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wondering Sep 27th, 2006 04:29 PM

quick trip to NYC/restaurants
We will be in NYC from the 20-25th on business. We do not want to remortgage our house in order to eat a good meal and we want to be flexible with our plans (which means likely same day reservations.)Is it possible to have a $50- $75 good meal without long time reservations? Does anyone have suggestions? We like all types of cooking...Thanks in advance to anyone who can help!

travelbear Sep 27th, 2006 05:09 PM

My wife and I really like Cafe Charbon-Epicerie. The food runs about $15/entree. For what you pay you get a great meal, a great atmosphere and a great neighborhood (Lower East Side).

It is at 170 Orchard (cross street is Stanton) 212-420-7520. Get there around 8:30 and try and sit in the front lounge.

That is just one suggestion. If other suggestions don't come, I'll think of some other favorites of ours.

Seamus Sep 27th, 2006 05:12 PM

If you are willing to forgo snob appeal but get good food and service in a nice setting, try Cibo, 767 2d Ave - their prix fixe dinner special is one of the best deals in town

tuscanlifeedit Sep 27th, 2006 05:22 PM

Less expensive restaurants we like:

Col Legno, East Village. Casual atmosphere. Don't miss the artichokes. Fantastic.
231 E 9th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 777-4650

Supper; I had the best chocolate sauce here. Good Italian.

The Elephant. Lively and cool. I had great lamb.

We like the branch of Spice for Thai food that is on the west side, near FIT where our daughter was at school. She loved to have us take her there.
Spice ($$)
Thai, Pan-Asian & Pacific Rim

199 8th Ave, New York 10011
Btwn 19th & 20th St

Phone: 212-989-1116

The first three are in the East Village. We never spend much at any of these places and always get a good meal.

travelbear Sep 27th, 2006 05:32 PM

NYers are very particular about their favorite cheap restaurants. Another of my favorites is

Las Ramblas
170 W 4th St (Cross Street: Between Cornelia Street and Jones Street)

It is a little tapas place. The sangaria comes highly recommended.

If you want to check out reviews, I suggest

Neopolitan Sep 27th, 2006 05:36 PM

I'm a big fan of the ton of places along Ninth Avenue from about 42nd to 54th. There are lots of them -- many ethnic choices -- and lots of them are amazingly good and reasonable. Look at the crowd and look at the menu and see what you think. Pre-theatre is tough for many of them, but most will not require a reservation after 8 or so.

wondering Sep 28th, 2006 06:38 AM

Thank you all! I try to let you know which we hit!

lizziea06 Sep 28th, 2006 06:45 AM

Definitely also recommend Supper. Keep in mind that it's usually a really long wait 60-90 minutes on a weekend night, and they don't take resevations.

Another great place in the same hood is Grape and Grain on E. 6th b/t Ave B and C. It's great tapas and wine, and very reasonable.

I also love Gyu-kaku for Japanese BBQ in the E. Village. It's super reasonable, and the kobe-style beef is to die for.

You can look up all of these menus on

mclaurie Sep 28th, 2006 06:48 AM

I suggest you invest in a Zagat guide or join online if you'll have your laptop. They have a list of places with prix fixe dinners that are a good way to eat moderately. To my mind, the killer on budgets is drinks. With wine costing $10+ a glass it often doubles the price of the food.

If you don't mind eating early (as many non NYers don't) it's a lot easier to get a last minute reservation. NYers tend to eat 7:30-8 pm or later. If you go at 6 you can get in most places.

doug_stallings Sep 28th, 2006 06:52 AM

I like Tintol, a good Portuguese tapas place near Times Square (about $40 to $50 per person). Also good in the area is Vice Versa (great $35 prix-fixe dinner). You could do the prixe-fixe at the Cafe in Aquavit for a decent price ($37) and get a wine pairing for another $20 per person; this is an excellent deal for a very high-end restaurant. And L'Ecole has a great $40 5-course prix-fixe dinner; it's the restaurant for the French culinary Institute and one of the best food deals in NYC. You can get reservations at all of these if you make them at least a week in advance, and you can easily walk into Tintol. And I always enjoy the food at Blue Smoke, an upscale BBQ place, but you need to reserve there a bit sooner ... maybe 2 weeks for the best times, but it's easy to eat there for $40 per person.

These are places I've been to in the past few months.

doug_stallings Sep 28th, 2006 06:57 AM

Sorry, I guess I didn't read closely enough. I should give some advice for same-day reservations. In the Times Square area, 7:30 is your best chance (after pre-theater, before dinner rush). Outside of that, early is always the best bet (6 to 6:30). Places like Blue Smoke allow (and get) a lot of walk-ins, but expect to wait 30 to 45 minutes. I'd still urge you to try to make some plans in advance if you can. L'Ecole isn't usually possible as a walk-in. But Monday and Tuesday are the least busy nights for restaurants.

lizziea06 Sep 28th, 2006 07:29 AM

Blue Smoke is on, so you can always check on line the day of to see if they have openings.

MFNYC Sep 28th, 2006 07:55 AM

If opentable doesn't show any availabilty, call the restaurant. On the few occasions I've used OPentable, at least half the time, It came back with no availability, and when I called the restaurants, there was no problem getting a reservation the time I wanted.

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