(13th-37th; West of 5th Av)
Madangsui: Korean. 35 W 35th @ 6th Ave; 23/15/$38; 564-9333; www.madangsui.com; Known for having some of the best, flavorful BBQ in town; Wonderful Kalbi for sure; Seafood pancake appetizer is amazing; Great for a larger group; Wonderful soups and dumplings; The BBQ is $26 or so and you get a ton of food. Best to come here with a larger group. Also features sushi and various rolls. Large a la carte menu.
Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse: Steakhouse. 440 9th Av @ 34-35th; 244-0005; 23/20/$76; www.unclejacks.com; Melt in your mouth giant cuts of beef; 3 pound porterhouse for 2 for $85; Carnivore’s delight; Old school scene- boy’s clubs; Tremendous Martinis; Tuna Tartare, amazing Crab Cakes, Buff Mozz & Tomatoes; Bacon appetizer; Kobe meatballs; Prime Rib, Prime Filet; No real seafood on the menu except appetizers. Huge portions. Brunch menu as well.
Shilla: Korean. 37 West 32nd @ 5th-6th Av; 22/19/$44; 967-1880; www.yelp.ca/biz/shilla-new-york-3; Upscale Korean BBQ house; Japanese entrees as well; Large selection of seafood or meats to grill; Plenty of a la carte- prepared items as well; One of the best of its genre in the area. Can be hit or miss if crowded; Always fun to cook it yourself or they will cook it for you. Open 24 hours, 7 days a week so great late-night option.
Kang Suh: Korean. 1250 Broadway @ 32nd; 21/12/$35; 564-6845; www.kangsuhnyc.com/; Do it yourself BBQ; Open 24/7; Also offers standard Korean fare like great Kimche and even sushi; Fried Beef dumplings; 2-levels, upstairs is better. Huge menu of soups; sauces and meats; Overall the menu is massive and a perfect spot for someone not so sure about Korean. Weak on décor and service. Been around 30+ years & open 24/7.
Hill Country: BBQ. 30 W 26th @ B-Way-6th Av; 23/16/$33; 255-4544; www.hillcountryny.com; Large, two level new restaurant as of 2008; Looks like a roadhouse; Some communal tables; Cafeteria feel; Authentic BBQ ribs, pulled pork and southern classics; Rustic feel; Have fund gaining 3 pounds; Sides are outstanding; All kinds of daily dine-in deals; Brother Jimmy’s level ambiance. Great Bourbon selection.
Junoon: Indian. 27 W 24th @ 5th-6th Av; 25/25/$66; 490-2100; http://junoonnyc.com/; Innovative Indian cuisine in a more formal setting; Gorgeous décor and spot on service; Michelin 1 star rated; Naan is some of the best you’ll have; They have a really cool ‘spice room’ showcasing their ingredients; Endless wine list; Lunch and dinner served; 5 course tasting menu for $65; Can order off regular menu; Lobster curry; Lamb shanks; Goat Curry; Various chicken and vegetarian options. Not a huge menu.
El Quinto: Spanish. 401 W 24th @ 9th Av; 24/15/$42; 929-1855; www.elquintopinonyc.com/; Small in size but not charm; Around since 1930s; Shockingly good tapas on the smallish menu & sangria; Large portions; Try the seafood paella- enough for 3-4 people; Very kitschy and charming; Shrimp with garlic sauce is outstanding; Inexpensive Lobster; Service is fast and efficient. They have their game down. Brunch served.
Mira Sushi & Izakaya: Japanese. 46 W 22nd @ 6th Av; 23/19/$46; 989-7889; www.mirasushi.com/; Menu is large and consists of Japanese small plates (tapas like) and also a large assortment of special and regular rolls and fun appetizers; Sushi and sashimi available a la carte; Soft Shell Crab roll is always fun to try; Lots of energy here; Creative menu overall; Vast cocktail list and tons of saki.
Tia Pol: Spanish. 205 W 10th Av @ 22-23rd; 24/16/$48; 675-8805; www.tiapol.com; Small plates; Chelsea Spaniard; Tapas a la Barcelona. Lively & has top notch wines & sangria; Very small inside- seating on stools or at bar. Receives rave reviews across the board; Wildly authentic; Go off-peak hours and prepare to enter Spain. They serve lunch and brunch as well. Deviled Eggs on menu! Large selection.
Momoya: Japanese. 185 7th Av @ 21st; 23/20/$41; 989-4466; www.momoyanyc.com/; Simple, spacious setting; Unreal-fresh sushi; Extremely unique, tasty rolls; Menu features many cooked dishes and boxes as well; Great deal for the quality; Inventive & high quality all in one. Tons of sake available; This place is under the radar and one of the best mid-priced options in the genre. Generous portions. Large menu – and it’s amazing.
Cookshop: American. 156 10th Av @ 20th; 23/20/$53; 924-4440; www.cookshopny.com; Frequently changing menu; Creative, unique dishes; Modern décor and great staff. Excellent brunch; Farm fresh, healthy ingredients. Farm-to-table mentality; From creators of “Five Points”; Uber trendy and always welcoming. Limited dinner menu; Lunch, breakfast and afternoon dining available. Nice open space. Comfortable.
Periyali: Greek. 35 W 20th @ 5-6th Av; 25/21/$55; 463-7890; www.periyali.com; Fabulous fresh fish; Mature crowd; Upscale; Formal, friendly. Classic Greek dishes. Not as seafood focused as others; Strong menu with large appetizer section. Lamb chops and charred Octopus are musts; You will think your in the Greek Islands; Greek meatballs; Crisp Calamari; Wild Salmon; Rabbit stew; Nice wine list. Perfect service most nights.
Omai: Vietnamese. 158 9th Av @ 19-20th; 23/16/$35; 633-0550; www.omainyc.com; Upscale for Vietnamese; Soft lighting; Good for dates; Neighborhood friendly spot; Fairly tight quarters with food that makes it worth it. As with most of its genre, the Pho is to way to go; Sizable menu with rice, and a variety of beef dishes; Grilled calamari appetizer salad; Lots of rolls.
Socarrat Paella Bar: Spanish. 259 W 19th @ 7-8th Av; 24/16/$45; 462-1000; www.socarratnyc.com/; They feature 6 varieties of Paella and a large assortment of Tapas; Downside is communal seating at a lengthy table; Fun time. Has an adjoining wine bar; Just come here and share a Paella and 1 or 2 Tapas as appetizers as this place will blow you away with its authenticity. Go early to avoid crowds. Flamenco every Tuesday. More room at Midtown East location. Unlimited sangria for $20 with Brunch. Grilled Calamari.
Salinas: Spanish. 136 9th Av @ 18-19th; 25/25/$63; 776-1990; http://salinasnyc.com/; Stunning setting; Some of the best sangria in the city; Great service and style; Date friendly- best in this genre for that; Dinner only…. Menu features a more limited selection of various small plates and larger portions – including Arroces – contemporary Spanish Rice dishes – to die for. I’d get one order of this to share and a few Tapas.
Da Umberto: Italian. 107 W 17th @ 6th-7th Av; 25/20/$59; 989-0303; www.daumbertonyc.com; Beautiful dining room with a strong Italian feel and well spaced tables; Fantastic Italian-focused wine list, though wines not cheap; The Antipastis are to die for- many to choose from including grilled octopus; Shrimp scampi; chicken breast with bufala mozz & tomatoes; SO many great dishes! Expect A+ level service.
Cull & Pistol: Seafood. 75 9th Av @ 16th; 24/16/$51; 646-568-1223; http://lobsterplace.com/; The small dining room adjacent to Lobster Place in Chelsea Market; $1 Oyster happy hour; Has a daily Raw Bar of super fresh Oysters & Clams; Shrimp, Lobster and Crab Legs all available in Raw Bar; Try the Chowder Disco Fries; Lobster Sliders; Also, incredible Bruschetta; Clam Chowder; Fish & Chips; Moules-Frites; & of course Whole Lobsters.
Morimoto: Japanese. 88 10th Av @ 15-16th; 25/26/$75; 989-8883; www.morimotonyc.me/; Hot Sushi place; Trendy; Great décor; Date spot; Iron Chef’s Morimoto!! Much more expensive if you let chef choose (omakase). Just a cool scene all the way around. Has prepared dishes as well. High tech bathrooms; Rock shrimp tempura amazing; What a cool, trendy spot to impress a date or out-of-towners. Enjoy the ride. Omakase is $137.
Del Posto: Italian. 85 10th Av @ 15th-16th; 27/27/$149; 497-8090; www.delposto.com; Mario Batali flagship; Gorgeous, large interior divinely decorated with marble and mahogany; Service is professional and helpful; Massive wine list and sommeliers to aid; NY Times 3-stars; Michelin 1-star; Five course Tasting menu is the way to go & features lots to choose from ($149); The food is just flat out unbelievable. Ideal for special occasion, engagement, or celebration. Gorgeous bar area as well and live piano. Lunch prix-fixe is way to go to save a few bucks. ($49).
Buddakan: Asian. 75 9th @ 15-16th; 24/27/$70; 989-6699; www.buddakannyc.com; Incredible interior; Epically popular; Trendy; Sexy; Hot spot for large groups or dates; Amazing food- wide variety; Top shelf appetizers; Perfecto drinks. Truly one of the 5 best date spots in the city as you will be sure to impress; Good looking crowd; Reserve a week in advance at least! Menu allows for easy sharing of multiple entrees. Great location. $15 cocktails, $8 beer, Dim Sum menu including Oxtail Dumplings; Singapore Chili King Crab.
Giovanni Rana: Italian. 75 9th Av @ 15th-16th; 23/23/$46; 370-0975; www.rananyc.com/; Great city location and the interior is so cool – pots and pans hanging from above in spacious, rustic setting; Date central for singles of NYC with endless lounges nearby; Known for epic homemade pastas; Walk through Chelsea Market next door; Seafood salad,Meat & Cheese plate; Squid Ink pasta with Lump Crab; You can create a 3-5 pasta ‘sampler’ for $32 a person. Seared Bronzino; Suckling Pig.
Toro: Spanish. 85 10th Av @ 15th-16th; 22/24/$65; 691-2360; http://toro-nyc.com/; Huge, gorgeous space; Industrial feel while being super cool and date friendly; Excellent, spacious bar; Spanish restaurant with room! Killer cocktails – quite a scene; Some of the tapas include: Yellowtail, Tuna Tartare, Chorizo, Hanger Steak, Salt Cod, Cuttlefish, Garlic shrimp, and Duck Drumstick. Very large menu – do the usual – order 4-5 tapas per couple.
Crispo: Italian. 240 W 14th @ 7-8th; 24/20/$46; 229-1818; www.crisporestaurant.com; Hopping spot; Romantic, date friendly; Affordable and top shelf service. Gorgeous all-season back garden patio; Daily pasta specials and polenta stand out. Amazing Spaghetti Carbonara and risotto balls; 150-seat establishment; Extensive wine list; Very large menu – especially appetizers; Incredible appetizers. Affordable drinks!
Old Homestead: Steakhouse. 56 9th Ave @ 14-15th; 25/18/$85; 242-9040; www.theoldhomesteadsteakhouse.com; Extremely large slabs of first rate meat; Old school feel; Great burgers as well; Top shelf drinks. Been around 150 years; Traditional dark wood setting. NY Sirloin is tops. They have a Kobe beef burger; Truffle Mac N Cheese; Giant desserts – chocolate cake is Mmm; Raw Bar; Bufala Mozz & Tomatoes; Prime Rib; Filet Mignon; Bronzino, Sea Bass, Lobster – large menu. Seared Scallops; Kobe meatballs; Perfectly seared chops. Massive portions. Love the menu.
Scarpetta: Italian. 355 W 14th @ 8th-9th Av; 26/22/$71; 691-0555; www.scarpettanyc.com; NY Times 3 stars; Possibly the best Spaghetti around- with tomatoe & basil; Service and setting perfect for a romantic evening out; Very popular; Duck & Foie Gras Ravioli; They feature an amazing bread basket; Open, bright room; Cod, Bass, Bronzino, Venison, Duck Breast. Chef is Scott Conant from Chopt on Food Network. Modern space. Nice bar.
Dos Caminos: Mexican. 675 Hudson @ 14th St; 21/21/$48; 699-2400; www.doscaminos.com/; Great upscale Mexican, though becoming more of a chain; Sexy, young, hip setting in all locations; Energetic scene perfect for dates or larger groups; Margaritas will put you under; Guacamole is tremendous; Steve Hanson empire journeys on. Can be loud and service a bit iffy. Best of the mid-level Mexicans. Reliable fare & polished service.
Fig & Olive: Mediterranean. 420 W 13th @ 9th Av; 22/20/$48; 924-1200; www.figandolive.com; Very sleek and cool looking spot; Italian selections as well; Olive Oil infused selections rule; Cheese plates. Greek inspired small plates. Great wine list. Signature dish is the Beef Carpaccio; Yellow Fin Tuna Carpaccio available as well, almost as good; Becoming a chain somewhat with 5 area locations. Lunch, brunch available. Try the Crostini.
Catch: Seafood/ Sushi. 21 Ninth Ave @ 13th; 22/21/$78; 392-5978; http://catchrestaurants.com/catchnyc/; This place is a major Meatpacking scene; Popular with celebs; Duplex with rooftop lounge; 400+ seats – great for groups; Fun but expensive Brunch; Cocktails $18 for dinner; Big raw bar, tons of sushi and hot & cold entrees & appetizers; Lots to choose from but drink slowly at these costs. The major impact of this place is the scene
Gradisca: Italian. 126 W 13th @ 6-7th Av; 24/18/$55; 691-4886; http://gradiscanyc.com/; Wildly popular, known for superb homemade pastas; Fairly romantic setting and charming service; Go earlier as it can get noisy; Standout dishes include Prosciutto di Parma, Buff Mozz, Canneloni with Maine Lobster; There is a 6 course tasting menu for $80; Only major issue is the fairly minimal menu for an Italian. Charming place – date friendly.
Sugar Factory: American. 835 Washington @ 13th St; 20/22/$62; 414-8700; www.sugarfactory.com/; Name of the game here is FUN; They tout their celebrity appearances; Menu is insanely long with endless fancy drinks for 2 (60 Oz); When Kylie Jenner is on your homepage – do you care about food? Anyway – amazing martinis; Incredibly Good brunch/breakfast menu; Dinner – tons of apps and salads, Signature Burger, Crepes, Sandwiches, Old Fashioned milkshakes. Basically, a high-end Cheescake Factory menu.
Standard Grill: American.848 Washington @ Little 12th-13th; 21/22/$55; 645-4100; www.thestandardgrill.com/; Best thing about this popular spot is the location as well as décor and service; Lunch, dinner, late night eating, and Brunch all available; Food can be hit or miss but generally good; Happening crowd – date friendly; Great people watching and a million bars nearby; Pricy but good cocktails. Raw Bar; Cheese/meat plates; Multiple steak options; Whole Roasted Chicken for 2; and The Standard Burger is great.