S Central Park Restaurant Recommendations

Mar 14th, 2015, 08:01 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
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S Central Park Restaurant Recommendations

A few of us are staying near W 58th @ 5th Ave for a week in May and looking for restaurant recommendations for dinner. Would like to walk or take a short cab ride. One of us is allergic to shellfish, otherwise we simply enjoy good food. Looking for a few moderately priced choices ($100 pp incl taxes, tip and a glass of wine) and a few splurge options (+). I am unfamiliar with restaurants in this area and could use your help. Thanks.
BowenLinda is offline  
Mar 15th, 2015, 09:05 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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There are several places in the Time Warner Center, including A Voce (Italian, excellent) and Landmarc (Steakhouse, good) that would be at your price point. There's also a cheaper cafe at Bouchon Bakery overlooking Columbus Circle, and you can get a nice light dinner there. One of the best seafood restaurants in NYC is Marea, but it's more of a splurge. Another splurge is Estatorio Milos (Greek, excellent); Molyvos is a cheaper alternative nearby. And there are also a wide variety of cheap and good places like La Bonne Soupe (French bistro, very good) and myriad places along 9th Avenue in Hell's Kitchen that are more neighborhood places that are quite a bit below $100 per person.

I also like Viceversa (Italian, on 51st between 8th and 9th), and there are a couple of other good restaurants on that block, including Maria Pia (Italian, and touristy but still good ... and I still go there and order a la carte).

I'm less familiar with the Upper West Side, but there are a lot of good restaurants near Lincoln Center at 66th, including Boulud Sud and Lincoln (the latter is exquisite but definitely a splurge).

The best restaurants (A Voce, Lincoln, Marea) require reservations 3 or 4 weeks in advance for a prime dinner time. You an always make reservations and cancel if you change plans. Simpler places still require reservations a week or two in advance for a prime dinner time, and in that area, I always make reservations if I can. But there are a lot of walk-in places along 9th avenue if you don't want to plan far ahead.

If a "few" is 4 people and all are drinking wine, you'll quickly see that wine mark-ups in NYC are stupidly high and it's almost always cheaper to buy a bottle and get a glass per person plus a bit more.
doug_stallings is offline  
Mar 15th, 2015, 09:25 AM
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Really helpful, as usual, Doug - thanks very much.
BowenLinda is offline  
Mar 16th, 2015, 05:21 AM
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The sad thing is that while I work at 55th/Broadway, I don't really frequent many of the restaurants over here. There are tons of them, and you have a completely adequate budget, but there's not very much truly great in the Times Square area. It's hard here because it's so touristy.

But don't hesitate to take the subway to get to a great restaurant.

Maialino, for instance, in the Gramercy Park hotel, is outstanding. Wine is expensive there, but if you order carefully it's within your budget. I often get my own pasta (you don't want to miss the pasta there) and share a main course. The "maialino" (roast suckling pig) is one of NYC's best dishes. You just have to book exactly 28 days in advance. And be sure to call early in the morning. It's really popular.

If you have more than 4 people in your group, make all your dinner reservations a month out (earlier if allowed). And cancel the ones you don't want as your plans change. There's usually no problem if you cancel 2 or 3 days in advance, but you'll have to put down a credit card at the best places to guarantee your reservation.
doug_stallings is offline  
Sep 15th, 2015, 08:03 AM
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Jut made booking at Maialino for Thursday night. (Two days in advance so the notion that one needs to book 28 days out is no longer true, I am guessing, or maybe I just got lucky). We've been liking Babbo a lot lately but could not get table upstairs with two days notice for dinner, only chance there is walk in and sitting downstairs.

So, question: Anyone been to Maialino lately and were you happy? I am taking a friend and want to have a great meal…….food much more important than atmosphere although I know the place is attractive but have not been in at least two years or more……have not been able to cook much lately, so...

Also if anyone is looking for another good Italian spot, I liked L'Apicio in eastern Village lately. Lovely staff….very good food.

And , of topic entirely, but if you are driving west along LIE from eastern LI or even from airport, two solid choices are Kung Fu and the cafe/dim sum area at Lake Pavillion, both just off service road on north side of LIE……Kung Fu is mostly Shanghai and they do great soup dumplings and even better kaufu one of my favorite comfort foods……(we need lots of comfort right now……arm in sling, possible Lyme, partner has host of new issues….ugh…but could be a lot worse, as I know, so count myself lucky!!!)

And if anyone likes Bosnian burek, just ask me and I can rave on and on about my favorite place in Astoria….Djerdan, also ahve branches in other locations in NYC.


Yes, long way off Maialino topic..sorry about that!!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Sep 15th, 2015, 08:57 AM
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I haven't eaten at Maialino since last Thanksgiving, but then the food was as good as it always has been. It's always been one of the more consistently good restaurants I go to from time to time.

The difficulty I find there is knowing how much food to order. I always get a pasta of my own and share everything else, including appetizers, main courses, and desserts (though we don't always get 4 courses), and that usually does the trick and keeps the bill reasonable. But wine prices are pretty high there.

I think you were indeed lucky to get a table at Maialino with little notice. There could have been a cancellation, or Thursday might just be a quiet night. Who knows, and you can't complain about that. On Sunday evening, I found a table at Boulud Sud for next Saturday, which also surprised me. But there are a lot of new trendy restaurants opening, so those may be siphoning off the business for the standbys. Good.

The reason travelers should book as far in advance as possible is because they aren't locals who can come back next week or next month if they can't get a table. Waiting until the last minute is never wise if you really want to eat at a certain restaurant. The rules are different for locals.
doug_stallings is offline  
Sep 15th, 2015, 09:08 AM
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Do you mean Estatorio Loi, Doug? On W. 58th? If so, I agree. It will be reviewed in the last day of the NYC TR I'm working on now.

Robert, on the 9th floor of the Museum of Arts and Design (2 Columbus Circle).

For less expensive in the neighborhood, Le Pain Quotodien and Cafe Europa (on corner of 8th and 58th and 57th, respectively).
TDudette is online now  
Sep 15th, 2015, 09:32 AM
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I've never been to Estatorio Loi, but if it's good and reasonably priced, I'm definitely going to try it.
doug_stallings is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2015, 06:44 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
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It may be a recently-opened resto, Doug. Owner/chef Maria Loi had a place that closed. There was an article about her re-opening in the Times the day I was there (9/11).
TDudette is online now  
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