Here are restaurant recommendations for several cities. Recommendations are just that -- recommendations, not guarantees. Try them at your own risk.
For more details and additional ideas within New York, use New York Metro. This site used to suggest using CitySearch, but that site has become slow, too full of ads, and its content is becoming sparse.
An excellent default choice is Docks Oyster Bar and Seafood Grill, on 3rd Avenue at 40th Street. The food is good, the service is good, the bar is good, and the atmosphere is fine. Both fish and shellfish are very good. They have good wine and beer. Prices are reasonable. The crowd is attractive. You should make recommendations, but Docks can usually accomodate people without them. The address is 633 3rd Ave. Phone number: (212) 986-8080. Another Docks restaurant is at 2427 Broadway.
In the Union Square area, Blue Water Grill is a fine choice. The fish is really good, as is their wine. The interior is well laid-out and elegant. Their service is on-the-spot. Prices are expensive, but worth it. Blue Water Grill is a good place to take a date, or a spouse for an anniversary. They get very busy, so make advance reservations. The address is 31 Union Sq West. Phone number: (212) 675-9500.
Oops, fresh has expired! It is closed.Opened in 2002, fresh serves wondeful fish. The restaurant is located in Tribeca, on Reade Street between West Broadway and Church. The fresh fish (hence the name, and no, they actually do not capitalize the name) is truly outstanding. Service is very good, knowledgeable, and efficient. The wine seems good and reasonably priced. If you wind up waiting at the bar, you will find the bartender to be friendly and helpful. The entrees are fairly expensive, in the $30 range, but well worth it. The decor is simple, but attractive, with a bright light blue theme that even extends to the waiters' shirts. It is a good idea to make reservtions. By the way, fresh restaurant has their own web page, but the above link is to a third party review because the official web site maximizes the user's browser and so is too irritating to give out. The address is 105 Reade Street. Phone number: (212) 406-1900.
It is crowded, it is somewhat noisy, but it serves wonderful fish. We are talking about Aquagrill, in Soho. The chef likes to prepare fish hot, with a seared outside, almost like a steak house, and the results are terrific. Prices are reasonable, though not cheap, the service is helpful, and the wine & beer list are interesting. Reservations are a very good idea even on week nights, as Aquagrill is small and popular. The address is 210 Spring Street, at Sixth Avenue (Avenue of the Americas). Phone number: (212) 274-0505.
You can eat good seafood in a stylish restaurant at City Crab. On Park Avenue South, City Crab has both good shellfish and good fish dishes. Service is attentive. The bar is a good place to grab a drink before dinner, with friendly bartenders. Prices are moderate. You feel you get good value. City Crab gets busy on weekend nights, so reservations are helpful then, but the place is big enough that they can usually accomodate walk-ups within a half hour. One warning: the restaurant can be a little noisy. The address is 235 Park Ave South. Phone number: (212) 529-3800.
A nice neighborhood place is Wai Cafe, on 1st Avenue near 12th Street in the East Village. It is not really a seafood restaurant, but they seem to emphasize fish, along with vegetarian entrees, with a bit of an Asian style. The menu is fairly small, but the food is tasty. Go for the fresh fish dishes. Prices are fairly cheap. Wai Cafe has a second location on 6th Avenue, too. The (1st Avenue) address is 201 First Ave. Phone number: (212) 388-1997.
Try Trattoria Alba on East 34th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. The food is good, the service is good, and, best of all, they actually have room to relax. The tables are nicely spread out. It is a good date place, as well as a good place for a quiet business discussion or interview. The address is 233 East 34th St. Phone number: (212) 689-3200.
If you have a group, consider Carmine's, in either the Upper West Side or Midtown / Theater District. They serve huge portions of hearty Italian food, designed to be shared by everyone in the group. This is not exotic food, just wonderful, tasty, filling fare. Pastas, bread, appetizers and meats are all good. Order less than you think you need, then be prepared to take doggie bags home anyway. Prices are quite reasonable. Carmine's has two locations. The Midtown one, good for before- and after-theater, is at 200 W 44th St. Phone number: (212) 221-3800. The Upper West Side location is at 2450 Broadway. Phone number: (212) 362-2200.
Another group destination is John's, in the East Village. They serve large portions of yummy Italian food. It is not particulary spicy, just traditional and good. Pastas and chicken dishes are very nice. Prices are reasonable, but watch it, John's does not take credit cards. Service at John's is acceptable, but nothing special. They can get crowded. The decor consists of large tables, so you can wind up sharing a table with other parties. Address is at 302 E. 12th St. Phone number: (212) 475-9531.
Eat delicious and simple Italian food at Via Emilia, near Union Square. The pasta and accompanying ingredients seem to scream "fresh". Prices are quite reasonable. Portions are not huge, but very filling. The service is friendly, patient and knowledgeable. Address is 240 Park Ave. South, between 19th and 20th Streets. Phone number: (212) 505-3072. Via Emilia is in the process of moving to East 21st Street and is temporarily closed.
Artisanal, on Park Avenue, is terrific. The address says Park Ave, though this is confusing, as the real entrance is on 32nd Street, between Park and Madison Avenues. You will appreciate the attentive and knowledgeable service. Artisanal (note, not "artisinal") has terrific fondue and good wine, along with normal entrees, but the highlight is their cheese plate. The name of the restaurant, from "artisan", meaning a skilled craftsperson, refers to cheeses made with old-fashioned skill. Artisanal is not cheap, but worth it. Take a date you want to impress. It is crowded, so make reservations. The address is 2 Park Ave. The phone number is (212) 725-8585.
For terrific food coupled with a superb experience, try Brasserie, in Midtown, just off Park Avenue. The chef serves up incredible fish. Portions are generous without being over-sized. The atmoshpere, in a large, high-celinged room, is somehow both hip and elegant. You do not even mind the crowded seating. The waiters at Brasserie are knowledgeable and attentive. Prices are moderately expensive, as would be expected, but not unreasonable. Not surprisingly, the restaurant gets quite crowded, so make reservations. The address is 100 East 53rd Street. The phone number is (212) 751-4840.
L'Express, on Park Avenue South, is good and fairly cheap. It has very good meals for reasonable prices. Atmosphere is nothing special. It is open late at night. The address is 249 Park Ave South. The phone number is (212) 254-5890.
Good cheap sushi -- West Side Sushi on 9th Avenue, between 48th and 49th Streets. The food is good, the service is reasonable, and the prices are real low. The decor is even OK. The address is 717 9th Ave. Phone number: (212) 581-2366.
For delectable Asian food, try either of the Ruby Foo's locations, Ruby Foo's Times Square or Ruby Foo's Upper West Side. The menu serves a delicious and creative mixture of dishes from various Oriental cultures. Appetizers and entrees are great. Sushi is good, though is seems a little silly to go here for sushi. The restaurants attract a lot of tourists, but that shows that visitors can be smart. Prices are a little high, but well worth it. Service is good. The place is busy, so make reservations. The Times Square address is 1676 Broadway. Phone number: (212) 489-5600. The Upper West Side location is at 2182 Broadway. Phone number: (212) 724-6700.
A cool, simple, stylish and really tasty Asian restaurant is Rain on the Upper West Side. The menu consists of a mixture of choices from Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand. Food is scrumptious, with both spicy and non-spicy dishes. Rain can be a good romantic choice and also a good casual eating spot. Prices are fairly reasonable. Service is friendly and good. Rain is a bit busy, so it is better to have reservations, but you can usually get in without them. Rain has another location on the East Side, at 1059 3rd Avenue. The address is 100 West 82nd Street. Phone number: (212) 501-0776.
For hot and wonderful Sichuan style Chinese food, eat at Grand Sichuan International on 9th Avenue between 23rd and 24th Streets. The meals are very tasty, with some heavy duty hot pepper action. But the staff will adjust the spiciness to your comfort level. Both vegetarian and fish & meat dishes are very good. Portions are large, and the platters are designed for sharing among your party. Prices are dirt cheap. The decor is major casual. Service is friendly, though English is a second language for many of the waiters. The address is 229 Ninth Avenue. Phone number: (212) 620-5200.
In Chinatown, eat at Goody's at Chatham Square. The dumplings are outstanding. Their noodle dishes are very good. Prices are cheap. Portions are fairly large. Decor is basic. Service is fine. The address is 1 East Broadway, at Bowery. Phone number: (212) 577-2922.
In the East Village, eat at Yummy House on 3rd Avenue at 12th Street. The entrees are very good. Yummy House serves Mongolian Beef, which is a common dish in much of the country, but hard to find in New York. Prices are fairly cheap, though above the ridiculously low prices charged by some hole in the wall Chinese restaurants. The decor is simple, but clean and inoffensive. Yummy House does a lot of takeout business, too. The address is 76 3rd Avenue. Phone number: (212) 505-1668.
Holy Basil in the East Village on 2nd Avenue near 10th Street has succulent and cheap Thai food. The entrees are varied, with the right amount of spice. Try the noodle dishes and the fish dishes. Vegetarian fare here is excellent. Portions are fairly large. The beer and wine selection is good, too. The decor is very nice, almost elegant, truly impressive for such a cheap place. Service is extremely good. Usually it is only open for dinner. The address is 149 Second Ave. Phone number: (212) 460-5557.
A chain of Malaysian restaurants scattered around New York called Penang have delicious eating. Their decors vary, though some have a strong Malsysian theme. Prices are reasonable, drinks are good, and the service is outstanding. See the Web site for locations and phone numbers.
To satisfy any meat craving, go to Churrascaria Plataforma in the West side of Midtown on 49th Street near between 8th and 9th Avenues. The motif of Plataforma is to serve unlimited quantities of a variety of meats, such as beef, pork and sausages. The waiters keep bringing by hunks of meat from which they slice portions for individual diners. You eat as much as you can stuff into yourself. Their salad bar is awesome, too, and is almost worthwhile by itself. The room is fairly elegant. Most diners dress well for the experience, so throw on a sport jacket or even a suit, or a skirt or dress. Service is quite good. Try not to eat anything all day before dinner in order to save room. This is a good place to bring a group. The place is not cheap, but well worth it. It gets very crowded, so make rservations. The address is 316 West 49 Street. Phone number: (212) 974-8250.
For simple yet delicious Turkish cuisine, check out Sultan in the Upper East Side on 2nd Avenue. The restaurant serves lamb, chicken and various fish entrees. You get yummy and slightly exotic hot bread at the table. The Turkish emphasis yields mildly spicy and tender meats. The house salad resembles a Greek salad, with feta cheese, but it comes with a dressing that does not seem Greek, though it is very tasty. They have only a few wines. Do not be afraid to try the Turkish offerings. Service is friendly. The decor is a bit plain. Prices are reasonable. The address is 1435 2nd Avenue, between 74th and 75th streets. Phone number: (212) 861-0200.
Taverns and Bars
Reservoir Bar & Grill on University Place, has tasty food. The fare is considerably more than traditional Irish, with pastas, pizza, fish, chicken, and of course burgers. The chicken wings are terrific. They have a good selection of draft beers. Prices are cheap. Even the beers are less than usual Manhattan tarrifs. Service is friendly. This is a good choice for casual dinner or lunch, or to gather with friends. The address is 70 University Place. Phone number: (212) 598-0055.
Ryan's Irish Pub on 2nd Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets, is a friendly neighborhood place. The menu is sort of the usual Irish, with pastas, fish, chicken, and of course burgers. Their soups are always very good. They have good draft beers. Prices are reasonable. The bartenders are unusually friendly for New York, and the waitresses are terrific. This is a good spot for drinks with friends, a casual dinner or lunch, watching sports, or even weekend brunch. The address is 70 University Place. Phone number: (212) 598-0055.
Heartland Brewery is a micro-brewery and restaurant with a few locations. It has terrific beers with reasonable food. Go for lunch or dinner, a late snack, or just to try the house brews. The location on West 43rd Street in Midtown is sort of a steakhouse, and has good meat and generally heartier food. The other locations have simpler food with cheaper prices. The Union Square address is 35 Union Sq West. Phone number: (212) 645-3400. The Midtown place's address is 127 W 43rd Street. Phone number: (646) 366-0235.
The Upper East Side has a delicious pizza place in Totonno's Pizzeria Napolitano. This is what you expect from New York pizza -- thin crust. They have several varieties. The restaurant gets crowded early in the dinner hour. Pies are fairly large and a good value. However, Totonno's does not sell individual slices. Order a pitcher of sangria -- it is some of the best in New York. The desserts are good, too. Totonno's has a branch in Coney Island, too, which is reputed to be even better. The address is 1544 2nd Ave, at 80th Street. Phone number: (212) 327-2800.
You can get good BBQ in New York. Go to Virgil's Real BBQ in Midtown on West 44th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. Go for the ribs and platters, and order the wings for an appetizer. Virgil's barbecued chicken wings put to shame buffalo wings at any other place. Portions are fairly large. You can have lunch or dinner here. Dinner time gets crowded before theater. The food is of course messy. Service is reasonable. You get a lot of tourists here, but go anyway. The address is 152 W 44th St. Phone number: (212) 921-9494.
The ribs are to-die-for at Blue Smoke in the area of Gramercy Park. We recommend trying the sampler, but a plate of a specific style of ribs works just fine. Not that everything else is in any way inferior. The appetizers are very good, the service is helpful & competent, and they have a good beer selection. Blue Smoke does good business, so make reservations. Prices are not cheap, but you get good value for what you pay. The address is 116 E. 27th St. Phone number is (212) 447-7733.
One of many good steakhouses in New York is Morton's of Chicago on 45th Street at 5th Avenue. The steaks are very good and reasonably large, though not giant. The waiters are helpful, attentive and calm. Service is reliable and never rushed. Morton's servies a huge chunk of bread. The house salad avoids overdoing the blue cheese. Try the New York strip and the filet mignon. Feel free to order a glass of one of the recommended wines; they are fine. Prices are only a little high, and worthwhile. Morton's is a national chain, but that is not reason to avoid it. They can get crowded, so make reservations. The address is 551 5th Avenue, though the entrance is actually on East 45th Street, between Madison and 5th Avenues, on the North side. Phone number: (212) 972-3315.
New review! Yes, we know Ruth's Chris Steak House is a chain. Yes, we could review it under many cities. But, heck, let's settle for saying the New York location is terrific. Ruth's Chris is on 45th Street near 7th Avenue. The steaks are wonderful, tender and flavorful. The chain's tchnique is to use a lot of butter with the steaks and serve them very hot. It works. Portions are large. though not huge. The bnread is very tasty. Side dishes are reasonably good, though not special. The wait staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful, without being stuffy. The wine list is large. Prices seem quite fair for a steak house of this caliber. We recommend reservations. The address is 148 West 51st Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, on the South side. Phone number: (212) 245-9600.
The best cheesesteaks in New York are at BB Sandwich Bar in Greenwich Village on West 3rd Street between MacDougal & 6th Avenue. Go here for only one thing -- delicious Philadelphia-style cheesesteaks. This is a lunch spot. They can run out of food and close before the dinner hour is up. Eat in or take out. Prices are cheap. The address is 120 W. 3rd St. Phone number: (212) 473-7500.
The best pastrami sandwiches in New York are at Katz's Delicatessen on Houston Street. Though this is where that famous scene in When Harry Met Sally took place, the reason to come to Katz's is for the delicious deli sandwiches. Their pastrami is simply outstanding. The sandwiches are gigantic, so do not let the nominally high prices be a turn off. One sandwich will feed two people. The address is 205 E Houston St. Phone number: (212) 254-2246.
Spanish, Latin American
A nice little place is La Paella on East 9th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. The food is excellent. Go for both the tapas dishes and the paella. Service is mediocre. Tables, on two floors, are on top of one another, and it gets noisy. The restaurant can have a wait for dinner during weekends and the end of the work week. The crowd is mostly neighborhood people and NYU types. Prices are reasonable, though not cheap. The address is 214 E 9th St. Phone number: (212) 367-9415.
The best chicken in New York may be at Pio Pio, in Jackson Heights, Queens. Pio Pio is Peruvian. The restaurant marinates its chicken for hours. The result is very tender, juicy and incredibly tasty. Side dishes, such as rice and beans, are good, too. Service is inconsistent, though friendly. Some of the staff do not speak English well. The menu is limited -- this is a place to go to for chicken. Prices are reasonable. Pio Pio is a good choice for either lunch or dinner. Pio Pio also has restaurants in Woodhaven and on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. The address is 84-13 Northern Boulevard. Phone number: (718) 426-1010.
One of the best Indian restaurants in Little India (East 6th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues) in New York is Mitali East. The food is really good. Their service is attentive. The place fairly shines, it is so clean. They do quite a good business for dinner, though the wait for seating is never long. Lunch is a satisfactory alternative, though the filling meals seem to fit dinner better. Both vegetarian and meat dishes are very good. Prices are slightly higher than some of the other restaurants in Little India, but still cheap. The address is 334 East 6th Street. Phone number: (212) 533-2508.
It seems somehow improper to eat a moderately priced or expensive Indian restaurant. They are supposed to be cheap, tasty and filling. Nevertheless, Bukhara Grill, in midtown, is good, elegant, and worth it. The lunch buffet is terrific and will leave you feeling stuffed. Dinner is good, too. Both the meat and vegetable dishes are excellent. Service is excellent for dinner. Prices are slightly expensive, but only slightly, and worth it. The address is 217 E 49th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. Phone number: (212) 888-2839.
Another good but somewhat expensive Indian restaurant is Shaan, in midtown. The decor is quite nice, though not elegant. The food is real tasty. Shaan's chef does a terrific job with the spices. The lunch buffet is excellent. The buffet emphasizes meat dishes, but it includes vegetarian choices, too. Service is attentive. The address is 57 West 48 Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues. Phone number: (212) 977-8400.
Diwan is another tasty place to eat Indian food at a lunch buffet. They offer a lot of chicken dishes in interesting sauces. The buffet usually has a good fish dish, too. Come hungry. Service is fine, and pricing is moderate. The address is 148 E. 48th Street, between Lexington and 3rd Avenues. Phone number: (212) 593-5425.
Take a trip out to Brighton Beach and enjoy Russian food at Tatiana's on the Boardwalk. The food is filling, tasty and rich, featuring all sorts of fish dishes. The atmoshpere is fun and celebratory, with lots of people speaking Russian and plenty of vodka and beer being consumed. Service is attentive. Prices are moderate. The address is 3152 Brighton Sixth Street. Phone number: (718) 891-5151.
For quick and casual Mexican, it is hard to argue with the many Burritoville restaurants scattered around New York. The fast food burritos and the like are really good. Try the road house burrito. This is not fancy food, just cheap and good. Many people just order their food to go. The burritos are border-line huge. It is a good place for lunch, dinner, or a midnight snack. You can get meat and vegetarian offerings. Vegetarian and meat dishes are very good. See their website or the phone book for locations.
Taverns and Bars
Mile Square Bar & Grill on Washington Street is an excellent place for brunch. Its buffet is very impressive, with all sorts of food at a reasonable price. The address is 221 Washington Street. Phone number: (201) 420-0222.
A good Cajun restaurant is Oddfellows Lousiana Bar & Restaurant, within a few yards of the New Jersey Transit and PATH station. The food is tasty, well-seasoned and filling. Prices are quite reasonable, and the portions are large. The beer selection is varied, including a couple from Louisiana. They have several kinds of jambalaya, which is the recommended item. The address is 80 River Street. Phone number: (201) 656-9009. Oddfellows also has a location in Jersey City.
If you are looking for an upscale elegant restaurant in Hoboken, be sure to try Amanda's. Located on a (relatively) quiet stretch of Washington Street, the main drag in Hoboken, Amanda's is warm and cozy. It looks and feels small, though it actually has a fair bit of room. The decor is stylish, featuring portrait paintings. A large one near the entrance supposedly is of the owner's wife and daughters. The menu changes once a week or so. It features several delicious meat and fish entrees. Portions are mid-sized, so order an appetizer first. The staff is friendly and attentive. Prices are in the $20 range for entrees. It is best to make a reservation, as they get busy. The address is 908 Washington Street, on the West side, between 9th and 10th streets. Phone number: (201) 798-0101.
Vesta Dipping Grill, in the LoDo neighborhood, is awesome. The menu serves a fascinating and creative mixture of fish and meat dishes with a pan-Asian motif. The restaurant's specialty is their set of dipping sauces that you select for your entree. However, as good as they are, the dishes are fantastic even without the sauces. The menu recommends three sauces for each entree, but you should experiment. To some extent, the restaurant's impact is wasted on their meat dishes, though they are still excellent. In other words, the recommendation is to choose fish. The vesta roll sesame crusted tuna appetizer with wasabi is one of the best appetizers anywhere. The wine list is fine. Prices are moderate -- not cheap, but hardly overpriced. Service is good. Decoration is intriguing, though hardly elegant. The place gets crowded, so make reservations. Incidentally, the bar is a fun place to drink at on its own. Worth coming to over and over. The address is 1822 Blake St. Phone number: (303) 296-1970.
You can find terrific steak at Del Frisco's Double Eagle on Orchard Street in Greenwood Village. The steaks are large and tender. The service is near perfect. All their side dishes are good, especially, of course, this is a steak house, the creamed spinach and potatoes. Even the bread is quite good. The restaurant has an excellent wine list, though they overcharge for them. Prices are expensive, though the steaks are worth it. This is a good place to impress a date, to celebrate an anniversary, or for an important business meal. Del Frisco's gets crowded, so make reservations. The address is 8100 E Orchard Road in Greenwood Village. Phone number: (303) 796-0100. Del Frisco's has other locations around the country, too.
An efficient and tasty BBQ establishment in the south Denver suburbs is Bennett's Bar-B-Que off of Araphaoe Street, near Centennial Airport. The ribs, sausage, brisket and chicken are all worthwhile. The bread is quite good, especially when dipped in the bbq sauce. The food is generally filling and tasty. If you have saved your appetite, order the chuckwagon, which is their all-you-can-eat offering. You can have lunch or dinner here. Service is fast and friendly. The dining room is casual, but attractive. Being Denver, the crowds come early, so go a little later for dinner to avoid a wait. They also do a lot of takeout. Prices are reasonable. The address is 3700 N. Peoria Street. Phone number: (303) 375-0339. Bennet's has a bunch of other locations, too.
Here is a perfect tasty, elegant, classy. romantic spot in our nation's capital. We hearily recommend it. We are talking about Tabard Inn, near Dupont Circle. The menu changes daily, but the food is terrific. The ingredients seem fresh. Meat and fish are both outstanding. The wines are very good. The wait staff know what they are doing and are very helpful. Prices are surprisingly good for the quality of food and service. You will find yourself wanting to overtip at the endi of dinner. Make a reservation. Then hope the Inn keeps you waiting to eat, so you have an excuse to enjoy a pre-dinner drink in the coze and warm bar. The address is 1739 N Street NW. Phone number: (202) 785-1277.
A tasty and cute small place is Agnes & Muriel's, near Piedmont Park. It is a friendly neighborhood place. The menu has somewhat upscale Southern specialties. The pork chops are terrific. Prices are reasonable. The waitstaff are terrific. They bave valet parking. The address is 1514 Monroe Dr NE. Phone number: (404) 885-1000.
Vickery's Bar And Grill is a wonderful Southern style place, in Midtown. It is friendly, though hardly upscale. The menu has yummy Southern specialties, with a bit of Cajun influence. Prices are reasonable. Service is friendly and good. They usually have valet parking. The address is 1106 Crescent Ave NE. Phone number: (404) 881-1106.
For tasty, though fattening ribs, go to Fat Matt's Rib Shack on Piedmont Avenue. This is an extremely casual restaurant (rstaurant ?). Go for the rack of ribs and delicious sides, such as baked beans that are to die for. Prices are reasonable, though not as cheap as you might imagine. Service is friendly, though inconsistent. The address is 1811 Piedmont Ave NE. Phone number: (404) 607-1622.
A somewhat funky, though very satisfying, place is Buckhead Diner in Buckhead. This is not a simple diner. It is more like what someone thinks a diner should be in Beverly Hills. But the food is innovative and tasty. Service is terrific. Prices are a little high, though not unreasonable. Try the potato chips with blue cheese. This is a good place for brunch, lunch or dinner, and a good place to impress a date who is looking for energy instead of romance and violins. The address is 3037 Piedmont Rd. Phone number: (404) 262-3336.
Last Update:09 August 2009
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