HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >


So I got reservations @Babbo...Now what?

Okay so the anniversary dinner is set but we have a full week in your city, like I've said I've done my homework, but would still love you feedback, so far we have:

Breakfast / Brunch / Lunch
Ess A Bagel
Russ & Daughters
Clinton St. Baking Co.
Absolute Bagels
Barney Greengrass

I know this list is heavy on Bagels but you can't get a decent bagel in San Francisco to save your life.

Momofuku Sam Bar
Minetta Tavern or Gramercy Tavern
( Which is you favorite of the two? They seem too similar to do both)

Flying in late Sunday night, August 31. Staying at Districkt hotel by Penn Station, thinking about getting acclimated to the neighborhood & going to Pony Bar for some beer & a bite, but is the food worth it? Would hate to waste a night with mediocre food.

I'm also thinking of having a dinner in Brooklyn, but I'll post on that board.

Once again, thank you & all critiques are appreciated!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I think Katz's should go in the lunch column and go somewhere nice ( besides Babbo) for dinner. Maybe Jungsik, Kyo Ya, or 15 East for sushi. Nothing in SF is like these. Minetta I like better than Gramercy Tavern .

    2 Replies
    1. re: foodwhisperer

      Checked out menus @ Jungsik, Kyo Ya & 15 East, they look amazing but a little too expensive for our budget, Can you recommend something a little more moderate?

      1. re: foodwhisperer

        The pastrami sandwich at Katz's is very good but it's also a real gutbomb. If you go at lunch you should split a sandwich or, if you both eat a whole one, eat something on the lighter side at dinner.

      2. Make sure you slot Shopsin's on a day they're not closed. Can also have long lines on the weekend. A weekday is better. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Clinton St and Barney Greengrass can also have very long lines. Do Clinton St on a weekday. BG shouldn't be on a Monday, when it's closed.

        Minetta is not similar to Gramercy Tavern at all. We love the steak there. It's got a great Rat Pack vibe. Loud, bustling, cramped, fun. GT is more upscale farm house, comfortable, less hip (dare I say).

        What time do you get in on Sunday? How late is late? Are you willing to go outside the neighborhood?

        I believe you're closer to PORT AUTHORITY and not Penn Station.

        Late night dining:

        1 Reply
        1. re: kathryn

          Your right it is Port Authority, rookie mistake...but yes we're willing to venture out the night we get in, the plane lands @ 8 in JFK figure by the time we get our bags & to the hotel for a quick shower & change it will be close to 10, I know that's probably prime time for New York but in San Francisco it's pretty late, especially for a Sunday...

        2. Fyi a newish bar called the skylark opened on 39th st b/w 7th and 8th ave, close to your hotel. They aren't open sunday but its a good spot for a nightcap with some creative well made drinks and quiet enough for conversation. Dont be fooled by their photos, the outdoor space is only big enough for maybe six people....

          1. If you are going to Babbo, take earplugs

            2 Replies
            1. re: hazelhurst

              I ate upstairs at Babbo and it was pretty quiet.

              1. re: foodwhisperer

                I requested a table upstairs, hopefully I'll get one, I called @ 7:00am sharp, (my time) set my alarm for 6:45 on a Saturday morning after a night out w/ the girls to make sure we got in... Thanks to the tips from you guys..

            2. why go to Motorino if you have Una Pizza Napoletana in SF? The Manhattan Motorino is even in the former Una Pizza space, which still has Mangieri's oven.

              2 Replies
              1. re: coasts

                Not a fan of Una Pizza, we love the pizza but the space is very uncomfortable, waits are long, and the menu is VERY limited, including the wine list, where there are no bottles under $40.00. It IS great pizza, but there is equal or even better pizza to be had in San Francisco.

                1. re: Kristine

                  if Una Pizza returned to NY, it'd be the best we've got. i've always been a strong supporter of Keste over Motorino, but i don't think either are better than what UPN was serving. have you seen the Chow video of Anthony Mangieri talking about why his menu is so limited? i thought it was hysterical and insightful.

                  about wine prices, you will be hard-pressed to find bottles under $40 at any restaurant in NY.

              2. a few notes...

                ess-a-bagel isnt really a sit down sort of place. clinton street isnt worth the wait. would you go to dottie's true blue cafe in SF? it's sort of the same thing. barney greengrass...i dunno...never really loved the food there...i wouldnt go out of my way for it.

                ive recently given up on motorino...great crust but nothing else. id recommend keste on bleecker instead. katz's for dinner just sounds like a wasted night to me. its best to go there and split a sandwich or late night when drunk and its less crowded.

                minetta and gramercy are very different. id say minetta but im also a fan of gramercy's tavern room. actually, the tavern room kind of reminds me of meals ive had at nopa if that helps.

                3 Replies
                1. re: sam1

                  The ees a bagel location closest to their hotel at 53rd st and 8th ave does have plenty of seating, including several sidewalk tables. I'm sure they would also deliver to the OPs hotel as well

                  1. re: sam1

                    Okay, that really helps, especially the Dottie's reference, I actually was thinking Katz for dinner was kind of a waste but I had to fit it in somewhere, maybe pastrami & rye for breakfast? Or late night coming home from the bar sounds good, I'll look into Keste, I guess I have a lot more research to do. I was just looking to find a balance between the more expensive and the moderate price range with keeping the food at a consistently good level. Thanks for putting things in perspective.

                    1. re: Kristine

                      Definitely squeeze in a juicy pastrami sandwich at Katz's , pastrami is really good for breakfast. Contrary to other opinions, I like Motorino better than Keste. If you get a chance grab a slice of Sullivan Street 's or Grandaisy potato pizza , quite different , quite good.

                  2. I don't think the Minetta Tavern and Gramercy Tavern are too similar, I love both of them.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bronwen

                      Yeah, I would say they are pretty different.

                    2. You may also want to try Beer Culture in addition to or in lieu of Pony Bar, (you can check beermenus.com to see who's selection is more to your liking on the particular evening in question) but food in either is not really that great. You could also hit Rudy's for a hot dog in the vicinity.

                      1. These days there are not too many REAL bagels in New York, either. sad to say. Most are rolls with holes in the middle- lacking the chewy texture a bagel should possess.

                        Not much similar about Minetta Tavern and Gramercy Tavern. GramTav is still one of my favorite "special" places in New York.

                        Katz's is a place you go for lunch. Unless you're into pastrami on rye for dinner? and yes, Keste's pizza outshines Motorino by a lot.

                        1. "can't get a decent bagel in San Francisco to save your life"

                          in a world of other excellent bready products that is sadly so true.