Gramercy/Murray Hill

 

 

Click here for a map of all the restaurants listed below.

 

Blue Smoke [116 E. 27th St. (bet. Lexington and Park Aves.) 212-447-7733]
Linked with an excellent jazz club, the Jazz Standard, but also a self-contained restaurant, the popular Blue Smoke serves up some tasty barbeque. Eating while listening to some jazz, I went for the Rib Sampler, featuring three different types of ribs with three different sauces. I probably liked the Kansas City ribs the best. If I had to do it over again, however, I might have chosen the Rhapsody in 'Cue due to its wider variety of cuts of meat.

 

Brick Oven Pizza 33 [489 Third Ave. (at 33rd St.) 212-545-9191]
The perfect end to a night in Murray Hill, this pizza is delicious. Again, the fresh mozzarella is probably the best slice, but they are all excellent (albeit expensive).


Da' Giulio [176 Lexington Ave. (bet. 30th and 31st Sts.) 212-889-2939]
If you order correctly, Da' Giulio is a good choice for dinner. If you don't, you might feel a little bit ripped off. I recommend both the Fried Calamari and the Beef Carpaccio as appetizers and the Scialiatelli (pasta with shrimp and lobster sauce) as a main dish. Each of these dishes is flavorful, albeit somewhat conventional. Avoid the Rigatoni Da Giulio because it's too creamy and avoid the Lamb Chops because you just don't get enough food.


i Trulli [122 E. 27th St. (bet. Park Ave. S. and Lexington Aves.) 212-481-7372]
A terrific Italian treat. This massive restaurant offers top-notch food in an equally nice atmosphere. I had the Panzerotti to start and the Orecchiette as my main course. Both were delicious. For wine lovers, there is an extensive wine list and even a separate wine bar. Not for the light of wallet.

 

La Giara [501 Third Ave. (bet. 33rd and 34th Sts.) 212-726-9855]
A surprising find in the vast Murray Hill wasteland, La Giara provides good Italian food at reasonable prices. Start out with the Bruschetta (or maybe the Panserotti) before trying one of the many pasta dishes. I greatly enjoyed the Pappardelle with duck meat and I sampled the Capricci with bufala mozzarella and tomatoes, which was as tasty as you might imagine. The service is friendly, albeit a little slow, but overall you should have an enjoyable meal here.


Lamarca [161 E. 22nd St. (at 3rd Ave.) 212-674-6363]
Moderate prices and solid pasta make this a good choice for dinner. Each pasta also comes with a salad and of course a big piece of bread, so you will probably leave stuffed.

Masala Bollywood [108 Lexington Ave. (bet. 27th and 28th Sts.) 212-679-1284]
The walls are adorned with pictures of Bollywood stars past and present and the flat-screen TV shows Bollywood movies on loop. This is not your typical Curry Hill Indian restaurant. But the food brings you back and makes you realize where you are (in a place with some pretty good Indian food). One surprisingly good appetizer is the Cauliflower with Manchurian Sauce, a seemingly Chinese-inspired dish that doesn't quite fit in, but is worth ordering anyway. As for main dishes, the Lamb Pasanda and Chicken Tikka Masala both offer tender meat and flavorful, creamy curries. You should end the meal pleasantly full.

Mishima [164 Lexington Ave. (bet. 30th and 31st Sts.) 212-532-9596]
A solid sushi option, this restaurant serves up all the standard Japanese specialties. With fresh fish and reasonable prices, you should certainly enjoy any meal here. I greatly enjoyed the Spicy Tuna roll that was a little different and went well with my Sushi special dinner.


Mumbles [179 Third Ave. (at 17th St.) 212-477-6066]
No, this is not a Dick Tracy theme restaurant. But it is an excellent family restaurant, or a nice place to go for a dinner with friends before a night out in the Union Square area. Prices are very affordable and the portions are generally HUGE. I tried the Maryland Crab Cake appetizer with the Penne a la Vodka and I was happily stuffed. The menu is fairly diverse with all sorts of options for meat, fish, pasta, and other dishes. And you shouldn't have too much trouble snagging a table, even on a weekend night.

New York Burger Co. [303 Park Ave. South (bet. 23rd and 24th Sts.) 212-254-2727]
Maybe I'm missing something, but these are NOT the best burgers in the city, as once voted by AOL Citysearch. They are certainly good and worth your time if you are in the area, but I wouldn't recommend a special pilgrimmage. I did think the french fries were much better than most though.


Notaro Ristorante [635 2nd Ave. (bet. 34th and 35th Sts.) 212-686-3400]
Exactly what you expect from a good New York Italian restaurant. Prices are reasonable and the food, albeit perhaps not overly creative, simply tastes good. As far as I know, this is one of the better options for Italian in the neighborhood. The ambience of the restaurant is nice as well. I recommend the Pappardelle in a tomato sauce with arugula and goat cheese.