Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Are all NYC Midtown Restaurants Really that high priced?

Are all NYC Midtown Restaurants Really that high priced?

Old May 16th, 2003, 11:59 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 579
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Are all NYC Midtown Restaurants Really that high priced?

Ok, I know I am visiting for the first time from the midwest. But all the posts on here that talk about dining in Manhattan the prices seem really exhorbitant. At least I will know ahead of time, and can sedate my wife before I get there.

But can you go to let's say an italian restaurant, order a plate of spaghetti a glass of water with lemon (meals here typically include a small salad and bread of some sort) and get by per person for less than $18.00/dinner, $14.00/lunch including tax and tip? I am not looking for ZAGAT choice places, just a place to eat....

Typically, eating out at a nice casual restaurant for evening meal here runs about $70.00 for FOUR people without alcohol (this is an entree -chicken or pasta -, salad and bread typically included). Is it at all possible there? We will be staying in the Rockefeller Center area and don't plan to travel beyond Manhattan much.



4khansen is offline  
Old May 16th, 2003, 12:06 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,379
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Short, flip answer: Yes, they're all that high-priced.

Longer answer: NYC has a great dining scene, but you do pay at the better restaurants in better neighborhoods for higher lease rates, better staff, higher quality of food (good-quality ingredients cost money, especially out-of-season stuff that has to be flown in), etc. I've found that a good meal in Midtown is some 50-100% higher in cost than a meal of comparable quality in the area I work: Santa Monica, CA. But lease rates are lower (even here!), and food is on the whole MUCH cheaper (since it's almost always in season, or quickly available from Mexico).

However, I have never really looked for bargains. What about it, NYers? Where's some cheap eats in Midtown?!
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Old May 16th, 2003, 12:27 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10,230
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Location, location, location.
Why is my apartment worth as much as your house? Because it is in Manhattan. It's the price you pay for being here.

That said, there are plenty of inexpensive places to eat in Manhattan, but by sticking to midtown, you limit the possibilties of finding them. There are diners/coffee shops in midtown where you could spend less than $10 per person, if that's where you'd care to eat (not a slam--I love diners!). Ethnic restaurants, especially Asian ones, offer large, shareable servings at reasonable prices. Three adults could easily share two entrees. Midtown west--along Ninth Avenue between 42nd and 57th Sts there are many restaurants in many price ranges. Further afield--6th St (East Village) bet 1st and 2nd, an entire block of Indian restaurants that offer a special $6.95 dinner of appetizer, soup, main course, and ice cream. If you're willing to explore, you can find the deals.
ellenem is offline  
Old May 16th, 2003, 12:33 PM
  #4  
Bo
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 241
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Can it be done, "yes", but....

Go to a NYC restaurant and order 2 plates of spagheti and 2 glasses of water with lemon, anticipate the not-so-happy look on the server's face and a slight attitude (in addition to the attitude s/he already has). If i'm going to get 'looks' from the staff, i'd rather not eat out there at any price and would sooner dine someplace else where the average meal was more within my budget.

There are ways it can be done though without the above. Chinatown is dirt cheap and a great place to explore. Other Asian/ethnic meals are also inexpensive (chinese, thai, etc). A nite at Grimaldi's (in Brooklyn) for some memorable pizza would also save on cash (as would a visit to John's Pizza).

So the answer is it can be easily done, BUT you need to be careful about where you go.

You may want to check out this link:
http://www.betterbidding.com/?act=ST&f=254&t=419&
which has a link to coupons for some "finer" restaurants in it. These restaurants are quite nice and i'd still anticipate a check costing you $100 for 2 people (after discount), but it may come in handy for your "splurge" nite if you choose to have one.

Bo is offline  
Old May 16th, 2003, 01:20 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 170
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes you can eat cheap but it takes work and research. I live in NJ and often go into NYC for shows, comedy, sports. I refuse to pay city prices and always scour the internet for "NYC cheap eats" or "chow hound" for the latest restaurant recommendations.

The last time I went to NYC I went with 8 friends to go to a comedy show. I searched the net and found a lovely italian restaurant near the club that had a 3-course price-fixed dinner for $12.99. No lie! It was na ice salad, bread, italian dinner ( I chose the chicken parm) and coffee and simple dessert. It was a small place, white tablecloths, family-owned. Was it the best meal in the world??? MAYBE!! because we had a lovely time and the food didn't cost a fortune.

SO the bottom line is you have lots of choices ~ even in midtown~ if you do your homework. Believe me. And make reservations in advance!
screen_name is offline  
Old May 16th, 2003, 02:14 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 690
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
if I can divide your question into 2 parts:

In midtown, near your hotel:very tough

In Manhattan--absolutely. You need to get into neighborhoods that are mostly residential rather than tourist or business oriented. 15 minutes away by subway you can be in Greenwich village or onthe upper west side or upper east side. All of these places have restaurants (yes, we know not the highest rated ones) serving perfectly good food that most of us eat out nearly daily)that will cost $30-$40 per couple. I actually think NY is , on the whole, a cheaper place for restaurants than many small towns and cities because there's so much competition, restaurants are generally open all day (not just specified dinner or lunch hours), turnover can be greater, and the entree prices are often relatively low because the restaurants rely on drinks (and to alesser extent appetizers, desserts) for a higher portion of the bill
janie is offline  
Old May 16th, 2003, 03:13 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,485
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
RJW's suggestion that you head to 9th Avenue is a good one if you want to stay in midtown. It has lots of ethnic eats -- one of my favorites is a Greek place, I think it's called Nick's? -- that are cheap and delicious. Please keep in mind, though, that most NYC restaurants are a la carte. I think it's more unusual here than in other places to find that your entree comes with a salad. My husband and I usually share an appetizer and get separate entrees. With a glass (occasionally two) of wine per person and no dessert, it is not unusual for us to spend $60 and that's for a neighborhood "pasta joint." Hey, that's New York!
lisettemac is offline  
Old May 16th, 2003, 03:17 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,379
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just so due credit is acknowledged: I didn't suggest the schlepp to Ninth Ave (a great suggestion)-- ellenem did.
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Old May 16th, 2003, 03:27 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 122
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Restaurant Row on West 46th St. between 8th and 9th Avenues has some reasonably priced good quality places. I recently went to Joe Allen for lunch and it was very good.

The following website has lots of great information on restaurants in The City.

http://www.nycrestaurant.com/
DavidDJ_ is offline  
Old May 16th, 2003, 03:55 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,421
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There are some amazing pre/post theater deals in the theater district. Prix fixe three-course meals for $20 or less.

The Art Cafe at 52nd/Broadway has good food cheap, and an extensive menu.

And, there are large convenience type stores all over with huge hot/cold buffets (food priced by the pound) large array of really good food to take-away or enjoy there (all have tables, some in quieter space upstairs).

There are lots of more moderately priced places. Menus are posted. Just walk about the "neighborhood" once you get there.

As mentioned above, there are all sorts of fabulous places in the West Village, East Village, SoHo, so many it's difficult to choose.
djkbooks is offline  
Old May 16th, 2003, 04:09 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 124
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have to say, I think NYC is the BEST place to get a good meal for a cheap or reasonable price. The places you have seen written about here that are exhorbitant are the absolute upper eschelon restaurants (gramercy tavern, babbo, etc.), that if you ask most native NYers, we have rarely or never been to. (We can't afford to eat there - what with all the rent and maintenance we pay). I don't think I've ever paid $18.00 for italian food. (But I have a personal grudge against paying alot for pasta)

All of the suggestions you have gotten so far are good, esp. head to 9th ave. and head downtown. Generally, you won't get soup and a salad with your entree in NYC, but that is not the case everywhere. The rule of thumb for eating well in NYC is to stick to ethnic restaurants that represent the immigration patterns to NYC over the last century. Ex. Lots of cheap/reasonable italian, indian, chinese, thai, irish, west indian, vietnamese, eastern european, more recently filipino. There are some reasonable mexican places and ok barbacue, but they are not as good as you'll find in the southwest and south US. This is the time to try all those cuisines that you can't get at home for a reasonable price. Yes, you can go to your local indian restaurant and pay $20.00 a person to find out you don't like indian food, but in NYC you can go down to 6th st and pay $10.00 for both of you to try 2 different entrees and find out you don't like indian food.

My personal suggestions for good reasonable eats in NYC:
John's: east 11th st (b/w 1 and 2 av) - italian (not the pizza place)
Picolo Angelo: Hudson and Jane st - italian
Panna - 6th st (b/w 1 & 2 ave) - indian
Blue Moon - 8th ave - mexican
Wo Hop - Mott st (chinatown) - chinese
Teresa's - 1st ave (b/w 6 & 7 st) - Eastern European
Pongsri - Bayard Street (chinatown) - Thai
Chez Suzette - 9th ave (b/w 46 & 47 st) - French (alittle more than $18.00)

There are more and more, I can go on for pages. I would actually recommend NOT following Zagats. Try Chowhounds.com or search for NYC restaurants and then put into the search engine the names of restaurants you might be interested in going to. Many will have websites with menus and prices (like Chez Suzettes). Remember, what can really drive the up the tab for dinner here is drinking - both alcohol and soda. Stick to water - NYC tap water, I mean - it is the best tasting water in the world (just ask Penn and Teller and that's no Bull...)
methinks is offline  
Old May 16th, 2003, 04:56 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 529
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You've gotten plenty of good suggestions already and I'll confirm that NYC probably has better food at a reasonable price than any other city in the US. Yes... that's right - I can eat cheaper and better in NYC than almost anywhere else. It helps if you're open to trying some of the delicious and widely varied ethnic dining available - be sure to follow up on the suggestions for checking 9th Ave and Chinatown. John's Pizza also has a place on
Owen_ONeill is offline  
Old May 16th, 2003, 05:01 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 529
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
part II) John's Pizza also has another location on 44th Street and Pongsri has one somewhere around 45th or 47th.

I've eatane several times at a small Italian place called DaVinci's (I think) which is near the corner of 8th or 9th Ave on or near 45th. Plate of spaghetti with meatballs is about $8 - $10 max, bread is good and plentiful and salads are about $3 - $4. You could stya at the $18 mark easily, even with tax and tip. Got to Frutti de Mare on 2nd Ave near 4th Street for the early bird special and you'll get soup or salad, entree w/side and dessert for about $12 - $13. Lots of baragins on food in NYC - you just have to get out of the pricier parts of midtown to find them.
Owen_ONeill is offline  
Old May 16th, 2003, 05:33 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,715
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Becco, often mentioned here (in the theater district) has a $21.95 all you can eat pasta dinner. It's always packed but if you go after everyone's in the theater (8 pm) you have a much better chance of getting a reservation.

Something I often do is order 2 appetizers instead of a main course. Appetizer courses are often large (particularly something like mussels). The other option is both of you order an appetizer/salad and share an entree-the entrees are often huge. Some places may charge extra for sharing-but so what.

Lunches are easy for under $14. Some of the Indian restaurants have all you can eat lunch buffets. I WOULD recommend getting a Zagat guide if you'll be in NY for a week. They don't just list the fancy places & they have a list of all the prix fixe lunches & dinners. They also have a list of best buys.
mclaurie is offline  
Old May 16th, 2003, 06:55 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 579
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well, you all certainly made it seem possible. Thanks for all your suggestions. Looking forward to the trip! I'll see how we do . . . :=-)
4khansen is offline  
Old May 16th, 2003, 08:41 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 576
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Try Mangia e Bevi at 9th Avenue and 53rd?? or 54th Street. It's a reallyfun Italian place. Last time I went there the waiters handed out tambourines and everyone started doing the macarena in the middle of dinner. It's also fairly inexpensive.
Abby43 is offline  
Old May 16th, 2003, 09:43 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
hansen, i hope you read this far down on the posts. do i have a tip for you!! go to restaurant.com and type in manhattan. you can then buy gift certificates for half price and then redeem them at the establishment for their full value. i.e. i just 12.50 for a 25 dollar coupon at one of the country's only revolving restaurants. in a beautiful san fransisco hotel. it is such a cool concept! please try it and have a great time in new york!
darlena is offline  
Old May 16th, 2003, 09:45 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
oops i skipped a couple of words. i'm sure you get the jist of it though!
darlena is offline  
Old May 16th, 2003, 10:47 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,323
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Check the latest edition of'Let's Go New York'. This series is a great budget guide which is written for, and by traveling students. Although it is not as budget oriented as it once was, and now includes some higher priced hotels and restaurants, it continues to cover the budget scene very thoroughly. They also discuss all sorts of budget activities, museums, local transportation. etc. There is information on student discounts, which might be great for your two children. It also has some interesting historical information, and depending on their ages, your children may like to read it and pick out things to do. Since it is updated yearly, the prices are fairly accurate. Judging from your posts, this may be the only travel guide that you will need for your trip. You've chosen your hotel, which can be he hardest part of planning a trip, now the rest is just the frosting on the cake.
Nina66 is offline  
Old May 17th, 2003, 06:00 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,285
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There are something like 10,000 restaurants in Manhattan alone, so you should not have a problem finding something for your budget and tastes.

Chinatown and Little Italy have some wonderful restaurants, and great prices. If you like Dim Sum there are several places on Mott St. where both of you can eat and the cost will be about $10.00 plus tip.

Also in Little Italy, try Luna's on Mulbery St., right off Canal St.

Another favorite is Soto Cinque on 3rd Ave. and 29th St. good Italian food and some of the entres are around $5.00.

Most of the restaurants here post their menus in the window or in a window box at the door so you can see what is served and the prices.

Hope you have a great time and if you have some time, visit the downtown area, all the business there need some help.

Enjoy the city.
wantsomesun is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:02 PM.