Fun / funky restaurants etc. in NYC

Moon Unit just turned 18. For her birthday, she wants a short trip to New York City, which is doable for us (inexpensive bus ride, Priceline a room somewhere etc.).

She’s figuring out what she wants to do, and at the moment is interested in some Broadway shows, and also visiting some fun restaurants or perhaps bakeries.


We’ll most likely stay somewhere near the Theater District, though we might wind up down in Chelsea (where we stayed the last time we went).

I may drag her down to Lombardo’s Pizzeria in Little Italy, and quite possibly a trip to Dylan’s Candy Bar on the east side of town. A food-based walking tour is a possibility as well. We’d be there during the week, versus a weekend.

I’ll leave the restaurant suggestions to others but I would suggest after dinner you check out the Hershey and M&M stores n Time’s Square. They are crowded but a lot of fun. The big Toys R Us there is fun too and sells M&Ms too.

My daughter loved (loves) this place, and we do too. It’s not cheap, but a cool atmosphere and great food. Ilili Restaurant, for those who don’t want to click on the lin.

Maybe you could go to the Food Channel’s website and check out the show: Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives? Guy Fieri shows up at unique restaurants and showcases the meals there. I know that several restaurants in New York City have been featured and maybe you could find something you would like.

Thanks for the suggestions - especially the mention of Food Network (pretty sure that’s how my husband heard of Lombardi’s Pizza).

We’ve been to the candy-based stores on Times Square, as well as the Toys R Us. Fun but insanely crowded. I’ll take Moon Unit there if she wants since we’ll be nearby. We visit Hershey’s Chocolate World (in Hershey PA) pretty much yearly so that’s not a huge draw.

For sweets, actually, Dylan’sis much better :smiley: - I’m pretty sure the American Diabetes Association is lobbying to have them shut down ;). I took my daughter and her friend there 2 years ago and it was, shall we say, a HUGE hit. 3 stories of candy, cakes, candy, coffee, candy…

I may take her to Peanut Butter and Company - as my son is allergic, this is NOT something we could do with him along!

↑ I was coming in to post this. Great company, great flavored peanut butters, too. Dark Chocolate Dreams is the nom! Sometimes, I’ll eat a spoonful right from the jar. (Like right now!) :o

Also, don’t forget Junior’s for cheesecake.
ETA: 5 Napkin Burger is good, too.

The Toys R Us is closing, so perhaps a farewell visit is in order!

Also, since you’ve done Dylan’s, you should try Schmakery’s! nom nom nom

Ninja New York is pretty dang unique and cool (unless you plan on going to Tokyo soon, which has a slightly better version).

Go to Max Brenners! It is what it would be like if Willy Wonka opened a restaurant and the smell when you walk in is simply divine.

A few more (some from a retweet on the 5 Napkin Burger site):

Sugar and Plumm (“Purveyor’s of Yumm”); looks like they feature macarons (which Moon Unit loves…)
Elizabeth’s Neighborhood Table (organic food) - a bit pricey but interesting in that it’s a farmhouse - in Manhattan.
Candle Cafe (vegetarian, so not sure Moon Unit would enjoy)

And - would we really need reservations at 5 Napkin Burger??? The website seems to suggest that this would be a good idea.

Here ya go, Mama Z. Have fun!

Oh, and also check out Alice’s Tea Cup! Tasty scones and tea with an Alice in Wonderland theme.

You might try Serendipity 3 if you’re going to Dylan’s, its nearby & famous for ice cream deserts. Have fun!

Katz’s is a lot of fun. It’s on Houston and Ludlow, not all that far from Little Italy.

I’ve only been there on busy nights & never had one. Bit of a line, but nothing unreasonable. It’s a fancy burger joint, not a steakhouse with bottles of wine where you spend hours. Tables turnover reasonably fast.

don’t go to Dylan’s Candy Bar. Instead go to Economy Candy in the Lower East Side.

Yes it’s small but it has all the candy that other place does, probably more, and it’s less expensive.

If you want a fun activity there are a lot of ‘Escape the Room’ places around town. You and some other people are locked in a room. You have one hour to solve riddles that will let you out. It’s a load of fun. Avoid ones with a lot of people. 10 or less is better.
Check out Liveintheater a friend of mine is in one of their shows. (The Lombardi case). It’s interactive theater where you solve a mystery case. I haven’t done it but it gets great reviews.

Trip is over (we went at the end of March). We went to:
Day 1

  • Peanut Butter and Company (I had something with PB, raisins and cinnamon sugar, a white chocolate swirl)… my tongue was tired after eating it!!
  • Bisous Ciao
  • Magnolia Bakery (OK but not worth an extra trip)
  • Royce’s Chocolate (Japanese chocolate; I tried a matcha-flavored white chocolate and meh, give me Hershey’s milk chocolate). Moon Unit was tickled though, bought some to take back to her Japanese teacher
  • Kinky Boots that evening
  • Totto Ramen for after-the-show dinner
    Day 2
  • Lombardi’s
  • Dylan’s Candy Bar
  • Lion King matinee (OK, but nothing I’d bother seeing again)
  • Gyu Kaku (you have a table with a grill built in and cook your own meat
    Day 3
  • a pastry shop / cafe near Central Park
  • tons of walking around Central Park - it was an incredibly gorgeous day, shirtsleeve weather, though that was contrasted by a brief stint skating on the rink, and we saw one last large snowpile on our walk.
  • return to the West Village for early dinner at Sushi Samba (Brazilian/Japanese fusion), PopBar (gourmet frozen pops), Bisous Ciao, and Sugar and Plumm.

Hell’s Kitchen seems to be a pretty good place to find food (both dinners were there) - just a crosstown block away from Times Square, with none of the chain restaurants you see on the square. Honestly, anyone who goes to Times Square and eats at Olive Garden… deserves what they get (not hating on Olive Garden, their food is edible enough… but in NYC???).

We were lucky enough to get a room at the Edison, which is literally half a block from the TKTS booth. Room was tiny (as expected) and there were some strange design decisions made - plus they were renovating the room behind ours so we were awakened by loud drilling etc. early both mornings. Lobby is gorgeous though, and let’s face it, we weren’t there to sleep in.

I do love visiting New York - wish I had the money to do it more often. It’s just so unlike any other place I’ve ever visited - so much MUCH crammed into such a small place. The specialty restaurants and shops alone… I mean, multiple places devoted to macaroni and cheese. A peanut butter restaurant. An oatmeal restaurant.

A friend asked how people in NYC managed not to weigh 400 pounds each with all the foods, and I pointed out that they walk EVERYWHERE. Even if you take the subway you’ve got to walk several blocks at least to get to it, and often long distances underground to get to your train, plus at a minimum 1-2 flights of stairs at each end. My Fitbit says I put on over 9 miles our last day there.

What’s funny is before I noticed this was a revived thread I was about to recommend Totto Ramen. :smiley: How long was the wait? My stomach always demanded me to go somewhere that didn’t visually look like forever, but I’ve always wanted to go to Totto.

Honestly, not too long, maybe 20 minutes. You sign up, then they call you in as they have seats available. Depending on party size of course (a single person might get a spot at the bar pretty quickly). We were at the counter, so could see the huge cauldrons of soup etc., and even got to witness a cook searing slices of pork with a hand-held torch.

A coworker moved to NYC from Georgia. She would only eat Domino’s pizza. Something about the mom-n-pop pizza guys not wearing gloves.

For next time If your daughter or anyone else likes Bubble Tea or smoothies there’s a place called T Baar at 25th and Lex.

There’s another place called CoCo’s nearby but T Baar is a little bigger.