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Feb 14, 2013 02:04 PM

First time in Manhattan. Me, wife, and 2 kids.. need recommendation of where to eat..

We will be in Manhattan for 4 days, looking for great place to eat that NYC have to offer.. Pizza, chinese, japanese, steak, burger, anything that should be a must eat!! We are from Los Angeles, so have everything here too.. but might as well make the trip worth it in NYC.. Our hotel is in time square.. and we'll be travel mostly by taxi and some subway for long distances.. thank you in advance.. i have been researching for days, lol.. getting dizzy..

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  1. When are you coming?

    Do you plan to make reservations in advance or are you willing to wait for a table?

    How old are the kids? Young? Teens? Picky eaters or not?

    What's your budget, per person, before tax and tip?

    What else are you doing while you are here?

    For pizza, I love Motorino, which is wood fired and more Naples style. A bit on the gourmet side, check out their brussels sprouts pizza, for instance. Don Antonio, which is also Naples style, also gets a lot of accolades. Whole pies only. For a NY gas oven style/slice joint, try Joe's in the West Village or South Brooklyn Pizza in the East Village. For a coal oven style pizza, John's of Bleecker (not the Times Square one). Whole pies only. There's usually a line. Since you guys have Mozza in LA, I'd lean more towards a Joe's or John's experience.

    LA has a lot of great Chinese. I'm not sure what you're looking for or how much time you spend in the San Gabriel Valley. But we have some of the harder to find Chinese cuisines: Henan (Spicy Village), Shaanxi (Xian Famous Foods) and Fuzhou in Manhattan, and many more in Queens and Brooklyn (Shangdong/Qingdao and Dongbei to name a few). As well as an outpost of Danny Bowien's famous Mission Chinese.

    scoopG's Chinatown list:

    You might also want to do a restaurant doing creative takes on Asian, like at Momofuku Ssam Bar, Wong, Fatty Cue, Takashi, RedFarm, Mission Chinese, Jungsik, Kin Shop, or Danji.

    If I had to pick one, it would be Momofuku Ssam Bar. It seems pretty New York-y to me.

    I'm not sure what Japanese we have in NY that you can't get in LA (sushi, ramen, kaiseki, yakitori, etc).

    Maybe Takashi, which is Japanese yakiniku, but with sustainable/organic meats. Lots of offal. Pricey.

    For steak, you'll probably want something like Peter Luger (post on the Outer Boroughs boards, book 6-8 weeks in advance), Wolfgang's, Minetta Tavern, Keens if you can afford it. And your kids aren't too young. Luger is, well, Luger, and famous. Wolfgang's is a Luger clone but I like that they are on OpenTable, take credit cards (PL doesn't), and some of the locations have gorgeous Guastavino tile work. Minetta is not terribly kid-friendly, it's got a Rat Pack throwback vibe to it. Keens is NY in a different way -- historic, read up on the pipes hanging from the ceiling and all of the famous people who have eaten there.

    While we have good burgers here, I'm not sure it's worth seeking out if you're here only for 4 days, unless you simply must eat at Shake Shack. Lots of Californians do it just to proclaim that "In 'n' Out is better!" At least in my experience. (I disagree and I'm from Socal.


    Don't forget to check out a bunch of "Only in NY" type foods: bagels and smoked salmon, pastrami on rye, pizza, hot dogs & papaya juice, black and white cookies, cheesecake, egg creams, pickles, halal carts.

    Russ & Daughters (takeout, busy on weekends), Katz's Deli (from When Harry Met Sally), Papaya King etc. (not gourmet but iconic), William Greenberg's black and whites, Junior's cheesecake, egg creams from Gem Spa or Ray's, Pickle Guys, the Halal Guys (53rd and 6th after sunset), are all iconic sorts of places.

    If you're interested in some of the places I listed above, you could do a LES food crawl.

    I highly recommend RGR's self guided Lower East Side Gustatory tour but sub in Pickle Guys for Guss' Pickles and note that Economy Candy's address is incorrect:

    Some common tourist inquiries:

    Near MoMA:

    Near the Metropolitan Museum of Art (and Whitney and Guggenheim, ish):

    Near the American Museum of Natural History:

    Near Macy's/Herald Square:


    5th Avenue shopping:


    Notable food trucks/carts:

    Prix fixe lunch deals:

    Best breakfast/brunch in NYC:
    It is (IMO) at the Breslin, Locanda Verde, Shopsin's, Clinton St Baking Co., or Minetta Tavern.

    Best bagels in NYC:
    Summary: the freshest bagels are the best; bagels don't age well at all. Focus on the smoked salmon instead. Preferably at Russ & Daughters! Featured in shows such as No Reservations and Louie!

    I'm fond of red onion, capers, regular cream cheese, and tomato on mine. Try a few smoked salmons before you settle on one, they're surprisingly different (and lox is not the same as smoked salmon, because lox is salmon cured in salt brine, and most people actually prefer the more modern, Nova-style smoked salmon). You can get a mini-sized bagel sandwich at Russ & Daughters, too, if you wish. Takeout only.

    My favorite unique places in NY serve Xian (Chinese) food, Issan (Thai) food, organic/local/sustainable Japanese BBQ, authentic Basque (Spanish) tapas, creative diner food, pretzels, hot dogs, halal food, steak, upscale rustic Italian, Italian subs, creative Italian-American, high end non-sushi Japanese (like kaiseki), creative desserts, molecular gastronomy, mixology/creative cocktails, and creative brunches (sometimes every day of the week).

    2 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Wow! I need to keep this handy for my family's visit!

      1. re: kathryn

        WOW, Kathryn!!! thank you so much,,
        We are here in NYC now..
        kinda regret staying at time square tho!!
        lol omg the traffic!!!
        thank you so much for your information...
        my kids are 8 and 4.. and the younger one couldn't wait in line for so long..
        as far as money goes, shouldn't be any problem..
        I am big spender on food..
        we'll sure check some on your recommendation out..

      2. OMG kathryn has got it all covered.
        My only suggestion is: Walk if the weather permits. NYC is a walkers dream and the kids will get an eyeful. Walk over to Bryant Park for free ice skating. There is a nice cafe in the park.
        Walking uptown or downtown 20 blocks is a snap.
        When walking is not practical take the subway which is another NYC "experience" and many times faster than a taxi if the traffic is bad.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Motosport

          While the admission at Citi Pond at Bryant Park is free, skate rentals are $14. Also the skating only goes until March 3.