How to choose a restaurant in NYC

Old Jul 4th, 2008, 06:23 PM
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How to choose a restaurant in NYC

I have looked at the posts here, looked at menus at menupages but there are so many to choose from how do you narrow it down?

What formula do you use?
Do you go by cuisine and / or area?
How about if either don't matter how do you end up choosing?

Just a general question that may help people that are researching NYC restaurants
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Old Jul 4th, 2008, 06:32 PM
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I know Manhattan better than the other buroughs. I visit there, have never lived there.
I start with cuisine, then go for location.
Since there are a zillion restaurants in NYC start with places that at least look like you would want to eat there and secondly, are they decently busy during hours that they should be busy?

The tour books are worthless. You almost do better to just wait until you're in NY. A lot of the best restaurants (and not necessarily expensive ones) do almost no advertising.

If you really don't know NY, there is no formula. Talk to locals for recommendations of the cuisine you're interested in and then it's trial and error to some extent from there.

Given the cooking talent in NY, finding a good place is in your favor.
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Old Jul 4th, 2008, 06:41 PM
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Good advice by Jaya.

Along the same line, why don't you post your restaurant requirement question here and I'm sure there are knowledgeable locals who'd respond with recommendations.

b_b
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Old Jul 4th, 2008, 06:50 PM
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I don't have a lot of restaurant requirements at this time per say.

If I have one requirement it would be that I would like it to be a resonable price for 2, without any wine or drinks to not go over $100. We have splurged at times but keeping it at this price, for the food portion, allows us to go more often

Just trying to see how everyone chooses the restaurants they go to. Cuisine at this time doesn't matter
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Old Jul 4th, 2008, 06:58 PM
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When we are at a loss or don't have time to research we usually end up at Becco's, which we enjoy but want to expand our choices

As an example we have dined at Mesa Grill, Oceana, Otto, Dopo Teatro, Victor's Cafe, Bobby Van's, Tribeca Grill, Katz's deli, The Water club.

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Old Jul 4th, 2008, 06:58 PM
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When we are at a loss or don't have time to research we usually end up at Becco's, which we enjoy but want to expand our choices

As an example we have dined at Mesa Grill, Oceana, Otto, Dopo Teatro, Victor's Cafe, Bobby Van's, Tribeca Grill, Katz's deli, The Water club. Morimoto's

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Old Jul 4th, 2008, 07:10 PM
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Narrow it down to a few types of cuisine. Try some place that is not as safe as those you mentioned.

By the way half the people on menu pages and chowhound have no idea what they are talking about.

The sad truth remains you will eat some mediocre meals until you find more places that you like.

Then there will honest disagreements about which places are good or not.

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Old Jul 5th, 2008, 05:56 AM
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I live in Manhattan and eat out 3-4 dinners every week.

I'd guess about 25% I go to a new restaurant, preferably during its "soft" opening before it's been reviewed.

If I'm staying in my neighborhood, I have a mental list of favorites, of course.

Otherwise, I pick a restaurant by neighborhood.

Step One -- Pick a neighborhood.

Step Two -- Find a restaurant in that 'hood, using menupages or ny mag or whatever.


(And, I just realized, after using it for many years, I never consult Zagat's anymore. By the time a place is in Zagat's, it's old news, and I've never trusted the unprofessional rating system.)
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Old Jul 5th, 2008, 09:10 AM
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Surely you have SOME requirements - even if only budget - that will help you decide.

We, too eat dinner out 2/3 times a week (and order in most of the rest) - but we tend to stick to our neighborhood (upper west side) except for weekends/meeting other people/special occasions. (With our schedules cooking is not an option.) So there are a lot of places we go to once/twice a month.

But when really having dinner out - we always have some parameters (either foods someone esp lies or dislikes, or atmosphere, trendy or romantic or casuale - or we're trying a new place we've seen reviewed or had reco'd by friends).

So - do you want a place for a special event at $200 per person? Do you want a casuale walk-in dinner for $40? Do you like fine wines - or just go for a glass of the house whatever? Do you want to dress up and be seen or just relax in a neighborhood place?

You have to make SOME decisions to narrow it down.


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Old Jul 5th, 2008, 10:15 AM
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Very true, I should add another step to my decision process.

Step one: Pick a neighborhood.

Step two: Pick a price range and/or food type and/or atmosphere and/or special feature (like outdoor dining)

Step three: Consult myriad available resources.
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Old Jul 5th, 2008, 11:17 AM
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NYTraveler
I did post that I would like places that wouldn't cost over $100 for 2 not including any drinks or wine

thank you
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Old Jul 5th, 2008, 04:23 PM
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Yes - but that covers many hundreds of decent and quite a few good place sin the city.

On the upper west side try Gennaro for Italian - excellent - but no reservations taken so get there early.

For interesting Peruvian specializing in chicken try Pio Pio Salon.
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Old Jul 5th, 2008, 05:41 PM
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Over the years in Manhattan, I've begun avoided eating in:

Residential neighborhoods

Tourist areas (including theater/concert areas)

The reason I do this is because restaurants in residential areas in Manhattan are largely kept in business by couples and families who mainly don't want to have to wash dishes that night (as one critic observed). They don't have high expectations of the food. They just don't want to get socked for a huge bill. The upper east and west side and Chelsea are crammed with lousy restaurants!

The most touristy areas (Times Square, both villages, around Lincoln Center, Grand Central, yada yada) only have a few repeat customers, and therefore are immune to complaints, and attract people less interested in food than in not overspending for their big day or night out, which usually includes some other entertainment.

So I stick to business districts and out of the way areas that have a minimum of residental presence, especially few families.

I realize this post will now produce a SLEW of responses that says my two "rules" end up excluding marvelous restaurants near Lincoln Center, in the village -- etc.

I know that.

But I still find I get more hits than misses focusing on areas outside the family and tourist zones.

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Old Jul 5th, 2008, 06:25 PM
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Zeppole your post is ludicurous. As if a whole neighborhood should be ignored "because families live there and they don't want to wash dishes so they don't care what they eat." Outside the family and tourist zones in Manhattan - what does that leave you? Wall Street?

You're saying there are better restaurants in Wall St. /FiDi than in Tribeca or Chelsea? Please.


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Old Jul 5th, 2008, 06:36 PM
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There is logic, illogic, and your posting.

To respond intelligently would be like discussing nanotechnology with a three year old.



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Old Jul 5th, 2008, 06:40 PM
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Yup. That's almost exactly what I'm saying -- although if you know NYC, you know that there are more business and non-residential districts than just Wall St.

I knew my post would annoy people who eat in the places I generally exclude, but I've found my system works extremely well when it comes to choosing a restaurant.

Simply put, bad restaurants outnumber good restaurants in places like the Upper West Side, good restaurants outnumber bad restaurants in east midtown.
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Old Jul 5th, 2008, 07:00 PM
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I hope you used a different system when you picked a spouse.
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Old Jul 5th, 2008, 07:05 PM
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ga9497~
The way I do it.....walk by a restaurant, if I am hungry, I walk in. New York Food is an adventure. Enjoy the adventure, and be brave.
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Old Jul 5th, 2008, 07:06 PM
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What an odd remark. Did you use a system to marry somebody?

Why are your feelings hurt to hear that family neighborhoods and tourist neighorhoods in Manhattan have mainly lousy restaurants?

Maybe I should take it back.

ga9497, a good formula for picking a restaurant in NYC is to head for where you see a lot of strollers, playgrounds or a lot of tourists.

Feel better, aduchamp?


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Old Jul 5th, 2008, 07:09 PM
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Oh, sorry, gypsy maiden. I was talking to aduchamp.

But I have to say, I'd probably have permanent indigestion if I tried your formula. The food in New York -- oh-oh, here comes the real attacks -- is mostly bad, and one really does have to do some research to avoid the mediocrity of it.

I think I better get out of here now.
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