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Visitors, travellers, tourists and other Chowhounds who do not live in NYC, which places do you revisit when you visit Manhattan?

Thought it might be interesting to see which places non-NYC-based Chowhounds revisit. Some places revisited by non-NYC-based Chowhounds may be quite different from the recs made most frequently to first time visitors, and quite different from the places locals tend to revisit.

I visit Toloache pre-Broadway show whenever I'm planning to take in a show. I also get at least one Balthazar sticky bun, and usually a Doughnut Plant donut, on any visit. I visit Joe the Art of Coffee at least once any time I'm in NYC. I try to visit Kalustyan's on every trip.I often pick up a black and white cookie at Dean and Deluca to take home with me on the plane or train, for old time's sake.

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  1. I go to New York about 2-3 times per year. I have revisited The Bar Room at the Modern, The Breslin for breakfast/brunch and Levain Bakery for the chocolate chip walnut cookie the most times, I think. I also just made a repeat visit to the NoMad for the chicken. I also seem to usually end up at a Sarabeths on most trips, although I don't think it is amazing - it always seems convenient and safe when I am travelling with other people and there are numerous locations.

    1. We have got to get ourselves to Toloache!!! (As I smack my forehead Brooklyn style)

      3 Replies
      1. re: Motosport

        I like the fish tacos, shrimp tacos and trio of guacs the best. :)

      2. I'm not a local, but nowadays I get to Manhattan about 3x a month (usually for anywhere between 3-4 nights each trip).

        Just eyeballing it, without actually pulling out receipts, I can say that each time I'm in Manhattan, I will probably hit up at least 2 of these places that are now on my regular rotation:

        Ai Fiori
        Abe & Arthur

        (as previously posted here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9119...)

        1. I get to NYC about once a year. Always go to Union Square cafe since Nigella Lawson gave a recipe for the bar nuts on one of her programmes. This snack is now an essential part of my family's Christmas repast. Love the food and most importantly atmosphere at USC.
          Also City Bakery for the raspberry muffins, or French toast, and general ambience, and Stumptown for great coffee.

          1. I go to Manhattan 2 or 3 times a year. My choices are driven by the fact I live in Italy and usually must eat a great many meals mid-town. Were it not for business, I would never go to NYC (my birthplace!), and actually dread eating in most of its noisy, cramped and incompetent service restaurants. Most restaurants in NYC, even those with good food, I never go back to because the ambience is so unpleasant for eating. Were I vacationing outside of Italy for food and food alone, I'd head to Belgium, Spain or the far East.

            All that said, when I am in NYC, I repeatedly go to:

            Sushi Zen always.

            Any of the good Koreans, and always interested to try more.

            I like Junoon but don't always make it there.

            Toloache, but only at times when I can beat the noise.

            Midtown default, I pick BXL for moules & frites or Brasilia Emporium. Inakaya Robata Grill for lunchtime salads and small plates.

            I eat a lot of street food or take out from hole-in-the-walls like MMM...Enfes, Olympic Pita, F.U.E.L. and whatever street cart I pass that catches my fancy. If you catch them early, the tacky Original Soup Nazi has good soup to go (better than Hale & Hearty, I think). My go-to lunch venue is Bryant Park.

            I used to stalk the city looking to recapture my best memories of deli sandwiches like tongue and chopped liver, or pastrami on rye with cole slaw, but I have given up. Pretty much the same with cream cheese, bagels and lox, which now I'll pick up from any old place, they are all pretty much interchangeable. (Happy to be corrected on this.) Save for Symposium, I have given up on Greek food in NYC, which actually used to be one of the delights of living there. Ditto Szechuan in my book.

            I raid Duane Reade for Haagen Dasz frozen coffee yoghurt, and like the brownies from Le Pain Quotidien.

            I stop by Cipriani for espresso and Antica Bottega del Vino for cappuccini.

            There are other places around the city I will go back to if I find time -- delicious tapas places like Tia Pol off hours, lovely experiences like Aquavit. There are some much-talked about places I will definitely try. I am most sorry that I can never seem to find the time to get to know Chinatown. On my agenda.

            However, I have zero interest in eating in places that celebrate pork fat, zero interest in highly orchestrated meals, "curated" anything, or "programs" of anything, zero interest in food being treated as entertainment, zero interest in burgers, zero interest in sous vide or any type of molecular cooking. So many of the most talked about NYC restaurants don't appeal to me.

            The biggest positive change in eating I have witnessed over the years in NYC is the recapturing and opening up of so much outdoor and public space. Lincoln Center, Bryant Park, Riverside Park are stunning places to enjoy a picnic, and a great relief from restaurants, who, because of the high cost of real estate, no longer provide comfortable seating at affordable prices or serve simple food that can't attract sensationalists and celebrity chef chasers. So the investment in public New York has been great for people of a certain sensitivity who like to eat well every day.

            4 Replies
            1. re: barberinibee

              Do you know what I love at Duane Reade? Their sugar free caramel drops. Good stuff. Yeah, and I'm a freak.

              1. re: barberinibee

                I think you're right to give up on those classic items you mentioned giving up on... but out curiosity, did you try Mile End?

                1. re: sugartoof

                  No, because Mile End is usually out of my mandatory'to'be'there zone. But I will keep it in mind. I don't consider a tongue and chopped liver sandwich a precision food item. I can tolerate a lot of lapse in hitting the mark. But it has been shocking how tasteless the deli sandwich has become in my recent experience of Manhattan.

                  1. re: barberinibee

                    I agree (though for different reasons, since I don't order either tongue, or chopped liver). There's a Mile End right off Bowery, just to keep in mind, for daytime hours. I don't think they carry tongue, and their chopped liver looks more like pate' and isn't traditional enough to suggest it, but the food isn't tasteless.

              2. Gramercy Tavern Bar, The Modern Bar, Momofuku Noodle Bar, Essa Bagel.

                1. My go back to list is usually bars! A bellini at Cipriani, the Cambell Apartment, used to be always the Oak Room at the Plaza, Bemelmans. Repeats are Minetta Tavern, Balthazar, before it closed I always had a meal at Carmine's Seafood in the South Street Seaport as I would stay in that neck of the woods. I really try to pick out new places each time though.

                  1. Grimaldi's, Katz's Deli, Porchetta, Eisenburg's Sandwich Shop, The Redhead, Crif Dogs, Boathouse in Central Park, Joe's Shanghai in Chinatown, Zum Schneider...

                    1. I try to get to NY at least once a year and I want to try something new every time. So I don't repeat much because there's always something new each time.

                      That said, I try to stop by the Doughnut Plant for the coconut cream square doughnut, Tori Shin for yakitori, Dean & Deluca for goodies to take home.

                      On my upcoming visit, I'm considering re-visiting ABC Kitchen and/or The Modern because we had such a wonderful food the last time.

                      1. I hadn't been to NY in years but went last year and am going back this month. Plan on revisiting ABC Kitchen because it was just so good. Staying at NoMad so drinks there again. And Breslin for breakfast (although there were some slip ups last time with our order).

                        1. Ess a Bagel on 3rd Ave. Onya, 143 E 47th St (between Lexington and 3rd) - enjoy the tan-tan udon, the daikon salad, and the pork dumplings. Katz's if it isn't slammed. Pizza Slices at Stanton Pizza( Stanton St-lower east side) and New York Pizza Suprema( 8th Ave near Penn Station). List was expanded due to our past weekend's trip to include: Le Parisien on E 33rd St--love their mussels and simple French country cooking and Il Cantuccio (Tuscan Bakery) at the corner of Bleecker and Christopher Streets--amazing biscotti, cookies, sandwiches, and focaccia. On weekends only--their Italian Donuts--airy and light.

                          1. Does Takashimaya count? I made sure to go there on every trip for tea and bento boxes until it closed.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Hobbert

                              Me too. I was so sad when they closed. I used to buy the Takashimaya blend tea to take home.

                            2. I go 3-4x a year.

                              Sakagura for the lunch special and sake
                              Minca for the tonkotsu ramen
                              Cocoroon or Soba-Koh for the soba
                              Two Little Red Hens for the red velvet cupcake
                              Torishin or Oh Taisho for yakitori
                              Smorgasburg for the new ideas.
                              Big Gay Ice Cream or Puddin for desserts

                              1. Always: Joe the Art of Coffee, Blind Tiger, Keste & Taim! Soon :)

                                1. Two to three times a year, depending on how busy I am. Repeat restaurants vary, but the ones we keep coming back to more than three times include:

                                  Le Bernardin
                                  Gramercy Tavern
                                  Union Square Cafe
                                  l'Atelier du Joel Robuchon (now closed)
                                  Le Gigot
                                  Vin et Fluers

                                  1. Felidia's, John's Pizza, and Les Halles in lower Manhattan. The last one because that is where the work and hotels are. Recently took some foreign visitors there, including a French person, and they enjoyed it immensely and are still talking about it months later!

                                    1. Balthazars/dinner, Norma's and Mesa Grill for Brunch, Faicos for Arancini, Nico's for their 4 Cheese pizza, the original Magnolia Bakery for their overly sweet cupcakes that I adore, Black and White Cookies from different places, EAT for their amazing bagel stacked lox/ schmeared sandwich, and Home for nostalgia..

                                      1. Spotted Pig, Katz's, New York Noodletown, one of the Chang restaurants