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Jan 20, 2013 04:21 PM

Philly versus NYC

I'm going to be in NYC for a couple of days in early February and, since I haven't fully explored all of Philly's dining options yet, was wondering what those of you who are familiar with both cities would consider cuisines/types of food that one should eat in NYC because they are not well represented here, either in quality or variety.

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  1. The answer partly depends on where in the City you are planning on spending time and whether you are looking for high end dining or you are looking to experience food from different cultures. If you are confining yourself to Manhattan that is one thing, If you are able to visit the outer boroughs, especially Queens, you will get a different answer.

    You might also enjoy this piece from the food writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer who spent a few days in NYC with his family and wrote about it,

    7 Replies
    1. re: cwdonald

      Thanks for the article--will definitely read through for ideas! I will be staying in Newark and getting to Manhattan via NJ transit. That said, I'd be willing to go anywhere that is reasonably accessible by public transport and/or cab. I don't have any activities scheduled, so the sightseeing can be planned around the dining.

      I'm open to either high end dining or food from different cultures. The only potential issues with high end dining are that I'm planning on being fairly casually dressed (ie, jeans) and I'm probably way behind the curve in terms of getting reservations.

      Some options I'm considering:

      Trip to Flushing for Taiwanese food
      Arepas (Caracas Arepa?)--haven't had those before
      Momofuku Ssam Bar--sounds unique & interesting
      Thai (Zabb Elee?)
      Pizza--not underrepresented here, but hey, it's NYC (DiFara, Motorino?)
      May try to get into Babbo, esp. if they have last-minute cancellations

      1. re: msiangal

        If you are staying in Newark, you should also try to get at least one meal in the Ironbound district, which serves up some of the best Portugese food out of Lisbon. is a good thread to peruse on the NJ board.

        I second the Momofuki suggestion.

        I would also suggest that if you like Greek and Turkish food, there are many better restaurants in Manhattan than we have in Philadelphia. is a good discussion of this topic.

        Then there is the discussion of French style food... Daniel, Per Se and so forth may not be the atmosphere you are looking for, but you could go for Bar Boulud, or Cafe Boulud if you want some French food in a more casual atmosphere. I especially like the communal table in the back of Bar Boulud (round table, great service,) and you can get some of the best charcuterie in the US.

        1. re: cwdonald

          Portuguese in Newark and Bar Boulud/Cafe Boulud are excellent suggestions, thanks! And I definitely enjoyed the article you recommended. I may have to dedicate more time to exploring Flushing and the rest of Queens in future trips.

        2. re: msiangal

          If you don't get arepas in NYC try Sazon on Spring Garden Street (at 10th)

          1. re: Bigley9

            Caracas didn't do much for me when I tried. Haven't had Sazon.

            As for Katz's, the pastrami is amazing and that is a must. Everything else... can be had around here as good or better.

            1. re: barryg

              ya caracas isnt my favorite either- i much prefer arepas cafe in astoria

          1. re: lowereastrittenhouse

            Interesting suggestions! Have never had Scandinavian food before. Will look into it, thanks!

            1. I would definitely head downtown to the Lower East Side to Katz's for deli, to Russ & Daughters for "appetizing" -- smoked fish, salads, etc., and to Kossar's for bialys.

              3 Replies
              1. re: CindyJ

                Thanks, CindyJ! Will look into those.

                1. re: CindyJ

                  I stock up on bagels from Kossars when I am in lower Manhattan and freeze them.

                  1. re: CindyJ

                    i also second this suggestion- nyc has some pretty awesome delis, and you just dont find those in philly

                  2. Donuts! Go to the Doughnut Plant, it's right next to Kossar's.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Buckethead

                      Good call, Buckethead. Their doughnuts were delicious and, IMHO, totally beat out the ones from Federal Donuts.

                    2. I second (third) the Lower East Side rec's. So many fun, casual places. We love pastrami at Katz's followed by amazing gelato across the street at Il Laboratorio. The Manhattan CH board has someone who has developed a great LES walking tour. Here's a thread with that one and some others:


                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                        I'm going to disagree about Il Laboratorio del Gelato, Capogiro is much better.

                        1. re: Buckethead

                          I like Capogiro better also, but Il Laboratorio has some different flavors, and it's a nice way to top off a meal at Katz.

                          1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                            Grom is also quite good and I have preferred some of their flavors to Il Laboratorio's. Not near Katz's though as its downtown location is in the West Village.

                        2. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                          These food tours all sound great...and better than my idea of just wandering around randomly. :-)