Best Restaurant Views in New York City

20 Aug
Monica DiNatale 365 Guide New York City NYC Best Guide Book

Cantina Rooftop

Bars With A View in NYC.

Everything in Manhattan is about location, location, location. But without a great view, it’s just not as exciting to me. My picks this week provide great views with food and drinks to match, all offering specials to make the view even sweeter.

Pergola (36 West 28th Street) Pergola creates incredible views inside by completely transforming the restaurant decor with the calendar. On my last visit, Pergola felt like Central Park in bloom, with fresh cherry blossoms lining the walls. From 5-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, the upscale Mediterranean menu offers many budget- and belly-friendly options. Take advantage of $6 appetizers like goat cheese poppers, wings and lemon garlic fries; the drafts, wine and sangria are the same price. Be sure to check out the hookahs at the swanky lounge upstairs that overlooks the floor below. Bring a group of friends and stay the night.

Cantina Rooftop (605 West 48th Street) Once the elevator doors open on this new rooftop bar, you’ll be torn between the Mexican vibe and the endless Hudson River views. The open-air venue is surrounded by lush greenery, banquettes and tables for two or a party. During the week, specials include $5 beers, $6 cocktails and taco appetizers for $7. The fresh guacamole ($10) is delicious and made to order. I like to add the tropical salsa. If the clouds roll in, don’t worry because they have a retractable roof.

Death Ave (315 Tenth Avenue) Spread out over 2,000 square feet of courtyard under a retractable roof. From 4-6:30 p.m. through the week, enjoy $5 beers including cask selections, $7 wines and $9 cocktails like fig juleps and jalapeno margaritas. Appetizer specials include $1 oysters and $6 truffle fries and fried pickles. If you stay for dinner, the Greek-inspired feta burger with fries ($17) is enormous and deliciously stacked with cheese and greens. The restaurant is right off the High Line, so plan to make this pit stop after your scenic stroll.

365 Guide New York City is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and full of restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

Date Night in NYC

19 Aug
Monica DiNatale 365 Guide New York City Emporio NYC

Emporio New York City

In a city so large and bursting with people and activities, it’s nice to take some time away and plan a date night. Yes, you can find a spot and have a quiet meal. Leave your phones and ipods at home and actually spend the evening talking, not texting. When I want to be wined and dined, I like these restaurants.

Emporio  (231 Mott Street) Emporio is a small Italian wine bar and Italian restaurant with plates made for sharing and homemade pastas. From 5pm-6:30pm daily take advantage of $4.50 drafts and wine and free appetizers at the bar. I love their Aperol Spritz. The cavatelli and veal meatballs are excellent. Even sitting at the bar is an intimate relaxing experience.

Aroma Kitchen & Wine Bar (E 4th & Lafayette Street) You’ll feel like you stepped into a small Italian farmhouse. Brick walls, wooden tables and candle light make the perfect ambiance for a romantic evening. From 5pm-6:30pm daily, enjoy 1/2 off wine glasses and bottles. It’s $15 for a flight of three wines and an appetizer. I like to order a few dishes and share. I could keep ordering all night.

8th Street Wine Cellar (28 West 8th Street) I love the menu at 8th Street. It’s meant for sharing and covers all different foods. The bacon and figs with aged balsamic and mascarpone cheese is unbelievable. It sounds weird, but it’s anything but.

365 Guide New York City is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and full of restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

Dine, Wine and Spirits Show Interview with Monica DiNatale

19 Aug

Monica DiNatale 365 Guide New York City NYC Restaurant Deals Bar Specials

Listen to Monica DiNatale on http://wgso.com/?powerpress_embed=52648-podcast&powerpress_player=mediaelement-audio” target=”_blank”>WGSO 990 radio in New Orleans with Tim McNally. His show Dine, Wine and Spirits highlights the best in dining across the country.

365 Guide New York City is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and full of restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

Bars with Music in NYC

19 Aug
Monica DiNatale 365 Guide New York City NYC Michael Tulipan

The Black Rose by: Michael Tulipan

Best Rock-n-Roll Bars in NYC.

Discovering great music is synonymous with living in New York City. Tunes supply the heartbeat and add to the energy of our city. While five-star dining and jazz trios have their place, good old rock-n-roll bars are always a tremendous time. Grab that vintage CBGB shirt and visit these bars for a bit of nostalgia and some head banging.

The Black Rose (117 Avenue A) If you’re looking for the East Village cool factor at an old-time rock ‘n’ roll bar, this new spot has the vibe without the grunge. From 5 p.m.-close Monday and Tuesday and 5-8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, take advantage of $4 beer, wine and well drinks. Specialty cocktails rotate for $9, like the Purple Haze loaded with rum, blackberry and Champagne. They spin old vinyl, book DJs and offer live music covering all genres (Disco Fridays!) You can feel the spirit of Jim Morrison in the back room.

Manitoba’s (99 Avenue B) Manitoba’s is a unique throwback to ‘70s punk. The walls are covered in signed photos and memorabilia from the owner, Richard Manitoba of The Dictators. Sunday through Thursday from 3-8 p.m., beer and well drinks are two-for-one. The jukebox plays rare tunes, and sometimes they’ll extend drink specials to keep the party going. You can play air hockey downstairs in the small room or just hang at the bar and let the night unfold.

American Trash (1471 First Avenue) This gem is a hybrid dive bar, music venue and sports bar. The jukebox plays classic rock, and they host live bands every Saturday with no cover charge. Daily from 2-8 p.m. save $1 off all drinks. Every day of the week you’ll find additional specials like 50-cent wings on Mondays and $4 shots on Fridays. Be careful, this place is addictive with very friendly bartenders and affordable drinks.

365 Guide New York City is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and full of restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

South Street Seaport Summertime Favorites

18 Aug
Monica DiNatale 365 Guide New York City NYC guide book

Jeremy’s Ale House

South Street Seaport in NYC.

When summer arrives and everything slows down enough to take in the sights while idly browsing for where to eat, I often find myself visiting South Street Seaport. I feel like I’m in a beach town, except the food is better — especially with the reopening of Seaport Smorgasburg. Find your way to the tip of Manhattan this summer and stop by three of my favorite places.

Fresh Salt (146 Beekman Street) Blink and you may miss this hidden gem. A casual pita, sandwich and salads menu is waiting inside the rustic brick-lined dining room. Prices are always reasonable, and daily from 4-8 p.m., relax with $4 drafts and well drinks. Pitas start at $7 and homestyle sandwiches, like housemade meatloaf, are $10. This is a low-key place and doesn’t accept reservations, so plan on having a drink at the bar while waiting for a table.

Jeremy’s Ale House (228 Front Street) Jeremy’s is a styrofoam cup kind of place that has stood for more than 40 years. Splendid fried food and amusing artwork make for a delightful crowd at happy hour and beyond. Feast on onion rings ($3.95), mozzarella sticks ($4.95) and a burger ($5.75) to complete your night. But if those prices aren’t rock bottom enough for you, from 8-10 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. during weekdays, bask in $6 wines, $6 for 32-ounce beers and half-price well drinks.

Acqua at Peck Slip (21 Peck Slip) You’ll be delighted to savor oils, cheeses and meats imported from Italy at Acqua. The Italian wine bar and restaurant is perfectly picturesque and inviting. Try the gorgonzola and pear pizza ($15), or one of the delicious housemade pastas like the gnocchi with eggplant ($17). They are a nice choice for a romantic date as you take in the sunset at the Seaport. Start your evening from 4-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday with $3 beers and $6 wine and cocktails.

365 Guide New York City is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and full of restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

Relax at These Lounges in NYC

17 Aug

Monica DiNatale 365 Guide New York City Restaurant Deals Bar Specials

Best Lounges in NYC.

I always enjoy visiting a lounge for a more intimate bar experience. The comfy chairs, rich colors and dim lighting are instantly inviting. The next time you need to chill out, try these lounges.

Moca Lounge (2210 Frederick Douglas Boulevard) If I designed a bar in my home, I would use Moca as my inspiration. Moca is a small local find with a nice American menu and comfort­able plush seating. Hip-hop, Motown classics and R&B music keep the place lively. From 5-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 5-8 p.m. on weekends enjoy half-price beer and well drinks.

The Uptown Lounge Restaurant & Bar (1576 Third Avenue) This rustic wine bar has an extensive bar list and a relaxed atmosphere with a touch of glamour. The back room is full of skylights so you’ll feel like you’re outside and almost getting a tan. Daily until 8 p.m. enjoy $4 beers,  $6 wine and sangria and $7 specialty martinis. Appetizers like fried pickles are $6. They book live jazz on Tuesdays and live music and DJs on Fridays and Saturdays.

B Flat (277 Church Street, basement) Just look for the red doors. You will love the low key vibe, jazzy beat and interesting mixed drinks. All the seating is intimate so settle in for a long relaxing evening.  5 p.m.–7 p.m. Monday through Saturday take advantage of $4 beer, $5 wine and $7 cocktails. Try the cottontail martini with green tea flavored vod­ka. They offer live jazz on Monday and Wednesday nights.

365 Guide New York City is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and full of restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

Amazing Seafood Restaurant Deals

16 Aug

Oysters_365_Guide_NYC

Best Seafood in New York City.

There are tons of seafood choices in Manhattan but not all fish come from the same stream. In general the seafood is good or they wouldn’t last in NYC, but there are definitely a few gems that impress me every visit. The best deals for sushi occur at lunch time when entrees include soup, salad, or dessert. I try to eat a late lunch and fill up. When I’m in the mood for sushi, oysters, or mussels, these are my go to places with, of course, a deal!

Flex Mussels (154 West 13th Street & 174 East 82nd Street) The mussels here are in a whole different category. They offer 20 different sauces and the mussels are steamed and sautéed to perfection. From 5:30pm-7pm daily at the bar and counter order the $25 special: two pots of mussels (choose from 3 flavors), fries, and one glass of beer or wine. I have converted several people who told me they don’t like mussels by bringing them to Flex. You will not leave hungry.

Amber (4 locations) For reasonable fresh sushi, Amber delivers every time. The décor is hip and modern but the prices are down to earth. The spicy tuna and avocado salad ($8) is bursting with fresh tuna and tangy zip. Rolls start at $5.25 and specialty rolls $16. The lunch special comes with soup, salad and a side starting at $11. Brunch on weekends from 12pm-4pm comes with the same and includes two alcohol drinks for $15.

The Mermaid Inn (3 locations) The discounted appetizers from 5pm-7pm range from $3-$6. Oysters and clams are only $1. For oyster fans this place is a must. I like the fish tacos and the shrimp sliders. Try an Aperol Spritz for $7. The Mermaid Inn reminds me of a comfortable fishing village. It is family friendly.

365 Guide New York City is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and full of restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

 

Need Brunch Plans in New York City?

15 Aug
Monica DiNatale 365 Guide New York City NYC Nerai Restaurant

Courtesy: Efrain Duenas, Nerai

Best Brunch in NYC.

Finding a venue for brunch on weekends is an easy task because eateries are a dime a dozen. But finding that special place to pamper yourself and relax can be tricky. Throw on your weekend best and visit these beautiful restaurants for top notch dining and atmosphere.

Nerai (55 East 54th Street) Light pastel colors and tall ceilings will transport you to the Greek Islands at Nerai. The food delivers on all levels with authentic flavors of lamb, yogurt and feta. Brunch on weekends includes one free brunch cocktail per entree and starts at $16. Definitely order the truffle feta fries ($10) to share. The lamb burger and the french toast are good choices as well. Nerai is the perfect choice for any special occasion.

Blue Water Grill (31 Union Square West) Brunch on Sundays from 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. includes one brunch cocktail and starts at $14. Blue Water often hosts wine dinners, seafood events and participates in restaurant week prix-fixe menus. The seafood at this lovely bi-level bistro is worth the splurge. I like the spicy tuna roll ($11), the lobster roll ($16) and the Crab Cake Benedict ($19). During the week from 3-6 p.m., stop by the bar for happy hour discounted drinks.

Greenwich Project (47 West 8th Street) Order the set price brunch for $25 that includes a homemade muffin or scone, an entree, coffee or tea and one cocktail. I recommend the lemon ricotta pancakes with maple cream and the garden Bloody Mary for a delightful twist on the old standard. The homemade baked goods are rock stars and served warm.  If you’re not too hungry, a la carte dining is also offered. Weekdays from 5-7 p.m. enjoy $1 oysters and $10 wines at the bar. The vibe is comfortable, casual and friendly.

365 Guide New York City is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and full of restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

Best Cupcakes in New York City

15 Aug

365 Guide New York City Book Restaurant Deals Bar Specials Cupcakes

Best Cupcakes in New York City.

I’m not a big “buy me a gift person.” Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t push away the gift bag, but when it comes to gifts, food is my friend. I would much rather go out and have a special treat. Nothing makes me smile more than a cupcake. My two best friends are peanut butter and chocolate. Seriously. A $5 piece of pastry or pint of ice cream is so much more enjoyable than most “things” to me. That must be why I wrote a book about food!

So if you’re stuck about what to get, try one of these places in NYC. They will make your sweetie smile. Buy one for yourself and the world will seem like a better place!

Sprinkles My favorite thing to do at Sprinkles is order a frosting shot. Yup. A generous helping of frosting in a cup with or without sprinkles. They have creative flavors like salty caramel, chai latte and ginger lemon.

Crumbs Bakery Crumbs are famous for colossal cupcakes stuffed with frosting and interesting flavors. I like the cookie dough, peanut butter cup and monkey business (banana again) cupcakes. They do offer minis that you can buy by the dozen and smaller cupcakes if you need just a little something sweet.

Billy’s Bakery  I prefer the vanilla cupcake to the chocolate here. They also have great flavors like pumpkin or banana nutella.

Magnolia Bakery  I lovvvveeee the plain chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting. My favorite in the city. If you are or aren’t a banana fan, try the banana pudding. I have converted many people with this dessert.

365 Guide New York City is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and full of restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

Best Craft Beer Bars in New York City

14 Aug

craft_beer_365_Guide_NYC

I like beer. Whether it’s a Corona, a stoudt or a seasonal beverage I enjoy the flavors and the suds. I find that people either like “hoppy” beers or “wheaty” “dark” beers. I love wheat beers and stoudts. The infusion of caramel, coffee, malt or fruit flavors is always something that I look for in a beer. With each season comes a new crop of flavors as well. My current picks for the year are: Winter: Left Hand Brewing Milk Nitro Stoudt www.lefthandbrewing.com Dark like chocolate, this beer is smooth as silk. Spring Hacker Pschorr Weisse www.hacker-pschorr.com  I love the hints of banana and clove. Summer: Founders Rubaeus Raspberry Ale www.foundersbrewing.com Finally a raspberry beer that isn’t too sweet and smooth enough to drink all night long. Fall Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale www.weyerbacher .com This beer is like fall in a glass with pumpkin, ginger and cinnamon flavors.

In New York City there are several places I visit to get my fill of craft beer. They all change taps often and offer tasting nights from visiting breweries.

Rattle n Hum www.rattlehumbarnyc.com They offer 40 beers on tap and delicious burgers and wings. They have the best thai chili wings I’ve ever had. Their beer events are listed on the Event page on their site. If you visit Monday through Friday from 11am-7pm, you’ll score $5 select drafts, wine and well drinks. They are also a great choice to watch sporting events with plenty of tables and a large bar area.

The Pony Bar www.theponybar.com The Pony Bar offers $6 craft beers daily. From 4:20pm-5:20pm daily beers are only $5. I usually order the veal meatball sandwich and the large soft pretzels. The Hell’s Kitchen location is better for conversation and the Upper East Side spot is great for larger groups. They often have breweries that take over all the taps so you can really learn all about a new producer. They offer 20 taps and a cask selection.

The Dive Bar www.divebarnyc.com Of the three locations I prefer the Upper West Side spot. They make absolutely unbelievable homemade sweet potato chips with cinnamon and cayenne pepper. The bartenders are always knowledgeable and they often have live music and tasting events.

Best Craft Beer Bars in New York City.

365 Guide New York City is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook and full of restaurant deals and bar specials in NYC.

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