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Priority dining destinations . . .

Fat Guy

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I've pretty much visited all the places I was dying to try, but there are many further down the list I have yet to visit including:

Lespinasse - a must try due to Shaw's praise and overall reputation, but the prices have scared me away thus far

Il Mulino - another Shaw recommendation I'd like to try

Ponticello - A friend who is Italian and grew up in Queens raves about it, so I'm intrigued

Sushi of Gari - an acquaintance who has real expertise in Japanese food swears by their omakase. Unfortunately, this person is also responsible for my newly acquired and expensive addiction to Sushi Yasuda

Kuruma Zushi - ditto

Fleur du Sel - All the interest shown on this board has put this on my list

Babbo (for the pasta tasting) - I've been there a dozen times already to eat in the bar, but have never done the full pasta tasting menu. I need to fast for a week and then go for it

Four Seasons - I feel it's an essential visit due to its history and architecture, though my fear it will be an expensive disappointment has delayed a visit

Pizza - I still have yet to hit the pavement and find a truly satisfying pizza in NYC

I had wanted to visit La Grenouille and La Caravelle, but an expensive and disappointing experience at La Cote Basque recently has killed my desire to fill in the missing blanks on the French "Grande Dame" dining list

And while I have dined at ADNY in the past, I am still "dying" to dine there again.

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I had wanted to visit La Grenouille and La Caravelle, but an expensive and disappointing experience at La Cote Basque recently has killed my desire to fill in the missing blanks on the French "Grande Dame" dining list

I don't know whether weekday lunch is an option for you or whether the applicable restaurants are open for lunch on weekends, but I often visit places that I have concerns about during lunch. That might reduce the cost too, assuming reasonable wine ordering. Wilfrid and I visited La Caravelle during Restaurant Week. The prix fixe lunch generally available appeared to have been under $40.

However, before Labor Day, there are so many places with $20.02 lunch menus (certain restaurants continue the Restaurant Week deals) worth further exploration for me: Cello, Montrachet, Union Pacific, Chanterelle, Fleur de Sel, Nobu, Nougatine at Jean-Georges, Patria, Town and Pico. Interestingly, the inexpensive menus work well sometimes because they are served quickly. :smile:

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Places in New York that I'd really like to go to, but haven't:

1) Blue Hill. I've been trying for weeks. Something always gets in the way, usually involving potential dinner companions not wanting to go.

2) 71 Clinton Fresh Food. Small, popular, far away. These factors have thus far made it impractical for me to visit.

Other places that are somewhat less interesting, but that I've not yet made it to and still want to visit:

1) Babbo. Too popular for me. I'm no good at making reservations this far in advance for somwehre local, and there are always such good other choices that will actually take my business.

2) Prune. Once again, far away.

3) ADNY. Is it really worth the money?

4) Bouley. I have no excuse.

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There are no authentic Italian restaurants in New York City. Roberto's would be considered an authentic Italian-American restaurant.

If you want good Italian food, try Felidia, Babbo, Fiamma Osteria or San Domenico.

Robert - been to all of those, wouldn't label any of them "good Italian food." Acceptable at best. I would agree with no authentic Italian places in New York - except for PARKSIDE!!

Thanks for the tip on Roberto's. A relative who lives in Sardinia raved about it (about a year ago) as authentic (in fact he said it was just as good as my mom's) - now I don't need to travel to the Bronx.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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After collecting the answers it might be good to retate the list as a poll.

For me the answers are:


Babbo (again)

Bernadin (again)

Blue Hill (next week)

La Fleur de Sel

Grammercy Tavern



Le Cirque


I recently ate at Le Bernadin after a ten year lapse. My reaction was that the food was extraordinary. Exciting, delicious and different. The whole experience (@$150 person) was a memorable meal and well worth three $50 dinners elsewhere. Le Cirque seems so much a circus that I feel I must experience it at least once. I don't expect to be dazzled by the food.

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Jaybee, as I have mentioned in various contexts before, I think one of the best things to do at Le Cirque is to look at the plats du jour, which tend to be traditional - even rustic - dishes, which I think exhibit a little more passion than the signature dishes on the menu. This contravenes the Plotnicki theory that, if you go to a restaurant for the first time, you should eat the well-known stuff. But that's my view - and the rotation of plats is to be found right here.

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Oh joy. I'm not going to limit myself to the top 5 places, more like the top 15 --

(in no particular order of preference)

1. Sugiyama

2. Nobu

3. AZ

4. Esca

5. Blue Hill


7. Patria

8. Mercer Kitchen

9. JUdson Grill

10. Oceana

11. Aquavit

12. Chiam (not sure if Chiam is still open; unique from most Chinese restaurants in that they make everything on premises and refuse to use anything canned or preserved unless unavoidable; they make their own roast pork!)

13. Artisanal

14. March

15. Town


Most of my foodie friends are in MBA-land, or have just graduated from MBA-land and consequently are not in a position of having disposable income or disposable time.

Been busy at work/social life/other engagements, but things might change for the better because of e-gullet. I mean if not for this site, I might not have had such an AMAZING experience at Jewel Bako.


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i really try to visit places that people i know work at, being FOH and a private cook. montrachet is next on my list; i just met a great person in garde manager there. the extra attention is nice, but i also try to support people i know as i like to be supported by others in the industry that appreciate my work.

anyone know anyone at NOBU??????????


i'm also really dying to go to VERITAS, my work being in wine.

but my penchant for a good cheese course often leaves me disappointed. (e.g. craft). the cheese at artisinal was fine, but after having close to the worst service for my dollars, i was exasperated by that time. p.s. anyone feel me on the service at artisinal? makes me want to skip picholine, but a friend of mine used to work there & won't compare the two.

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Nesita...I implore you, don't skip Picholine...for restaurants owned by the same chef, they are incredibly different. I dined at both about three weeks ago...Artisinal...service...indifferent...cheese...lots of choices, but, most were not ripe. Perhaps thanks to the retail business and what I presume is a high cover count, they run through their cheese before some of it is ripe. As a sidenote: I have had cheese shipped to Las Vegas...not only was it not even close to being ripe enough to serve properly (after being so requested), it was also shipped overnight with nothing but packing peanuts (i.e. no icepacks)...think about cheese sitting outside on your doorstep in 112 degree heat, not a pretty picture!

As for Picholine...please see my reply to Steve Klc under my query for restaurant suggestions in NYC...I wish I knew how to (or if it is possible) to pull it to this answer to save you the trouble. Anyway, Picholine and its food, service, demeanor and especially CHEESES are not to be missed!

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