Offbeat New York

New York City Restaurants

Cheap Eats to Delicious Romance

Click on Click here for attractions map for a map of all the restaurants. Please note that marker shows approximate placement and does not substitute for the actual address.

Reasonable Prices for Light Lunches

Hungry in New York but not ready to spend $35 for a salad and drink? The best place to find reasonably priced lunches is in a bookstore. Cafes at Borders, and Barnes & Noble have tasty sandwiches for $6 to $8. You can even ask for tap water since New York City water is quite fine to drink. Millions do it daily. Some places offer salads as well, plus croissant, muffins, great coffee and desserts. And, these bookstore/cafes are all through the city. Happy Lunching.

Eat at the Met

Not only can you get good art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you can get good food. The cafeteria on the first floor is certainly a no-frills place, but on a recent visit the roast beef dinner got rave reviews, and so did the salad bar buffet (priced per ounce). There's two cafes providing a wonderful view of Central Park. And, for a truly New York experience, the Great Hall Balcony Bar (overlooking the Great Hall) offers live classical music, cocktails and appetizers on Fridays and Saturdays (check for hours).

Romantic Restaurants

Abboccato Ristorante
136 West 55th Street
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-265-4000
Read review of Abboccato Restaurant

Upper Eastside

Kurio
338 East 92nd Street
Between 1st & 2nd Avenues
Phone: 212-828-1267
Read review of Kurio

Upper Westside

Barcibo Enoteca
2020 Broadway (69th Street)
New York, New York 10024
Phone: 212 595-2805
On first look, Barcibo Enoteca, looks simply like an upscale wine bar. The lighting is soft; tables are high with benches and stools to sit on; and dozens of bottles are prominently displayed. Read the rest of the review of Barcibo Enoteca Fairway Cafe
2127 Broadway
New York, NY 10023
Phone: (212) 595-1888
Read review of Fairway Cafe

Telepan
72 West 69th St
New York, NY 10023
Phone: (212) 580-4300
Read review of Telepan

Edgar's Cafe
255 West 84th Street
Phone: 212 496-6126
Read the review of Edgar's Cafe

Cafe du Soleil
2723 Broadway
New York, New York 10025
Phone: 212-316-5000
Read the review of Cafe du Soleil

SoHo (South of Houston - pronounced HOWston -- Street), Tribeca, and More

Colors Restaurant
417 Lafayette St., Astor Place
New York, NY 10003
Phone: 212-777-8443
Read the review of Colors Restaurant

Snack - a Greek Restaurant
105 Thompson Street
New York, New York 10012
Tel: 212-925-1040
One of the joys of going to dinner with food-loving Dave (see his review of Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas) is that there's always a new and unusual place to try. Walking through SoHo gave us an appetite, so we headed to a tiny 10-people Greek restaurant with the decidedly non-Greek name of Snack. Clearly a 'local' restaurant, you could easily walk right by without even seeing it. It's Greek like you'd find in Greece. "Someone's mother has to be cooking in the back," observed my dining companion. But someone's mother who is one fine cook. We loved everything we tried, and we tried quite a lot including: skordalia, the potato and garlic spread, Cretan bread salad made with lettuce, tomatos, peppers, big hunks of yellowtail tuna, herbs, and bread, baked feta as an appetizer, whole branzino, and boneless lamb rib.

Cones Ice Cream
272 Bleecker Street
New York, New York 10014
Tel: 212-414-1795
Remember when places made their own ice cream? Well, Cones still does. Tasting several samples convinced me to try the ginger sorbet (with pieces of ginger) and the double rich chocolaty ice cream. Also excellent was the creamy ginger ice cream. The consistency was softer than most ice creams. We've been told that because they don't completely freeze their ice cream. Luscious, and lip-licking good.

Murray's Cheese
254 Bleecker St. between 6th & 7th Ave.
New York, NY 10014
Murray's is the place to go for cheese. Let's just say that you've never seen a selection like this. Founded in 1940 on Cornelia Street in the heart of Greenwich Village. Murray started out selling butter and eggs, but over the years (and different owners) it's evolved into one of the city's leading cheese shops with over 250 domestic and imported cheeses. You'll also find specialty groceries, fresh breads, olives, and more.

Midtown

There could be more restaurants in midtown Manhattan than we could eat our way through. On the other hand, everyone needs to have a goal.

Papillon Bistro & Bar
22 East 54th Street
New York, New York
Phone: 212 754-9006
Read the review of Papillon Bistro & Bar

Szechuan Gourmet
21 West 39th Street
New York, New York 10018
Phone: 212 921-0233
Read the review of Szechuan Gourmet

Chinatown


Vibrant with street artists, fruit and vegetables sellers, tea shops, noodle shops, quirky stores, and tiny restaurants, Chinatown thrives. It's even managed to expand into what had been the Lower East Side. Certainly Mott Street is the quintessential Chinatown, but there's certain many places to eat and shop on the other streets as well. Perhaps the cheapest dumplings in town are found on the tiny Mosco Street in the little dumpling shop that sells 5 for $1.

Joe's Shanghai
9 Pell Street
New York, New York 10013
Phone: 212 233-0278
Read the review of Joe's Shanghai Restaurant

AjiiChiban
37 Mott Street

The Mott Street branch is one of several locations scattered throughout lower NYC. Enjoy the dried fruit sold loose as well as other Asian delicacies. They have small dishes with samples. Lemon plum, mango with chili, dried shrimp and more. Fun to browse and buy.

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
65 Bayard Street
212 608-4170
Owned and run by the Seid family for almost 30 years, you'll want to skip restaurant desserts in favor of their creamy delicious ice cream and sorbet. They offer a full range of flavors such as banana, chocolate chip, peach and more as their version of exotic flavors, as well as what they call their regular flavors such as almond cookie, black sesame, red bean and wasabi. My favorite is the ginger ice cream with the sweet piquant flavor heightened by actual pieces of ginger.

New Green Bo Restaurant
66 Bayard Street
Phone: 212 625-2359
Shanghai dishes are the lure in this tiny, often communal dining restaurant. That and their delicious soup dumplings. Instead of dumplings in the soup, with these appetizers you get the soup in the dumpling. Care must be taken in eating them or the soup will run out and be lost. Bite off the top carefully, then suck out most of the soup, and nibble your way through the filling and the dumpling skin, slurping up a bit more of the soup along the way. Delicious and fun. This is a popular spot with a wide variety of choices on the menu.

Green Tea Cafe
45 Mott Street
Phone: 212 693-2888
A local tea house with a bit of atmosphere, it offers almost 50 forms of tea, including the newest rage, tea with black pearl tapioca (sometimes called bubble tea). Tea, mixed with milk, made chewable. In addition to the bubble tea, they have flavored teas, black teas, green teas, flower teas. You can get your cold beverage to go in a container with a sealed top. Puncture with the end of a pointed straw and no worries about sloshing your drink as you walk.

Great N. Y. Noodletown
28 Bowery
Phone: 212 349-0923
And this is indeed Noodle Town, not an elegant establishment or one with any kind of atmosphere, it just offers delicious food. Lots of noodle dishes pan fried, wide noodles cantonese style, and lo mein -- but they also have rice congee (porridge), rice plates, and some beef, chicken and pork entrees. Definitely try the soup with dumplings. The shrimp dumplings were small whole shrimp in a delicate dumpling skin. The plate of roast pork was lean and tender with a hint of sweetness, and the pea sprouts were lightly seasoned green pea sprouts.

Mandarin Court Restaurant
61 Mott Street
Phone: 212 608-3838
This is a great dim sum restaurant, with those tasty tiny morsels served between 11:30 am and 4:00 pm. Varieties include steamed shrimp, pork and chicken dumplings, stuffed bean curd with oyster sauce, fried stuffed eggplant with oyster sauce, curry beef dumping and more. There's specials such as snail in black bean sauce, and walnut jumbo shrimp dim sum as well.

Ten Ren Tea and Ginseng Co, Inc.
75 Mott Street
79 Mott Street
Several locations including Flushing Queens, and Brooklyn offer the most incredible selection of teas. Not only delicious drinking teas, but preparations with health properties. Prices range from reasonably priced to "is this shaved gold?" at this upscale shop.

Nyonya
194 Grand Street
Phone: 212 334-3669
Malaysian cuisine on the edge of Little Italy. Their roti canai with curry chicken dipping sauce a bit of heaven which we got to go and slurped with enthusiasm. They translate it as a pancake, but it's translucently thin and the perfect sop for the spicy flavorful sauce. The menu offers a wide variety of dishes. A pretty place with really good food.

Little Italy

The border of Little Italy is smack up against Chinatown but it's clear when you cross it. In addition to the switch in language and cuisine, Little Italy has decorated the streets with hanging banners of the red, white and green colors of Italia.

Di Palo's
206 Grand Street
Phone: 212 226-1033
You might think heavenly smell of cheese to be an oxymoron, but walk into Di Palo's and take one whiff and you will become hungry for cheese, even if you weren't a moment before. Their aged pecorino is addictive. An institution since 1910, this long narrow shop is always jammed with shoppers. The people behind the counter happily hand out slivers of their delicious offerings. They also sell fresh-made ravioli. Visiting is an education in the varieties of cheese, and quite a delicious way to learn.

Piemonte Ravioli
190 Grand Street
Started in 1920 this tiny shop specializes in pasta, in the traditional red, white and green colors and all the shapes and sizes. They're noted for their variety of delicious fillings.

All Around the Town Favorites

We asked friends, family, acquaintances, and complete strangers to tell us their favorite places to eat.
In alphabetical order... here's what they said:

August
359 Bleeker Street

Phone: 212 929-4774
An ethereal slice of peace and beauty in the West village. Baked Eggs En Croquette are divine.
Reviewed by Wendy Knight, Host and Co-producer of Travel Snapshots on ABC News Now.

Bar Americain
152 West 52nd Street
Phone: 212 267-9700
This is a Bobby Flay restaurant with an open kitchen located in midtown Manhattan. The wines are numerous choices from around the globe and the food is a combo of seafood - skate is my favorite - to broiled meats. Busy at lunch and dinner, it is a lively crowd.
Reviewed by Doug MacKenzie, Director of Communications, Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau

Bill's Gay Nineties
57 East 54th Street (near Madison)
Phone: 212-355-0243
I recently went to a this wonderful small restaurant, which is also a piano bar. The current owner for the past 22 years, Barbara Bart Olmsted, took it over from her father, who ran it for many years. Try the Shepard's Pie...YUM.
Reviewed by Anita Finley www.BabyBoomers-Seniors.com

Carmine's
200 West 44th Street
Phone: 212-221-3800
I grew up in Wooster Square in New Haven, home of the best pizza and Italian food on the East Coast. Enjoying the new year in NYC's theater district, we stumbled into Carmine's. Noisy, crowded, it was Wooster Square, squared. We ordered an appetizer plate the size of a bicycle tire, with hot antipasti, pasta, eggplant, stuffed squash, spinach, broccoli rabe, sausage, peppers, cheeses and more. We shared a bottle of Chianti and did some world-class people watching through the steamy plateglass window. Mama Mia, Carmine's hit the spot.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Margolis-Pineo of Portland Maine MargolisPineo.com

Carnegie Deli
854 Seventh Ave. (at 55th Street)
Phone: 212-757-2245
It sure impressed us when we were there. The sandwiches were so big, and so good, we could have eaten on it for a few days -- if we'd had a refrigerator in our hotel room! (Ample portions, delicious deli food -- especially for those of us that don't have ready access to such riches in our everyday life). Would be nice to have a sandwich from the Carnegie Deli RIGHT NOW, for lunch!
Reviewed by Naomi Shapiro, travel & outdoor writer from Madison, Wisconsin

The competition that evolved years ago to the then famous Stage Deli that had given a new meaning to corned beef/pastrami combo sandwiches where one could feed a party of four. It is now a tourist destination that was originally intended for the locals. No reservations and, happily, just a few blocks from the Stage. Take your choice. A must to have something to talk about when you get home.
Reviewed by Mickey Charles is President and CEO of The Sports Network

Craft Restaurant
45 East 19th Street
212-780-0880

We found them on OpenTable.com, a service we have been using for years. We enjoyed the menu and you can order small portions to be shared. They also have a great wine list with wines from Washington state--our favorite!
Reviewed by Nancy & Steve Ross, award winning photographers and writers from Washington State

English is Italian -- NOW CLOSED
622 Third Avenue
Phone: 212 404-1700

Fig & Olive Uptown
808 Lexington Avenue (between 62nd and 63rd Street)
Phone: 212 207-4555
Read review of Fig & Olive

Oyster Bar -- Grand Central Terminal
I eat in the Oyster Bar each time I am in NYC so I can have the oyster pan roast. But the huge menu changes daily depending on which oysters and fish are available. Oh and being in Grand Central makes the people watching great too.
Reviewed by: Jim Reikowsky, Communications & Film Liaison, Vallejo Convention & Visitors Bureau and Solano County Film Office

Pete's Tavern (Gramercy Park)
129 East 18th Street at Irving Place
Phone: 212 473-7676

How can you improve on a place that is the oldest bar in the city and has a booth where O.Henry sat down one day and wrote The Gift of the Magi a story that will probably still be required reading in high school a century from now.
Reviewed by: Rich Grant, Communications Director, Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau

Rosa Mexicano At Lincoln Center
61 Columbus Ave, New York
Phone: 212 977-7700

Read the review of Rosa Mexicano

Sammy's Roumanian Steakhouse
157 Chrystie Street (at Delancey)
212-673-0330

Proof positive that you do not have to be Jewish to experience the epicurean delights that await at Sammy's. Jars of chicken fat that you can "shmeer" right on to the bread. Portions that could feed entire third world countries, cosmic cholesterol ecstasy and a delicisiously delectable day with 911 at the ready. You might be Jewish when you leave.
Reviewed by Mickey Charles, President and CEO of The Sports Network

San Martin Restaurant
143 East 49TH Street
Phone: 212 832-0888
This elegant but cosy little restaurant features an eclectic menu featuring Italian and Spanish food is to die for. As you might expect, they serve really tasty pastas (especially the Penne Artista), but also excellent seafood and some delectable traditional Spanish dishes as well. The tiramisu is the best I've ever had and the wine list is impressive. The staff is attentive, friendly and right there when you want, but not pushy or intrusive. Sometimes a waiter / musician strolls around, playing a guitar at individual tables.
Reviewed by: Maureen A Hennessy, writer

Stage Deli
834 7th Avenue (Between 53rd & 54th Street)
Phone: 212 245 7850

The "original" that gave a new meaning to Delicatessen or, as it has evolved, "the Deli." It was the place where all the locals that were appearing on Broadway used to go - sit down and discover every comic playing NYC and the Catskills at the next table. Hell of a big table! The place over which Mickey Mantle had an apartment when he come to the city to play for the Yankees. The stars are gone but their photos adorn the walls and the food is sensual, sybaritic and the height of self-indulgence. Loosen your belt.
Reviewed by Mickey Charles is President and CEO of The Sports Network

Tomoe Sushi
172 Thompson Street (between Bleecker and Houston)
Phone: 212 777-9346

It's a tiny unpretentious sushi joint with the best Toro sashimi in the city. It's likely that you'll have to stand in line it being winter, spring, summer or fall but it is always worth the wait and the likelihood ending up chatting with people next to you is pretty high. The green tea icecream at Tomoe is incredible the perfect balance between bitter, sweet and creamy.
Reviewed by: Mariana Velasquez

Ukrainian East Village Restaurant
140 Second Avenue @ 9th Street
Phone: 212 529-5024

A quiet Old World-savored restaurant featuring Eastern Euiropean cooking. While pirogi, blintzes, borscht, and other Ukrainian-Russian-Polish favorites inspire the menu, American fare is also available in ample portions. Adjacent room hosts parties and meetings.
Reviewed by: Jack Goldfarb, Manhattan-based Travel Writer

Uncle Nick's
747 Ninth Avenue (between 50th and 51st)
(212) 245-7992

Fresh, Fresh, Fresh Greek Family Style Food. Delicious!!!!!
Jeff Shinaman Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and Katie Camarro Owner/Founder Sundaes Best Hot Fudge Sauce

Wheeltapper Pub & Restaurant
Fitzpatrick Grand Central Hotel
141 East 44th Street (at Lexington and 3rd Avenue)
Phone: 212 351-6800
One of my favorite Manhattan hotels is the Fitzpatrick Grand Central, one of the best bargains in the city—if you can get a room. The Wheeltapper Restaurant features a spacious, exposed-brick outdoor dining area, which is a very popular after-work meeting place. The unfeigned Irish hospitality that distinguishes the hotel also characterizes the Wheeltapper, and we found it the perfect place for a quick pre- theatre dinner of fish and chips and Guinness. The Wheeltapper’s food is slightly upgraded pub grub, so don’t expect five-star cuisine, but service is excellent, the atmosphere (which includes railroad memorabilia collected by Fitzpatrick himself) is fun and free of attitude.
Janis Hashe is a freelance travel journalist currently living in Chattanooga, TN. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Sunset Magazine and numerous AAA magazines, among others

Late Night Eats

Amy Ruth's
113 West 116th Street
Phone: 212 280-8779

Open until 11pm Sunday to Thursday but 24 hours Friday and Saturday.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
646 West 131st Street
Phone: 212 694-1777

Open until midnight Friday and Saturday serving ribs, macaroni, live music.

Balthazar Restaurant
80 Spring Street
Phone: 212 965-1414

Serves French fare until 1am Monday through Thursday, 2am on Friday and Saturday and 12am.

 
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