NYC With Sister
Headed to Manhattan from London. Will be there 5 nights. Looking for good recs for the following:
- Italian - probably place with decent pizza
- Mexican - hopefully something good as London is shite
- Asian - not sushi
I know it is not specific but really hoping for help.
Party of two?
What's your budget per person for food only, in USD. It's better not to include the 8.875% tax, 20% tip, and any alcohol/wine (you don't specify if you're both of drinking age) when giving a budget.
When is the trip and how far in advance are you planning?
What about uniquely American or only in NY foods? Are you visiting anywhere else in the States on this trip?
Any issues/preferences for waiting for a table somewhere/long lines? Putting in some work to grab a reservation via phone (despite the time difference)?
When you say sushi do you mean nigiri and sushi omakase? Or fun maki rolls? The best places book up weeks in advance if you want austere / upscale / expensive, like Yasuda, Nakazawa, 15 East, etc. esp if you wanna sit at the bar.
Similarly for Italian... First off I'd keep the request separate from pizza. The best pizza places and the best Italian places in nyc are not one and the same usually. There's a little overlap, not much.
And the best, upscale, pricey Italian places also book up weeks in advance, or can have long waits without a reservations (Babbo, Maialino, etc).
For Mexican, what kind and what's your budget? Are you looking for a hole in the wall or something more mid or upscale? Any specific foods?
For Asian... Huge swath of possibilities between Korean, non-sushi Japanese, Chinese, Thai, etc. plus fusion places. So any preferences? Interested in a David Chang restaurant?
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 (i.e. BBQ to a Southerner, Mexican to an LA resident), 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.
Past "Uniquely NY" discussions:
Question to Locals http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/911971
Visitors, travellers, tourists and other Chowhounds who do not live in NYC, which places do you revisit when you visit Manhattan? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/912049
What says NYC to you?
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:
Notable food trucks/carts:
Prix fixe lunch deals:
Late night dining:
Best Old New York Restaurants:
Old school cocktail bars
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.
Eating near tourist attractions:
Where to Eat Near Museum Mile (Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney, Guggenheim, etc) on the UES:
Where to Eat Near Macy's/Herald Square/Penn Station/Empire State Building:
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:
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
I will make it easier for you. Go to Larb Ubol on 9th avenue for Thai. Go to Hunan Manor on Lexington Avenue and order real Hunan Dishes, not General Tso Chicken, Chicken with Broccoli, etc. Go to Bar Pitti for an Italian meal, go in nice weather and sit outside. Don't forget to look at the specials board before you order, its written in Italian but one of the charming waiters will translate. If you are really interested in Mexican food and don't just want tourist slop with big margaritas or what white people think is good Mexican, take the 2 or 5 train to the Jackson Avenue stop in the Bronx and eat at Carnitas el Atoradero. Don't bother with the menu, just eat the daily specials. Sushi and pizza there are tons of viable options just browse the threads. For a slice I myself go to Joe's down in the village, it's classic New York to me. Have a great trip, there are a lot of tourist traps in Manattan, tread wisely.
As Kathryn points out - budget will really help and if it is all about food or atmosphere (lively vs serious) too.
Where are you staying?
- Sushi - 15 East
- Italian (pizza) - Motorino, Co., Keste, Don Antonio
- Mexican - Empellon Taqueria, Empellon Cocina, Mission Cantina
- Asian (not sushi) - Ippudo, RedFarm, Legend, Pig & Khao, Uncle Boons