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(Eat) Around the World in New York City

December 16, 2008 - by Ellis Whitman
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New York City is the crossroads of the universe, and representative of the cultural diversity in the city is the many varieties of cuisine available to the visitor. From sushi to tandoori, the city’s restaurants offer the best food from all over the globe. Sampling these offerings is an experience in itself, and we recommend you spend some of your time in the city visiting these highly diverse, and excellent, restaurants.


You’ll find great food, signature drinks and one-of-a-kind fun at Dave & Buster’s Times Square. They take pride in great food with eclectic American fare for lunch, dinner and late-night dining. Enjoy a variety of drink specialties from classic cocktails to more than 50 signature drinks (they’re fully stocked with your favorite brands), at your table or in the bar, where you can watch live sports on TV. Or, enjoy the video, interactive, and virtual-reality gaming, from the classics to the latest in action games, at the Million Dollar Midway. 234 W. 42nd St. btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves., 3rd flr., 646-495-2015

If you want to see the city from a different angle, don’t miss this boat: Spirit Cruises offers a view of the shimmering skyline to complement their high-end dining experience. Take your choice of three harbor cruise ships: The glass-enclosed Bateaux is known for fine gourmet selections; the newly renovated Spirit of New York provides a party atmosphere with a buffet, live performances and a DJ. Chelsea Piers, Pier 62, W. 23rd St. at the Hudson River, 866-483-3866


Ghenet offers diners the unique experience of Ethiopian cuisine—in the heart of Little Italy, of all places. Eating at Ghenet (“paradise”) means eating without utensils; and scooping up the artfully presented food makes for a memorable experience. Owner Yeworkwhoho Ephrem has constructed a menu replete with explanations and descriptions of every dish, and her accommodating, knowledgeable staff is more than happy to fill in the gaps, answer questions, and make suggestions. Also newly opened in Ghenet in Brooklyn (348 Douglass St., 718-230-4475). 284 Mulberry St. btw. Houston & Prince Sts., 212-343-1888

Give your taste buds a wake-up call at Queen of Sheba, one of the city’s few authentic Ethiopian restaurants. With dishes cooked in 20 to 30 spices, your palette will certainly be entertained. They also offer a great vegetarian selection. Try the mesob to get a taste of seven different vegetarian dishes. Two more zesty preparations are also recommended: doro wat, slow-cooked chicken and small, hard-boiled eggs in a dense, incendiary stew; and gored gored, little beef medallions marinated in hot Berber butter and rolled over a skillet. No forks though—you’re dependent on your fingers and a spongy flatbread called injera to take in the vividly flavored food. 650 Tenth Ave. btw 45th & 46th Sts., 212-397-0610


Since 1983, Le Rivage has been home to a cozy, romantic French country atmosphere where traditional French cuisine is expertly prepared for your pleasure. Where else can you get a first-rate, four-course lunch for only $22 or prix-fixe dinner starting at $37. Dine after 8pm and enjoy the $25 prix fixe—it’s a steal! 340 W. 46th St. btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves., 212-765-7374

Combining both innovative and traditional French cuisines, Madison Bistrot is a cozy midtown nook decorated with warm colors, candles, and its own art gallery. The bouillabaisse is just one of the recipes passed down three generations of French chefs to chef/owner Claude Godard. The restaurant features a prix-fixe dinner menu, and specialties from Godard’s native Burgundy, such as short ribs cooked slowly in a distinctive pinot noir. 238 Madison Ave. btw. 37th & 38th Sts., 212-447-1919


Exquisite Indian food in a setting worthy of a maharajah awaits you at Bombay Palace, which boasts a 200-year tradition of employing chefs who have served Indian royalty. Amid crystal chandeliers, plush carpeting, and imported art, the choices of Mughlai dishes are endless: tandoori lamb chops and Changez Khan chicken are among standouts. 30 W. 52nd St. btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves., 212-541-7777

Those with exotic, adventurous palates should try Utsav Festive India, an upscale favorite serving dishes and spices from each part of that country. The chef can cook to any liking, and with both a $30 prix-fixe Broadway dinner and à la carte specials, it’s a favorite of native Indians and Manhattanites alike. 1185 Sixth Ave., enter at 46th St. btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves., 212-575-2525


As the chef at Bice restaurants around the world, Chef Jose Liriano had been inspired by local flavors that blended into his repertoire. With a classic yet comfortable feel, Bistro Milano offers a casual menu brought to life by Chef Liriano’s passion. The menu is extensive, from aged Angus beef hamburgers and homemade pizzas to ossobucco with saffron risotto. His homemade pastas are among the best in the world. 1350 Ave. of the Americas (55th St), 212-757-2600

Mangia in one of La Mela’s five dining rooms, or if the weather permits, even outside on the sidewalk. Enjoy a great family-style Italian feast with selections such as antipasti, mozzarella and tomatoes, and a variety of meat dishes. 167 Mulberry St. at Grand St., 212-431-9493


The trendy Aoki Japanese Restaurant & Sake Bar provides generous portions of traditional and fusion Japanese cuisine. Fresh fish dishes like tuna carpaccio, salmon jalapeno tartar, and miso-marinated Chilean sea bass are sure to satisfy, or hang out at the in-the-front lounge with a large selection of sakes, teas, and signature cocktails. 234 W. 48th St. btw. Bdwy. & Eighth Ave., 212-956-2356

If you’re in need of a sushi fix, head to the elegant and friendly Hakata. The menu centers on sushi and sashimi, but also boasts chicken teriyaki, ginger-miso glazed salmon, and grilled steak. Sushi rolls of note include the salmon tempura roll and the Hakata roll (broiled salmon skin, eel, and cucumber topped with eel sauce). Try the five-course prix-fixe dinner, which is a steal. 230 W. 48th St. btw. Broadway & Eighth Ave., 212-245-1020


Greenwich Village’s El Charro Español is the quintessential New York Spanish restaurant with brick walls, candles, a Spanish tile bar, and classical Spanish art. El Charro attracts diners who enjoy quesadillas and the signature dish of Oaxaca: chicken in a bittersweet chocolate sauce. 4 Charles St. btw Greenwich Ave. & Seventh Ave. So., 212-242-9547

Tio Pepe has managed to combine two dissimilar cuisines so surprisingly well: Spanish and Mexican. Recommended dishes include: paella Valenciana with mixed seafood, chicken chunks and zippy chorizo; and arroz con pollo with chicken and chorizo. Tio Pepe also offers a “Paella Festival,” with six varieties of paella for $15.95, lunch or dinner. 168 W. 4th St. btw. Sixth Ave. & Seventh Ave. So., 212-242-6480

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