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New to Murray Hill and need: local pub, cheap lunches, croissants, date nights, delivery

Hi everyone! I just moved to Murray Hill and need replacements for my East Village standbys.

Local pub (most important)
I was a regular at Klimat and will need a Murray Hill replacement. Key requirements: good comforting bar food, some good beers on tap (Eastern European a plus), laid-back, quiet, not fratty.
I thought Tavern On 3rd might fit the bill but it did not. It was the opposite of quiet and unfratty and they were sold out of all the good beers at 7pm on a weekday.

Lunches and delivery
Key requirements: Fresh ingredients! Can get a good satisfying meal for under $20 (or, ideally, under $10).
My EV favorites were: This Little Piggy, Empanada Bar, Dos Toros, Maoz, Zabb Elee, Korzo Haus, and that new teriyaki place next to Dos Toros.
I already like Lamazou, Kalustyan's, and Pio Pio in this neighborhood. Any other suggestions in that vein? I'm not too interested in all the Indian lunch buffets, have been to a few and none of the food was fresh-tasting.
These two threads are really comprehensive, but 1-2 years old. Some that sound interesting are Latin Thing, Vezzo, No. 7 Sub, Grand Sichuan. Any thoughts on these, or other suggestions?
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/783190
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/698399

Salad
Where can I get a really good, fresh salad? I don't have any EV favorites for this one. Clearly I don't eat enough salad.

Thai
Where's the best Thai delivery? So far I've tried Soi 30 Thai (decent) and Jaiya (I really liked it).

Date night/dinners out with friends
This older thread has some good ideas but some of these places are closed:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/540370
I'm looking for entrees $15 or under.

Where to take tourist friends, parents, etc.
I always took them to Veselka because it was a novelty, the atmosphere was fun, and the food was basic enough that even the least adventurous eaters could find something. Is there a good neighborhood place like that?

Croissants: Where are the best in or near Murray Hill? I was a regular at Ceci Cela, Mille Feuille, and Dominique Ansel. If there's no good substitute in Murray Hill, how about in midtown in general?

Thank you in advance for your help!!

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  1. Hello, I live in the area too and I am afraid to say, it is a bit of a culinary desert. Anyway, here a few spots you may want to try out:

    Pubs - waterfront ale house on 30th and 2nd has quite a good selection of beer (though not all on tap) and the burgers and pulled pork buns are quite yummy, the rest of the food is nothing out of the ordinary (chiken tenders etc.). It is not a frat place at all, I think - check it out ...

    Bundling up fresh/delivery/not too expensive - Republic (union square) delivers and has fresh tasting thai-ish food. The Turkish Kitchen has some pretty good mezze type choices and salads (and might be also good for the less adventurous). Penelope's is a brunch type place that might be good to take visiting folks or a date to. Depending on where you live, you may fall within the delivery area of Num Pang (http://www.numpangnyc.com/index.php/l...) which has some v. good salads and sandwiches. Croissant-wise - nothing comes to mind - to be frank. Rumour has it that we will soon have a Fairway's in the hood - some say their almond croissants are good.

    My suggestion is: if you walk just a few blocks/10 mins - you can b in union square or gramercy - with infinititely more and better choices - so mentally expand your hood and you'll survive ;-).

    1 Reply
    1. re: Radhish

      Thanks for the input. Now that you mention it, I've actually been to the Waterfront Ale House and liked it. Good atmosphere and beer selection. Thanks for the reminder.

      I am indeed within Num Pang zone - adding it to my list to try!

      Believe me, I will be making many trips downtown for the good stuff! Just hoping to make the best of what is right here in our own (culinary desert) neighborhood. :)

      1. It's been a while since I had either but you could try Talent Thai Kitchen or Rhong Tiam Express.

        During the day, Calexico's cart near Madison Square Park, for Cali-Mex.

        2 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          I like the tuna burger at Josie's for lunch (3rg and 37) ; they also have an excellent and unusual iced tea. For comfort food, I head to Sophie's on Lex for one of their pork sandwiches.

          1. re: GaryUES

            I am pretty sure Josies is closed.

        2. I really like the branch of Terroir in Murray Hill although I can't tell if you're into wine or not from your post. The good is VERY good there though. Good luck!
          JeremyEG
          HomeCookLocavore.com

          1. Regarding the places you mentioned: Latin Thing is closed. Vezzo and Grand Sichuan are not good in my opinion (though for Vezzo, I know quite a few people who like it while I really dislike the sauce and don't care for the toppings). No. 7 Sub has creative sandwiches but the combinations just don't work for me. I'm a big fan of Lamazou and Pio Pio.

            Here are places I like for delivery:
            -Hunan Manor, Lan Sheng, Cafe China, and Szechuan Gourmet for very good spicy Chinese food
            -Noodles on 28 for decent Americanized Chinese food
            -Trattoria Alba and Da Ciro for Italian. Note Da Ciro is kind of pricey but food is delicious and well worth it in my opinion.
            -Jaiya and Little Basil for Thai. Also second the Rhong Tiam rec upthread but that may not be within delivery range. Can't agree with the Republic rec at all - I find the food here to be pretty bad.
            -La Posada for burritos
            -Baoguette for Vietnamese

            For casual night out or to take tourist friends/parents (note some of these places may be above your $15/entree budget):
            -Blue Smoke for decent BBQ.
            -Cask for good food and cocktails though it can be very loud which is a turnoff for me.
            -Rare for decent burgers and fries
            -Resto/Cannibal for Belgian food.

            For salads and croissants, maybe Le Pain Quotidien? It's a pricey chain but it's relatively healthy. And the food for the most part is decent including the baked goods, soups, salads, and sandwiches. Actually, you could also try some of the nearby coffee places for croissants. Stumptown Coffee in the Ace Hotel carries good ones (I think Ceci Cela or Balthazar). Lucid Cafe (which has excellent coffee/espresso drinks) also carries some baked goods.

            1. We live on the "Hill of Murray" and don't feel that it is a "culinary desert".
              Our favorites which may answer some of your questions and some not asked.
              Mapo Tofu, Hunan Manor and Phoenix Garden for Chinese
              Jaiya for Thai
              Hane for Japanese
              Blue Smoke, Dukes for BBQ/Ribs comfort food
              Rare for burgers/ribs etc. with a fancier twist
              Penelope for unusual breakfast. Scotty's Diner for reliable good inexpensive breakfast
              El Rio Grande for Tex Mex
              DaCiro and Margony for excellent Italian
              Ali Baba for Turkish
              Byblos for Middle Eastern authentic Syrian/Lebanese
              Kitano Jazz Club for great music and decent dessert while you listen
              Lucid Cafe for coffee and Ceci Cela pastries
              Peter Dillon is a nice pub but does not serve food. I've seen patrons order food for delivery.
              There is a little ethnic cafe/takeout place on the Southeast corner of Lex and 39 that is excellent. For the life of me I can't remember the name.
              Vic's Bagel Bar for a very good bagel and custom mixed cream cheese spreads.
              Sarge's for a great Pastrami sammich. Open 24/7!! 2ND ave Deli is a close second but neither compare to Katz's
              Ethos for great Greek and fresh fish. Wild Edibles for seafood. Grand Central Oyster bar for oysters and chowder.
              Kips Bay movie theater is convenient.
              These are all places we enjoy. More when I think of any.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Motosport

                Thank you all for your ideas so far! I'm very much looking forward to eating my way through these lists. So happy to find out a couple places carry Ceci Cela pastries around here, and that there are good options for pubs, Thai, Middle Eastern, and Chinese. I really appreciate you guys all taking the time to reply!

                1. re: brighton312

                  I remembered the name of the place on Lex and 39th. It's Desi Shack which has an interesting take on Pakistani/Indian food. Nice fresh ingredients, tasty too!

                  1. re: princeofpork3

                    Hoping for a quick recovery in Sarge's case... 2nd Ave Deli should hold us over in the meantime.

                    1. re: princeofpork3

                      Sarge's reopening soon. Bagel Boss is in Vic's location and very good.

                    2. re: Motosport

                      I lived in Murray Hill ten years ago -- glad to see some of our favorites from that era (Penelope, Ali Baba, Byblos, Ethos) are still around!

                    3. The branch of Grand Sichuan near 33 St. is not very good. It's from the inferior chain that includes their Upper West Side branch in the West 70s, not the St. Marks branch that you probably enjoyed when you were living in the East Village.

                      You didn't ask about sit-down Indian restaurants, but I really recommend Anjappar for their inexpensive, good, flavorful Chettinad cuisine. (There have been debates here about how inexpensive they are, so just look at the menu here and make up your own mind: http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...

                      )

                      You also probably know that there are some decent vegetarian Indian restaurants in the neighborhood. My favorite when I ate more often in the neighborhood was Chennai Garden, but I haven't been there since they renovated and reopened, so that's probably at least 9 months.

                      1. One more thing - do you know of any grocery/beer stores that sell Eastern European beers like Baltika, Golden Pheasant, Zywiec, or similar?

                        1. Having lived in Murray Hill for about nine months now, I think I've eaten my way through most of the options in the area and wanted to report back with some of my results. I tried many of the places suggested in this thread and my favorites are Num Pang, Jaiya, Blue Smoke, Desi Shack, and Penelope. Baoguette is also good. Lamazou and Kalustyan's remain in my regular rotation. And I've had a couple very good cheap lunches delivered from Spice Symphony. Thanks especially to the several people who recommended Penelope - it's become my go-to neighborhood place for brunches, dates, you name it. The food is reliably good and also simple enough to please picky eaters and visiting family.

                          My favorite wine bars in the area are Terroir and Vanguard (I'm a wine beginner.) I love Waterfront Ale House for their beer selection and atmosphere, but I haven't liked any of the food, so I recommend it for drinks only.

                          I've also been frequenting two great places that seem to be new to the neighborhood: Mayhem and Stout for well-made sandwiches with braised meats and interesting toppings, and Perk Kafe for really, really good espresso. My other favorite coffee places in the area are Oren's and Lucid.

                          Murray Hill doesn't have the same density of food destinations as the East Village does, but all in all I'm very happy with the options and feel that I eat extremely well here.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: brighton312

                            Wine 30- on 30th st off park ave, b/w park and madison- is another wine bar option. The food isn't exciting but there is a good list of by the glass and there is a nice little back garden area.

                            1. A new cocktail bar opened recently called Middle Branch. I passed by and went in to take a look on our way to a movie. It was too early to have a cocktail (is that possible?) Very nice space and vibe.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Motosport

                                With Milk & Honey, Middle Branch (sister to Little Branch), and Grace opening, there's a lot more good cocktail options in the neighborhood.