NYC experts! Looking for favorite, affordable, casual restaurants.

I am in New York often, but don't always have time to eat at places I choose. I will be up again in a few weeks and am in search of the new, the delicious, the not fancy. Any ethnicity, but preferable skewing away from lots of meat and not break-the-bank, and, based on time constraints, preferably in Manhattan. I read lots of reviews but I'm hoping to get some favorites based on your experiences. Thanks!



healthierkitchen July 2, 2013
Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. We ended up doing what we often do when in NY which is find that we can't be quite as ambitious as we'd like. Plus, my daughter ended up joining me and she is vegetarian so we tried to stick with places where she'd have lots of choices. We did have tea (and a "juice") at Sanctuary T one morning and a felafel lunch at Taim. Bought lots of pasta at Eataly, farro and regular and some breads at Sullivan Street Bakery in Hell's Kitchen. But most fun was La Boite. Thanks, Monita, for suggesting I call! After leaving the food show at 5 pm on Monday, I called and found they'd be open till 6 that afternoon after all, so we headed up there in the rain. Fascinating place and I bought several blends. I'm looking forward to trying them out. I'm also hoping to get to some more of these restaurants next time, including Cho Dang Gol.
pierino July 2, 2013
Glad to hear you made the most of your visit. You've done well by visiting Eataly and Sullivan Street. La Boite, I have no personal experience but it's great you enjoyed it. Save Korean for next time. You could base a whole trip around it. Now if you get to LA....
Pegeen June 24, 2013
Better Turkish: Pasha, West 71 btwn CPW and Columbus
barb48 June 20, 2013
There are some good Turkish rests. in the E. 50s, 40s: Taksim, Sip Sak, Ali Baba and another on E. 46 or 45 bet. 2d-3d. There is fish and chicken and some veg. dishes at all of them. Also, 9th Ave. in 40s-50s has lots of great affordable eateries. I think Zen Palate is there.
mrslarkin June 20, 2013
Just got this in my inbox. Have fun in NYC hk!
healthierkitchen June 20, 2013
healthierkitchen June 19, 2013
I will stick up for NY style pizza here. It is something I miss greatly no longer living there (though I certainly can no longer eat it as often as I did as a kid!) and when done well is delicious. It is not the same as pizza in Italy but it's own "real" food. In fact, a slice of good Sicilian pizza in NY beats the "a taglio" I've had in Rome, hands down. It's actually quite interesting how different Italian immigrants moving across the US re-interpreted and adapted pizza based on local tastes and what was on hand. For example, pro-vel in St Louis.
amysarah June 19, 2013
Very true. NYC pizza has been around long enough to be its own 'real' thing. Personally, I grew up on it (tho not much of a folder) - and have also eaten many a pizza in Italy over many years. In both cases, some were wonderful, some not so much. But the best NY slice doesn't aspire to be pizza in Italy; its bar is the best version of itself... a slice. (Let's not even get into the sublime 'tomato pie' made for 65 years at DeLorenzo's in central NJ- trust me, that's not a pale imitation of anything.)
ryanm June 19, 2013
I've been to Motorino a lot and have always sung its praises. But I just don't think the quality is what it was a couple years ago. Mathieu Palombino, the chef, has also opened Bowery Diner as well as a Motorino branch in Hong Kong. Maybe once he focuses again on the Motorino in Manhattan things will come together again, but for now it's off my list. Which is too bad, since they're nice people there (nicer staff than crowd).
ChefJune June 19, 2013
I thought Keste was best pizza in Manhattan...

pierino June 19, 2013
At one time it was Pizza Fresca near the Flatiron, but I haven't been there in quite some time. Motorino bought out the kid who was making "una pizza vera neapolitina"---the "kid" moved to San Francisco. Right now I would say it's Motorino as the champ until demonstrated otherwise. Remember that there's New York pizza aka "the folded slice" and then there's the real thing.
ryanm June 19, 2013
Yes, of course--No. 7 sub! It's not sit-down, though, which may be a deal-breaker for some. And of course any of the Ace Hotel options should be followed by Stumptown coffee, including a corn cookie and at least a cake batter truffle or two.
ryanm June 18, 2013
Kefi on the UWS is pretty dependable Greek, and a good value. Both the Breslin and John Dory in the Ace Hotel are quite good, and if you're careful not too too pricey, but you have to be OK with the hipster quotient.

Motorino is still good but I think not quite as good as a year or two ago. Agree that Eataly is a good (if insanely crowded) choice.

Honestly, though, just take the L out to Bushwick in Brooklyn and walk two blocks to Roberta's!
brauchpotato June 18, 2013
Ryan, you're so smart! But you if you go to the Ace Hotel you can absolutely 100% not pass up on No. 7 sub!!!! One of the best sandwiches I've had in the city. Also, Robertas. I'm obsessed but especially with their brunch.
Bevi June 20, 2013
Roberta's is fun and has a great eclectic menu.
Pegeen June 18, 2013
Good food, cheap at convenient locations

Hallo Berlin, near Javits Center – best sausages in NYC. German potato salad and red cabbage salad are great. Very informal. Pleasant beer garden in back.
10th Ave btwn 44th & 45th. If you’re in midtown, they also have a prize-winning lunch cart on Fifth at 54th. Only there during lunch hours – talk to anyone in (their usually very long line) about which sausages they like best.

Hard to find good, reasonably-priced fare in midtown. One of the best deals - La Bonne Soupe, a decent bistro. French Onion soup is good. 55 btwn Fifth and Sixth.
Abby A. June 18, 2013
Not off the beaten paths but on the radar for good reason. I love these...
Mission Chinese!
One of the many momofuku places
P.S. re recommendation above of Zen Palate in union square, it has been closed for a while though i think there's still one in Hell's kitchen. used to love that place for fried vegan options like sweet and sour "pork". Love many of the recommendations and will go down the list and try them myself over the summer.
ChefJune June 18, 2013
ooops forgot to mention I will also be at the Fancy Food Show on Sunday and Monday. Anyone want to meet up?
ChefJune June 18, 2013
My all-time favorite place in Manhattan is not at all trendy. It's a small Spanish restaurant in the Village called El Charro. The food is always good and the prices are very reasonable (for Manhattan). It's also around the corner from the famous Village Vanguard Jazz Club so it's easy to catch a set after dinner.:)

RGR on the New York forum of has a wonderful do-it-yourself tour of the Lower East Side. I highly recommend it.
healthierkitchen June 18, 2013
thanks Monita, will give it a try! Pierino - thanks for the Korean restaurant tip. Will check that out!
Monita June 18, 2013
Call La Boite - sometimes Lior will open up on other days
amysarah June 18, 2013
Javits is within easy striking distance of Koreatown (mostly W. 32nd, east of Broadway.) There's also a Pio Pio on 10th Ave., in the low '40's - the thing there is delicious Peruvian roast chicken (an entire one, for 2, costs under $20,) plus avocado salad, tamales, ceviche....East '50's is a bit tougher - mostly fancy business lunch type places. But it's not far from The Oyster Bar at Grand Central (if you grew up here, you're probably already familiar.) Can get pricey in the dining room, but oysters, or oyster stew or pan roast at the counter is really the classic experience and more reasonably priced too. Still one of the great restaurant spaces in NYC.
Monita June 18, 2013
You should check out Taboon (52nd and 10th) May be more expensive but worth it. Also try to visit La Boite ( an amazing spice store on 52 and 11th
healthierkitchen June 18, 2013
I would LOVE to go to La Boîte! It looks like he's only open Wed - Fri, so if I'm still in town late enough on Friday I will!
healthierkitchen June 18, 2013
sexyLAMBCHOPx - I've been to Cafe Mingala! We love Burmese food and my niece lived around the corner for a while. Really good!
healthierkitchen June 18, 2013
mostly midtown (Javits Ctr) for the fancy food show and E. 50's where I have a place to stay. I will have time to travel a little, but not sure I can get to Bklyn.
pierino June 18, 2013
Located between your hotel and the Javits, I really like Cho Dang Gol for very moderately priced Korean---especially at lunch. Before your entree comes out about seven plates of banshan will arrive and can be shared. Two stars from the NY Times. W35th between 6th and Broadway.
ATG117 June 18, 2013
where in the city will you be?
sexyLAMBCHOPx June 17, 2013
If you want to try a good, unpretentious Burmese restaurant go to Café Mingala. I used to live right down the street. Small & has character - and the food is delicious. Aw, this post is making me homesick for my old apartment living, restaurant-every-night-life...
sexyLAMBCHOPx June 17, 2013
There's also Zen Palate (outdoor seating) & Republic @ Union Square (bonus if you're there during the farmers market, perfect for nice weather. I cant remember the restaurant next to Heartland Brewery, on the corner I used to haunt... Great people watching, near all subways. Have you considered a culinary walking tour? They're fun and you can pick your neighborhood to explore and lots of food to eat - if you have time of course. One price includes all.
QueenSashy June 17, 2013
sexyLAMBCHOPx June 17, 2013
Have you tried Spice Market? They offer a reasonable lunch prix-fixe. Also, Koreatown and Little India (lower east side)neighborhood offer incredible meals and affordable prices.
healthierkitchen June 17, 2013
Any thoughts on Balaboosta?
ATG117 June 18, 2013
Enjoyed it, and taim has some of the best falafel.
healthierkitchen June 17, 2013
some really great ideas here - thanks all!! amysarah, I am definitely looking for off the beaten track. Btw, pierino, I grew up in the NY area and have been eating at Katz' and Russ and Daughters since I was little. In fact, when I got off the train coming home from college each break, my dad always took me down for a corned beef sandwich which was piled extra high because he'd tip the guy slicing the meat.
Bevi June 18, 2013
We love Veselka - good recommendation.
amysarah June 17, 2013
Gosh, there are so many...but for fun and tasty and not so obvious places, some immediately come to mind: Caracas Arepas Bar (actually a sit-down place) on E. 7th - great atmosphere and delicious; and Tia Pol on 10th Ave. in Chelsea, for very authentic tapas. Periyali on W. 20th is an old fave, still hard to beat for Greek cooking in a small, warm setting. Pierogies at the Veselka in the E. Village. Personally, I'd avoid trendy/big name places, if not breaking the bank and more off beat are what you're looking for.
sexyLAMBCHOPx June 17, 2013
Periyali & Veselka - Yum! great reco's.
pierino June 17, 2013
For old school, Lower East Side/SOHO, walking east from Bowery on E.Houston you will pass Jonah Schimmel's Knishery, Russ and Daughters and eventually Katz's Deli. All great in their own way. For the complete Italian immersion I would suggest stopping in the Batali/Bastianich enterprise Eataly. This is like a museum of Italian food with several distinct restaurant spaces inside. They have at least four aisles of pasta, some shapes as long as broomsticks. 23rd and Broadway.
Generally speaking, dining downtown is a better deal than Midtown. Although I still like Trattoria Dell'Arte on 7th Avenue opposite Carnegie Hall. The anti-pasta bar used to be one of the better deals in Manhattan. Haven't been there for awhile though.
In Chelsea I like La Singe Verte on 7th Avenue. Mostly traditional French.

Voted the Best Reply!

sexyLAMBCHOPx June 17, 2013
Tourist traps, Pierno. Better off doing a food walking tour of the area for tastings, IMHO.
jamcook June 17, 2013
Bettola.. A great neighborhood, reasonably priced Italian on The upper West side..Amsterdam between 79th and 80th
Bevi June 18, 2013
Yes! I am going.
sdebrango June 17, 2013
I got this today from Tasting Table, not sure when you will be in NYC but on July 17th there is a guest chef program from Tasting Table,
sort of pricey but sounds like a great experience if you are a fan of Tartine Bakery and Tartine Bar.
healthierkitchen June 17, 2013
Actually, I guess it's a little sooner than that but that sounds great - I'm coming up for the fancy food show the 1st and 2d. Anyone else going?
sdebrango June 17, 2013
Motorino is great!! I have heard from several people that Santuary T on West Broadway is really good
Monita June 17, 2013
Motorino Pizza in the East Village
pierino June 17, 2013
Right now this is probably the best pizza in Manhattan. And I love the East Village.
healthierkitchen June 17, 2013
Motorino sounds great! I'll be with my vegetarian daughter so this will work well.
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