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May 4, 2013 04:15 PM

Recommendations for chow hound in midtown Manhattan near Penn Station

Visiting NYC this summer with my 2 teenage daughters. Any recommendations on great places to eat convenient to our hotel (Fairfield near Penn station)? Particularly want to try authentic deli fare and pizza. Any must try's? wiling to travel by subway.

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  1. If you're willing to take the subway, that opens up the entire city. So for authentic deli fare, go to Katz's for pastrami (corned beef and brisket - fatty only - are their next-best items) or 2nd Av. Deli for a bigger menu (but it's expensive, as in tongue sandwiches [a good choice] for around $20 apiece).

    I'll let Kathryn make pizza recommendations (there's a new highly-touted place in the Theater District called Don Antonio's, I think, which I haven't been to), but when you say "authentic," I'm guessing you mean "New York-style," and there are two types of New York-style pizza: The ubiquitous gas-oven corner slice shops and the mostly whole pie coal-oven places. I'd suggest you focus on the coal-oven places.

    As for great places to eat near your hotel, if you're near Penn Station, you're close to Koreatown and should consider going for some Korean BBQ and other stuff at Don's Bogam, if you like that kind of food. Keens, also near Penn Station, gets a lot of recommendations as a steakhouse, but some people seem to consider it aggressively male (don't ask; I haven't gone there). Szechuan Gourmet's 39th St. flagship (between 5th and 6th) isn't too far from Penn Station, either.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pan

      Yes, Don Antonio's is Naples inspired.

      In Koreatown, I like Madangsui for Korean BBQ. There is also a newer, more expensive place with a view that your daughters may like.

      I love Keens and I don't consider it aggressively male. Or more "male" than any other steakhouse (except for maybe Roberts). It's got a lot of history and could be interesting to non-NY visitors.

      1. re: kathryn

        I decided after my last trips to Madangsui and Don's Bogam that I prefer Don's Bogam. However, I haven't been to the new place with a view.

    2. If you want a somewhat upscale Italian meal one night, I highly recommend Stella 34 at Macy's, just down the block or so from you. Don't let the fact that it is in a department store color your decision. The food and space is wonderful, with a nice view if you can get a table along the windows.

      1. It's not going to make choosing any easier, but as Pan points out, all of NYC is convenient to your hotel.

        1. Second Pan's recs for deli fare at Katz's or 2nd Avenue.

          Best pizza:

          Echo what everybody else said -- if you are willing to take the subway, that essentially opens up all of the city.

          Where are you coming from? How long are you here? How many meals do you have available?

          We don't want to recommend food that you might do better at home, but we also may have some cuisines you can't find at home...

          I'd say we are pretty strong in a lot of different cuisines but not equally. Budget will makes big difference in where you can go.

          Are you willing to wait for a table at a no reservations restaurant? If so, for how long?

          What is your budget, per person, per meal, BEFORE tax, tip, wine/drinks/etc (for you, not your daughters) for your meals? It is much easier for us to help you if you give a pre-tax-and-tip dollar figure.

          What else are you doing while you are here? Planning around sightseeing, shopping, Broadway shows, etc?

          Check out some "Only in NY" type foods while you're here: 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 "NY" sorts of places that are worth a look.

          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:

          We also have some of the harder to find Chinese cuisines: Henan, Shaanxi (Xian Famous Foods) and Fuzhou in Manhattan, and many more in Queens and Brooklyn (Shangdong/Qingdao and Dongbei to name a few). scoopG's Chinatown list (dependent upon where you are coming from these may be exotic or not... most places don't have Henan or Xian style food though):

          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.

          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).

          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.

          If you like the idea of RGR's self-guided LES tour above, check these out, too.

          Maybe scoopG's self guided Chinatown tour:

          A West Village food crawl

          East Village:

          Most recent threads Near Penn Station:

          See also:

          1. Awesome input everyone. Many thanks. We are in town for 4 nights and do want to try as much authentic "non touristy" New York fare possible.

            1 Reply
            1. re: StacyM

              I figure you don't mean "non-touristy" literally, because consider that there are huge numbers of tourists who go to Katz's - precisely _because_ it's authentic, old-school New York food. You mean no tourist traps, which I hope none of us would send you to.