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Aug 26, 2013 06:44 PM

Help setting up dinning itinerary

I'm a newbie of NYC, I'll be there Sept 1 to Sept 5. And need help setting up good places to eat for lunch and dinner. I'm staying at Langham place 400 5th Ave.

I'm looking for upscale restaurants, Steak houses, Italian and burger joints.

Any help would be gratefully appreciated.

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  1. First off, you're planning a little last minute for NYC.

    You also don't say how far you're willing to travel to eat.

    Your list of cuisines is also a bit vague (in terms of upscale) and a bit short (steak, Italian, burgers). Steak, Italian, and burgers, you can find in a lot of cities... Why such a short list? What about some of the more interesting cuisines NYC has to offer?

    For steak & Italian, budget will make a big difference in where you can go.

    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.

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

    Ae you traveling solo?

    Note that popular places tend to book about a MONTH in advance. Are you willing to eat early or late?

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn

      Kathryn always has it nailed on the basic rundown and like she said, you're looking late for upscale places (they book quickly) BUT you might luck out since this weekend is Labor Day—a lot of folks might be enjoying their last summer Friday in the Hamptons or out of town.

      Just a few names to get you started:

      Italian: Carbone, Torrisi, L'Artusi, Rubirosa, Barbuto

      Burgers: Umami, Burger Joint, Corner Bistro, Shake Shack, Spotted Pig

      Steak Houses: Keen's, Peter Luger, Quality Meats

    2. Kathryn, Sorry about being vague. Looking for different places that NYC has to offer. I'm traveling solo, and am willing to travel all over Manhattan.

      I have no set budget willing to spend extra on dinner is not a problem. As for lunch it could be casual pub fare, Time for a beer and some grub will out sightseeing.

      I'm willing to wait for a table but not longer than an hour without a bar to pass the time by.

      I'm taking a private tour on Monday, It's a walking/metro tour. so I'll learn how to get around on the metro.

      loratliff, Thanks for the start.

      3 Replies
      1. re: maddags

        Are you willing to eat at the bar? At many restaurants, you can eat at the bar, so the bar will also be full of diners (Babbo, Minetta Tavern).

        Also at upscale restaurants, you need to make your reservations NOW if you want a table. Some, but not all, offer bar dining. Call ASAP and get on any waiting lists you can. Be flexible.

        Accept lunch as an option. For example, EMP may have a huge wait list for dinner by now, but not lunch.

        Per Se, Del Posto, Jean Georges, Le Bernardin, and EMP all serve lunch. But not every day of the week.

        Additionally, you can also dine at the bar at Eleven Madison Park (a la carte, not the tasting).

        Le Bernardin serves the full prix fixe and tasting at their bar but not the lounge tables.

        Daniel also serves the full prix fixe and tasting in their lounge. You can reserve on OpenTable.

        Del Posto serves a la carte & the prix fixe menu but not the tasting menu at the bar last I heard.

        Per Se only serves a la carte at their respective salon.

        Jean Georges does not really have a bar; the bar is inside of Nougatine and they serve the Nougatine menu.

        For modern, experimental cuisine, WD-50 does bar dining. Only bar diners can order a la carte. The prices are a great deal: two dishes for $25, each additional is $15. The dishes vary widely in size, so ask for the bartender's help.

        Upscale but usually easier to get into, try The Modern's Dining Room, Bouley, Jungsik, Aquavit, Marea, Lincoln, Scarpetta.

        If you want experience all that NYC has to offer you need more ethnic food (Chinese, Japanese, Thai, etc), only in NY food (pastrami sandwiches, pizza, smoked salmon & bagels), and haute casual restaurants (Momofuku Ssam, Louro, Pearl & Ash, Acme, etc) on your list.

        1. re: maddags

          Here's something I wrote for another out of town visitor. It may help you:

          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.

          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 NY style 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:

          1. re: kathryn

            Thank you Kathryn, This is a big help!!!!

            Now to plan out my days of sightseeing and food excursions.