New York Journals

Manhattan: What You Can't Find in a Guidebook!

Best of IgoUgo

A May 2005 trip to New York by quirine

Lombardis Photo, New York, New York More Photos
Quote: I live in Brooklyn, and work in Manhattan. Of course, I've picked up on a few secret spots that the guidebooks might not yet have written about. This is a living journal, so I will add to it as my experiences grow.

Lovely Day

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
A little Thai restaurant lies inconspicuously on Elizabeth Street between a video store and a chic restaurant. This hole-in-the-wall is a delightful departure from the neighborhood's overcrowded and famous Lombardi's Pizzeria that offers an unforgettable meal. On a warm evening, you'll find hipsters drinking their happy-hour beers on the stoop and listening to their boom box. Inside can get a bit stuffy (it IS a small place), but the cute little booths and great menu make up for it. The drink menu includes Tsing Tao beer for a reasonable $4.50, and others such as Stella and Corona for $5. Other drinks include fruity champagne concoctions ($8) and fresh-squeezed lemonade with ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 4, 2005

Lovely Day
196 Elizabeth St
New York, New York 10012
(212) 925-3310

Lombardi's

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Lombardi's Photo, New York, New York
Quote:
I know, I'm only supposed to be writing about stuff you didn't already know. However, I'm writing about Lombardi's because if you absolutely HAVE to go here, this is what you should know. If you haven't heard of Lombardi's by now, you've been living under a rock. It's even been mentioned in a Nissan commercial. So, the days of nursing a hangover Sunday afternoon with a large pie at Lombardi's are over. No one wants to stand in line with a hangover! Lombardi's has expanded their little two-room pizzeria, adding a huge bar (sans ambience) and a huge awning claiming that they have the best pizza in the city. And they're right. Here are some major tips for get...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 4, 2005

Lombardi's
32 Spring St
New York, New York 10012
(212) 941-7994

Rodeo Bar

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Rodeo Bar Photo, New York, New York
Quote:
I've never been to a rodeo or to Texas, which makes me a true city slicker. However I'd like to think that Rodeo Bar brings me as close as possible to what a true Tex-Mex bar/restaurant would be like. The outside has a big neon sign that indicates that this log cabin is sure enough the infamous Rodeo Bar. You'll be greated by a huge barrel of peel-'em-yourself peanuts and a long bar serving a variety of beers, liquors, and drunken margaritas. My motto is no more than two margaritas. Even 2.5 will bring you over the edge, and you will be drunk as a skunk. During happy hour, drinks become cheap (less than 5 bucks). In the room to the left, there is an adjacent bar, a seating ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 5, 2005

Rodeo Bar
375 Third Avenue
New York, New York 10016
(212) 683-6500

Good Friend

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Good Friend is a local coffee stop on the way to the subway, but I find it to be charming enough to make my way there on the weekends since I don't live in the neighborhood. They serve coffee, lattes, cappuccinos, espressos, teas, sodas (imported ones, of course), and even beer. You can get a Pabst Blue Ribbon for next to nothing, as well as Anchor Steam. The prices are dirt-cheap, and I almost feel guilty for paying a mere $1.50 for a cafe americain that I pay over 2 bucks for at Starbucks. Not only are the beans not burned (as they are at Starbucks), but you don't have to stand in a crowd of tourists ordering their gallon-sized coffee/milkshake. They offer a few sandwiches, ham-and-cheese ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 7, 2005

Good Friend
Eldridge, between Delancey and Broome
New York, New York

Gradisca

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Gradisca Photo, New York, New York
Quote:
Gradisca is a gem! I found this place with my friends one night, and we had a wonderful time. The chef is an Italian grandmother who hails from Bologna, Italy. You walk in, and you immediately feel the coziness of the wood, bricks, candles, and the light chatter of other diners. We ordered a carafe of red wine and an antipasto dish with chunks of mozzerella and parm, various meats and olives all resting on a bed of mesclun salad. With the bread we received, came a little pot of tomato sauce, fresh pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. All this really whetted our appetite for what was about to come. We all orderd various entrees so we could share. We ordered the lasagna Bolognese, th...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 10, 2006

Gradisca
126 W 13th St
New York, New York
(212) 691-4886

Verlaine

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Verlaine Photo, New York, New York
Quote:
Verlaine rates at the hipness level of the nearby Rivington Hotel and other martini bars in the city, but the snootiness is nonexistent and the drink prices are just right. The design is minimalist, with a standard sleek bar and soft lighting in cubic shades. Not too long ago, I was able to reserve the front section of the restaurant for a party I was hosting. The couch is red velvet and shaped like a horseshoe wrapped around a coffee table. Next to this area was an L-shaped couch, also with a coffee table. We had plenty of room to sit and eat or walk around and mingle. I had such a good time! The bar runs straight back into the restaurant area, where there are modern, yet cozy...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 17, 2006

Verlaine
110 Rivington Street
New York, New York 10002
(212) 614-2494

Loreley Restaurant

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Loreley"

Quote:
Loreley is a little bar right across from MK & Ashley hotspot Freeman's in Freeman's Alley. When you walk in, right away you'll see a gate and a staircase that leads to a basement/lounge. I had a great party there and reserved half of the area for free. There is a little bar down there, a seating area, bathrooms, and you can order food to soak up all the beer! The total space is around 400 square feet and you can reserve the whole space for $300. At some point, strangers were taking up our space, so a bouncer at the top of the stairs blocked people from getting in. The decor is pretty bland, but it's a dark lounge with plenty of beer and some really good food. Verlaine is a better choice if you pr...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 8, 2006

Loreley Restaurant
7 Rivington Street
New York, New York 10002
(212) 253-7077

Paladar

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Paladar Photo, New York, New York
Quote:
Paladar is a Latino restaurant in the Lower East Side that has a neon sign and sits not far from the famous Katz's deli. I stumbled upon it with a friend on one of those days where you get to leave early but have no plans. We ate at a little French bistro for a late lunch and began bar-hopping promptly when happy hour began. My friend mentioned Paladar because of the affordable and delicious Mojitos, apparently a favorite at this bar. We walked up and noticed a cozy little window seat with a table, a long row of tables usually reserved for diners and a wooden bar that wraps around the front. We sat at the bar and enjoyed blue and white corn tortilla chips with white and blue sauces. Combine with a ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 8, 2006

Paladar
161 Ludlow St.
New York, New York 10002
(212) 473-3535

Otto Restaurant Enoteca Pizzeria

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
I went to Otto at 6:30pm on a Tuesday night and it was empty. I was surprised this was even a Mario Batali restaurant. It quickly filled up as time went on, and my brother-in-law tried to reserve on a Friday night and the hostess said, 5pm or 10:30pm. Moral of the story, call for reservations between Thursday night and Sunday night.The restaurant basically looks like a fancy Olive Garden. It was a very comfortable dining room with farmer-like sturdy tables and chairs. The other people there seemed to be locals with children, bigger parties, and tourists who like to go to the restaurants of famous chefs. The waitress was very friendly and definitely chosen for her ability to wow the tourist...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 8, 2006

Otto Restaurant Enoteca Pizzeria
1 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10003
(212) 995-9559

Fresco

Restaurant

Quote:
Fresco is a midtown eatery that peaks at lunch time with businessmen and women talking about mergers and acquisitions. Actually, since we're on advertising row (Madison Avenue) they're probably talking about how cool the latest Apple campaign is.In any event, when you walk in you're greeted by a bar and a small front area with a quite a few table crammed in complete with table linens. The waiters are practically in black tie, offering wine recommendations in the middle of the day. I usually don't frequent these places so I headed straight for the bar and ordered lunch right there. I imagine everything on the menu is delicious, especially for the price tag, all pastas are around $25 a plate! My...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 27, 2006

Fresco
34 East 52nd Street
New York, New York 10022
(212) 935-3434

Haru

Restaurant

Quote:
On my first day of work, my co-workers wanted to welcome me by taking me to Haru for lunch. If they were trying to make a good impression, then they did a fantastic job. Haru is a beautiful midtown Japanese restaurant with a fabulous interior. You can see photos of this location here: http://www.harusushi.com/ I ordered the lunchbox and got more than I expected. Served from noon until 3pm, you can order chicken or salmon teriyaki, or tofu steak. Also in the lunchbox you'll receive a California roll, rock shrimp kakiage (deep fried), rice, and miso soup or salad. They have other options for lunch as well, and they'll all fill up your belly until dinnertime. The lunchbox was a typical Japanese...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 27, 2006

Haru
280 Park Ave.
New York, New York
(212) 490-9680

Cafe Zaiya

Restaurant

Cafe Zaiya Photo, New York, New York
Quote:
As my dad said when I took him to Cafe Zaiya, "it's like Tokyo in here". The place is so crowded and full of people, a lot of them Asian, that you really do feel like you're in Tokyo. The cafe offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, all for take-out, since finding an available table there is next to impossible. This place is so unusual because they offer crazy, yet delicious, food for insanely low prices. The breakfast is actually quite simple and mainly consists of donuts, pastries, and a thick slice of "honey toast". Lunch involves everything from the customized tossed salad to egg salad sandwiches to sushi to chicken teriyaki to donuts that are filled with hot dogs or curry sauce. The fried c...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 25, 2006

Cafe Zaiya
18 East 41st Street
New York, New York 10017
(212) 779-0600

Loehmann's

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Shopping Loehmann's"

Loehmann's Photo, New York, New York
Quote:
You've heard about it from "The Nanny" as the best place to shop in New York. The flagship store on 16th and Seventh has five floors of endless shopping. The basement carries men's apparel and accessories. It can be hit-or-miss, but we've found clothes from DKNY, Calvin Klein, Diesel, Samsonite, Ben Sherman, and even D&G and Gaultier. You can find great men's gifts, like grooming kits from Nautica and a plethora of ties, socks, belts, and underwear. All of it is cheaper than it would be at a regular department store. The first floor is all women's accessories and shoes. Bags are everywhere, and behind the glass cases, you can find Prada, Fendi, and other high-...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 24, 2005

Loehmann's
101 Seventh Ave
New York, New York 10011
+1 212 352 0856

Union Square and Greenmarket

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Shopping Union Square"

Union Square and Greenmarket Photo, New York, New York
Quote:
Starting at the bottom of Union Square, you'll find the famous Virgin Megastore. Inside you'll find a large selection of music and quite a few listening stations so you can check out the music before you buy it. In the back, you'll find a little café where you can rest your weary feet with a cup of coffee. Down the escalator is the more obscure music, as well as books and clothing. Be sure to check the bargain bins by the upstairs register for good deals. If you're really lucky, you'll catch an in-store appearance of an emerging artist. Head west and notice Shoemania, carrying all the hippest sneakers (Puma, Adidas, Merrell, etc.) and also comfort shoes (Dansk, Birkensto...Read More

Union Square and Greenmarket
14th to 17th streets
New York, New York 10011