and willing to try anything once. I just like to eat in moderation so places with exorbitantly unhealthy foods are kinda out (and I do need a little bit of room because I really want to hit up the "Big Gay Ice Cream Truck" for some soft serve (Bea Arthur or Milk Bar).

Any advice is greatly appreciated! (along with approval for my first stop once I'm there, to go get a bagel and lox at Russ and Daughters?)

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  1. Your first stop is an excellent choice, and quintessential New York. While you are there, I recommend exploring more of the (relatively cheap) food options on the Lower East Side. Katz's Deli is a few doors away. Get some pastrami. If you don't want to eat much at once, get a sandwich, or a 1/4 pound sliced, to go. The carver will likely also offer you a sample to taste. A couple of blocks away is the Essex Street Market. Take a stroll and see if any of the booths interest you; even if you just "window shop", as I did, twice, it is a sight to enjoy. Donut Plant and Il Laboratorio Gelato might get disqualified as "exorbitantly unhealthy" but exude yumminess and NYC. Have fun!

    1. I was going to say Katz's would be the perfect place for you to go, except that you might find fatty pastrami "exorbitantly unhealthy." But it's in your price range and screams "New York" to high Heaven! And it's great! Assuming you can use a refrigerator in your room, you can eat half (or less) of your pastrami sandwich and save the rest for later. It's not quite as good cold, but it's still damn good!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Pan

        Nothing screams NY more than Shopsin's for breakfast or lunch. But it is only open from morning to 2 pm on Wednesday-Sunday.
        You want unique? Shopsin's is the epitome of unique.

      2. Thanks for the recs so far everybody! Katz's is on the short list for sure!

        What about Italian? I've eaten at pizzeria Mozza in LA so I've done a Batali place. I guess I just remember Mark Bittman saying that SF does Italian better than NYC now (especially perbacco, which is my gold standard) and I'd like a direct comparison.

        2 Replies
        1. re: gmk1322

          What's your budget for your Italian meal in New York?

          1. re: gmk1322

            I have been to perbacco in SF and some comparable places are Osteria morini, scarpetta, l'artusi. L'artusi is probably the cheapest but none $25. If you enough cheap but good go to max, perbacco, supper

          2. Parm - hits your price point, it's Italian (American), and kinda screams NY. solo diners can sit at the counter.
            perhaps Motorino (for pizza).
            consider the Momofukus.

            your Russ and Daughters idea is smart. they also make egg creams.