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Nov 6, 2013 01:09 PM

Recommendations/Critiques for "real" places itinerary NYC this weekend

Hi all, two of us are visiting NYC from Toronto this weekend, staying in Soho but open to anything in Manhattan. We have been to NYC quite a bit and have tried many of the popular places from Minetta Tavern to Russ and Daughters. Looking for places similiar to these- good food with some character. They can be touristy - we loved Katz's Deli.
Lunch/Dinner: So far thinking Grimaldi's Pizza under the Brooklyn Bridge, Smoked Fish from Barney Greengrass on Upper West Side, my fave Cuban sandwich at Cafe Habana in Nolita, burgers at Shake Shack, anything from Amy's Bread. No asian or indian - can get in Toronto.
Breakfast/Brunch: One breakfast at La Bonbonniere - need another breakfast or brunch..
Drinks: Tribeca Tavern is around the corner from us, and plan to try Ear Inn but need a few other options.
Dessert - looking for a great cheesecake option
Thanks all, nothing fancy, looking for down to earth places preferably those that have been around a while.

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  1. Avoid Grimaldi's. It's a tourist trap. Do go to Juliana's Pizzeria (in the old Grimaldi's location.) It's run by the original Grimaldi's people (they sold the original place and the quality fell off a cliff.)

    Since you're staying in Soho you should check out Walkers Pub nearby. Great old NY atmosphere, good pub food.

    Papatzul on Grand St. is good for upper scale Mexican. You'll need reservations. Turks and Frogs is nearby. Good Turkish in a great atmosphere. Again, please reserve.

    For a great old dive visit Nancy Whiskey Pub on Church. That ought to hold you.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Bob Martinez

      Wow thanks so much - exactly what I was looking for.

      1. re: Bob Martinez

        Definitely agree that you should skip Grimaldi's. Even Lombardi's (close to Soho), John's on Bleecker and Luzzo are better.

        Why aren't you interested in having Neapolitan pizza? So many good places in Manhattan and you won't even have to trek out to Brooklyn. Motorino and Keste are great.

        For cheesecake, of course you have the famous Junior's (since you like touristy). I personally would recommend Eileen's (close to Soho) and Two Little Red Hens (UES).

      2. Skip Ear Inn. While it's great as a local spot, there's nothing about it that makes it a destination.

        If you're staying in Soho/Tribeca, you should also check out Ward III, Weather Up, Smith & Mills, and Mothers Ruin.

        2 Replies
        1. re: loratliff

          Blind Tiger Alehouse and Daddy-O are both in the WV and great local spots, with a nice vibe and great beer/drinks.

          1. re: loratliff

            Aww, I love the Ear Inn. Then again, I was a local when I was going there, so...
            But I do think it's a destination for someone interested in NYC history.

            I'm going to add the Brandy Library. Granted, I've only been for the spirits classes, but I love the ambiance. Great service, too.

          2. When my buddies and I do a hookey day, we usually start at either Montero's for a wake up pint of Guiness or Spring Lounge for a bloody Mary/pint.

            Those are about as NY as I can imagine.

            The former speakeasy at Criff Dog (aka PDT/Please Don't Tell) might be a fun spot, too.

            1. I would try Rockmeisha for drinks, snacks. It is a sake bar on Barrow St in the Village. Not as trendy as some of the places you mention, but a good vibe.

              1. I can't thank everyone enough for all the recommendations. We will try as many of these spots as possible. I have looked up every single one and I wish I had time for all of them.

                For sure skipping Grimaldi's in favour of either John's or Juliana's. zeeeats I love Neopolitan pizza and I am spoiled in Toronto with three FANTASTIC places within 10 mins walk. Want to try a different kind of pizza.

                Think I will stick with Ear Inn - I am actually looking for places locals would go (places I would go if I lived in the neighbourhood).

                Will try to get to Walker`s Pub, Papatzul, Nancy Whiskey - (sounds like my kind of dive!), Eileen`s for cheescake and Spring Lounge.

                Appreciate the Rockmeisha suggestion but there seems to be a great Izakaya on every corner in Toronto and more opening all the time.

                Thanks again for your time. If anyone ever visits Toronto there is a lively Toronto Chowhound board where we can hopefully return the favour.

                1 Reply
                1. re: A flock of seagulls

                  Definitely avoid Grimaldi's, unless you're already in the neighborhood, and very hungry and there's no line and nothing else is open.