Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Family-friendly NYC Restaurant Recommendations

On Aug 16, 2017, a coworker wrote:
Going to NYC next week with family.  Can you recommend some good casual restaurants for lunch/dinner.  Thanks.
My response:

First, I’d recommend installing the Yelp app if you don’t already have it. Whenever you need a recommendation of Coffee, Pizza, Mexican, Burgers, Ice Cream, or really anything… Yelp is great resource to immediately tell you where the closest/best place is.

Second, try to make reservations whenever possible because wait times can be long. However, since there are so many great places, I wouldn’t bother waiting anywhere over 30 mins and just go somewhere else just as good. Call or use https://www.opentable.com/https://reserve.com/https://resy.com/, ...

Third, I just went through my list of 100s of places I've eaten and there’s so many good ones that it's difficult to make a small list but here goes. You’ll notice that I bolded 3 of my top restaurant recommendations because they are NYC unique experiences: Stardust, Black Tap and Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse.

Theatre District/Times Square area:
Stardust is a diner near Broadway where all of the staff break out in broadway show tunes. It’s the only place on this list I haven’t been but I’ve heard good things about it. A friend, his wife and his 3 kids were just in town last week and they recommend it as well! https://www.yelp.com/biz/ellens-stardust-diner-new-york
Junior’s in Times Square for the full-on diner vibe and get the Cheesecake. 2 locations: https://www.yelp.com/biz/juniors-restaurant-and-cheesecake-new-york and https://www.yelp.com/biz/juniors-new-york-7
Carmine’s for Italian food served family style (big plates to share): https://www.yelp.com/biz/carmines-times-square-new-york
Burger & Lobster: Only 3 things on the menu: A burger, a whole lobster or a lobster roll. Each one $20: https://www.yelp.com/biz/burger-and-lobster-new-york-3 and a Flatiron location see below.

Midtown East:
2nd Ave Deli for that typical NYC Jewish/Snowdon Deli vibe - https://www.yelp.com/biz/2nd-ave-deli-new-york
Urbanspace Vanderbilt is just next to Grand Central and is a food court with local and high quality vendors: https://www.yelp.com/biz/urbanspace-vanderbilt-new-york-2

Midtown West:
Black Tap: Amazing burgers and insane milkshakes: https://www.yelp.com/biz/black-tap-craft-burger-and-beers-new-york also have West Village, SoHo and Lower East Side locations (see below)
Friedman’s for lunch near Penn Station: https://www.yelp.com/biz/friedmans-new-york-59

Flatiron (Around 23rd Street), Madison Square Park:
Eataly is a fun Italian market with different speciality counters and restaurants like pizza/pasta, charcuterie, seafood, … and a rooftop restaurant: https://www.yelp.com/biz/eataly-new-york-8
Burger & Lobster: Only 3 things on the menu: A burger, a whole lobster or a lobster roll. Each one $20: https://www.yelp.com/biz/burger-and-lobster-new-york and a Times Square location see above.

Chelsea Market is very convenient to the High Line, thus very touristy but it does have some great restaurants and shops including some amazing tacos but the taco spot always has a long line: https://www.yelp.com/biz/chelsea-market-new-york
Coppelia is a great 24/7 Cuban spot: https://www.yelp.com/biz/coppelia-new-york

West Village:
Black Tap: Amazing burgers and insane milkshakes: https://www.yelp.com/biz/black-tap-craft-burgers-and-beer-new-york-2 also have Midtown West, SoHo and Lower East Side locations (see above and below) 

East Village:
Veselka 24/7 Great Ukrainian diner https://www.yelp.com/biz/veselka-new-york
Vanessa’s Dumpling House - try the dumplings and sesame pancakes: https://www.yelp.com/biz/vanessas-dumpling-new-york and they also have a Chinatown location (see below).
Cafe Mogador Delicious Moroccan food: https://www.yelp.com/biz/cafe-mogador-new-york

Korchma Taras Bulba for Ukranian food in Soho. Check when they have live music: https://www.yelp.com/biz/korchma-taras-bulba-new-york
Black Tap: Amazing burgers and insane milkshakes: https://www.yelp.com/biz/black-tap-craft-burgers-and-beer-new-york also have Midtown West, West Village and Lower East Side locations (see above and below) 

Lower East Side (LES):
Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse a delicious taste of jewish Eastern Europe with a really fun and unique atmosphere with live singing and dancing: https://www.yelp.com/biz/sammys-roumanian-steakhouse-new-york
Katz’s Deli for their massive pastrami sandwich - the NYC equivalent to Schwartz’s. https://www.yelp.com/biz/katzs-delicatessen-new-york Then go for gelato right across the street here:
Il laboratorio del gelato with over 30 amazing gelato flavors! https://www.yelp.com/biz/il-laboratorio-del-gelato-new-york
Black Tap: Amazing burgers and insane milkshakes: https://www.yelp.com/biz/black-tap-craft-burgers-and-beer-new-york-5 also have Midtown West, West Village and SoHo locations (see above and below)
New Territories with Hong Kong-style waffle cones and insane milkshakes: https://www.yelp.com/biz/new-territories-new-york
Soft Swerve with ube (purple yam) soft serve! https://www.yelp.com/biz/soft-swerve-new-york-2

Buddha Bodai Kosher Vegetarian Restaurant - delicious Chinese food with 2 locations buried in the heart of Chinatown: https://www.yelp.com/biz/buddha-bodai-kosher-vegetarian-restaurant-new-york and https://www.yelp.com/biz/buddha-bodai-kosher-vegetarian-restaurant-new-york-4
Vanessa’s Dumpling House - try the dumplings and sesame pancakes: https://www.yelp.com/biz/vanessas-dumpling-house-new-york-2 and they also have an East Village location (see above).
Taiyaki has a HK-style waffle made into a fish with custard filling (may also have crazy long lines): https://www.yelp.com/biz/taiyaki-nyc-new-york

There are so many more places so if you are interested in a specific cuisine: Mexican, or even 'Cuban Chinese' or 'Brazilian Sushi' (those are real cuisines and not just a modern fusion restaurant) ask Yelp or don’t hesitate to ask me about restaurants or anything else in NYC.

Have a great time and let me know how it goes.

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