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Options for May: French & Italian

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My husband and I are headed to NYC for a couple days in late May. We're staying in the Chelsea area, but are willing and plan to use the subway to get to great food. We'll be there Sunday midday until we fly out mid-afternoon on Tuesday. Monday is Memorial Day, so I'm hoping we'll still be able to get reservations at some places (that they're not closed). I'm looking for a couple tips:

Trying to decide between Bouley and Le Bernardin (I know both are not open on Sundays, so this would either be for a Monday lunch or dinner), price is not particularly a deterrent but we're trying to get a sense of atmosphere for both and if either really has better food... Bouley is a lot closer to us, but again, we're willing to travel up to midtown if Le Bernardin is truly the superior experience.

Also, if we wanted to have an Italian dinner or lunch (probably Sunday dinner), should we do Eataly, or are there better places out there? Last time in NYC we had a lovely lunch at Lupa, so we're looking for some other fun place to try (preferably not too fancy, looking for outstanding food). I love pastas but my husband is big on meats, we both love fish and veggies...

Finally, we'd love tips on good bars in Chelsea/Greenwich Village area- gastropubs or just fun places with great drinks (we live in NC and don't have great places to go out, so we're looking for a fun experience, either pre or post dinner).

Thanks so much!

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  1. Strong vote in favor of Bouley; it's one of my most favorite restaurants anywhere. Returning for dinner next week. I've dined at Bouley for more than 10 years and have never had less than a stellar time. I'm not a big seafood fan so I don't care for Le Bernardin.

    1. for your Sunday Italian meal, i'd rec a late-lunch/early-dinner at Bar Pitti...no reservations, cash only...yummy casual Tuscan place w/ a great staff and a chalkboard of delicious specials like fennel soup, braised lamb, rigatoni w/ sausage, puntarelle, etc...

      1. Le Bernardin has superior food, Bouley has better atmosphere. For a fun italian place with great pastas & meats (fish too, but I haven't tried the fish), check out Perla.

        1. If you like seafood, then Le Bernardin. If you prefer a broader menu, consider Corton in addition to Bouley.

          Second Perla. Also: Manzo, Lincoln, Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria, Marea.