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DINNING & DRINKING


In all its diversity, New York City social life revolves around dining out. Whether a powerbroker pays hundreds for a meal at Asia de Cuba or a slacker scrapes together some money for pie at Lombardi's pizza, each experiences Gotham's unique culinary fusion. Add lively conversation with friends and you've found the real New York City. With so many ethnic influences, so many talented chefs making a name for themselves, so many hotspots, so many hidden gems, so many delis, so many diners New York offers something for everyone's palate.

Diners enjoy gastronomic delights across the five boroughs, but the following districts are particularly noteworthy:

  Midtown
The old-monied dine at prestigious and elegant classics like The '21' Club and Le Cirque. Meanwhile, cell phones ring and young turks wheel and deal at up-and-comers like China Grill and Judson Grill. Superstar Jean Georges Vongerichten reinvents fine dining at his eponymous Jean Georges and the French-Asian Vong. For something completely different (but quintessentially Big Apple), true New Yorkers stop by the famous Carnegie Deli for a massive sandwich.

  Hell's Kitchen
A few steps west of the Times Square tourist traps lies this former slum now transformed into an enclave of eclectic eateries, many ideal for pre- and post-theatre dining. From the gilded and stodgy Firebird to the chic and sexy Luxia, there's something for everyone. Old standards like the family run Chez Napoleon and the aptly named Landmark Tavern coexist with trendy newbies like Bar Nine and Revolution. After, or instead of the meal, the Cupcake Café supplies some of the best desserts in town.

  Gramercy and Union Square
The city's new center of fine dining boasts top-rated, understated establishments like the Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Café. The exceptional Latin American Patria plus yuppie gathering spots Park Avalon and Candela provide additional excellent options. A neighborhood rich in history, the landmark Pete's Tavern still draws a relaxing pint and serves up old-fashioned pub grub after over a century in business.

  West Village
World-class restaurants like the neuvelle favorite Gotham Bar & Grill and the stunningly romantic One if By Land, Two if By Sea work their magic in the brownstones of this historic neighborhood. Along the village's crisscrossing streets lie cozy favorites like Home and retro-enclaves like The Grange Hall. Meanwhile, people continue to flock to the Italian trattoria Pó.

  East Village
Funky, inexpensive ethnic restaurants and hip bars draw people here from all over the city. Well-known bargains like the Life Café, the Kiev and Dojo are usually filled with local hipsters and students as well as visitors. With gentrification, the slick and trendy established themselves in the form of bohemian bistro Opaline. Meanwhile, traces of old New York can be found at  and Lanza. If you crave dessert, stop by the famous Veniero's for some pastries and espresso.

  Soho
Where the art world congregates, trendy dining establishments will follow. The Mercer Kitchen serves some of the city's most innovative cuisine as the world's most fabulous people vie for tables there (not to mention a couple of blocks over at Balthazar). Elsewhere amongst the galleries and posh shops, black-clad sophisticates socialize at oh-so-very-Soho classics Raoul's and Boom. Sunday morning, locals make their way to  for Eggs Benedict and other brunch favorites.

  Tribeca
Among Tribeca's spectacular loft spaces, masterful restaurateur Drew Nieporant has created a mini-kingdom for himself, along with friend and investor Robert DeNiro. Nieporant offers diners amazing Japanese at Nobu, fine French and stellar burgundies at Montrachet, new fangled Middle Eastern at Layla and New American at Tribeca Grill. For something outside Nieporant's empire try the flashy Odeon or just sip Champagne at the Bubble Lounge.

  Little Italy
That's Amore! Along bustling Mulberry Street old-country restaurants blare Frank Sinatra into the street while barkers summon the crowds. For those who love red sauces with their pasta or veal, choices abound. From Pellegrino's to Puglia, it's difficult to go wrong. For pizza, Lombardi's serves some of the best pies in the city.

  Chinatown
Like a trip to Asia without leaving Manhattan, the scores of restaurants on Chinatown's dynamic streets offer every variety of Asian cuisine (often at bargain prices). Dozens of places serve the ever-popular dim sum, but 31 Division Dim Sum House rises above the rest. Meanwhile, Joe's Shanghai is the place for dumplings. For those seeking Chinese style barbeque Big Wong fits the bill and if one craves noodles at 3am, New York Noodle Town always hits the mark.

  Elsewhere
What? Where's my Peter Luger, you say? How could you have not mentioned the Tavern on the Green's crystal room? Or what about the River Café with its glorious views? New York City's selection of amazing places to feast and imbibe is ever growing, ever changing and always exciting.

 

 
   

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