Let me introduce some of my favorite dining establishments.
When guests are involved or a formal celebration is afoot, I will try to get my act together long enough to secure a reservation at a place I know to be popular. Frequently, I'll log onto Open Table and find the restaurant that meets the needed criteria. For example, we might all agree on SoHo and Seafood. And, voila!, there's a date for 7:30 p.m. at Lure Fishbar. Good choice!
Grazie! Molto bene! Prego! Many places I frequent feature Italian food of some regional variety. And, indeed, as I live in the Village, the Italian-American heritage of the neighborhood lives on in the cuisine. In the Village, Po, Lupa, and Bar Pitti readily come to mind. I've had good times at all of them. I once went to Bar Pitti by myself during Fashion Week, the one in early February, and it was like 4 degrees outside, but I needed to get out of the apartment. Several fashion types were there and not eating too much, but I enjoyed a steaming hot bowl of rigatoni and didn't care that I wasn't a size 0.
I've gone to La Lanterna di Vittorio for many years, and while I most associate its romantic atmosphere with fall and winter, I enjoy the outdoor garden in summertime. Still, I can't wait for cappuccino and their pumpkin cheesecake when the weather turns nippy. Also frequently mentioned in these pages is Raffetto's Grocery, the place I describe as where diets go to die. I love their meatballs, marinara sauce, zucchini cakes, and many different types of homemade ravioli. It's cash only and carry-out, but it's saved me many wasted hours of unsuccessful dinner preparation. I almost cried once outside their door on a Monday when I forgot they were closed that day.
I'm likely to hit Pete's Tavern in the Gramercy area for its old New York ambience and reliable food, and SoHo Park and Stand for hamburgers. I like sushi at Marumi, which almost rhymes. I want to go back to Ed's Lobster Bar soon for another drink and lobster roll, and I also like Snack Taverna's nouvelle Greek menu. When I'm homesick, there's a lot of Texas and southern places to make me happy, and the list includes Hill Country, Cowgirls and the Pink Tea Cup. When I'm uptown at museums, I often eat happily in the Cafeteria of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I get my drinks at the Temple Bar, Pegu Club, the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis and the Algonquin, because I don't believe in dumbing down a good cocktail.
This list does not include dessert. That's like a whole other country.
Image by Walking Off the Big Apple of La Lanterna di Vittorio on MacDougal Street, Greenwich Village, USA. I recently learned from a documentary on TV that Pete Seeger once lived at this address.