I love EMP and suggest you go again after informing the staff about the service you received in the past. I have been twice and I find the whole experience at EMP amazing and though in my early 30's look younger and didn't spend a lot on wine.
Just try it again but when you make the reso mention the experience you had before and say you are expecting a 100% improvement.
My favourite vegetarian places are the NAAM (4th and Macdonald area), Sejuiced (4th and Cypress) Gorilla raw foods( Richards and Pender), Nuba (various), Foundation (7th and main) and Radha (main and prior-area may be a little sketchy for taking a baby but a really nice space inside)
The Raincoast greens salad is one of the best salads in town (in my opinion) and if you are going to a chain definitely go to Cactus club for this salad. My other go to salad places are the NAAM and Sejuiced on 4th for vegan salads. You can also try Gorilla raw foods salads (the great gorilla is huge). Can't get healthier than that. Crave on Main has a good tuna nicoise as well.
Agree with this posters picks! If you are doing lunch you could also do Market at the Shangri-la for 3 courses.
Since you are downtown you are close to a lot of restaurants. I would try Hawksworth for your more expensive meal and Nicli Antica in gastown for pizza (have to get there early or late though). I like the recommendation of Legendary noodle, though I only ate at the Main street location. Also think about brunch/lunch at Patisserie Lebeau for waffles (order the combo).
I wanted to thank everyone for the suggestions and give of follow up of where we ate (visitors from Vancouver).
Tuesday-Lunch at Artichoke Pizza in the east village. My bf had the margherita slice which we both really liked. He said it was his favourite pizza in NYC. I had the square piece but didn't really like it. It was a little bit burnt (which they said was how they did it) and really heavy tasting. It was ok but definitely not as good as the regular slices. We planned to go to the Artichoke restaurant in Chelsea but unfortunately the hurricane caused us to change those plans.
Dinner-Blue Smoke-had the burger. The patty was really thick and cooked really well. I expected a bit more of a bbq taste but maybe for the best as I don't especially love thick bbq sauce.
Wednesday dinner-Ended up close to the hotel at Amarone restaurant. Had the seafood pasta which was a steal of a deal at about $15. Large portions and tons of scallops and shrimp.
Thursday-Lunch at Co. (Company) in Chelsea. Amazing pizza though a little on the small side. Both had the Margherita which is our go too. Like how they have a lot of flavoured oil already in the pizza so you don't need to add it to the crust.
Dinner-Lupa-A little disappointed here. Had the 2 appy's and then both had pasta. I had seafood linguine which was alright but pretty bland. Felt like I could have made it myself if a bit of white wine, olive oil, clams and pasta. The appy's were ok but again nothing to rave home about. Probably our least favourite place.
Friday-Lunch at EMP-Can't go on enough about this experience. Absolutely the best. Amazing food, amazing service, beautiful portions, and beautiful room. Would recommend this place to everyone and if you are out of town ask to see the kitchen where they will let you take pictures and serve you an egg-cream. I will attach photos soon.
Dinner-Keste-Also amazing Neopolitan pizza. Can't decide if Keste or Co. were better. To me very similar and delicious. Keste pizza seems a little bigger and has a more mom and pop shop feel but both are worth visiting.
Saturday- Dinner-Hurricane warnings started so ate at our hotel restaurant "Print". Had the steak. Huge portions including, potatoes cooked in duck fat (yummy!), salad, and steak. The steak itself was decent but the salad and potatoes were really the stars. The restaurant is a farm to table restaurant and boy can you tell with the salad. Every bite and you just taste the freshness of the produce. BF and I ended up sharing the plate with a dessert and bread and were both satisfied. Plus they have an amazing rooftop lounge for after dinner.
Sunday-Not much open so ended up eating at a hole in the wall NYC style thin crust pizza joint. Quite delicious. Dinner ended up in Hell's Kitchen at Island burger and shakes another hole in the wall. Both were cheap and good.
Monday-Breakfast-Sullivan street bakery as it was one block from the hotel-had the green olive bread which the bf chowed down on. Yummy but pretty similar to the green olive bread at Terra breads in Vancouver.
Lunch-Modern bar room-had the wine flight and charcuterie and slow poached farm egg with lobster and eggplant. The eggplant but the star here but overall very good and would be interested to try more (if more time).
Overall, we ate at most places I wanted to except Katz's and one of the Momofuku joints. Would also have liked to trade Lupa for Minertta tavern. But overall, food was amazing as expected and it was well worth doing lots of research before I went rather than just winging it.
Thanks again for your help and will post pictures of EMP lunch soon.
Eleven Madison Park
Sullivan Street Bakery
Keste Pizza & Vino
Thank you everyone for the comments. We have waited up to two hours+ in Vancouver for Nicli Antica the best pizza in town, so we will definitely brave the crowds to try the pizza at Keste. Everyone thinks it is hilarious that we haven't decided on any attractions that we want to see in NYC but that I have been researching restaurants for weeks!
Thanks for the suggestions and comments. I think we will probably end up at a lot of Italian places as there are so many seafood and other ethnic restaurants in Vancouver. As for the vegetarian choices, I don't eat a lot ton of meat on a regular basis, so I am not sure how my body will take the onslaught of grease and meat. We shall see.
If you have any other suggestion is the moderate price range that would serve Italian, American, or French please let me know. Thanks again!
We are from Vancouver and coming to NYC for a week. We are staying in Mid-town west but are planning on visiting all the manhattan neighbourhoods.
I have been lurking on your boards for the last few weeks and have come away with a lot of ideas. My problem is that I am a foodie and my boyfriend is not. He basically eats pizza, burgers, sandwiches and pasta. He is not into fine dining or ethnic food and doesn't really like seafood (or spending a lot of money on food). He took one look at the menu at EMP and said "I can't eat anything here". Thankfully, he understands my interest and knows that half the fun for me is going to restaurants, so he agreed to do a lunch there. I am trying to come up with things we would both like or at least find lunch places where he can eat pizza and I can go next door or down the block and get something else.
Please review my picks and let me know if I am on track
-Keste (we both love Neapolitan style pizza)
The other things I am looking for are good sandwich places (is Katz's worth it?), bagel shops, chinatown eats, and other asian noodle soups (love tom yum, pho and wonton soup)
Another thing I noticed from these board is that everything seems expensive and/or fine dining or cheap eats. What are the good moderate priced restaurants where you can sit down and enjoy yourself but not break the bank? If you go to a moderate-more expensive restaurant (in my mind $30+ per entree) is it a faux pas to just order a main dish? I know in Vancouver it is cool but not sure about New york.
Last thing, any great wine bars that do wine flights or wine by the glass? Would love to be able to get really great wines by the glass, even if pricey.
Also, if you have one dish or restaurant to convert a non-foodie what would it be? I did take him one place in Vancouver for a tasting menu where he eat everything in front of him.
On average, I eat fairly healthy so I have been dreaming about my NYC food extravaganza for weeks now. Didn't realize I had so many questions or I would have asked sooner. This board is, in my opinion, the go-to for food so thanks in advance for your help!
Hope you are enjoying Vancouver so far. Here are my two cents:
Brunch-I think you found the best already (patisserie lebeau). Get the combo which is the best deal in town. They don't usually advertise it as I suspect they must lose money, but it is a large waffle with a huge portion of both custard and whipping cream, pile high withe seasonal fruit for $8. We used to go all the time until the pants started getting tight. Unfortunately not open on Sundays. I always see the people who don't know about the combo looking over longingly at people who do! Also I like the sunshine diner for eggs benedict. You should also try dim sum in Richmond. Sorry can't get more particular on that one.
Pizza-You have also found the best pizza joint in town (Nicli Antica). Go early or late as there are lineups. Nat's pizzeria used to be good too.
Cocktails-Pourhouse or Diamond. Had the food at Pourhouse and wasn't super impressed but they make a mean mint julip.
Date night-La Quercia or Bishops (or both)
Charcuterie-an Italian deli on commercial drive. At a restaurant try Salt or Yew at the four seasons. My boyfriend and I split it at Yew and just ask for lots of extra bread.
Bread-Terra breads (try in the mornings as they can get a bit hard) or Uprising breads near commercial
Sushi-I don't usually spend a lot on sushi as it is a staple. I got to Hi-Nippon on 4th for the black rice sushi. Dinner is usually around $10-12 bucks. Miku also has a great little lunch deal.
Best chain-If you end up at a chain go to Cactus or the Keg if you want steak
Wine store-the signature liquor store on 39th and Cambie is the best BC liquor store. My fav wine store are Kits wine cellar or Marquis wine cellar. The owner at Marquis, John Clerides is great and they also do single bottle futures.
Farmer's markets-Trout lake. The one at Kit's high school is closer and ok.
Coffee-49th Parallel on 4th. If you go to Cafe Artigiano get the spanish latte.
East side-can't add too many here but heard le faux borgeouis is good
Others I haven't tried but heard good things are la buca and peid a terre
Secret restaurant-If you can get a group of around 8-10 try 12B an "underground restaurant". It is $65 for 6 amazing courses and you can bring your own drinks. It is usually pretty booked up though.
When you have had grease overload try Gorilla raw foods. Try the pizza or the main street monkey sandwich. I also recommend the smoothies.
My favourite places:
1. Chambar for the mussels