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Feb 28, 2014 05:35 PM


We're coming to NYC for 5 nights and have narrowed down our dinner choices but there are soooo many great restaurants to pick from I would like to get some opinions. Also based on my choices please tell me if there are other reccommendations you would make. We don't want to do the Per Se, Daniel or Eleven Madison Park types. So far I've got:

Gramercy Park

Also need lunch choices downtown, uptown, midtown.

Much appreciated!

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  1. There is no better fine dining deal in NYC than Jean-Georges' lunch. Make yourself very happy and add dessert.

    11 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca

      GF, don't you mean MULTIPLE desserts?!? OP, when she treated us to lunch she insisted we order three desserts which are actually nine cause they're three to a plate. Plus you get the housemade marshmallows, the macarons and the housemade candies. One example below. Note the gold leaf :)

      1. re: c oliver

        That was certainly one great meal. I am not a "dessert person," but I would not have wanted to miss one of those.

        1. re: pikawicca

          We're not "DP" either...but there's dessert and then there's J-G dessert. Crazy good.

          1. re: MamasCooking

            She FORCED us to do this! Promise :) It would have been rude to decline!

        2. re: pikawicca

          I second that. JG's Nougatine prix fix lunch is one of the great bargains in the NYC high end dining scene.

          1. re: OC Mutt

            Is Nougatine's menu the same as J-G?

              1. re: kathryn

                So it doesn't look like Nougatine has a prix fixe. ???

                1. re: c oliver

                  They do. For some reason it's no longer on that website it's here on the JG site. Like next and text below. "Nougatine offers a prix-fixe lunch menu Monday through Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. We enforce a business casual dress code which includes no sneakers, shorts, t-shirts or flip flops." Note: You will need reservations most of the time.

                  1. re: OC Mutt

                    For a second J-G lunch I was able to get a res less than 48 hours out.

        3. I'm a big fan of Betony and The NoMad (different restaurant than Nomad). Both of these restaurants are open for lunch.

          1. What are you looking for?

            The choices you list are, um, rather eclectic. I mean, for example, Carbone is very different from Betony, which is not really the same as Barbuto.

            Each all worthwhile and enjoyable in their own right, but it just depends on what exactly you want out of a dining experience.

            4 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              Well we do want some different experiences. Looking for good tasty food, price range doesn't matter. Just don't want to go to the over-the-top Jean-George/Per Se/11 Madison type dinners.

              1. re: Brentwood90049

                From your list, and based on personal preferences and experiences, I would do Carbone, Telepan (esp. if you enjoy wine), and Betony.

                NoMad is popular on this board, but it fails to launch for me. But that's just me.

                Also, Gramercy Tavern seems very much to me in the same vein as EMP, Per Se, etc., that you say you want to avoid.

                Hope that helps. Enjoy your visit.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Thanks, appreciate it. Any thoughts on lunch? Soups, sandwiches, salads. We'll be all over during the day including Brooklyn.

                  1. re: Brentwood90049

                    Post on the Outer Boroughs board for Brooklyn, specifying neighborhood and day of the week. Brooklyn is large.

            2. There's some basic info missing from your post.

              When is this trip and where you are coming from?

              Do you already have reservations for all of these? How did you come to this list?

              What's your budget before tax, tip, alcohol?

              How large is your party?

              What cuisines do you like? Your list seems pretty euro centric.

              Also saying uptown, downtown, and midtown is a huge span of Manhattan. Please be more specific. What attractions will you visit? Intersections?

              2 Replies
              1. re: kathryn

                We are coming for a wedding from LA and could be considered foodies. We are the people other people call and ask about restaurants. When we travel we like to experience the best food in that city. I came to these restaurants by looking at lists I respect and then I go over the menus with my husband and we pick what sounds appealing. Not interested in Asian as we have so much here nor Spanish as we were just there recently. There will be 4 of us. Money is not an issue, just want good, well made tasty food.

                1. re: Brentwood90049

                  If you're from LA, not sure you should be spending your time so much on farm to table restaurants.

                  Even if you have lots of Asian in LA, my LA friends love the Momofuku restaurants. It would be a shame to miss out on somewhere like Ssam Bar. You can also get some great molecular cocktails at Booker & Dax.

                  I would look into Russ & Daughters, Pearl Oyster Bar, Minetta Tavern, Ssam Bar, John's of Bleecker, Balthazar, Babbo, etc

                  While you have some good choices on your list, not many seem particularly New York to me.

              2. Here's what I've written for other visitors & it may help you.

                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?

                How hard are you willing to work for a reservation at a restaurant that's hard to book?

                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.

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

                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 Georges).

                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 UWS:

                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:

                Where to have dinner before a Broadway show/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 Reply
                1. re: kathryn

                  You remain amazing and so kind and generous.