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Hotel and food recommendations for a solo traveller to NYC
November 7, 2009 7:52 PM   Subscribe

Visiting New York for the first time (from Australia) in a couple of weeks. Will be travelling solo, and am looking for hotel and food recommendations.

(I did search, but the answers are a few years old now, or aimed at different budgets)

I'm perfectly happy with my own company most of the time, especially during the day. Even so, I'd like to meet a few people to go for a drink or dinner some nights, as I'll be there for two weeks. In the past when I've travelled solo, I've stayed in dorms. I'm a bit older now (late 20s) and have less tolerance for all-night boozing and general grottiness.

So, any suggestions for either a hostel with private rooms that's friendly but not party-central, or a budget hotel with a sociable common area where I might meet people? Budget is ideally no more than $80 per night but could stretch for the right place. Private bathroom is nice but not necessary.

Alternately, suggestions for other places to go/things to do where I might meet some people to hang out with for a night?

Also, I'm interested in checking out a couple of the better restaurants in town. I'm expecting to have to do this alone unless I randomly meet another foodie. Any ideas for restaurants in $30-for-a-main-course bracket where I'll be treated like a human being despite being there alone? My preference is for high quality, innovative food, rather than just wherever is hot right now.
posted by une_heure_pleine to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (11 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
i stayed at the Carlton Arms after reading about it in another NYC question. it's an awesome, budget-friendly hotel. you'll have a chance to meet other travelers, but it's definitely not party-central. check out the photos of the rooms - it's such an interesting place to be.
posted by gursky at 8:08 PM on November 7, 2009


Also, I'm interested in checking out a couple of the better restaurants in town. I'm expecting to have to do this alone unless I randomly meet another foodie. Any ideas for restaurants in $30-for-a-main-course bracket where I'll be treated like a human being despite being there alone? My preference is for high quality, innovative food, rather than just wherever is hot right now.

Many people dine alone in New York City and it's one of the most solo dining-friendly cities around. If you feel uncomfortable, I'd advise bringing a book or magazine, and dining in restaurants where the full menu is available at the bar. Or ask to sit at a communal table, if one is available. And make some conversation with the bartenders and servers, too.

My recommendations would be Babbo, Lupa, Otto, Casa Mono, Tavern Room at Gramercy Tavern, bar at Union Square Cafe, Bar Room at the Modern, Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Txikito, "the pass" or the bar at Hearth, Balthazar, Blue Ribbon Brasserie or Bakery (though the bar areas of those are pretty small), or Scarpetta (the portions are huge and you could make a meal out of the spaghetti and bread basket alone). And if you like sushi, then the counter style dining of sushi spots like Kanoyama or Ushiwakamaru (two reasonably priced but delicious options, reservations recommended) is going to work well.
posted by kathryn at 8:31 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Go over to Metatalk and set up a meet up with other NYC Metafilter folks! I'm sure they'd love to meet you for dinner or drinks.
posted by HeyAllie at 9:47 PM on November 7, 2009


I've heard good things about Candy Hostel.
posted by infinityjinx at 10:27 PM on November 7, 2009


I just read this thing about a Hatian straunt in Carnarsie called Ambiance that looked hearty, spicy and affordable. Also, Mefimail me and arrange a pop in for drinks, or what HeyAllie said.
posted by vrakatar at 12:23 AM on November 8, 2009


Go to L'Ecole - the restaurant connected to the French Culinary Institute, future celebrity chefs preparing delicious and very reasonably priced food. You do need to check their menu (which changes regularly) and order ahead for whatever the prix fixe is for the day.

I also highly recommend doing a food walking tour with Nosh Walks. Myra Alperson will take you on guided tours of New York's most interesting ethnic neighborhoods. She stops in shops and restaurants; the owners know her and often let you take tastes of things. You will find lots of great food; bring a shopping bag. Bonus - you will meet people on the tour!
posted by brookeb at 1:52 AM on November 8, 2009


Oh, and if you're in NYC at the beginning of the month I think the Brooklyn Art Museum is still doing their first Saturday of the month open house. Admission is free, there are bands, food and activities. A nice vibe without a particular scene, you'd probably also meet a lot of different people there.
posted by brookeb at 1:57 AM on November 8, 2009


For an incredible upscale experience try the two-course $28 lunch at Eleven Madison Park. If they are totally booked (which they probably are), arrive just before opening (noon) and have lunch at the bar. I did this last month and it was simply wonderful. Jean-Georges also does a $29 two-course lunch that is quite a treat.
posted by tmharris65 at 3:43 AM on November 8, 2009


Thanks folks, some of these food suggestions in particular look fantastic. A follow-up - how much should one dress up for these types of restaurants? Am a light packer, but don't want to feel out of place...
posted by une_heure_pleine at 2:15 AM on November 9, 2009


Oh, and if you're in NYC at the beginning of the month I think the Brooklyn Art Museum is still doing their first Saturday of the month open house. Admission is free, there are bands, food and activities.

I can confirm that The Brooklyn Art Museum is indeed doing this -- the first Saturday of every month admission is free in the evenings (it's a corporate donation from TARGET).

Similarly, every Friday evening admission is free to MOMA. And, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it's "pay what you wish" anyway (they have a $15-$20 "suggested donation" at the ticket counter, but they will cheerfully accept only two dollars).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:35 AM on November 9, 2009


A follow-up - how much should one dress up for these types of restaurants? Am a light packer, but don't want to feel out of place...

There is very little in the way of dress code in NY restaurants anymore, except for the very high end places like Le Bernardin and Le Cirque. You'll be OK almost anywhere with a collared shirt and decent jeans.
posted by stargell at 3:30 PM on November 9, 2009


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