HOME > Chowhound > Philadelphia >


Philly Food Lovers recommend anything in NYC?

Planning a trip to NYC and disappointed with the selection and I struck out last time. I guess I just love what I am used to. I like some of Steven Starr's restaurants like Dandelion, Parc, The Continental and Jones especially cause they are Trendy. Feel like nothing in NYC is like them. Trying to find one good breakfast/brunch and one good dinner (with dessert). Also the craft beer bars there don't even compare. (they don't have a website like phillytapfinder) Seems like NYC changes too much while Philly doesn't!?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 1. Breakfast/brunch .. I am a huge fan of Daniel Boulud's places there, and can recommend without question Bar Boulud in the Lincoln Cnter part of town. Brunch on sunday is very good there. My other standby for breakfast is Barney Greengrass on the Upper West Side. Old time Jewish deli that serves some of the best smoked fish in the city.

    2. Craft beer bars. There are quite a few good ones, though these days a lot of them are in brooklyn (such as Spuyten Duyvil). I would recommend three in Manhattan...

    Ginger Man.. by far my favorite. 40 plus taps, good bottle selection as well. Can get crowded. But they take their beer seriously. I rememnber one time there the bartender tasted the beer first to make sure it was ok because she had not poured one yet that day. Her tasting notebook that she kept behind the bar was incredible. Highly recommended.

    Blind Tiger... down in the Village on Bleeker. Dump atmosphere, but the beer selection is top notch.

    DBA ... on the lower east side but has a very good selection and probably the best cask beer selection in Manhattan.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cwdonald


      I knew I would get a good response from you since I seem to see you reply to all my posts :-) Bar Boulud's brunch looks good. Greengrass however we'll have to forgo, my husband does not eat any seafood. (I'll have some though when we for our steak dinner.)

      Also we may do a tour at Brooklyn Brewery and I've never been over there so there's a first time for everything and Spuyten Duyvil is only a 14 minute walk from BB.


      1. re: littlecmad

        If you're going to Brooklyn Brewery, you can get a wonderful meal any time of day at Reynard at Wythe Hotel around the corner. And you'll be relatively close to Torst, a huge Nordic beer nerd place just over the border of Williamsburg in Greenpoint. Another popular craft beer spot if you're trending along the coast is Alewife in LIC.

    2. Comical.

      Anyway, easy answers would be Cafe Boulud in UES for breakfast/brunch there are so many good dinner restaurants that it boggles the mind, but ABC Kitchen would probably float your boat based on the above.

      1. I don't know that I can steer you the direction you want (Trendy) because I tend to love the hole-in-the-wall with fabulous food that in some remote borough hood. The choreographed SS type experience is not so much a NYC type experience for me. I can tell you what I miss (6 years in Philly now) that I find less readily available in Philly - mostly ethnic stuff

        Korean food in NYC is fantastic - several places in the 30's sort of near the ESB - are excellent

        Thai - again a bunch of options in Hells Kitchen

        Pizza - just normal pizza by the slice - its not the same here, good but not the same

        Deli - real Jewish deli and bagels

        So often for me the best of NYC is crowded and ethnic - and somewhat out of the way - its all about variety, energy the mix that makes NYC great, fun and unique.

        If you are looking for that trendy SS type experience the Meatpacking district could be a place to start.

        I actually feel that Philly has been incredibly dynamic lately lots of great new things happening all over and really accessible. I hate to compare Philly and NYC they are just so different my advice is to look for a NYC experience in NYC not compare to a Philly one

        One thing I think is by scale it is just easier to sort through options in Philly - NYC is just so vast and has so many choices that it is harder to zero in - I have my own list of special places but so does everybody else.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JTPhilly

          You make a good point. There are lots of choices in NYC so its just a matter of finding what I'll like!

        2. OK, this may or may not be Steven Starr-esque, but my number one "brunch" recommendation in NYC is The Bar Room at The Modern, and then follow it up by spending a few hours at MoMA.

          The Modern itself is one of the best restaurants in NYC (1 Michelin star), and predictably expensive. But The Bar Room is located right next to it in MoMA (separated by an opaque glass partition), and much more affordable. Sensational, interesting, dare I say, even sexy food.

          I usually make a res for 11:30AM right at opening, because it does get packed with tourists because, well, it is located in a world-class museum (actually the entrance is outside, hidden 1/2 a block down from MoMA).

          But it's a beautiful, sexy space, so I guess you might say it is a bit like what Buddakan wishes it was like (Buddakan is all image and mediocre food).

          1. Balthazar is like Parc, but preceded it. The Spotted Pig is a Michelin starred gastro pub.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Worldwide Diner

              Gotham Bar & Grill was really good the last time we were there. It's New American cuisine.

              If you like a deli, you really should go to Katz's.

              There are also a lot of good pastry places (like Miel but much better), such as Payard.

              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                l would prefer to say that Parc tries hard, but nowhere near hard enough, to succeed to be Balthazar.

              2. Quite good responses already and depending upon ones tastes all could satisfy. Of those mentioned ones I consider special are Bar Boulud, Spotted Pig, Balthazar , The Bar Room at The Modern. Difficult to narrow down the choices in the city based on your request. In a moderate price range try one of these: Landmarc and Bouchon Bakery at the Time Warner Center. Le Pain Quotidien or Cafe Luxembourg is on West 70th Street. Rosa Mexicano on West 62nd. Sapphire for Indian.

                1. where are you staying in NYC? If your staying south of Penn Station, I recommend the rooftop micro brew at Eataly (great views of ESB). Po in WV for dinner - nice pastas - pretty trendy. Originally owned by Mario Batali. If you can get a reservation, it sounds like Dell'Anima, L'Artusi (both in WV) or Scarpetta (MPD) are right up your alley. Check the Manhattan boards for brunch spots, it's a popular topic! :) Enjoy your trip!

                  1. Highly recommend some of our following favorites:
                    A Voce and Marea are both total winners and reside in Columbus Circle on the UWS.
                    Lincoln, right next to the Met Opera, is also worth looking into.
                    Not quite as trendy but very classic is Picholine which is just a few blocks away from Lincoln Center.
                    For people and celeb watching right across the street from Lincoln Center is the trendy bar of Ed's Chowder House. Small plates and drinks are always popular there.

                    1. Funny, I have the opposite problem lol. I'm trawling chowhound right now to find somewhere in Philly that is not part of a chain, more New York-ish as it were. I'm too late for Vedge or Zahav sadlt. I've been to a few of the Steven Starr ventures in Philly, and years ago he had a restaurant in Brooklyn (Pod) but it bombed. He has a few restaurants in NYC now, you can always just do that ;-)

                      Anyway, many solid suggestions so far. Balthazar is probably closest to what you are looking for, it's part of the Pastis/ Shiller's/ Lucky Strike family of restaurants. Haven't been to any of them in many years though.

                      If you are willing to venture into Williamsburg, Brooklyn you'll find some flashier/trendier places. The original Fette Sau is right across from Spuyten Duyvil, and St. Anslem is right next door (put in your name when you get there, enjoy a few beers at SD while you wait, it's a looong wait). A short walk away, around Grand St, you'll find Walter Foods, Bozu, Cadaques, Rye, Dokebi, Baci&Abracci.....

                      For beer I second DBA and Blind Tiger, (and Brooklyn Brewery/ spuyten duyvil of course). I would add Jimmy's 43 and Houston Hall in manhattan, and the original Barcade (haven't been to the Philly outpost in Fishtown yet so I don't know how it compares) and Spritzenhaus in Brooklyn.

                      Good luck!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: breewell

                        Unfortunately Steven Star only has four restaurants in NYC. Not a fan of any of those. I like Continental, Jones, Dandelion, Butcher & Singer, Parc and Talula's.

                        Thanks for the Brooklyn suggestions though!

                      2. Breakfast brunch favorites: Forager Table in Chelsea, Cookshop in the Meatpacking District, Prune on the Lower East Side, Café Cluny in the West Village and the twins Balthazar in SoHo and Pastis in the Meatpacking.

                        Current dinner favorites: Marea, Ai Fiori, Mailano, Pylos in Alphabet City, Txikito (Basque tapas), Jungsik (Haute Korean Fusion). And, haven't been there, but dying to try Hangawi (vegetarian) in Koreatown.

                        Not into Craft Beer in a big way, so can't comment on that.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: middleagedfoodie

                          Hangawi is interesting vegetarian Korean. You take off your shoes upon entering and sit on mats at low tables (fortunately there is a foot well below the table). The decor is definitely very Asian, although curiously not all Korean (I doubt many of the guests can actually tell the difference).

                          The food is fun to eat, but I wouldn't call it great, if you know what I mean. But defintiely a fun experience (so much so, I've been there several times). But if I just wanted good casual Korean, I would go somewhere in Koreatown, like Shilla for BBQ.

                          Hangawi is more of a fun place to take a date, than to have great Korean cusine in my mind. Was introduced to it by Deluca, who told me it was the best Korean in NYC, so he may have a different opinion.

                          Wow, a lot of non-Philly discussion on the board. Don't alert the censor!

                          1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                            The point of this is see what restaurants in NYC are similar to PHILADELPHIA restaurants. And what better way to find out than to ask Philly food lovers? I love food in Philly but have a hard time finding the same quality in NYC.

                            1. re: littlecmad

                              So many factors are involved in making a comparison:

                              -personal taste
                              -having experienced dishes at places compared
                              -multi visit, multi dishes
                              - knowing what places to compare
                              - relative cost/quality of those being compared
                              I suppose the quick and easy way is to compare is by cuisine but then regional differences could come into play.

                              Certainly the quality is available in NYC and with the sheer number of restaurants, finding specific comparisons and exactly what one is looking for is a big challenge. Favorites in a cuisine may be the best starting point. NYC is one of the great restaurant cities of the world offering just about whatever it is anyone could want. OMO

                              1. re: Edwardrae

                                Not to drag this out any further, but I'm not sure what a Philadelphia-style restaurant would be, unless it serves cheesesteaks or is a BYOB. Like any city, and like NYC, Philly has all sorts of restaurants, and there are probably comparable restaurants in NYC for any of them. I'm sure the NYC board would be better at finding what you are looking for if you accurately describe it for them.

                              2. re: littlecmad

                                You need to be more specific. Are you looking for a great breakfast place in NYC (Shopsin's perhaps) that serves great breakfasts like The Dandelion Pub?

                                Is there better pasta in Philadelphia than NYC?


                                1. re: scoopG

                                  Damn good pasta in NYC, but had a meal with friends at Zeppoli Monday that after apps consisted of 4 large plates of pasta served one at a time and we shared all, was an OMG moment, the finish was sepia, sepia ink, and sepia ink pasta, all around applause.
                                  Earlier ones were as good as gnocchi spinach as ever have had and a Sicilian style trapanese that made me weak, lastly a bucatina carbonera.
                                  Owner/chef trained at Vetri as the pasta guy, he learned quite a bit, just awesome.

                                  1. re: scoopG

                                    We had lunch at Shopsin's the other day and had the best sandwiches of our lives!

                                    1. re: scoopG

                                      That's exactly what I'm asking, I said I like Steven's Starr's places but not the ones he has in NYC and I am looking for places like that, ie. a great place like Dandelion for Brunch

                              3. I moved to NYC from Philly a little over a year ago - I can't believe you can't find a place you're happy with here. I'll defer to cwdonald on the craft beer bars.

                                Most of Steven Starr's restaurants aren't very good, but they are indeed trendy. The Dandelion was one of the good ones - their chef now cooks at The Shakespeare in NYC, and the early word is good.

                                Parc sucks, but its NYC equivalent - Balthazar, as somebody already mentioned - is decent.

                                Here are a few trendy places for dinner that actually have good food:

                                Charlie Bird
                                The Spotted Pig/The Breslin (same chef)
                                the Momofuku places - all pretty good

                                Also, you can't really go wrong with the Batali, DB, JG, or Danny Meyer places.

                                35 Replies
                                1. re: deprofundis

                                  New York food is great, it's NYers that suck.

                                  deprofundis, you are grandfathered in, so you are safe.

                                  Go Cowboys.

                                  (I'm really going to get banned now.)

                                  1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                    I find NYers to be SUPER nice and friendly and they're who give me great food recs.

                                    1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                      Umm.....you realize that this is on the manhattan board, right?? Aka full of new yorkers......? You may want to watch your language before you are eaten alive.

                                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                                        As if anyone here cares what some guy from Philadelphia thinks of us.

                                        1. re: small h

                                          It's a well-known fact that Philadelphians eat their own, and thus no wonder their palates are aberrant.

                                          1. re: small h

                                            Haha, you're right- not even eye contact worthy in these parts....

                                            1. re: Ttrockwood

                                              NYers also seem to need a humor transplant.

                                              1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                                You're transplant enough for us, PBB; thanks, and haha.

                                              2. re: small h

                                                I've never had a good meal in Philly. Except for good cheese steak. The Italian/American food is horrible, the trendy places are wannabee. Even Buddakan there is nowhere as nice or as good as the one in NYC ( which isn't really that good).
                                                For what it's worth the chef at Pig and Khao is from Philly and wears a Phillies cap when he cooks. I like what he cooks.
                                                Oh yeah ,,i like Philadelphia cream cheese.
                                                But I agree with the inscription on WC Field's tombstone
                                                " i'd rather be here than in Philadelphia"

                                                1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                  And to think, I've never had a bad meal in Philly. Except for a bad cheesesteak. (It's all one word BTW). :)

                                                  1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                    And I have never had a good cheesesteak because they do not exist.

                                                    Buddakhan is a disneyesque restaurant that has very little redeeming value. High end PF Changs is a good description of it.

                                                    That said there is plenty of good food in Philadelphia, and frankly plenty of mediocre food in Manhattan. And having been born in Brooklyn, grew up in Westchester, and lived in Philadelphia for over 20 years I know both cities well enough to make these blanket statements.

                                                    1. re: cwdonald

                                                      Uhm a good cheesesteak is absolutely one of the best sandwiches on planet earth. With provolone that is....

                                                      1. re: MVNYC

                                                        Provolone!? Ain't you fancy. Two words: "Whiz. Wit."

                                                      2. re: cwdonald

                                                        I agree that there are plenty of mediocre restaurants and even terrible restaurants in NYC. But there are great ones. Ive eaten in Philly at least 100 times, I've never had exceptional food. Little Italy has decent red sauce ( i know you call it South Side or something like that and not little Italy). But even the Italian /American there is not as good as NYC. I used to like Buchbinder's soup, if that counts.. I've been to some newer trendy restaurants and wasn't all that impressed. As far as Buddakan goes, the one in Manhattan is 10 times the size , a 12 million dollar renovation, the menu had more choices and better food. I think a high end PF Chang, isn't really fair, Its not great but it deserves more than that. As far as Philly Cheesesteak(one word) , I love them. and with Wiz not real cheese. But Katz's deli makes a good version of one with better meat and real cheese.
                                                        In any case I know this isn't the Phila. board, but if you can name 2 really good places to try in Philadelphia I will try, as I am in Philly and near Philly every week.

                                                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                          The Italian-American food in NYC is awful. Even Park Side is not really that good. Philly has good IA food, but maybe you need to know where to look. I'd suggest Dante & Luigi's.

                                                          As far as the newer places, check out Vetri, Zahav, Kanella, Vernick, Vedge, or Bibou. They all could hold their own in NYC.

                                                          1. re: deprofundis

                                                            Ok, thanks. IA i usually go to Ralph's or 2 doors down. I'll try Dante& Luigi. If they are as good as Parkside or Don Peppe I'll be pleased. I will try the other places.

                                                            1. re: deprofundis

                                                              NYC does have SOME good Italian-American food, it's just that Little Italy isn't the place to look for it. There's the Parm / Torrisi / Carbone family but really the best spots are out in the boroughs - lots of places up in the Bronx, a few old-school joints still standing in Brooklyn and Queens... Enoteca Maria on Staten Island is fun.

                                                              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                That's right. I forgot to mention, if you go to Zahav the "mesibah" tasting menu with the lamb shoulder is the only way to go. Book in advance.

                                                                1. re: deprofundis

                                                                  Last time we were in Philly we had the "mesibah" tasting. It was very good. Unfortunately there were just 2 of us and there was enough food for 6 people. We couldn't take doggy bags because there was no refrigerator in our room. Sadly, we had to leave a very large amount of food.

                                                                  Also at in Varicks which we loved. Eating there again when we are in Philly in April. We'r coming from Ny

                                                              2. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                My food experiences overall in Philly have been less than exciting. I like me a Cheesesteak, of course, and a pork/rabe sandwich. But some of the more lauded places have let me down. Federal Donuts - I found most of the donuts tasted the same, regardless what "flavor" they were, and their much-vaunted fried chicken was aggressively salty - not inedibly so, but borderline. In fact, I find much of the food I've had in Philly over-salted - I had a similar issue at Marc Vetri's lauded Osteria. We had a couple good dishes, but overall most dishes were unbalanced in the salt direction, really lacking in acidity in a number of places.

                                                                Vetri's namesake flagship, of course, is a whole other ballgame - and foodwhisperer, that should probably be one of your two places to try if you've got money to blow.

                                                                Also Serpico - granted, he's a NYC expat, but if you were a fan of his work at Momofuku (don't know if you made it to Ko in the early days when he was running the show there) you should definitely check it out. Reasonably priced, too.

                                                                1. re: sgordon

                                                                  Yeah, Federal Donuts is ok but overhyped. I was never a huge fan of Osteria, although there are a few gems on their menu. Vetri is way better. I also like Amis, but if I'm visiting from NYC probably wouldn't go out of my way to go there. Serpico's good.

                                                                  1. re: deprofundis

                                                                    My only issue with Vetri is their website. It is entirely unclear what one gets with their meal going in - you're not going to get all the dishes in the "tasting menu" listed there. Of the twenty or so dishes listed on the page, I imagine a solo diner will get perhaps six or seven. ( - ? Has anyone here dined there solo?) A two-top will get a dozen of them, catered to their tastes. So it's not really a "tasting menu" as most think of it, where there's a pre-set series of courses and everyone's getting basically the same thing - it's just a, y'know, a regular menu menu. With a prix fixe.

                                                                    1. re: sgordon

                                                                      A meal at Vetri begins with a glass of prosecco, followed by a crudite, a plate of canapes/snacks, and gaeta olives in olive oil + bread. This is generally followed by two antipasti courses, two pastas, one main, an intermezzo, dessert, and petit fours & coffee. With 2 or more diners, they will try to make sure everybody gets something different. The tasting menu has no choices, but you can tell the waiter your preferences and they will accomodate you.

                                                                2. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                  I agree regarding Buddakan, not all the dishes are great but there's enough skill in the food to make it a respectable dining option. No more PF Chang than Babbo is a high end Olive Garden. I have to say I was not impressed by a recent pasta tasting and multi-course meal at Babbo....

                                                              3. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                It's as ridiculous to say Philadelphia has no good food as it does to NYC. They're both good food cities.

                                                                1. re: MVNYC

                                                                  Respectfully disagree. A cheesesteak even if made with hand cut rib eye is really just a greasy mess.

                                                                  Its kind of like associating hot dogs with New York. Short of Nathans there really are not good hot dogs in NYC, especially if you like a good natural casing hot dog. New Jersey has much better hot dogs than NYC fwiw The association is there, even if the quality is not.

                                                                  And provolone is not a good cheese for a cheesesteak because of the tendency for it to get rubbery.

                                                                  Philadelphia is getting a lot more publicity for its roast pork sandwich with greens (broccoli rabe, or spinach) and aged provolone the for the grease bombs called cheesesteaks. In fact that sandwich won an award as best sandwich in america. That should be the sandwich associated with philadelphia not steakum slabs.

                                                                  1. re: cwdonald

                                                                    A greasy mess isn't a bad thing. Sorry I and many others like them. Roast pork sandwich is good too.

                                                                    It's like our halal meats, greasy chicken or gyro tastes really good.

                                                                    It isn't a gourmet thing, food is subjective. I love halal or a cheesesteak differently than I love high end sushi or an expensive tasting menu but they both bring me happiness in their respective places.

                                                                    For the record I consider halal street food more NY than a hot dog at this point.

                                                                    1. re: MVNYC

                                                                      Calling something hallal on the street, has about as much credibility as a hot dog vendor having a sabrett umbrella and you assume he is using a sabrett hot dog. You cannot trust any of them.

                                                                      And the philadelphia cheesesteak is something we are saddle with in Philadelphia unfortunately even though most of them use low quality bread, meat and cheese. We hopefully someday can rid it from the cuilinary lexicon associated with the city of brotherly snowballs thrown at santa.

                                                                      1. re: cwdonald

                                                                        It's called halal man. Refers to various forms of delicious street meat. I'm not an observant Muslim so I don't care if it is halal but enough people that care eat At these places. You might need to settle down

                                                                        There are shitty halal places as well as good ones. Cheesesteaks run the gamut as well. Sorry you don't like them

                                                                    2. re: cwdonald

                                                                      +1 CW

                                                                      Roast pork is the real Philly sandwich (never had a decent cheesesteak in Philly, or anywhere else).

                                                          2. re: deprofundis

                                                            Thank you. Also my husband can be picky. While I love Babbo, I'm not sure I can get him there. That's why Steven's Starr's places are good. The food is not too fancy, and not too unique. I read about the Shakespeare before your post and I'm hoping we can get there.

                                                            1. re: littlecmad

                                                              Babbo ain't fancy. Most of the dishes are fairly traditional, with a few things a little further outside the box. I find it's one of those great "something for everyone" kind of places. Also the vibe is so casual, laid back, fun. That said, getting a reservation is not the easiest thing.

                                                              Maybe check out some of Keith McNally's places - Balthazar or Minetta Tavern - nothing adventurous on the menu, just solid classics done really well. And if it's trendy you want, they're as high on that list as it gets.

                                                          3. http://www.beermenus.com/cities/new-y... has a pretty good set of beer menus for NYC. Most of the major places are listed there.

                                                            We have an astounding collection of craft beer bars, FWIW.

                                                            As to restaurants, I'm not sure how to respond to someone who likes places -because- they're "trendy" - that's never been a criteria I've judged restaurants on.

                                                            1. Now that this thread is back on the Philly board, can we start ganging up on NYers again?

                                                              foodwhisperer, WC Fields never actually said that, on his tombstone or elsewhere. The actual quote is:

                                                              "I'd like to see Paris before I die...Philadelphia would do!"

                                                              Oh, and Philadelphia Cream Cheese is actually a NY brand.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                                                and New Yorker american cheese originated in Philly.

                                                              2. So here is my recap:

                                                                Dinner: Delmonico's Kitchen, I got the Restaurant week VERY petite Salmon (as it should be called) but it was excellent after the risotto and my husband really enjoyed his NY Strip and asparagus. Also this was the best Baked Alaska I've had since Union Square Cafe, Much BETTER than Butcher and Singer (http://www.butcherandsinger.com/).

                                                                Brunch: Very much like Sabrina's ( http://sabrinascafe.com/), the cute and quaint Penelope. Its too bad the service was bad. Our waitress had such an attitude, was mean and rude after I presented her with a free drink ticket, told me I could get a latte with and then charged us for it saying when I questioned her, "oh, no you can only get certain drinks". Food was great and worth the hour wait though, service wasn't.

                                                                I realized now I should not have said TRENDY and just asked for places similar to, or better than Butcher & Singer and Sabrina's. Thanks!

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: littlecmad

                                                                  Thanks for the great write up. Out of curiosity did you end up doing the Brooklyn Brewery tour or going to any craft beer bars in the city?

                                                                  1. re: cwdonald

                                                                    We did go to Brooklyn Brewery, the tour was great but the beer selection was disappointing. Did not visit any of the other beer bars this time. Just too tired to walk around and visit them all. After visiting the 911 memorial my husband saw a sign for 30 draft beers at The Irish American Pub on John street. They only had one beer, Founder's Porter that we both wanted to try.

                                                                2. As a long time resident of Manhattan and London; I travel frequently to Philadelphia and enjoy the city, its restaurants and its amazing art collections as do many of my friends from Manhattan. Most comparisons of the cities are of the apples to oranges variety as both are quite unique and can stand on their own. I see no need for nastiness to support one preference.