Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Jul 31, 2013 06:28 AM

Times Square help :)

we will be down in a few weeks! Family of 4 kids are 12, 13.
We need your opinions, Places for breakfast, best bagels, cheesecake, pizza, italian ice, we are staying on broadway?timesquare and plan on walking/cab ride so something close.
Also, suggestions for dinner we currently have a reservation at Carmines.
for meal prices we were kinda looking maybe 50 a person, we dont drink

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Times Square is sort of a black hole of good food... A lot of chains and a lot of overpriced mediocrity. If you take the subway downtown or even walk out of the immediate area, your options will be much better.

    How many days are you here for? Are you planning on ONLY staying in Times Square? What about Soho? the Village? Central Park? Any museums on the UWS/UES? We're not really supposed to give trip advice, but knowing where you're going helps give relevant recommendations.

    2 Replies
    1. re: loratliff

      we will be down Thursday - Sunday , we arrive Thursday at 530 so we were going to get settled in and find food somewhere near hotel. Friday & Saturday we can/will do taxi/subway/walk/etc
      We bought the go pass so all the "tourist" destinations, we were trying to figure out what to do and find places to eat all kinda in one area. not sure if this helps anymore.

      1. re: staceylust

        To make the best use of your time, you should try to find things to eat to/from the tourist destinations or near the tourist destinations. Our tourist destinations are spread out all around town.

        Here's what I wrote for another visitor. Hopefully it helps you.

        Where are you coming from?

        When are you coming? 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 your meals? It is much easier for us to help you if you give a pre-tax-and-tip figure.

        Feel free to break out your budget in terms of upscale/fancy meals (and number of them) and cheaper/everyday meals.

        Note that popular places tend to book about a month in advance. Most upscale restaurants serve weekday lunch (but not weekend lunch), and serve dinner Monday through Saturday, and are usually closed Sundays, though there are a few exceptions to the "closed Sundays" rule (ex: Per Se, Eleven Madison Park, Jean George).

        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:

        Best pizza:

        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:

        Where to Eat Near Times Square:

        Where to Eat Near MoMA (the museum cafe is actually pretty good, as is the Modern next door):

        Where to Eat Near Museum Mile (Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney, Guggenheim, etc) on the UES:

        Where to Eat Near the Museum of Natural History on the UES:

        Where to Eat Near Macy's/Herald Square/Penn Station/Empire State Building:

        Where to Eat Near Grand Central/Midtown East:

        Where to Eat in Soho:

        Where to Eat near 5th Avenue shopping/Bloomingdale's/Rockefeller Center:

        Pre-theatre Dining (many of the same Times Square recs also apply):

        Where to Eat Near the 9/11 Memorial:

        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:

        Cheap eats:

        See also

    2. My suggestion, get away from Times Sq. NYC is so small and easy to travel so get to some of the many neighborhoods that have great food.
      Subways are convenient but for 4 a taxi may be the same price for a short trip.
      Walk, walk, walk and see, hear and take in the sights.
      9th and 10th Ave above 42 St have some amazing restaurants. For breakfast in the area we like Rt 66 which is a short stroll from Times Sq.
      For breakfast outside the area try Ceci Cela in SOHO then walk around the area and over to the Village. Lots of great shops.
      Lots of folks knock Carmines as a "tourist" place but they do a nice job for what they do. Enjoy!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Motosport

        I couldn't agree more with moto and loratliff - get out of TS area, you could even stay on the avenues and still find better eating downtown without even trying hard.

      2. What does your family like to eat? Shake Shack and Qi are both near Times Square and are reasonably priced.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Pookipichu

          We were in NYC last week, and walked past the Times Square Shake Shack a few times. The line, every time, was at least 20 people deep OUTSIDE, plus a lot inside. IMO, not the best use of vacation time.

          We did grab a number of quick lunches at Pret a Manger. Fresh, reasonably priced, and located all over Manhattan.

          1. re: CanadaGirl

            I'd never recommend eating at Pret a manger to anyone...yuk.
            I don't know why they say their premade sandwiches are fresh when other places are making them to order.

            1. re: Monica

              What do you dislike about it? I've always had tasty and fresh sandwiches and salads there.

              1. re: CanadaGirl

                If I was in middle of Kansas and I can't find any decent local joints, I'd go to Pret a manger if they had a location there.
                If you are talking about NYC, I can think of maybe two reasons why I'd go there...I am too lazy and tired today(there is a pret inside my office building) or it's pouring out...even so, I'd think of another option. I once made a mistake of buying a cold baguette ham sandwich from there and I had to throw out most of was just disgusting. My coworker said their salad and hot sandwiches are slightly better.

              2. re: Monica

                I am not a big fan of chain restaurants but I will grab a quick coffee and croissant at Pret when it is convenient. They do make a decent croissant.

              3. re: CanadaGirl

                I hear you about the length of the line, but I eat at Shake Shack 3-4 times a week for dinner and the line moves really fast. I usually have my food in 20-30min.

                1. re: Pookipichu

                  They do have a good system at Shake Shack. The line moves quickly. The UWS location is busy but not as busy.

            2. It's Times Square. Two words.

              See Cheeryvisage's Times Square list here:

              Best Midtown bagels/breakfast:

              1. 9th ave. and Hell's Kitchen is your friend. An area I happen to spend a lot of time in (against my will - like in Oldboy. anyone seen?)

                Bagels: Pick a Bagel 53/8
                Pizza: Don Antonio, Merilu, Sacco for NY slice
                Cheesecake: Feh! go to Sullivan st Bakery instead

                More ideas can be found in this survival guide..


                4 Replies
                  1. re: Skippy1414

                    Not too much. Just from 9-5
                    Actually too much

                    1. re: Ziggy41

                      Did you get to have live octopus once you got let out, though?

                      1. re: kyph0515

                        IT WAS LIVE? They told me its ceviched