Best Times Square restaurant.
Relatives from London are coming over tomorrow, and will need to take them out for a tour. I'll be taking them to Rockefeller Center and Times Square just for tomorrow. Been to Carmine plenty of times want to try something else. Kind of in a budget and it 4 of us, so nothing more than 15-20$ per person plate.
I am about to endanger my CH credibility but I recommend John's Pizzeria on West 44th.
I took a group of 16 Central Europeans there in October. We were constrained by money and location but I read enough good things so I figured it was worth a shot. We ordered a bunch of pizzas for the table and it turned out to be a winner.
The toppings, and there are a ton of them, are fresh and terrific and the sauce is well made. The only negative is that the crust tended to be soft. This wasn't much of an issue for my guests since they were all eating their slices with a knife and fork but I missed the crispness. Later I did some more research and found that this problem can be fixed by asking for extra crispy crust. The servers get the request regularly and the kitchen knows how to handle it.
Service was first rate - we were a large table but the server was really attentive. The pies are big and no one left hungry. The price was really reasonable - less that $20 per person with tax and tip and some soft drinks. (Alcohol was handled separately - we couldn't get reimbursed for that.)
There's only one concern - John's only takes reservations for big groups of 16 or more. With a reservation we had no problem at 8:00PM on a Friday night but the waiting area was jammed with people. I suggest you go at an off peak time. There's a bar in the waiting area so you won't be thirsty.
Yes, there are better pizza places in the city but you asked for one near Times Square that was comparatively cheap. John's fits the bill and it's surprisingly good. Londoners will love it.
One more time - ask for extra crispy.
If you really want to do something interesting get the heck out of TS!!!
Hop on the subway and head down to Chinatown and have a feast for less than $20pp.
Hit Jing Fong for Dim Sum. They will be impressed and amazed.
If they like their cocktails head over to Lantern's Keep for a classy liquid dinner.
The Ollie's at 42nd and 9th is actually pretty decent, especially if you order from the Sichuan portion of the menu. My boyfriend, who spent a few years in China, was the one who brought me there first (and I'm an American-born Chinese). I usually order their spicier stuff (country style bean curd, prawns with asparagus, minced pork with salted sour long beans, different fish dishes, etc.) and have always been favorably impressed. You can definitely make it out of there for under $20 a person.
At Pio Pio at 10th Av and 44th you can get a very good whole rotisserie chicken, good fries and an excellent avacado salad for a total of $30--eno for 4 people. Further north on 10th btw 54 and 55 is Inti, also Peruvian, with similar pricing and it's popular with foodies.