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All About New York City Restaurants
By Ryan Bifulco

OK, let's establish some ground rules. It's called the City, not Manhattan. And under no circumstance should you ever say New York City. Yes, we know some New Yorkers do take things a bit too far and say they are from the City even when they are visiting relatives in Tulsa - where the nickname really loses its luster.

Whatever it is you are trying to do while you're in the City, do it quickly and get out of the way. That applies to ordering at the deli (where do you think the Soup Nazi idea came from?), riding the escalators, crossing the street or buying a paper. Things have a faster pace up here and people like it that way. This City will eat you alive if you don't prepare properly.

But even with all of the millions of people scurrying around, you can still blend into the madness and fit right in. That's because everyone is too busy to notice you as they race to the subways, run to catch the ferries, or fight for a cab. New York has a "kick you in the teeth" attitude that can make you feel satisfied when you actually accomplish something. And, you know you earned it because you've just navigated thru all the madness. Here's a local tip so don't sound like a tourist when you are downtown- it's pronounced "How-Stin" even though it is spelled like Houston. SoHo means south of Houston - now go figure out NoHo on your own.

Immerse yourself in the City, with all it has to offer, and you'll understand why it's like no other place on earth. The diversity, the energy, the attitude - you can find anything and everything in the City that never (EVER) sleeps. There's always a new neighborhood to explore, another restaurant to try, another club to dance at, and another bar to drink in.

Dreams have been realized here since the first settlers and you can feel that same spirit as you walk the streets of each neighborhood. Where else can you see millionaires mingling seamlessly with the working class? From munching on their morning bagels to singing along with Frank Sinatra at the end of the Yankees game, New Yorkers share the local pride. Maybe it's because everyone has one thing in common - they've all lived in that 300 square foot studio apartment and paid $2000 a month for it. And why does everyone say their address like it's the most regal location in the known universe?

NYC was built (and still runs) on its neighborhoods. You'll find that each has its own character, so get out and explore. People from all walks of life are really what make this place so special.

Restaurants

New York has so many types of food - from American to Japanese, from French to Asian - you can find anything and everything in this City. Where else can you walk down the street and smell the aromas from innumerable food stands that line the streets and the kitchens that pack them in every night? The diversity of NYC is unparalleled to any other. Here are some of our favorites:

Gascogne: If you can't make it out to Paris, make sure you can find your way to this charming French bistro in the city's Chelsea district. With French-speaking waiters, indoor/outdoor seating and culinary indulgences, this place can make you forget you're in NYC! The escargots and foie gras are always a pleaser! Gascogne is located on Eighth Ave. (Between 17th & 18th Streets).

B-Bar and Grill (formerly Bowery Bar): A popular summertime setting with indoor/outdoor ambiance, B-Bar is great for summer drinks and dinner on the patio. The place is known to draw A-listers and occasional celebrities. The grill offers delicious appetizers and the calamari & popcorn shrimp are always a great choice! B Bar is located on East 4th & Bowery.

Per Se: You'll go running down the streets in glee after dining here (located at 10 Columbus Circle, between 58th and 59th Sts.). With a French-New American menu that changes daily, this pricey culinary experience is a worthwhile treat for your senses (the dishes are as delicious as they are colorful). Whatever you do, begin your meal with the "Oysters and Pears" and make sure you save enough room for the "Coffee and Doughnuts" dessert.

Il Mulino:This is the epitome of an Old New York hangout, the restaurant boasts some of the best Italian food you'll ever eat. Located in the West Village (on 86 W. Third St., between Sullivan & Thompson and near NYU), the place is small, crowded & quite loud, but the food makes it all worth while. Bring your appetite (portions are big enough to feed a small country) and your wallet.

Dos Caminos (Soho): With made-to-order guacamole and some of the best margaritas in town (in addition to more than 150 tequila selections), you can't go wrong with the city's top Mexican spot. With indoor and outdoor seating options, this place brings the fiesta downtown! Dos Caminos is located at West Broadway & Houston (along with a location on Park Avenue and a Midtown location opening in Fall '06).

Jean Georges: It's simple, French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten can't get it wrong (ever!) This restaurant, inside the Trump International Hotel, is as sophisticated as it is superb. Located off Columbus Circle (1 Central Park West, between 60th and 61st Sts.), this divine masterpiece offers a formal dining room, more casual cafe and an outdoor terrace for those cool summer nights. Don't you dare leave without sampling the baby scallops and the four-part citrus tasting.

Babbo: Who doesn't love Mario Batali? With its trademark pasta tasting menu, make sure you aren't watching your waistline when you arrive at this two-story townhouse. You'll find that the simplest ingredients have never tasted so good! Everything is tasty but we fancy the ravioli with beef cheeks and the goat cheese tortellini. Reservations are a must. Babbo is located at 110 Waverly Pl., between 6th Ave. and MacDougal.

Una Pizza Napoletana: Seriously, who needs Italy? This is, by far, the best pizza in the City - "The Best, Jerry...the best." Each bite is light, fragrant and oh-so delish! The buffalo mozzarella is shipped directly from Italy and pairs nicely with the finger-licking-good basil-infused tomato sauce. Una Pizza (349 E. 12th St., between 1st and 2nd Aves.) is not to be missed.

Bouchon Bakery: Located on Columbus Circle in the Time Warner Building, this casual French Boulangerie is anything but plain. You'll find everything from mouth-watering fresh croissants, to good-ol' PB&J sandwiches. This place has the best tuna fish sandwich we've ever had. And, did we mention they make their own hand-made chocolates?

Momofuku Noodle Bar: If you need a quick ramen fix - this is your spot. Just be prepared to wait (they don't take reservations). And, if you don't mind getting packed in like sardines and eating thigh-to-thigh with your fellow patrons - find your way to this amazing noodle bar. The three-variety steamed buns (pork, chicken or shitake) are worth the trip and the wait. Momofuku is located at 163 First Ave. (at 10th St.).

journeyPod.com is the only place you need to visit for information on the trendiest bars and restaurants, the most luxurious hotels, and the most exclusive parties and shops for discriminating travelers. Visit journeyPod.com for the lowdown on where to go in Atlanta, New York, Miami, LA and other major cities around the world, and listing to our monthly travel podcast for the best in upscale travel and entertainment. If you like the finer things in life, journey to journeyPod.com!

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