Welcome

Welcome to The Lunch Belle, a food website/blog that views the New York City dining scene through the lens - and belly - of a highly opinionated, critical, adorably quirky, and culinary-obsessed thirty-something year old.

For those of you who enjoy highly thorough and traditional restaurant reviews, you may find them located here.  Pressed for time?  Take a peek at The Weekly Eater, where I condense seven days in to one summarized post.

But that's not all!  Additionally, I...

  • ~ For tourists, I can help you create itineraries and answer any questions you may have/offer advice for your upcoming visit to NYC.
  • ~ I can consult and/or advise on all of your small and large events.
  • ~ I will assist you with restaurant recommendations.

 

Just consider me your one-stop NYC-shop!

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Need more streamlined advice?  Shoot me an email with your specific requests:  Lindsay@TheLunchBelle.com.

Wednesday
Jun042008

NYC Guides, Village/West Village

Below, you will find restaurants/specialty shops that have been categorized by their respective cuisines.  I have only included venues where I have personally either dined-in or ordered-out.  

*For listings without links, please refer to Menupages or New York Magazine for further information.

~

American   

Asian fusion

  • Spice Market: Unbelievably impressive atmosphere with fantastic cocktails~better to go here for drinks and skip the ho-hum food
  • Wong

Austrian

  • Wallse  Austrian influenced fare served in a romantic, cozy & sexy environment~chef/owner is frequently visible and interacts with customers

Bagels

Bakery

British

Burgers

  • BLT Burger  Haute & juicy beef and lamb merguez burgers
  • Corner Bistro  Come during "off hours" for one of the city's best burgers served in a true "old New York" atmosphere~inexpensive, great bar scene, cash only

Chinese

Coffee

Cuban

  • Cuba  Teeny tiny Cuban with amazing ropa vieja~order a pitcher of mojitos and sit back and enjoy the live music

Desserts

French/bistro

Fromagerie  

  • Murray's Cheese  The city's most famous cheese shop with fantastic specialty items, cheese education courses and great take-away food~awesome catering department

Gastropub

  • Elephant & Castle
  • The Spotted Pig  Infamous gastropub serving one of the city's best burgers, in addition to eclectic plates such as beef tongue and pig's ear

Healthy

Indian

Italian

  • Babbo  Mario Batali's foodie's Italian serving delicious meals in a beautiful atmosphere
  • Barbuto
  • Corsino  hands down, the city's best meatballs
  • Crispo  Casual Italian that's a favorite among locals~rustic & warm atmosphere with a great outdoor space
  • Da Andrea
  • Dell'Anima
  • Extra Virgin
  • Gaetana's
  • Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria
  • L'Artusi
  • La Lanterna Caffe  Cheese plates, panini's & great pizza best enjoyed on the uber romantic back patio~decent wine list
  • Malatesta Trattoria  Traditional and rustic Italian trattoria serving hearty fare including homemade pastas and daily specials~cash only
  • Morandi  Charming West Village Italian; great brunch
  • Otto  Mario Batali's casual Italian with wonderful cheeses, vegetables, pizzas, pastas, and quite possibly the best gelato in town
  • Palma
  • Piccolo Angolo  Northern Italian (a.k.a. red-sauce Italian) served in casual and charmingly cramped quarters~great garlic bread, decent pastas & the city's best osso bucco
  • Ristorante Rafele
  • Vapiano

Jamaican

Japanese

Latin fusion

Mediterranean

Mexican

  • Agave  Tex-Mex cuisine served in an atmosphere reminiscent of Santa Fe~gorgeous space that transports one to the Southwest~appetizers win over entrees~the margaritas here are the best in town
  • Diablo Royale
  • Dos Caminos
  • El Cantinero  If it's cheese enchiladas you're craving, look no farther than this Mexican restaurant which serves up some of the city's best~if it's fantastic service, strong margaritas and serenity you're craving, look elsewhere
  • Florencia 13
  • La Camelia
  • Mercadito Grove
  • Ofrenda
  • Tortilla Flats

Pizza

Sandwiches/salad/soup

  • Grey Dog Coffee  Soups, salads, sandwiches & indulgent treats perfect for a quick bite~best sandwiches in the city made on homemade bread
  • 'wichcraft  Sandwiches, soups & salads served in a casual order-at-the-counter environment~The Lunch Belle recommends the eggplant salad, Grilled Cheddar sandwich, BBQ Flank Steak sandwich & the peanut butter cream wich's

Small plates

Spanish / tapas

Sushi

Thai

Vietnamese

Wednesday
Jun042008

NYC Guides, East Village/Lower Eastside

Below, you will find restaurants/specialty shops that have been categorized by their respective cuisines.  I have only included venues where I have personally either dined-in or ordered-out.  

*For listings without links, please refer to Menupages or New York Magazine for further information.

~

American

  • 7A Cafe  24/7 diner with the best breakfast burrito in town~unfortunately, some of the worst service to be had in the East Village (if you can get over that, I recommend stopping in)
  • Freeman's  Great, nearly hidden restaurant situated on its own alley, allowing smokers and outdoor lovers to rejoice~hearty American comfort fare served in a rustic apres-ski-esque lodge~drinks, app's and desserts are better than the entrees
  • Goat Town
  • Prune
  • Shopsin's
  • Sons of Essex
  • Spitzer's Corner
  • The Fat Radish
  • The Smith  American bistro fare served in a completely renovated "Schiller's-esque" atmosphere~fantastic brunch plates, great service and amazing prices
  • wd-50

Asian fusion

Australian

Bakery

Bar food

Chinese/dim sum

Cuban

  • Cafecito  Best tres leches cake & fantastic Cuban fare

Deli

  • Katz's Delicatessen  Most famous deli in the city with the best pastrami in the country~casual & charming "only in New York" atmosphere

Eclectic

Filipino

French/bistro

  • Casimir
  • DBGB 
  • Lucien  French bistro fare served in a cozy, mirrored and romantic atmosphere~great nabe spot, though not a destination restaurant (The Lunch Belle spotted uber cute Rosie Perez on her last Lucien outing!)
  • Schiller's Liquor Bar  French bistro fare served in a fantastically charming atmosphere reminiscent of cafes in Paris~perhaps a seat at the bar, a cocktail & a crusty baguette with butter & jam is the way to go here (entrees are forgetable)
  • The Flea Market Cafe  Casual bistro overlooking Tompkins Sq. Park~serves the city's best French toast

Frites/French fries

Greek

  • Pylos  The Lunch Belle's favorite Greek restaurant~romantic, charming and gorgeously rustic atmosphere

Indian

Italian

  • Apizz  One of the city's best Italians served in the most rustic, charming and romantic spaces in town~great service, reasonable prices and delicious food make Apizz one of The Lunch Belle's favorites
  • Gnocco
  • 'inoteca
  • Lavagna  Wonderful Italian food and wine list in an intimate and warm environment~make sure to try the whole fish preparation for two
  • L'Apicio
  • Perbacco  Small-plates Italian with an extensive sharing menu perfect for picky palates~wonderful sommolier~cash only
  • Supper
  • Tre  Authentic Italian served in a chic, yet comfortable, railroad-car shaped space~tasty prosecco-based cocktails and creative pastas

Mexican

  • Barrio Chino  Authentic Mexican with the most extensive tequila list in the city~no frozen margaritas here...this is the real deal served up in urbanly-chic & urbanly-tight quarters
  • Casa Mezcal
  • El Maguey y la Tuna  Great Mexican food served in a too-bright, gritty atmosphere
  • Fonda
  • La Palapa  Mexican food served in a fun & lively pre-going-out-on-the-town atmosphere~go for the great ritas & queso fundido con rajas (appetizers shine here; entrees have been underwhelming on last two visits)
  • Los Feliz 
  • Mercadito  Authentic Mexican bites with stand-out tacos~casual & cozy
  • Mole
  • Otto's Tacos
  • Puebla  One of the city's best!
  • Pulqueria
  • Taqueria Lower Eastside

Middle Eastern

Pizza

South American

  • Esperanto  Yummy South American grub served in a festive and casual atmosphere~great mojitos and tasty food

Steak

Sushi

Tapas/small plates

Thai

Vegetarian

  • Dirt Candy  Chef Amanda Cohen believes that vegetables are natural candy created from the earth~delicious vegetarian cuisine that doesn't focus on tofu, seitan or tempeh
Wednesday
Jun042008

NYC Guides: Soho/Tribeca/Financial District

Below, you will find restaurants/specialty shops that have been categorized by their respective cuisines.  I have only included venues where I have personally either dined-in or ordered-out.  

*For listings without links, please refer to Menupages or New York Magazine for further information.

~

American 

Austrian

Bakery

Carts / food trucks

Chinese

Coffee

Eastern European

French/bistro

  • Balthazar  Yummy French bistro fare served in a charming atmosphere~fantastic homemade breads, pastries and desserts 
  • Bouley  Got an anniversary/marriage proposal/special engagement approaching? Look no further than one of Manhattan's most famous French restaurants. You can't beat the decor, wine list or exquisite service.
  • Cafe Gitane  Though I've only had a glass of wine, this just may be the most charming cafe in the city's best nabe~gorgeous, yet casual, French fare served in a most leisurely setting...Don't come here if you're in a hurry!
  • Josephine Cafe
  • L'Ecole
  • Raoul's
  • Tartinery
  • The Odeon  French brasserie fare served in a retro/art-deco-chic atmosphere~stick-to-your-ribs grub served with a smile

Fusion

Healthy

Indian

Italian

Japanese / sushi

Jewish

Latin American/pan-Latin

Macanese

Malaysian

Mediterranean

Mexican

Pizza

  • Lombardi's  America's oldest pizza joint~great pies made in a warm and casual setting
  • Rubirosa

Sandwiches / salads / lunch spot

Seafood

  • Aquagrill
  • Lure Fishbar  One of the best restaurant designs in the city~wonderful cocktails, Florida stone crab, oysters & more

Small plates / tapas

Thai

  • Kittichai  Decent Thai food and unbelievably amazing muddled-berry mojito(s) 
  • Peep  Legit Thai food served in a swanky chic atmosphere full of pretty young things~for such a haute nabe (actually, for anywhere in NYC), the prices are amazingly reasonable
Wednesday
Jun042008

And the crappiest restaurant service awards go to...

*This doesn't mean that their food is bad...it just means that their service sucks!

Wednesday
Jun042008

Oh the woes, perils and sheer joy of a high-caloric hobby...

"The primary requisite for writing well about food is a good appetite. Without this, it is impossible to accumulate, with the allotted span, enough experience of eating to have anything worth setting down. Each day brings only two opportunities for fieldwork, and they are not to be wasted minimizing the intake of cholesterol." A.J.Leibling

Ever since I can remember, I've been passionate about food. Over time, this obsession has turned in to a hobby and quite a large portion of my life outside of my "day job."I find that writing about my dining experiences is therapeutic and exhilarating. I believe that I speak for all self-proclaimed "foodies" out there when I say that my obsession for anything food-related felt strange and slightly embarrassing...until (as cliché as this may sound) the Food Network was born, chefs became famous, and websites like chow.com were formed. I never knew that there was such a vast foodie universe composed of folks just like myself. Foodies don't eat to live...by God, we live to eat!Being one that lives to eat, I must say that the only negative aspect with having a culinary hobby is the weight gain that comes along with it. I've often wondered, ‘Does every hobby/passion in life have a negative aspect, or is it just mine (i.e. weight gain)?’ I suppose that if one's hobby is working-out/skiing/hiking/sports, a negative aspect would be the risk of injury (that, or I'm just trying to make myself feel better). This leads me to I ask myself, would I rather be fat and happy, or buff and in pain? The answer, my friends, would absolutely be…fat and happy. This highly-caloric obsession of mine has turned in to an amazing blog-writing adventure and a passionate career, and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world...even the pounds gained from it all. Oh the woes, perils, and sheer joy of a highly-caloric hobby...

Tuesday
May272008

Dinner at Tre Dici, 5/27/08

While it's outstanding to be fortunate enough to have an excellent neighborhood Italian restaurant within half a block of where you live, it's also embarrassing that it's taken me a year to finally try the place! So I figured that Tre Dici would be the perfect spot to celebrate my cousin, Eric's, move to Manhattan to attend law school. Coincidentally, Eric was staying with a buddy who lives in my building, so we decided to meet in the lobby and walk the short trek over to Tre Dici together.

We arrived for dinner at 6 p.m. and were seated immediately. Even though the hour was on the earlier side, Tre Dici's tables and bar were beginning to fill up. The space had honey-washed wood walls, a sea of perfectly set crisp white table cloths, lipstick-red leather chairs and various dimly-lit modern chandeliers and sconces. Though the restaurant wasn't large, it was laid out brilliantly; with the bar taking center stage, then a dining room on each of its sides. My only complaint would be the near-deafening acoustics.

After placing our drink orders, an attractive basket of bread and garlic/chili infused olive oil arrived. Unfortunately, the bread didn't taste as lovely as it looked. Without reference to the lavash crackers, every roll had the texture of day-old Irish Soda Bread, which is naturally dry and flaky...Not what I was expecting from Tre Dici. Eric and I decided to split the panzanella salad for an appetizer, and for entrees, I chose the Kobe Beef Ravioli and he went with the Veal Chop Parmesan.

The panzanella salad arrived about ten minutes after we ordered. Served on a squared plate were fresh quarters of tomatoes, thinly sliced cucumber, slivers of purple onion, radichio leaves and toasted and buttered day-old bread all blended together with feta dices and light vinaigrette. The farm-fresh quality of the vegetables mixed with the buttery and salty toasted bread was perfectly married with the subtlety of the sour vinegar dressing.

Not long after we'd nearly licked our salad plate clean, I saw our entrees coming towards us. I had to do a triple take when I saw a large object sticking out a foot long off of my cousin's veal chop plate. What looked like a breaded tennis racket covered with cherry-red marinara sauce and bubbling white mozzerella cheese was Eric's Flinstone-esque veal chop. God forbid the restaurant was being held up, Eric could have defended himself, and probably the rest of the diners, with this massive carnivorous weapon. If someone got whacked with that bone, they'd be knocked unconscious or...Dead! I was relieved to see that my Kobe Beef Ravioli was much more, how can I put this...Sophisticated looking. Floating atop a shallow pool of browned butter and black truffle sauce, were five large homemade ravioli pillows topped with fresh thyme and a drizzle of Marsala. The handmade ravioli were stuffed to the brim with silky, stewed Kobe beef. I could taste the subtle truffle essence, which is normally overpowering, but not here. The flavors of salt, butter, thyme, pasta, Kobe beef, freshly ground pepper and black truffle were truly in a league of their own; a compilation of the highest quality ingredients combined to create one of the best pasta dishes I've had in my life. Oh, and what did my cousin think of his caveman's dinner? He finished his entire plate!

I couldn't be more pleased to have Tre Dici not only in my neighborhood, but literally, down my street! I highly recommend trying this unassuming Italian located on one of the most random restaurant streets in town! And last but not least, welcome to New York, Cousin Eric!