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  • New York has many, many restaurants per square mile, representing every ethnicity on the globe (and a few unusual fusionsóCuban-Chinese, for example) and many of them are outstanding. Though this city has more than its share of pricey restaurants, opportunities for good eating at reasonable prices are abundant. For Indian food, as an example, go to any of the good, embarrassingly low-priced restaurants on 6th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues. Give in to your temptation and buy a hot dog with the works from any curbside vendor, or a soft pretzel slathered in mustard, or hot chestnuts in winter, or a falafel sandwich or pizza by the slice (to eat New York-style, fold the slice before eating). For breakfast, try one of the coffee shops or Greek diners that appear on most blocks (remembering that ordering coffee 'regular' will get you coffee with milk).

    At fine restaurants, it's often possible to consume the same divine cuisine at lunch as at dinnertime -- for much less money. At the hot spots you've heard or read about, it's advisable to make dinner reservations one or two months in advance, particularly for weekend nights. For the following listings, expect to pay within these general guidelines, based on the cost of a dinner for one with one drink, tip and tax:

    $ = less than $15
    $$ = $15-$25
    $$$ = $25-$50
    $$$$ = more than $50


    Le Cirque 2000 -- This legendary place has a long-standing reputation for excellence. Miraculous meals are served in close quarters. The wine list is extensive and reasonable. Unless you absolutely cannot take another bite, do not pass up the creme brulee! Monday-Sunday 11:45 am-2:15 pm and 5:30-10:30 pm. Reservations imperative. Jacket and tie required lunch and dinner. Most major credit cards. $$$$. 455 Madison Ave. (between 50th and 51st Streets), phone 212-303-7788.

    Chanterelle -- The contemporary French cuisine changes monthly, but the food, wine list and service are always first rate. Monday-Saturday noon-2:30 pm and 5:45-11 pm. We recommend lunch as an alternative to dinner at this pricey spot. Reservations required. Most major credit cards. $$$$. 2 Harrison St. (at Hudson), phone 212-966-6960.directions

    Daniel -- By all accounts one of the best restaurants in New York. Specialties include scallops with porcini, lobster consomme with fennel and caviar, and veal shank with Swiss chard and cranberry beans. Lunch Tuesday-Saturday noon-2:30 pm, dinner Monday-Saturday 5:45-11:30 pm. Reservations imperative (call a full month in advance). Most major credit cards. $$$$. Lunch prix fixe: US$35 two-course, US$42 three-course, US$85 six-course tasting menu. Dinner prix fixe: US$68 three-course, US$90 six-course, US$120 eight-course tasting menu. 20 E. 76th St. (in the Hotel Surrey), phone 212-288-0033.directions

    Peter Luger -- A real New York steak house replete with wood and brass and an elbow-worn oak bar. No menus are needed: Choose either the juicy, broiled porterhouse steak or the double lamb chops. Monday-Thursday 11:30 am-10 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am-10:45 pm, Sunday 1-9:45 pm. Reservations necessary. No credit cards. $$$$. Take the subway (J train) to the Marcy Avenue stop. 178 Broadway (next to the Williamsburg Bridge), Brooklyn, phone 718-387-7400.directions

    Best in Town | Hot and Trendy | Local Favorites | French/Italian | Asian | Breakfast/Late Night | Additional Dining


    Nobu -- Tasty, creative Japanese food with a California twist. Robert DeNiro is one of the partners of this place, which serves a trendy downtown crowd of beautiful, wealthy people. The sushi is transcendental. Monday-Friday 11:45 am-2:15 pm, Monday-Sunday 5:45-10:15 pm. Reservations necessary (call 212-219-8095 one month in advance, 10 am-5 pm). Most major credit cards. $$$$. 105 Hudson St., phone 212-219-0500.directions

    Indochine -- The food is French Vietnamese, the decor is tropical and the preoccupation is people watching, in order to see bigtime publishing folks, stylists and mannequins and such celebrities as Ellen Barkin, Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell fill those cushy green booths. Daily 5:30-11:30 pm. Reservations recommended. Most major credit cards. $$$. 430 Lafayette St. (between Astor Place and 4th Street, East Village), phone 212-505-5111.

    Cub Room -- Contemporary American fare in a hip SoHo restaurant. Try the grilled portobello mushroom salad and seared yellowfin tuna with Asian greens. Lunch Tuesday-Friday noon-3 pm, dinner Monday-Thursday 6-11 pm, Friday and Saturday 5:30-11:30 pm, Sunday 5:30-11 pm, brunch Sunday noon-3 pm. Reservations required. Most major credit cards. $$$. 131 Sullivan St. (at Prince), phone 212-677-4100.directions/

    Best in Town | Hot and Trendy | Local Favorites | French/Italian | Asian | Breakfast/Late Night | Additional Dining


    Gotham Bar and Grill -- -- Steak, seafood, lamb, venison, pasta and burgers prepared with great style. The restaurant, in a converted warehouse, is airy and spacious. The US$19.99 prix-fixe lunch is a steal. Lunch Monday-Friday noon-2 pm, dinner Monday-Thursday and Sunday 5:30-10 pm, Friday and Saturday 5:30-11 pm. Reservations necessary. Most major credit cards. $$$$. 12 E. 12th St., phone 212-620-4020.directions

    Grimaldi's -- In the endless debate over the best pizza in the city, this Brooklyn eatery is consistently a front-runner. The crust is so good you could eat it without toppings. Sells whole pies only. Wine sold by the glass, carafe or bottle. Monday-Friday (except closed Tuesday) 11:30 am-11 pm, Saturday and Sunday 2 pm-midnight. No credit cards accepted, cash only. $$-$$$. 19 Old Fulton St., Brooklyn Heights (take the A or C train to High Street), phone 718-858-4300.

    Michael's -- The cuisine is Californian at this upscale, but casual restaurant. Fresh fish dishes, such as poached Maine lobster, steelhead trout and soft-shell crabs rule the day, but there are also such meat entrees as porterhouse steak. The restaurant has a roomy feel, affording more privacy than you usually get in New York restaurants. Prints by David Hockney, Jasper Johns and John Cage, and art by Michael's wife adorn the walls. Dennis Hopper photographs hang in the bathrooms. In the back, a glass-encased garden room is open for lunch. Monday-Friday: breakfast 7:30-9:30 am, lunch noon-3:45, dinner 5-10:30 pm. Saturday: dinner 5:30-10:30 pm. Most major credit cards. $$$. 24 W. 55th St. (between 5th and 6th Avenues), phone 212-767-0555.

    Casa Brasil -- Authentic Brazilian and Portuguese food on the East Side. Specialities are vatapa (codfish and shrimp with a peanut and coconut sauce) and tropeiro (black beans cooked with manioc flour, beef bits and scrambled eggs). For US$18.95, you can get a rodizio, which is an all-you-can-eat meal including 8-10 kinds of grilled meat, plantains, yucca and other side dishes, and a salad bar. Also Brazilian steaks and veal dishes, very reasonably priced. Sunday-Thursday noon-10:45 pm, Friday and Saturday noon-11:30 pm. Most major credit cards. $$. 316 E. 53rd St., phone 212-355-5360.

    Bubby's -- This Tribeca restaurant serves Continental and American food with a Mexican flair. It started off with modest and charming surroundings and doubled its space in four years. There's often a wait of 20-30 minutes, even in the winter. Brunch is popular partly because of the banana-walnut pancakes. Donít pass on the apple pie--Bubby's bakes all its pies from scratch. Smoking is permitted in one section of the restaurant. Breakfast Monday-Friday 8-11 am, brunch Saturday and Sunday 9 am-4:45 pm, lunch Monday-Friday 11 am-4 pm. Dinner Sunday 6-10 pm, Monday and Tuesday 6-11 pm, Wednesday-Saturday 6 pm-midnight. Limited menu midnight-3 am. Most major credit cards. $$. 120 Hudson St., phone 212-219-0666.

    An American Place -- New American cuisine is presented in this large, airy restaurant, decorated with art-deco furniture. Specialties are lobster stew and duck. Itís a favored hangout of the media at lunchtime. Monday-Friday 11:45 am-3 pm, Monday-Saturday 5:30-9:30 pm. Most major credit cards. $$$$. 2 Park Ave. (entrance is on 32nd between Park and Madison Avenues), phone 212-684-2122.

    Union Square Cafe -- Dine on innovative American cuisine in a large, airy setting. Try the roast monkfish with spicy curry sauce or seared salmon with onion-pepper marmalade. Monday-Saturday noon-2:15 pm, dinner Sunday-Thursday 6-10:15 pm, Friday and Saturday 6-11:15 pm. Reservations required. Most major credit cards. $$$-$$$$. 21 E. 16th St., phone 212-243-4020.directions

    Tribeca Grill -- Loftlike restaurant with an ornate mahogany bar. The limos aren't lined up like they used to be, but you might still spot a celebrity filmmaker from the Tribeca Film Center upstairs. Lunch Monday-Friday 11:30 am-2:45 pm, then midday menu 3-5 pm. Dinner Monday-Thursday 5:30-10:45 pm; Friday and Saturday till 11:15 pm; Sunday 5:30-9:45 pm. Sunday brunch 11:30 am-2:45 pm. Reservations recommended. Most major credit cards. $$$$. 375 Greenwich St. (at Franklin), phone 212-941-3900.directions

    The River Cafe -- Getting to this place requires a taxi ride over the East River to Brooklyn, but the outstanding New American cuisine, romantic interior and spectacular views of Manhattan reward those who make the trip. Prix-fixe dinner US$65. Daily noon-2:30 pm and 6-11 pm. Reservations required. Most major credit cards. $$$$. Prix-fixe dinner US$75. 1 Water St. (East River and Cadman Place West; closest subway stations are Clark Street and High Street, each about six blocks away), phone 718-522-5200.directions

    The Water's Edge -- Right across the East River in Queens. Fine Continental and American food in a light, airy room: Floor-to-ceiling windows offer superb views of Lower Manhattan and Midtown. From the E. 34th Street pier, take the complimentary private water shuttle leaving every hour on the hour from 6 pm on. Monday-Friday noon-3 pm and 6-11 pm, Saturday 6-11 pm. Reservations necessary. Most major credit cards. $$$-$$$$. 44th Drive at the East River, Long Island City (four blocks from the 21st Street exit of the 23rd and Ely subway station, down 44th Drive), phone 718-482-0033.directions

    Best in Town | Hot and Trendy | Local Favorites | French/Italian | Asian | Breakfast/Late Night | Additional Dining


    Alison on Dominick Street -- -- Delicious French cuisine in a small, cozy SoHo setting makes this an ideal place for lovers. Monday-Saturday 5:30-10:30 pm, Sunday to 9:15 pm. Reservations necessary. Most major credit cards. $$$$. 38 Dominick St. (between Varick and Hudson), phone 212-727-1188.directions

    Cafe des Artistes -- --A romantic little bistro, the dining room is decorated with murals with nudes from the 1930s. The cuisine is Hungarian-Austrian. Lunch Monday-Friday noon-2:45 pm, dinner Monday-Saturday 5:30-11:45 pm, Sunday closes at 10:45 pm. Reservations necessary. Most major credit cards. $$$-$$$$. 1 W. 67th St., phone 212-877-3500.directions

    Il Mulino -- Complimentary appetizers are served before you order. The staff aims to please, and the food would convince anyoneís Italian grandmother to return for more. The osso buco is tender and delicious. Do not pass up dessert. Monday-Friday noon-2:30 pm and Monday-Saturday 5-11 pm. Reservations necessary. Most major credit cards. $$$$. 86 W. 3rd St., phone 212-673-3783.directions

    Le Madri -- Classic Italian cuisine with impeccable consistency, and an atmosphere straight out of Tuscany. Try the osso buco with portobello mushrooms or paper-thin pizza from a wood-burning oven. Monday-Friday noon-3 pm and 5:30-11 pm, Saturday 11:30 am-3 pm and 5:30-11 pm, Sunday brunch 11:30 am-3:30 pm and dinner 5:30-11 pm. Reservations required. Most major credit cards. $$$$. 168 W. 18th St., phone 212-727-8022.directions

    Montrachet -- Top-notch French cuisine in a low-key, pleasant atmosphere. Spectacular wine list. Monday-Thursday 6-10 pm, Friday noon-2:15 pm and 5:30-10:30 pm, Saturday 5:30-10:45 pm. Reservations required. Most major credit cards. $$$$. 239 W. Broadway, phone 212-219-2777.directions

    Novita -- Inventive Italian menu, with dishes such as black truffle and grilled shrimp salad or roasted red snapper with spicy shrimp stuffing. Monday-Friday noon-3 pm, Monday-Thursday 6-11 pm, Friday and Saturday 5:30-11 pm, Sunday 5-10 pm. Reservations required. Most major credit cards. $$$. 102 E. 22nd St., phone 212-677-2222.directions

    Molyvos -- A restaurant even for diners skeptical of Greek food -- this place is superb. Among its specialties are braised, marinated lamb and rabbit stew. For dessert, consider the Greek cheesecake or honey-drizzled fritters. Lunch Monday-Friday noon-3 pm (cafe open later); dinner Monday-Thursday 5:30-11:30 pm, Friday till midnight, Saturday 5 pm-midnight, Sunday 5-11 pm. Lunch special US$19.99 and Prix Theater, 5:30-6:45 pm, US$32.50. Most major credit cards. $$$. 871 7th Ave. (at 55th Street), phone 212-582-7500.

    Best in Town | Hot and Trendy | Local Favorites | French/Italian | Asian | Breakfast/Late Night | Additional Dining


    Vong -- This beautifully decorated French/Thai restaurant offers highly creative cuisine to a chic clientele. Rabbit curry and lychee/papaya soup are among the offerings. Lunch Monday-Friday noon-2:30 pm, dinner Monday-Thursday 6-11 pm, Friday 5:30-11 pm, Saturday 5:30-11:30 pm, Sunday 5:30-10 pm. Reservations necessary. Most major credit cards. $$$$. 200 E. 54th St., phone 212-486-9592.directions

    Shun Lee Palace -- The large menu covers several regional cuisines, and the restaurant is spacious and luxurious. Begin with the fried dumplings and be sure to try the smoked duck. (Don't bother with the desserts.) Daily noon-11:30 pm. Reservations necessary. Most major credit cards. $$$. 155 E. 55th St., phone 212-371-8844.directions

    Hatsuhana -- Order the prix-fixe dinner to sample a little of everything. A la carte specialties include tempura and salmon teriyaki. Monday-Friday 11:45 am-2:45 pm and 5:30-10 pm, Saturday 5-10 pm. Reservations required. $$$ a la carte, US$25 prix-fixe dinner. 17 E. 48th St., phone 212-355-3345, also at 237 Park Ave., phone 212-661-3400.directions

    Mitali -- One of the best Indian restaurants in all of New York. Recommended: the shrimp curry or the tandoori chicken. Daily noon-midnight. Reservations advised. Most major credit cards. $$. 334 E. 6th St., phone 212-533-2508.directions

    Match -- This hot spot serves up unusual dishes with an Asian twist. The very trendy diners at this place tend to like the spicy duck pizza with shiitake mushrooms or wok-seared bluefin tuna with soba noodle salad. Monday-Wednesday 11:30 am-2 am, Thursday till 3 am, Friday-Sunday till 4 am. Reservations recommended. Most major credit cards. $$$. 160 Mercer St., phone 212-343-0020. (Also an uptown Match at 33 E. 60th St., phone 212-906-9177.)directions

    Best in Town | Hot and Trendy | Local Favorites | French/Italian | Asian | Breakfast/Late Night | Additional Dining


    Empire Diner -- It's common to see stretch limousines pulling up in the wee hours, bringing after-club diners to this hip art-deco diner. You can order anything from turkey sandwiches and omelettes to tofu fajitas. Open 24 hours daily. No reservations. Most major credit cards. $$. 210 10th Ave. (between 22nd and 23rd Streets), phone 212-243-2736.directions

    Junior's -- Just across the Manhattan Bridge is this landmark diner. The cheesecake's the draw. If you can, choose between plain, strawberry, chocolate-swirl, cherry-crumb, pumpkin, fat-free and many others. The place is usually packed, but reservations arenít necessary. Breakfast served anytime. Sunday-Wednesday 6:30 am-12:15 am, Thursday till 12:45 am, Friday and Saturday till 1:45 am. Most major credit cards. $$. Take the D, Q, N or R to DeKalb Avenue or the 2, 3, 4 or 5 to Nevins Street and walk two blocks towards the bridge. 386 Flatbush Ave., downtown Brooklyn, phone 718-852-5257.directions

    Best in Town | Hot and Trendy | Local Favorites | French/Italian | Asian | Breakfast/Late Night | Additional Dining


    Lola -- The perfect place to enjoy a good meal, a few drinks, some live music and maybe dance a little. Relaxed, upscale restaurant that books bands Tuesday-Saturday. Dining in back where just the right amount of light and music is provided, whether itís pumped in through the speakers or filtered in from the bar. Grand piano and original art add to the inviting atmosphere. The signature dish is fried chicken, but the seafood dishes and desserts are terrific, too. On-site tarot readings Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday. Gospel brunch Sunday with seatings at 9:30, 11:30 am and 1:45 pm (US$27.95). Lunch Monday-Friday noon-3 pm, dinner daily 6 pm-midnight. Reservations are recommended because Lola fills up quickly, especially on nights when thereís live music. Tuesday is jazz, Wednesday blues, Thursday-Saturday R&B and funk. Don't be surprised if the diners start dancing. Most major credit cards (but not Discover). $$$$. 30 W. 22nd St., phone 212-675-6700. For a hipper environment for lunch (Monday-Friday noon-3 pm), try Lola Bowla two doors to the west (phone 212-675-5544). The menu is Asia-Pacific influenced. $$$.

    Windows on the World -- After a US$25 million renovation, this place has reopened with a new chef, out-of-this-world international cuisine, a stellar wine collection and an unbeatable view. Thereís a main dining room where you can order such dishes as glazed duck or Spanish-style squab roasted in a salt crust. Sunday, Monday-Thursday 5-9 pm, Friday and Saturday 5-10 pm, Sunday brunch 11 am-2 pm. Hours vary depending on the season. Reservations suggested, jacket required. No jeans or sneakers permitted. No smoking. Most major credit cards. $$$$.directions

    A more informal restaurant, the Greatest Bar on Earth, has separate stations where you can see sushi rolled, oysters shucked, fondue dipped and a Mongolian hot pot at work. Live music and dancing Thursday-Saturday after 9 pm. Lunch Monday-Friday noon-2 pm, bar and food service Monday-Thursday 4 pm-1 am, Friday to 2 am. No jeans or sneakers. Reservations not needed. Most major credit cards. $$$ for dinner at the bar. There's also a wine-connoisseur's heaven called Cellar in the Sky. US$95-$200 for dinner with three different wines. All at the top of the World Trade Center. Phone 212-524-7000.

    The Jekyll & Hyde Club -- Dine in a three-story 'haunted house' complete with lightning, thunder and smoke. The walls are decorated with skulls, large beetles and scary masks. Statues of Zeus and the Sphinx speak, and gargoyles come to life. If you don't lose your appetite, try the pumpkin tortellini or Oriental chicken salad, Cajun fries or buffalo wings. Monday and Tuesday 11:30 am-midnight, Wednesday 11 am-midnight, Thursday 11:30 am-midnight, Friday 11:30 am-1 pm, Saturday 10:30-1 am, Sunday 11:30-midnight. Reservations for parties of eight or more. Most major credit cards. $$-$$$. 1409 6th Ave. (at 57th Street), phone 212-541-9505.directions

    Best in Town | Hot and Trendy | Local Favorites | French/Italian | Asian | Breakfast/Late Night | Additional Dining

    Information prepared by Weissmann Travel Reports
    Copyright © 2000 by Reed Travel Group. All rights reserved.





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