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Visiting Manhattan in July, seeking restaurant suggestions

  • t

I'm visiting Manhattan in July, staying at the W hotel on Lexington Ave. and then moving to the Algonquin. First three days are pleasure, second three days are business. So I'm seeking restaurant suggestions for five nights - breakfast for six days, lunches for four days and dinners for six nights.

I saw a previously thread where a longtime poster had put down questions that a visitor should answer before getting suggestions, so let me answer those.

But please know that I'm open to any type of food, other than "southern" cooking or BBQ.

I'm coming from Kentucky, and I'll be in town in mid-July. I'm willing to spend $25 per person before tax/tips/drinks for one dinner, $40 per person for two of the dinners, and $60 per person for two of the dinners. I'd also like one late-night suggestion that would be good for cocktails and appetizers since we'll be arriving late. The price doesn't matter for that location, but I'd like it to be fairly close to the W Hotel at 541 Lexington Ave.

For breakfast, I'd like to spend $10-$20 per person on each of the six meals, and would like to keep a couple in the lower range, bagels, for instance, etc.

For lunch, $20-$25 before drinks/tip is the cap for each of the four meals.

We will be all over town the first three days, doing the tourist thing, so I'm open to suggestions anywhere, since I will set our schedule to accommodate our chosen restaurants as much as possible. But we will be visiting Staten Island, the 9/11 museum, the NY Library, the museums on Park Avenue, Columbus Circle, Bryant Park, Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center. We also plan to take a short cruise on the Hudson and do the gondolas in Central Park.

The second three days we will be stationed in midtown, at the Algonquin, with less flexibility to move around because I'll be at a conference each day. I'm willing to take a taxi to a restaurant within a 15-minute ride but no farther.

I prefer restaurants that take reservations, or that won't have more than a 15-20 minute wait for a table. We dislike waiting for tables. We'd rather spend more, above our budget, and not have to wait.

I will check restaurant websites daily to try to book a hard-to-snag table.

So please let me know your suggestions. Thanks.

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  1. Unfortunately, your proposed budget is definitely on the low end, especially for Manhattan & the area you are staying in.

    It will be harder to find cheap eats, but not impossible. It sounds like you'll be all around town, though, and not just around the hotel.

    Check out midtownlunch.com for options in Midtown.

    I hope you are willing to stand in line and eat street food at least once or twice? That opens up a lot of cheap(er) eats and you can reallocate funds for, say, a sit down dinner.

    Near ish to your hotel is Ess a Bagel, Le Relais De Venise L’Entrecôte, Hatsuhana, The Smith, The National, as well as the dining options in Grand Central Terminal (including Shake Shack).

    Ess a Bagel and the Smith would work for breakfast. Perhaps the Eggs Travaganza cart?

    I know there's at least one CH here who likes Treehaus and/or Dishes. Maybe Katsu-Hama or King of Falafel & Shawarma cart?

    Rockefeller Center is a short walk away and has Bouchon Bakery, Jacques Torres, 'Wichcraft, Blue Bottle, Magnolia Bakery, and La Maison du Chocolat by the way.

    On arrival, I might hit up Bar Room at the Modern or Ma Peche for cocktails and appetizers, but they will both be on the more expensive end of your price range, just so you know what to expect.

    Check out realcheapeats.com for places you might want to visit. I am also a big fan of the Serious Eats site.

    Eating near tourist attractions:

    Where to Eat Near Times Square:
    http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/0...
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/833282

    Where to Eat Near MoMA (the museum cafe is actually pretty good, as is the Modern next door):
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/771459
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/767638

    Where to Eat Near Museum Mile (Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney, Guggenheim, etc) on the UES:
    http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/0...
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/963070
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/906331
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793684
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/795435
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793684

    Where to Eat Near the Museum of Natural History on the UWS:
    http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2011/0...
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793258
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/748686

    Where to Eat Near Macy's/Herald Square/Penn Station/Empire State Building:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/894256
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/725320
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/757797
    http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/0...

    Where to Eat Near Grand Central/Midtown East:
    http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2014/0...
    http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/0...

    Where to Eat in Soho:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/701593
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7577...

    Where to Eat near 5th Avenue shopping / Bloomingdale's / Rockefeller Center:
    http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2010/1...
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9064...

    Where to have dinner before a Broadway show/pre-theatre dining (many of the same Times Square recs also apply):
    newyork.seriouseats.com/2014/04/where-to-eat-theater-district-updated.html
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/671275
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/755684
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/715535
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/788254

    Where to Eat Near the 9/11 Memorial:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8461...

    Hudson Eats, an indoor food hall, is also nearby:
    http://brookfieldplaceny.com/dining/a...

    4 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Thanks, I can up our dinner budget if needed. I thought that $40-$60 per person before tax/tip/drinks would cover a range of places, after my initial reviews, since entrees were about $30-$40 for most of the places I looked at in the mid range.

      We always share an appetizer ($15-$20 at the places I saw), and get individual entrees ($30-$40 at the places I saw) and share dessert, or skip it, more likely, to be healthier. Then we order a bottle of wine, and tip 20%. Our bill for a place with $35 entrees, in that instance, is $70 for entrees, $15 for appetizer, $60 for wine, and then a 20% tip, for a total of $135 plus the tip.

      Generally our total bill is around $160 to $180 by the time we leave a restaurant with $35 entrees.

      Do I need to significantly up this, and if so, by how much, to accommodate midtown prices?

      Thanks!

      1. re: taz99

        You should keep in mind you'll also be paying almost 9% tax on your food & drinks.

        1. re: taz99

          I'd ballpark closer to $50-60pp.

          1. re: kathryn

            okay, that's fine, kathryn. we'll just plan on that per person, pre-tip/tax/drinks. I didn't realize my pricing was so out of sync with Manhattan. I haven't visited since 2009.

      2. Can you go to Staten Island around dinner time? I've got a great place (walking distance from the ferry) to recommend, although I supposed that should be on the Outer Boroughs Board. Would fit in your price range nicely.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Elisa515

          That might work out. What restaurant were you suggesting?

          1. re: taz99

            Enoteca Maria. I don't want to veer from Manhattan in this thread. Search on Outer Boroughs and/or ask more there.

            It's a pleasant walk from the Ferry and a terrific place. Worth a special trip, plus you're going to be nearby anyway.

        2. Zuckers Bagels 41 & lex, Chinatown maybe dim sum- or Viatnamese- subway is close by.You may have to increase your dinner budget, or try eating fancier lunces.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rkaene

            I'm fine with increasing my dinner budget. I posted above with more details on how I broke down that budget estimate, so please let me know what you suggest as more reasonable. I was basing it on the prices we paid in San Francisco and Napa, and by looking at menus online for NYC.

          2. Down by the 9/11 memorial Nish Nush has very good falafel, hummus, salads, and you could have a great good sized meal for $12-$15
            http://www.nishnushnyc.com

            8 Replies
            1. re: Ttrockwood

              thanks, that sounds like a perfect lunch.

                1. re: kathryn

                  Not yet, but its on my short list! Have you? Any vegetarian recs there?

                  1. re: Ttrockwood

                    Walked through but wasn't thinking of vegetarian specifically.

                    Black Seed had no line...but only because they were sold out.

                    1. re: kathryn

                      Haha, go figure. I picked up a bagelwich at zucker's in tribeca and really really liked it- i'll have to get to black seed early one day...

                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                        Plenty of veggie options at Hudson Eats - not sure about vegan. At any rate, the veggie platter at Digg Inn is a good deal. For $5 you get a base of rice or bulgar and 3 veggie sides (I had sicilian roast cauliflower and chick peas; roast sweet potatos and kale and apple salad) for an extra $2 you can upsize your sides. I have had veggie sandiwches at Num Pang (caulifower bahn mi), Little Meunster (grilled cheese with squash puree, sage brown butter and asiago) and Olives (roast mushroom sandwich). Tartinery also has veggie options but they are above my $10/lunch limit. Black Seed has been sold out of everything but salt bagels when I have gone by but I do want to try the ricotta, apple, honey sandwich there sometime. Of course, the salad place will have veggie options as well. I have not checked out Dos Toros or Umami yet either. Sorry to go on so, I work in the building and after 2.5 years of eating at the same 3 places for lunch I am a little over excited....

                2. re: Ttrockwood

                  I Citibiked from Hells Kitchen to Nish Nush the other day for lunch. I cant think of many items that would make me exercise for an hour like that other than that falafel

                  Hudson Eats lineup looks amazing

                  1. re: Ziggy41

                    I citibike everywhere too :)) and the ride to tribeca down west side highway is so gorgeous- perfect prize at the end of the rainbow to go to nish nush:)

                3. Near the algonquin is kaffe 1668, 530 fifth ave (b/w 44th and 45th) its in the lobby of a huge office building and they have wonderful coffee and a good selection of breakfast choices. Limited seating but most customers are office workers on the go anyhow. About $10 for a coffee and eggy sandwich
                  http://www.kaffe1668.com/locations

                  1. I think your budget is workable with some careful choices.

                    Ilili would be a good choice for middle eastern food.

                    I'm going to sound a bit like a broken record for the next suggestion but you should also try Momofuku Ssam Bar as it's pretty reasonably priced in my view and it's not anything you can get in KY. No reservations but if you get there early the wait isn't too bad as long as it's not the weekend.

                    Otto for Italian.

                    You should add a ramen lunch. Try ippudo or totto ramen.

                    1. Definitely check out Chinatown. Doubt there is any decent Chinese food in KY

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: AubWah

                        no, there's not any decent chinese, thai or mexican food in this town. surprisingly, there are a couple of good sushi restaurants.

                        (I live in los angeles for ten years, and I've written about restaurants and food for a range of magazines, so I'm not a total kentucky food noob, for whatever that's worth!)

                        1. re: taz99

                          Right now, I think the best Thai restaurants in Manhattan may be Larb Ubol (caveat: I've been only once so far, but was impressed) and Somtum Der (been twice so far - avoid larb, but the other things we've had have been very tasty).

                          For Chinese food, there has been a lot of controversy about which Sichuan restaurant is best, partly because of inconsistency (my first couple of dinners at La Vie en Sichuan were fantastic, my last one or two still with great highlights but not nearly as good), but there's a lot to choose from. One place I've enjoyed, and which actually has some decor and ambiance, is Legend, on 7th Av. between 15th and 16th. Humongous portions. I think you could get reservations there, though they are unnecessary. The place many Chowhounds think is still the best in Manhattan is the original branch of Szechuan Gourmet, 39 St. between 5th and 6th, and you certainly can reserve there. I haven't eaten there in some time, as their 56th St. branch is convenient to my girlfriend's place, and while the 56th St. branch is good, they're had some problems with restaurant inspections (their current grade is "pending") and have served dodgy chicken in a cold dish at times, in my experience.

                          If you want Cantonese/Hong Kong style food, Great NY Noodletown has consistently good roast duck, sometimes great baby pig (can be dry at times), and various other good dishes, but the bathrooms are kind of dirty, you can't get reservations and might have to wait for a table, and you might have to share a table. If you want to go somewhere else where you can get what seems to me to be the best soy sauce chicken and soy sauce duck in Manhattan and also great roast pork but mostly just OK other stuff, you can go to Cheung Wong Kitchen, a totally informal place on the corner of Hester St. and Allen St. You will have to share a table there but are unlikely to have a wait at any hour, and it's very cheap.