Ess-a-Bagel: 359 First Avenue at 21st St. 212 260 2252
At best Ess-a-Bagel is unremarkable from outside. Broken windows with fading signs (sadly they now have a new sign). But venture inside and you will find the best bagel in NY. The bagel sandwiches are huge and delicious. Ping's favorite is Baked salmon on Sesame Bagel, and Steve's Crabmeat on Sesame bagel. However, you need to practice how to order before showing up. You will need to know exactly what you want and blurt it out very quickly, which of the many many choices of delicious filings, which types of bagel (you need to tell them if you want the bagel to be scooped out), dining in or take out, which drink. Hesitate, pause for breath, scratch your nose or sneeze, you will be back at the end of line! But the abuse is worth it. Once you have run the order gauntlet sit back and enjoy your bagel whilst watching others beg for their food.    
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Spotted Pig: 314 W. 11th St, at Greenwich Street, 212 620 0393
One of our favorite pubs in New York – which often reminds Steve an English pub. However, it has very nice food – which is in sharp contrast to a true English pub. We enjoy sitting at the bar to have drinks and dinner. Beer is good and they have Old Speckled Hen on draft but Steve sometimes gets confused about which English city the bartender comes from – BTW, he is from Baltimore! "Devil on horseback" is absolutely unexpected and very tasty, you have to try them. Oysters are also good. Stay away from Pig's ear! Both of us have tasted far better ears. The place gets jammed so you will need to put your name on list at 5pm downstairs if you want a table or be prepared to stand till a space at the bar opens up. No reservations.
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Casa Mono: Tapas -52 Irving Place, at 17th St. 212 253 2773 Once again we enjoy sitting at the bar facing the kitchen to watch chefs create while drinking wine and eating. The food portions are mid-sized – which means you will need around 2 dishes per person. We love the fried Sardines and lamb chops – and lots of other things on the menu! Each dish is about $15. The place is very small and popular make sure you call before showing up.
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  Posto: Pizza -310 2nd Avenue at 18th Street 212 716 1200 This has become one of our regulars. Strange when you realise that neither of us really likes pizza but this place makes them with very thin crust and delicious flavours. Our favourites are the 'Shroomtown' and the 'El Greco' No reservations but they have a small bar that you can eat at or have a drink whilst you are waiting to be seated.
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Black Market: - 110 Avenue A, 212 614 9798 This is a lively (noisy) speakeasy type bar with a small menu of inexpensive but excellent items. The burgers are super as is their cheese on toast. The place seems to serve food till around 2am so if you arrive in town late and need some simple food head to Black Market. Full of youngsters but the atmosphere, music and the draught beer selection are all good.

Good food is not always expensive in New York City


CLOSED FOR REMODELING    Mizu: 29 E. 20th st. between Broadway & Park Avenue, 212 505 6688
One of Ping's discoveries when it first opened many years ago. Fresh sushi and friendly folks. Can be loud at times given the young clientele. Make sure sit at the sushi bar so you get to see the chefs slice the sushi. The menu items are generally $15-25 range. However, it would be considerably more if you ask the chef to prepare for you as he sees fit which is generally much better. Sashimi, spicy tuna roll, spider roll, and black cod are all favorites of ours.
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WD-50: 'New American' (whatever that is!) - 50 Clinton Street 212 477 2900 Be prepared for a trip into weird for weirds sake. WD-50 claims to produce 'New American' food and major in the deconstruction of presumably 'Old American' cuisine. It is interesting and you definately get the feeling that the food comes from a laboratory where the food is cooked using Bunsen Burners and retort stands. The food is very good and well worth a try if you are in the mood for something very different You should try their deconstructed Eggs Benedict and their amazing unique cocktails.
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Hearth: - 403 12th Street at 1st Avenue 646 602 1300 Hearth is a good resteurant with an interesting and varied menu which changes daily. I think they claim this to avoid having to keep the menu updated on their website but there do seem to be new items on the menu every time we go. The place is run by a couple of chaps from the Gramercy Tavern so it is not suprising that the quality is high. Reservations are essential
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  Neary's: - 358 E 57th St, between 1st and 2nd street 212 751 1434 Jimmy Neary opened Neary's in 1967 and it has been a local fixture ever since. The food is good home styled cooking and the lamb is one of our favourites. The walls are covered in photographs of politicians, celebrities, sporting stars etc all who have been and many who regularly return to Neary's. Low key nice local bar/restaurant where you will be remembered on your second visit.
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Bottega del Vino: Italian - 7East 59th St, between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue on the north side.
Extensive wine list. Very good food – but they seem to get more expensive by the month as the place gets very popular. Speaking Italian will definitely help you secure a table! Good for luch, dinner or justa glass of wine.
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Bread: 20 Spring Street, between Elizabeth and Mott Streets on the South side
Although the menu has changed to include many main dishes, stick with the sandwiches. Ping's favorite is Sardine sandwich followed by shrimp. The place can be jammed. But you can find a space in the bar in the back room. The typical sandwich is about $10. Good pick for a light lunch.
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Golden Bridge: 50 Bowery at Canal Street, 212 227 8831
The 2nd floor place can accommodate 882 people ( according to the signs). Imaging those people are all jammed in two big halls and imagine the white background noise of those more than 800 people. Dim Sum is great – with carts coming along constantly. Pick the ones you want. Go with a group of people so that you can sample a wide range of items. The typical price tag is less than $10-12 per person. Go there before 12:00noon, the place gets filled up very quickly.
User Rated


Gramercy Tavern: 42 E. 20th St., between Broadway and Park Avenue, 212 477 0777
Gramercy Tavern knows how to treat its customers well. Bartenders likely to remember you if you have been there a few times. Dining room is very difficult to book. But the bar is the place to be. Generally, we eat at the bar if it is less than four people. But you can also have table in the bar area – which is first come first serve. It has recently changed chef. And the place has been jammed lately.
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Grand Sichuan: 19-23 St. Marks Place between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, 212 529 4800 One of the more authentic Sichuan and Hunan restaurants in New York. They have two types of food, one is the authentic Chinese food and the other American Chinese food. Stay away from the American Chinese food. Bruised pork, which comes with a little hot pot, has been Ping's favorite.
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Kambi: 351 East 14th Street. between 1st and 2nd Avenue, 212 228 1366
If you are staying at our apartment and it is a cold and rainy day then this noodle house is worth a visit. Small warm place with a bar that overlooks the kitchen. Spicy Ramen Pork and Chicken Broth is our favourite. Simple and good local food for cold winters evenings. The owner is a musician and plays here with his 3 piece jazz band on Tuesday evenings (check schedule on their website.


O'Hanlons: at Northwest corner of 1st Avenue and 14th Street
Actually, O'Hanlons does not serve food. Not even bad food. You are welcome to bring in food or have food delivered to the bar. The place is truly a local bar in which you will find mostly local residents watching and arguing over the games. Fun place to watch local sports events as there is always a loud and pationate crowd.


Parnell's: 350 East 53rd street, at the corner of 1st avenue, 212 753 1761
We were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food. Whilst on one of the legs on our rim walk, we were hungry and popped into Parnell's for a snack. We discovered they actually have real food. We had Broiled Stuffed Brook Trout and Grilled Calamari Salad. Both are absolutely delicious. Bread was not as good – but the good food more than compensate for that. Entrees are $15-25 and appetizers/salad $10-15 in general.


Ping's Seafood: 22 Mott St, in Chinatown, near Worth, 212 602 9988
We had excellent steamed sea bass. Menu has wide range items, but waiter recommended seafood – as they specialize in seafood. More expensive than typical Chinese restaurants in Chinatown. But still not expensive. Two appetizers + two main dishes cost us $60.
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Nai Tapas: 174 1st Avenue, between 10th and 11th Streets, on east side 212 677 1030
Tapas is hit or miss. Grilled sardines are good here. The place has Flamenco dancing on Thursday and Friday. It is jammed at that time. Otherwise, the place can be rather empty. Pick the night of Flemenco and you will find much nicer atmosphere.
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Pete's Tavern: 129 E 18th st at Irving Place, 212 473 7676
Very lively place almost every day of the year. Food is Ok. Seems to be a drop in place for folk heading home from work.
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  Morrell Wine Bar: 1 Rockefeller Plaza, on 49th St between 5th and 6th Avenues,
Good selection of wines – especially ones that are affordable. Food is good, but not the best place just for food. It is generally busy at the bar or outside sitting during summer time. Fun to sit outside and watch people walking by.
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  Bonsignour:35 Jane Street at 8th avenue, 212 229 9700 Very small hole-in-the-wall coffee and sandwich place with 3 or 4 small round tables inside and a couple of benches outside. It seems most people are locals – always with dogs and/or kids - with takeout. The salads, soup, and other stuff in the counter looked absolutely delicious. High Zagat rating for the food so we will return and check it out properly.
  Pastis: 9 9th Avenue, at the corner of Little W. 12th st. 212 929 4844 - French Bistro
This seems to be the place for people watching. You will find all sorts of locals and tourists, famous, infamous and the beautiful. Somehow, there seems to be more European tourists here. Grilled Octopus salad has always been our favorite. However, there is little to eat at thebar before either 5pm or 6pm and you seem to be left with choice of French Fries or hard boiled eggs! If you are a wine drinker, order a crafe as it appears to be far more economical (it might just have been an illusion).
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  Hog Pit: 22 9th Avenue in the same building as Vento, 212 604 0092. More gentrified than the name suggests. It has a very warm feeling sitting at the bar. The clientele is mixed with some who would feel at home in Pastis across the street, and others who are young people from the local neighborhood. Wine lovers are out of luck here as when we asked for a wine list they responded "no list, we have both types" the bartender then recommended the next door wine bar for wine lovers!
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  Bar and Books: 636 Hudson Street which is next door to Myers, my pork pie shop.
This is a pure cigar and whiskey bar. One of only six bars in New York that have a special license to allow cigar smoking on the premesis. The oak panelling, single malts and polite clientele make this place worth an unhealthy visit. Open till around 3am so a perfect place to drift into after an evening out.
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Fatty Crab: 643 Hudson Street Tel: 212.352.3590 . Interesting Malaysian place, although I suspect not particularity authentic, serving very tasty unusual dishes. Ping seems to be hooked on their Watermelon Pickle and Crispy Pork Salad and I enjoy the Pork Ribs. The service is slack so order dishes that you can share or you run the risk of eating alone whilst your companion is forced to wait to be fed.
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  Murray's Falafel: 261 First Avenue (between 15th and 16th street) 212-533-2112. An Israeli style falafal & shwarma eatery in which you can eat in, take out, or call in for pick up or delivery. Hole in the wall place with good lamb and excellent falafel. The beaf and lamb burgers are also very good.

Shanghai Cuisine: 89-91 Bayard Street 261 212 732 5122.
This place is a very busy and very good place to eat in the middle of Chinatown. They specialise in things called 'soup dumplings' which need to be eaten with extreme caution as they are both very hot and extremely squirty. Often a line of locals but well worth the wait.

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Hells Kitchen: 523 9th Avenue 212.947.4208
A few blocks north from B&H you will find this trendy bar and restaurant. The food is good and the staff friendly, worth popping in if you are passing.
Duck, lamb sausages and seared tuna arel very nice but avoid the crab-cakes as they were dry and below par.

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Tree: 190 First Avenue between 11th and 12th 212.358.7171
A few blocks from our apartment. Small intimate place with a friendly and skilled owner/chef. French bistro cuisine, great artichokes and short ribs.

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Trust us, you need look no further down this page!


Brick Lane: 306 E. 6th St,
Both Steve and Ping were sick after eating at the restaurant. Trust me – this is not about spice – which we both love. Would not eat there for that price or any price.


Luzzo's: 1st Avenue, between 12th and 13th Street on west side
Luzzo's used to be our favorite pizza place. Recently, we have found it totally changed with a new chef and new manager. The fried mixed seafood – used to one of the very nice appetizers – has become badly fried calamari + 2 little shrimps + 4 sardines. The tomato sauce on the pizza was almost running and separated from rest of the pizza. The service has gone down hill. We had to ask three times to get bread – which has since changed to cheap white bread slices. Waiters scooped the table scrap to the floor without second thoughts. Menu has changed to plastic and napkins become paper. Oh, the price stayed the same or inched higher.


Highline: 835 Washington Street at Little W. 12th St.
Pretentious. Table settings are probably from Pottery Barns or Crate & Barrels. Have no memory of what food looks like. But wont go back ever.


McSorley's: 15 E. Seventh street, between 2nd and 3rd avenues on the north side.
This is a very famous place. They have dark and light beers and you will always order two mugs at any time. Lots of tourists. Services are close to non-existent. No food. Let me repeat: do not order food items on the board no matter how hungry you are. Aside from being a tourist attraction, we are not impressed by the place.