New York City Restaurant Tips by Dabs

New York City Restaurants: 2,763 reviews and 2,741 photos

La Nacional: Spanish near Union Square

We were looking for a place to eat post theater near Union Square and Spanish food was a good choice for a carnivore and a vegetarian to have a meal. I made a reservation on Open Table but it wasn't necessary, there were only a couple of other tables occupied which I thought was odd for a Saturday night.

Favorite Dish: We ordered from the tapas menu, the tapas range from $8-12 and that seemed a little high until I saw the portion sizes, we ordered four and couldn't finish them between the two of us. We ordered croquettas which unusually didn't have any meat in them, instead filled with spinach. Those were good. The fried calamari was OK, the patatas bravas weren't as spicy as I'm accustomed to. I can't remember the 4th choice, it was vegetarian and I didn't try it.

Address: 239 W 14th St

Comparison: less expensive than average

Directions: between 7th Ave & 8th Ave

Price: US$21-30

Rating: 3

Theme: Other

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jan 22, 2014
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Victor's Cafe: Cuban in the Theater District Victor's Review

We had tickets to see a show at the Walter Kerr Theater so I booked Victor's Café on Open Table for 6:30pm for an 8pm show. While we had enough time to eat, I wish I had booked for 5:30 so that we could have had a more leisurely dinner. We were seated by 6:45pm but many of the dishes require a little extra preparation time so we were a little limited in our choices. We told our waitress that we had theater tickets and she made sure our food came out quickly and advised us when she didn't think we had enough time for a dish.

The restaurant was busy, reservations are recommended.

Favorite Dish: My favorite Cuban dish is Ropa vieja so that's what I ordered, it's slow braised and pulled skirt steak in garlic, tomato, onion, and pepper sauce ($27). Very good! They prepare a good mojito that wasn't too overpriced considering the area. The desserts all looked good but a couple required too much prep time so we got the rice pudding, it was delicious, lemon rind gave it an extra kick. Prices were a little high for Cuban food but not for the neighborhood we were eating in. This was the best meal of our trip, would definitely return if visiting NYC again.

Address: 236 W. 52nd Street

Comparison: more expensive than average

Directions: 52nd between Broadway and 8th, Theater District

Phone: 212-586-7714

Price: US$41 and up

Rating: 4

Theme: Other

Website: http://victorscafe.com/

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  • Written Jan 22, 2014
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Nieces and nephews outside Carnagie Deli - New York City

Nieces and nephews outside Carnagie Deli

Carnegie Deli: Huge portions Carnegie Deli Review

Last visit 7/12/07

The Carnegie Deli is well known for it's huge deli sandwiches, in particular corned beef and pastrami. I had my first corned beef sandwich at Carnegie Deli several years ago so on my 2nd visit to NYC I made a repeat visit when there by myself and a 3rd visit when I was there with my in laws in 2007. The sandwiches are huge, big enough for two people to share, and expensive at around $13.

I've eaten in twice but the 1st time we got it to go and took it back to our hotel, you're also very close to Central Park and could easily take it and have a picnic and avoid all those silly sharing and per person limits. There's nothing particularly exciting about eating inside the restaurant so I'd recommend getting it to go if it's an option.

My most recent visit was with 3 kids and 3 adults. Now the kids would never be able to finish a sandwich on their own so they split one and my sister in law and me split a corned beef and we got hit with 2 $3 sharing charges which is clearly stated on the menu but annoying nevertheless. They also state that there is a minimum $12.50 charge per person, our bill was slightly less than that but after the included service and tax our bill was $100! If the food wasn't good, I'd probably move this tip over to tourist traps, I could get a similar meal in Chicago for about 1/2 the price and no attitude...

Favorite Dish: The corned beef and pastrami are both excellent.

I was going to try a piece of cheesecake but the portions of that are also enormous, enough for a whole family to share.

Address: 854 7th Avenue (at 55th Street)

Comparison: less expensive than average

Directions: Midtown Manhattan/Theater District

Price: US$11-20

Rating: 4

Theme: Deli

Website: http://www.carnegiedeli.com

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Aug 4, 2007
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Serendipity: Not so Serendipitous for me! Serendipity Review

I read so many good reviews of Serendipity and their famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate that I wanted to make sure I tried this place. I didn't realize that they accepted reservations so I stopped by at 2 pm on a Monday thinking the wait wouldn't be so bad and after pushing my way through the throng of people both inside and outside, the host said there was a 1 1/2 hour wait! I asked him if there was any other time when the wait wouldn't be so bad and he said it was crowded from when they open to when they close.

I rewatched "Serendipity", the movie with Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack as fated lovers and I had to laugh at the scene shot inside the restaurant that showed all kinds of empty tables!

Well, I've never waited that long for any restaurant so I left still curious about that Frrrozen Hot Chocolate :-( But I sated my sweet tooth at a local bakery with a Napoleon, could the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate really be that much better???

You can buy the frrrozen hot chocolate mix at the store or online but that just wouldn't be the same to me.

Address: 225 East 60th Street, New York, NY

Directions: Between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.

Phone: 212-838-3531

Rating: 0

Theme: Dessert

Website: http://www.serendipity3.com/

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 23, 2005
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Various: Dining websites Menus and Reviews Review

Here are a few pages I found helpful when looking at restaurants:

This website has menu pages from many of New York's popular restaurants along with patron reviews
Menu Pages

If you want to make reservations without having to pick up the phone, you can use Open Table. I have not used in NYC but i have used it many times in Chicago
Open Table

The New York Times has a dining guide with some reviews
New York Times

Rating: 0

Theme: Other

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 1, 2005
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Chez Laurence - New York City

Chez Laurence

Chez Laurence: Patisserie Chez Laurence Review

I stopped by here on my way back to my hotel to grab something sweet for the plane ride back home. I pointed to a couple of French pastries, they boxed them up in a pretty little box with a ribbon and off I went. When I finally got to the airport, I was so disappointed to see that they had misunderstood me and the Napoleon I thought I had ordered was not in the box. The pastries were still quite delicious but I really wanted that Napoleon!

There is also a restaurant, the reviews on Menupage.com are quite favorable

Menupages.com

Address: 245 Madison Avenue at 38th Street

Rating: 4

Theme: Dessert

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Feb 1, 2005
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Taboon - New York City

Taboon

Taboon: Middleterranean brunch

This was another one of Julie's (travelmad478) picks, we had brunch here with her mom before going to see a play at a nearby theater.

The restaurant is a small comfortable place, crowded on a Sunday afternoon but not noisy.

Our waiter, although quite pleasant to look at, was rather inattentive, as we were not in a rush, it didn't matter much. Other servers seemed to be friendly and attentive.

Favorite Dish: The menu is Middle Eastern/Mediterranean. We started off with a basket of brioche, a fabulous selection of breads and pastries, some with a delightful chocolate filling. Our second appetizer wasn't brought out because it was not up to the chef's standards (too salty).

The brunch menu was limited, I ordered a caesar salad with cured lamb which was OK but a rather small portion although I had filled up on bread and mint tea and was satisfied. The dinner menu looked interesting, if I were to go back it would be for dinner.

Address: 773 10th Avenue at 52nd St.

Comparison: less expensive than average

Price: US$11-20

Rating: 3

Theme: Middle Eastern

Website: http://www.menupages.com/restaurantdetails.asp?areaid=0&restaurantid=5275&neighborhoodid=0&cuisineid=0&readmore=true

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 25, 2005
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VT meeting at Tio Pepe - New York City

VT meeting at Tio Pepe

Tio Pepe: Spanish/Mexican in Greenwich Village Tio Pepe Review

Julie (travelmad478) picked this for our small VT meeting on a Saturday night. Mark (acemj) and Tania (skye820) came in from Philadelphia and Chris (cjg1) joined us a little later in the evening.

The place was crowded but not overly loud, nicely decorated. We stayed for quite a while but the server never seemed to be rushing us.

Favorite Dish: Everything we tried was good but I especially enjoyed the paella, we started off with a bunch of tapas-chicken quesadillas, caracoles Tio Pepe (escargot), pulpo a la Gallega (octopus), chorizo and gambas al ajillo (shrimp), followed by an order of paella valencia (saffron rice dish with seafood and chicken) for two and chiles rellenos accompanied by a couple of pitchers of sangria. Even with all this food and drinks the bill came to only $35 per person.

I couldn't get the menu to load off their website, but I could from here

http://www.menupages.com/restaurantdetails.asp?areaid=0&restaurantid=754&neighborhoodid=0&cuisineid=0

Although most of what we tried was Spanish, Tio Pepe also has many Mexican dishes.

In the photo (courtesy of acemj) from left to right: Chris (cjg1), Julie (travelmad478), me, Mark (acemj) and Tania (skye820)

Address: 168 W. 4th

Comparison: about average

Directions: between 6th and 7th Avenue in Greenwich Village

Phone: 212.242.6480

Price: US$21-30

Rating: 4

Theme: Mexican

Website: http://www.tiopepenyc.com/

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 17, 2005
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Republic - New York City

Republic

Republic: Quick Asian on Union Square Republic Review

I was looking for a place to grab a quick bite on Union Square and remembered that I had read some good reviews of Republic. I was eating by myself so I had a seat at the bar which gave a good view of the open kitchen. The rest of the seating was mostly communal tables, the interior is modern decor, the servers all wearing black.

The service was very quick and the meal inexpensive, entrees run from $6-$9 and are filling.

Only negative-I was a little surprised when they charged me for 2 diet Cokes at $2 a piece, most restaurants in the US don't do that.

Favorite Dish: The menu is Asian with Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Malaysian and Japanese influences.

I tried the spicy coconut chicken noodles and broth, it was a little too spicy for a full meal and I found it a little hard to eat full noodles in broth but it had a good flavor and there were plenty of other dishes that looked and smelled quite good as they were passing.

Address: 37 Union Sq West, between 16th and 17th

Comparison: less expensive than average

Directions: Right on Union Square: you can't miss it.

Phone: 212-627-7168

Price: US$11-20

Rating: 4

Theme: Pan-Asian and Pacific Rim

Website: http://www.thinknoodles.com/

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 16, 2005
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Various: More budget dining ideas Cosi Review

In addition to the pizza by the slice places, you will find that New York City is filled with take out places that have hot buffets, sandwiches made to order, salads, etc. They usually also have some seating but typically no waiters.

For breakfast, there are also local places that serve bagels, muffins, croissants, fresh fruit, juice and coffee on almost every corner as well as some chains like Au Bon Pain and Cosi.

Comparison: least expensive

Price: less than US$10

Rating: 4

Theme: Local

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jan 15, 2005
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Dabs

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