New York has, as you might expect of the Big Apple, all the eating options covered. New York City's restaurant scene is truly world-class, in a league with Paris, Tokyo, London and Rome. There are literally tens of thousands of restaurants, ranging from dingy $2-a-slice pizza joints to the $500-a-plate prix fixe sushi at Masa .
Just because you're staying in one of the world's great cities, however, doesn't mean you have to pay restaurant bills all the time... If the weather's right, a picnic in Central Park or another of the city's many green spaces is ideal. Similarly, thanks to the fact that Manhattan and other core areas are all still heavily residential, a supermarket (grocery store) or other local option is never too far away.... Just ask the locals!
• Whole Foods Market with their 3 Manhattan outlets makes for a great eating option - all your groceries are available, of course, but each store has great hot bars and salad / sandwich counters for do-it-yourself service... Hand-washing facilities and comfortable seating is also available at the Columbus Circle store (where you can even see business meetings going on....!) Hot bars change for each meal of the day and day of the week.... Prices are $6.99 a pound for whatever you want to dish into your box, then weigh up at the register.
• 10 Columbus Circle (under the Time Warner building) , tel 212.823.9600, fax 212.823.9610 fax, open daily 8am-10pm
• 250 7th Avenue at 24th Street , tel 212.924.5969, fax 212.924.9923, open daily 8am-10pm
• 4 Union Square South , tel 212.673.5388, fax 212.673.5393 fax, open daily 8am-10pm
• Greenmarkets New York boasts an impressive array of greenmarkets. Local farmers bring their produce, meats, cheeses, jellies, and baked goods into the city several times a week, selling at various locations around town. Though the prices are higher than you would pay at a cheap supermarket, the quality is unmistakably better. Far and away the most popular greenmarket is the one in Union Square, which happens on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays, and Saturdays.
• Chelsea Market 75 Ninth Avenue (at 16th Street). A former Nabisco factory, Chelsea Market is a one-stop eating hotspot, with a wide array of small shops selling food to take away or eat in. The building is lovely on the inside, especially on hot, muggy days.
• Citarella 2135 Broadway (at 75) (other locations as well). This high-end fish market is also a great spot for fine cheeses, foie gras, and the like. If you don't want to leave the hotel, they deliver for $5.
• Dean and Deluca 560 Broadway (at Prince Street). Dean and Deluca is like Zabar's for the SoHo set. Great food, fabulous espresso, high prices.
• Foodworks Flatiron 10 West 19Th NY, NY 10011 (23rd and 6th avenue). Excellent gourmet and health food with reasonable prices and a nice variety of high quality foods.
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As noted above, New York has literally thousands of restaurants to choose from (more than 25,000, in fact), encompassing nearly every cuisine in the world. There are numerous guidebooks to New York restaurants, including the New York Times Guide, which has short reviews of the best 1,000 restaurants in the city. In addition to the big names you're likely to find there, check out some of these lesser-known gems.
• 35, 35 Lispenard Street right by Pearl Paint. (212) 226-8123. A charming bistro and bar in the heart of a bustling city. Known for their mouthwatering babyback ribs and sandwiches. Reasonable prices.
• Bluesmoke , East 27th between Park and Lexington. Great authentic BBQ yet more stylish than typical. Also has a jazz club underneath to serve up great music. Restaurant has very large beer and whiskey selection. Fun and tasty.
• Live Bait, 23rd Street where Madison ends, near 5th & Broadway. Great and cheap oysters, clams and other seafood, raw and cooked as well as southern fare like jambalaya. Not afraid of the Tabasco here. One of the few places that serves Abita Springs beer from Louisiana.
• Scopa, 79 Madison Ave at 28th Street. Modern Italian. Large restaurant, good for groups. Nice lounge/bar area that always has the game on.
• Penelope, Lexington at East 30th Street. Cafe/restaurant/bakery with a cozy, inviting atmosphere. Homestyle food and casual but friendly service. Inexpensive. Wine and beer served. Long lines for weekend brunch.
• Minado 6 E. 32nd Street between Madison and Fifth Aves. (212) 725-1333. If you like sushi and Japanese food in the slightest, you will love Minado. It has over 100 feet of all-you-can-eat very fresh and tasty sushi and other items like crab legs, udon, salads of all varieties and a big dessert bar as well.
• Ocha 250 West 46th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. (212) 581 3198. Japanese restaurant with good sushi.
• Tao E. 58th between Park and Madison Aves. Trendy Asian cuisine; Reservations, proper attire required. Beautiful decor, people.
• T Salon 11 East 20th Street at Broadway/Fifth Ave just south of the Flatiron Building. Tea house and cafe; excellent teas and tasty nibbles. A quiet oasis in a hectic city.
• Red Bamboo 140 W. 4th St. - 1 block SW of Washington Square Park. Excellent vegetarian soul food, organic wines.
• Lemongrass Grill 74-76 7th Ave South. Good Thai food at good prices. Fast service.
• Babbo 110 Waverly Place. (212) 777 0303. The best Italian food in the city. Pricey, and it's tough to get a reservation, but it's worth it for a splurge.
• Veniero's 342 E. 11th Street between 1st and 2nd Aves. (212) 674-7070. A fun little Italian pasty shop.
• Casa Mono 52 Irving Place. A delightful Spanish wine bar and restaurant by Mario Batali. The food is smashing.
• Vatan 409 Third Avenue (at 29th Street). A prix-fixe vegetarian Indian restaurant with wonderful food. The decor is a little hokey, but the food makes it worthwhile.
• Turkuaz 2637 Broadway (at 100th Street). Great Turkish food (try the house special, Turkuaz Begendi), complete with belly dancing on some nights.
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The only thing about New York City that changes faster than the subway map or the restaurants is the bar scene. While some established watering holes have been around for decades or centuries, the hot spot of the moment may well have opened last week and could likely close just as quickly. The best way to find a decent bar is to ask the advice of a native dweller with trustworthy taste, but barring that a copy of Time Out New York, the Voice, or some other nightlife guide will help you find a den of iniquity tailored to your personal needs.
A few old favorites worthy of note:
• McSorleys Old Ale House 15 East 7th St. Between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. Manhattan's oldest continuously operating bar, McSorleys is famous for three things: sawdust-strewn floors, surly service, and serving only two varieties of beer (McSorleys and McSorleys Dark). Long ago the hub of the East Village's Irish community, now a local landmark where the staff and old regulars rub shoulders (sometimes grudgingly) with the local hipster population.
• Revival East 15th Street between Irving Pl and 3rd Ave just east of Union Square. Hidden two-story bar with an outdoor patio you can smoke at. Popular with film students from nearby NY Film Academy and Burningman adventurers. You'll always meet interesting people here.
• Push Cafe 294 3rd Ave just south of 23rd Street on the west side of the street. Good booze with frequent specials, good coffee, good eats and live jazz on Monday nights. A good place to meet and greet for a first date.
• KGB In a space that was once the New York headquarters of the Communist Party USA, and is still decorated with Soviet-era agitprop memorabilia, KGB alternates between being a quiet, atmosphere-drenched local hangout bar, a site for regular poetry readings and other performances, and on some Saturday nights a boisterous boho pickup scene.
• White Horse Tavern On November 3rd, 1953, the poet Dylan Thomas stopped in here for a drink... and stayed for seventeen more drinks, precipitating his death the next day. Although made famous by its posthumous customer, the White Horse has been serving up non-fatal portions of beer and pub food since 1880.
• Nassau Bar 118 Nassau St. For those with a good imagination in search of thinly clad barmaids and decent priced happy hour drink specials in the Financial District.