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Dec 23, 2012 02:42 PM

Good, not touristy

My husband and I are coming to NY for 3 days early in January. It's been about a decade since we've been there, but we used to be frequent visitors. We enjoy many cuisines--Mediterranean, Mexican, Thai, Italian, etc., and most especially enjoy finding excellent but little-known places that cater to "natives." We're staying in Midtown, and probably won't have time to make it outside Manhattan. Suggestions?

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  1. It will be very difficult to find places without any tourists at all... There are places that have tourists dining there but also lots of NYers. I would not call them touristy per se because the food, service, atmosphere, etc. are still excellent, places such as Momofuku Ssam Bar, Minetta Tavern, Spotted Pig, Babbo. Or maybe they are places that are known to those in the foodie world or CH but not those on, like Empellon Cocina, Jungsik, Atera, The NoMad, Mission Chinese.

    It is almost impossible to find a true unknown these days. Especially after TV shows like No Reservations, which sometimes do highlight the neighborhood gems. And so many different food blogs and newsletters (Eater, NY Mag's Grub Street, Zagat's blog, Serious Eats, Time Out NY's blog, Thrillist, Daily Candy, Urban Daddy, Tasting Table, etc) exist now that most places have been written about at least once.

    And many food media outlets mine places like CH for ideas on what to write up (looking at you Village Voice).

    That said, your requirements are still rather vague. Sounds like you want places that are small and not super upscale, and are open to cuisine. I would make sure to get OUT of Midtown. But, that still leaves a lot of restaurants.

    What's your budget, per person, for just food?

    Given that you are coming in early January, it is probably too late to make reservations at the most popular places. Are you willing to wait for a table?

    See also:

    2 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Thanks, Kathryn.

      Once Christmas is over, I'll have a bit more time to check out the media. Thanks for giving such a comprehensive list.Your point about tourists is a good one--we're not looking to be the only out-of-towners in the place!!

      We'll be staying very close to the Museum of Modern Art, so are thinking of having one meal there--reviews and menu both look good.

      1. re: phoebek

        Where are you coming from? If you have not been to NYC in some time, maybe you do want to get your fill of pizza, bagels and smoked salmon, pastrami on rye, black and white cookies, etc. We also have diverse Chinese now (Sichuan, Hunan, Xian, Cantonese, Fujian, etc), Basque, Issan, ramen, yakiniku, kaiseki, Asian fusion, and much more...

        Here's another thread for a visitor where I listed my favorite places:

    2. I don't think NYC is the type of place where there are restaurants where the "natives" go. I can see that when visiting a foreign country but not here in NYC. Just stay away from Times Square and its chains and you should be fine. Scour the Manhattan boards for lots of good info and when you have questions about specific places, we'll be more than happy to weigh in with our opinons/suggestions.