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hungry trip

We've got a fun 4 days in NYC planned out, with a few good meals already in our sites, but are looking for suggestions for places that are:
vegetarian-friendly
not too expensive
fairly casual, bistros or even delis for yummy picnics

We like: curry, (Caribbean, Indian, or SE Asian), Mediterranean (any coast, paella to spanikopita, pasta to falaffel), Ethiopian wat, Ghanain kuntumbre, savory tastes. DS has loved Thai pad see ewe and Indian saag paneer his whole life, which doesn't mean he has to get them on this trip, just gives an indication of tastes. Neither of us likes sandwiches (including burgers) but he gets into a good hotdog. I'd love to find the peanut sauce that a friend used to serve at his Senegalese restaurant (in Berlin), but that's really a more specific request than I need to make. I think we'd like someplace like the Red Rooster or Meatball Shop, it it was close to what we want to do.

I haven't worked out the whole itinerary yet, but we do not want to go far out of our way to eat. (My travel companion is a 10-yr-old boy). We're staying close to the WTC site and hope to find a deli close by for breakfasts. Our plans thus far:

Tenement Museum tour, Katz's deli before, Economy Candy or Gelato after

National Museum of American Indian/Battery Park or WTC site

walk across Brooklyn Bridge
Mediterranean on Atlantic Ave
Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Top of the Rock /Lunch in Rock Center

Tour of the Fed Reserve

Math Museum

Kids tour of UN (4:14 Thurs)

Sony Tech Wonder Lab (Sat midday workshop)

Sat night in Museum of Natural History

Sail-ny Sunday brunch cruise around Manhattan (hope the food's as good as the website promises)

Dinner in Chinatown with friends who know their way around it

Thanks for your help!

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  1. I'm a little confused by your request. Are you both vegetarian? Or are you vegetarian and your son ("DS") is not? Since you mention he enjoys hot dogs.

    I am thinking Katz's Deli won't have a whole lot worthwhile for a vegetarian, for example.

    Near the WTC site on the north side is Zucker's for bagels. The site is big though, so saying you're staying "near" isn't specific enough.

    There's a Meatball Shop on the LES. Or you could go to Pok Pok Phat Thai (they have a vegan version).

    See also:
    Where to Eat with Vegetarians and Meat Lovers in NYC: An Omnivorous Guide to 60 Restaurants
    http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/0...

    Near Rockefeller Center, I'd look on Midtown Lunch for a food cart. Maybe the Biryani Cart?

    The MoMath is pretty close to Curry Hill, a cluster of Indian restaurants.

    1. Boubouki in the Essex Street Market sells a nice spanikopita, among other things. You could stop by in between your Katz's and your Tenement tour. I'd recommend having a quick look around the market anyway even if you don't plan on eating anything there.

      1. The knish and beans at Katz's aren't good, or do they all have meat in them?

        I'm a vegetarian, but I eat dairy, fish and eggs. My son is not vegetarian. We do not want to stick with the kind of places that most people think of when they think "vegetarian"; many restaurants serve vegetarian dishes on a regular basis, even if they don't label them as such.

        Could we pick things up at the market for later, or is most of the food served ready to eat? Do they have fresh fruit there too?

        5 Replies
        1. re: saacnmama

          They have fresh fruit at the market, and there are vendors selling bread and cheese, as well as prepared food.

          You can buy stuff take-out but given that it's probably going to be pretty hot outside, you might not want to carry it around for too long before eating it?

          1. re: saacnmama

            I've never tried a knish or beans at Katz's. That's not why anyone goes there. If you want to go to a Jewish deli that has good vegetarian items, go to 2nd Av. Deli, where your son can have matzo ball soup and a tongue or roast beef sandwich or what have you, and you can have kasha varnishkes with mushroom gravy (confirm that that's strictly vegetarian before you order it).

            1. re: saacnmama

              If you need good vegetarian dishes, but still want an "old-school deli" type place, try B&H Dairy on 2nd ave/St Mark's.
              All vegetarian, been there for over 50 years, and hearty enough that a meat eater would still be satisfied. I adore their mushroom barley soup and pierogies.

              Knishes and beans at Katz's are side dishes, not really worthwhile on their own.

              1. re: saacnmama

                The Serious Eats Guide link I posted above is an "Omnivorous Guide." Not specifically all vegetarian.

                What attracts you to a Jewish deli even though neither of you like sandwiches?

                1. re: saacnmama

                  Seriously skip katz. Its meat-r-us and overpriced not yummy sides.
                  After tenament museum you're not far from chinatown, great ny noodletown is a good cheap-quick lunch with kid and veg friendly choices

                2. The original comment has been removed
                  1. I suggest that your visit list is overly ambitious. Walking across the bridge and hitting the Middle Eastern places on Atlantic works (be sure to visit Sahadi's), but it's a long way to the BBG. Alternatively consider the nearby Bkn Heights Promenade.On Sunday, you could do the cruise, the Indian Museum (note that the WTC requires timed tickets bought in advance) and Chinatown. You might add Rock Ctr. to your Saturday itinerary. For your 4th you could do Katz's, the Tenement Museum and the UN. FYI the Fed, the Indian Museum,and the WTC are near each other, and it's a 15-20 minute walk to Chinatown.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: GaryUES

                      Thanks for the comments on timing. I really want to do Chinatown with my friend, and she's not free at the time you mention. What do you think of the revised itinerary below?

                      Also, is Sahadi's likely to be a good spot to go with a (different) friend's 5-yr-old twins? She hasn't explored restaurants near where she lives with them, which makes me think it might be tough to take them there.