manhattan restaurant guide // week 5

I'm interrupting our vacation recaps to pop in with part 5 of my Manhattan Restaurant Guides.  As most of you know by now, the kind folks at OpenTable asked me to write about a few of our favorite restaurants in the city and I decided to turn it into a six week series over this summer.

We've covered quite a lot of ground so far in our journey through Manhattan restaurants. We've talked Chelsea and Flatiron, up to the Upper West Side, down to the West Village, over to the East Village, and now today, another group of our favorite spots - SoHo, Nolita, and TriBeCa.

You've probably heard of SoHo, the area South of Houston Street. It is home to tons of shopping as well as many of our favorite smaller, quainter restaurants. Nolita (also called NoHo because it is North of Houston Street) encompasses Little Italy and several smaller, older, neighborhood joints. TriBeCa, named because it is the Triangle Below Canal street, has more of an urban feel and its streets and restaurants alike tend to be larger, but just as lovely. 

Check out a few of our favorites below. To make reservations, click on over to the OpenTable New York City Restaurants page.

::: Where to Eat in SoHo, Nolita, and TriBeCa :::

Balthazaar ::: A long standing New York hot spot (a Keith McNally venture of course), this place has still got it. Classic French brasserie fare, served in a classic space. And smack in the middle of some terrific shopping. I like to go for a pre-shopping lunch of French Onion soup and a warm goat cheese salad.

Cafe Select :::  A cozy little cafe that serves swiss food. The real gem though is the secret "Ski Chalet" that's through the kitchen and down some stairs that serves fondue and raclette. Right now the secret space is an oyster shack for summer. Just as good though! Note that reservations for the back space are separate from the main Cafe. 

Charlie Bird ::: We haven't been able to snag a reservation here yet (although, Al was fortunate enough to go for a work dinner). This is the new place to go. Farm to table eats served unfussy in a beautiful space.

Cherche Midi ::: Another new restaurant to the scene that we haven't yet visited, but worth noting on this list.  Keith McNally's latest foray in to easy French food (hey, he's good at it), in a really great location on the corner of Bowery and Houston Streets. It's been getting pretty great reviews for having just opened earlier this summer.

The Dutch ::: Go for brunch. And then go back for dinner and drinks. The kind of restaurant you want to visit in NYC - warm, good food, good location, and the staff all looks really cool (that matters, right?). 

Kutscher's Tribeca ::: This is a pretty cool spot. Imagine modern Jewish cuisine. From matzo ball soup to pastrami egg rolls to brisket meatballs. It's a wonderful experience and in a very pretty space to boot (i.e. They have good light fixtures. That matters, too, right?) 

La Esquina ::: Looks like a little taco hut, but go through the secret door down the dark stairs to a large, bustling, tequila dungeon (dungeon in the best sense of the word). This place is super cool and serves really well done Mexican food. Great for large groups. I like to take visitors here and shock them with the whole "secret" experience.

Little Prince ::: Apparently we like french food in these neighborhoods. I love this space because it reminds me of what you'd find in Paris. Very tiny. Full of locals. Menu written on mirror behind the bar. Open windows to the front patio. And stellar food. Order a glass of rosé and the Ratatouille and you're set. And its proximity to some of the best shopping in SoHo doesn't hurt.

Locanda Verde ::: Oh boy, oh boy do I love Locanda Verde. It's big, it's buzzing, it serves some kick ass Italian food (I mean, Robert DeNiro is part owner). A great place to go if you only have a few nights to spend in New York. And if you're a local, go often. And order dessert.

North End Grill ::: Located in Battery Park City in TriBeCa, this is a HUGE space with a spectacular menu. It's a snazzy, white-table cloth sort of joint, but not in a pretentious way . Its fancy food done right. Go for a special event. Or take your parents. We love it and are always treated so well here.

Osteria Morini ::: Hands down my favorite Italian restaurant in New York (and that's saying something since there's 9 million Italian restaurants here). Michael White (for any of you chef followers) does a spectacular job serving home-cooked, rustic food. It feels like some old Italian grandma is back there rolling out your pasta by hand. We take our parents and visitors here a lot. It's easy, delicious, and well priced. Just do it.

Taureau ::: Two words, BYOB and fondue. A three course fondue menu and you can bring your own wine! We like to go here on double dates. Well priced, you bring the vino, and who doesn't like pots of simmering cheese and chocolate?

Torrisi ::: We went here for my birthday last year and were blown away. A set menu each night and very elegant waiters weaving in and out of the very small ten-table space. Great for a celebration dinner. They have a little saucier station right in the middle of the space and it's such fun to watch the waiters changing flatware and prepping the final touches for each course. Can't make it to Torrisi? Stop by their sandwich shop Parm next door.

Rubirosa ::: Across the street from Torrisi is one of the best pizza places in the city. Huge pies with part bubbly, part charred crusts perched on tall pizza stands. My mouth waters thinking of it. Great for kids and families. They also do take out if you ever need to eat an entire large pizza alone on your couch in your sweatpants...

Whew. Wow I like to eat! Some of our very favorites in all of the city are on this list. Don't miss any of them!  And look how much of Manhattan we've covered so far.  Only one week left of reviews and my stunning crayon-colored maps.

Check out the previous posts in this series:

Thanks to OpenTable for reaching out. The OpenTable New York City Restaurants page is always my first stop when planning our dining.

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