Best NYC dining experience?

477
35
Joined Aug 6, 2010
Well, friends, I need some advice. My fiance and I have decided that we're going to go to NYC for our honeymoon in January. While the trip will be fairly low budget, we're going to splurge on one dinner. My aunt, who is married to a native New Yorker and still has an apartment in Manhatten, suggested a couple of restaurants, but I want to see what you guys think is the ultimate dining experience in NYC. I'm prepared to spend up to $500 for the two of us. Suggestions?
 
7,587
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Joined Apr 3, 2008
You could live your whole life in NYC and not have enough time to visit all the great restaurants.

I urge you go to Craft.  The food is not fussy or fancy but it is extremely high quality.  I ordered a steak, thought I was getting a steak but it turns out not only did they bring me a beautiful grass fed delmonico but right next to it on the plate there was a big old bone with marrow.  Salivating!  Lip smacking grilled quail, perfectly cooked pork belly, tender roasted duck, and the best mashed potatoes I've ever eaten... and those are only the foods that I tried!  All that food plus dessert and wine and we only spent around $200.  Worth every penny. http://www.craftrestaurant.com/craft_style.php

Of course if you're prepared to spend more money than that you should try some of the most high class restaurants in the city like Le Bernardin or Per Se, but those are too rich for my blood.
 
477
35
Joined Aug 6, 2010
 Thanks for the suggestion. Craft is one that my aunt had mentioned. I believe Colicchio also has a new restaurant in Manhatten, but can't remember what the name is. We are definitely going to have to make a trip to either Le Bernardin or Per Se. I lean more towards the former, but wife-to-be doesn't want a seafood meal, so we'll be going to Per Se. You know how that goes...

If there are any other New Yorkers, I would love to hear of some local favorites and hole-in-the-wall type places.
 
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Joined Nov 11, 2010
I suggest you do 2 lunches instead of a dinner. You get  a great bang for your buck that way at the very best restaurants but call ahead. If you are 'foodies' I can help you out with many lower budget MUST DO's... 

Do not go anywhere that hasn't been recommended and( categorize by neighborhood ).. There is GREAT food in NYC but the mediochre food is awful....especially when there is so much ethnic food and access to EVERYTHING  

a lot depends on what neighborhoood you are staying in 

Lombardis pizza is the oldest in NYC, on Spring St? in Nolita..prefer that to any rays 

Joes Shanghai on Pell St in Chinatown has the famous crab and pork steamed dumplings..sound awful, but they are world famous (watch or get instructions how to eat them) I go there from the airport when i land! 

Don't miss mario Batali's 42000 sq ft EATILY on 25th st  and 5th Ave 

David Bouley is my favorite Ny chef...not sure what stage Bouley is at..

Nobu is excellent as is (Next door nobu) on Hudson St in TriBeCa . I once sat there  at a table between Ruth Reichl and Beyonce (regulars) their Miso Black Cod is their signatire dish

You can get a $5 fallafel til after 2am when there is still a line at MAMOUNS, on Mcdougal between Bleeker and 3rd in the west village  been going there 45 years! 

NUm Pang on 21 east 12th st near University has a world class cambodian sandwich and amazing sides

 then there are the bagels and bakeries and on and on 
 
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Joined Nov 11, 2010
ways to save  $$$ and see ny...SNEEKERS  walk walk  .. ferry boat to staten island #1 bus to SOUTH FERRY (Not the statue of liberty boat)is FREE..be sure to get right back on at the other end  It's GREAT

walk the brkln bridge.. even 1/2 of it ! 

century 21 on DEy st near 9/11 is great shopping (watch pickpockets here) 

see 9/11 from BATERY PARK CITY only 

museums (except special exhibits) have to accept DONATIONS, entrance fees are not 'required' costume room at the met is great

museum of the city of Ny is always empty

you can stay on a bus HOURS ..great way to sighsee

Tour yourself thru the deco underground of rockefeller center...blocks long

Avoid all tourist lures 

have a ball. it's awesome 
 
7,587
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Joined Apr 3, 2008
...century 21 on DEy st near 9/11 is great shopping (watch pickpockets here) 

see 9/11 from BATERY PARK CITY only 

museums (except special exhibits) have to accept DONATIONS, entrance fees are not 'required' costume room at the met is great

...
What a strange thing to say.  Hopefully you will not use the words "We want to go see 9/11" while you're in NY, you are likely to get slapped upside the head.  Nobody refers to Ground Zero as 9/11, don't ever call it that to a new yorker.  You can go and see Ground Zero but I will tell you the truth about something.  Only tourists go to see Ground Zero.  New Yorkers do not visit ground zero, at least they didn't in the first few years.  This is now a busy construction site.

Not all museums are by donation.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art is by donation.  I only give them a buck when I go and I go often.  Don't feel embarrassed, just hand them a dollar and say "two tickets please."  They will smile back at you and give you your pins.  The Modern Museum of Art (MoMA) is most certainly not free, it has a hefty price of $20 I think but well worth every penny.  The Guggenheim is also not free, but I find it just alright.  I wouldn't worry too much about picpockets though.
 
477
35
Joined Aug 6, 2010
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. We are going to try to pack in as much as we can in one week. I bought us passes that get us into alot of attractions for free. I added up the cost of everything we wanted to do, and the passes were about 1/5 of the price. So I hope it's a good deal.

Ground Zero is honestly something I don't care that much to see. I was in New York the summer of '02 and saw it. I wouldn't care to have seen it to begin with, but we walked right by it. While I didn't have direct ties to someone who was in one of the towers, I almost did. My father was supposed to be meeting with several people from two other companies in the WTC that day, but at the last minute cancelled the trip. Seeing Ground Zero just reminds me of all the people lost, and the person I could have lost.

But in an effort to keep this thread from getting sidetracked, thanks again for all the suggestions. We are going to try to stay away from as many tourist spots as possible, but as art lovers, there are many we can't stay away from. The Met, the Guggenheim, the Whitney, and perhaps the Queens Museum and the Brooklyn Museum. There are others as well.

As far as food, I've compiled a list of restaurants that we might visit. Tell me if there are any that we should or shouldn't visit from this list.
  • Peter Luger
  • Craft
  • E.A.T.
  • Balthazar
  • Barney Greengrass
  • Katz
  • John's Pizzaria (on W 44th)
  • Grimaldi's
  • Per Se
  • Jean Georges
There are other's that I have written on a legal pad at home, but I can't remember what they are. Anyone have any other suggestions for where to eat or what to do?
 
18
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Joined Nov 11, 2010
Ok 1st, to whoever was offended by my reference to 9/11 insead of Ground Zero...sorry, I am a victim myself, a ny'er who has lived abroad and elsewhere eversince.  I was a TriBeCa pioneer, pre DiNiro, pre Montrachet, pre Odeon. I was around for The Breadshop and Les Halles when Anthony Bourdain was there. With that said, sorry, back to food

Good list, I'd just have to squeeze in some of the famous ethnic food i already suggested.

here's some suggestions

at Peter Luger, don't pass  on the creamed spinach

When you go to Craft, you may want to walk thru EATALY  (Bitalis found court) at the same time as they are near

When you go to Balthazar, MOMA gift shop is across the St and at the bakery next door, grab pecan rolls and choc peg bread for the next days eat-in breakfast 

My favorite at katz's is the extra lean corned beef

Prefer the original John's on W 4th St in the Village to being midtown

Time grimaldis carefully or you could stand in cold a long time. Walking over Brkln bridge is AWESOME and it's near the exit a the 1st steps (not the end)

It's a good list! 

have a ball
 
6
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Joined Sep 5, 2007
One thing that jumped at me from the list you have is John's Pizza. Having sampled may pizzerias in NYC, I think John's has an excellent PR department but has more hype than substance. You can certainly d much better then John's.

My favorite 2 pizza's are:

1. Lombardi's - has excellent thin crust and is sit down. This is well known and recommended by a previous post.

2. Joe's Pizza - Used to be down the street from John's on Bleeker st. Since, they moved a couple of stores down to 7 carmine. It's a stand with pizza sold by the slice and is one of the best pies I ever had.

Enjoy.
 
18
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Joined Nov 11, 2010
I'm for Lombardis and Grimaldis over Johns too.. I don't like roased red peppers on pizza but Grimaldis does that one right! 

It has been YEARS but I like Gotham on w 12th? , the original vertical food

for some down home old OLD NY classic Italian  Forlinis on baxter St in Chinatown has grandmas porcini tortollini  (not on the menu) and many daily specials . Italians from italy used to come there to eat veal. If you go for lunch during the day and you notice a large table with a very odd combination of diners, you are likely to be sitting near a sequestered jury. The judges have their own booths. The waiters used to wear strips for how long they had worked there, Frank was there 50 years .It's just south of canal in Chinatown.

The olg gramercy tavern used to be my favorite but i uderstand that is what evolved into Craft?

late late night, the chefs in NY still gather at Odeon in TriBeCa on W bway and Thomas for steak and pomme frittes. It was the precursor to balthazar back in the day
 
1,480
11
Joined Jan 8, 2008
Your list is good. I'd maybe throw a cocktail bar or two in there for some good cocktails.

PDT is fun...

Pegu is the standard

Employees Only is on the list...

Death and Co - one of my favs.

Don't leave NYC without at least having a good Manhattan in one of those places+ the house's specialty cocktail.

If you want to jump on the 'cool' wagon, hit up Shake Shack for a burger and shake.

your fine dining places listed are good...if you can't swing ressies add Eleven Madison or Gramercy Tavern to that list.

you want good solid food. (popular late night chef hangout?) -  Head to Blue Ribbon Brassiere  - Get the fried chicken, the bone marrow, the sweetbreads, the raw bar....EVERYTHING on the menu is SOLID.  And, you'd be surpsied. the place is small, packed, loud...but the service is one of the best I've ever had in ANY restaurant.
 
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Joined Jan 4, 2011
You HAVE to go to Peter Lugers.. Trust me, its worth it. Hands down the best steak ive ever had. Cooked perfectly, so crispy on the outside and so soft on the inside, so cheap to.. My fiance and i paid $140, including a $40 tip, so we got an awesome dinner, the best chocolate mousse ever, and had a great experience, everything there is just perfect.
 
5,516
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Joined Apr 3, 2010
All the ones you have listed are A1 . Johns pizza however is no longer the escholon it used to be. There are better. For a nice experience try The Hamburger Shake  Shack in Central Park good surroundings,nice people, great old fashioned 3 napkin burger. The Palm Steakhouse is still a great steak.

Congrats and have a blast. I lived in New York for 40 years.
 
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1,480
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Joined Jan 8, 2008
Just cuz I was there Friday...I'll add Bar Boulud to the list! as well as Painkiller cocktail/tiki bar. 
 
1,466
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Joined Nov 6, 2004
    Hi Tyler,

   It looks like you're getting a nice list together, you should have lots of fun!  You can also try the New York city Chowhound website.  I haven't used the NY forum myself, so I can't say how active it is.  But it may be worth a try.

   Congrats!

  dan
 
477
35
Joined Aug 6, 2010
    Hi Tyler,

   It looks like you're getting a nice list together, you should have lots of fun!  You can also try the New York city Chowhound website.  I haven't used the NY forum myself, so I can't say how active it is.  But it may be worth a try.

   Congrats!

  dan
Thanks for the suggestion, and the well wishes. We're leaving in less than two weeks, and the restaurants that we've decided on thus far are Le Bernardin, Peter Luger, and Aureole (good post-theatre prix fixe deal). We're also going to go to Cafe Boulud and Bouley for lunch. We're just going to wing it the rest of the time.

Thanks everyone for the input. I'll be sure to share my experiences after I get back.

 
 
18
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Joined Nov 11, 2010
SO WHERE DID YOU GO AND HOW WAS IT   I do not like how this site works and am having trouble following your thread   I'm Idaclaire and I want to know where you ate???ND EVERYTHING YOU THOUGHT 
 

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