A Waiter’s Tips to New York

I wrote an article for the Guardian.co.uk about where waiters like to eat in New York City. I’d be interested to hear other NYC servers’  opinions and suggestions about restaurant and bars that I might have overlooked. Many thanks  to the  “waiter mafia” who let me tap their knowledge and considerable expertise for this article. Enjoy!

36 thoughts on “A Waiter’s Tips to New York”

  1. admin says:

    Please be aware, the article was limited to 1000 words. So if you’re a server and have have a recommendation for a friendly and affordable place to eat in NYC, please leave it in the comments section. If you can post the location and the establishment’s URL that would be great. Thanks!

  2. rosie says:

    That made me so hungry.

    well done (: xx

  3. Cisco says:

    I scrolled down the list to see if you had included Gramercy Tavern and I did find it. My understanding of the place is that Tom Colichio and D. Mayer opened the place mainly to cater to those who were getting out of work (Foodies) and wanted a good meal without having to stop for a hot dog on the streets of New York.

    Great Place. Did you forget ‘wichcraft?

  4. Food Service Ninja says:

    this is bad karma Waiter you are recommending places for nontipping Brits to dine?

  5. recovering waitress says:

    What a great idea for an article – definitely something I’ll refer back to whenever it is I go to NYC again.

    …The only thing is that you should have mentioned the 15 – 20 % tip in the first sentence. 🙂

  6. wellington says:

    The burgers at Corner Bistro may have been at one point delicious. Now they are insipid.

  7. matt says:

    Thought you might find this interesting – http://sidedish.dmagazine.com/2008/11/07/mi-cocina-gate-the-case-of-the-impatient-waiter/

    Long-time reader but don’t recall seeing this topic on your blog. It’s creating quite an s-storm on the Dallas culture blog. And yes, Dallas does have a little culture to it.

  8. Ange says:

    Thanks for the article Waiter. As a Brit but frequent visitor I’m happy to say I’ve eaten at most, the others have given me some good ideas for my next trip.

    PS. I tip well!

  9. Brendan says:

    Blue Ribbon, they have several locations in NYC, plus they stay open till 3. Great food and they cater to us waiters and kitchen people.Spotted Pig if you can get in, good “pub” food.

  10. Waiter says:

    Spotted Pig is great, but I left it off the list because of the usual long wait. Blue Ribbon’s excellent too!

  11. Barmaid Blog says:

    Great article! I also love the 8th St. Winecellar, though obviously I don’t get there nearly as often as I’d like since I work at a bar myself.

    I would recommend my bar, but that would be a bit of a giveaway. 🙂 Instead, I’ll recommend one of my favorite restaurants – Jane, where my girlfriend took me for my birthday this spring.

  12. Phil says:

    I’m a bartender from Canada and when I do get to NYC I always make sure to take a trip to Tailor. Great menu and great food. Make sure you save time to take a trip downstairs to the bar for a few after dinner cocktails. One of the most inventive cocktail lists I’ve seen.

    If you love cocktails you will be impressed by both the cocktail list and the bartenders at the Pegu Club and Employees Only, these 2 spots are must visits.

  13. AlanWaiter says:

    I have several places for you:

    Coppola’s West (Italian Bistro)
    79th St btw Broadway and Amsterdam
    -Great Italian food. Moderate Prices. Cozy atmosphere. Great for “date night”. Make reservations (It’s small). Good servers, too!

    81 Greenwich Ave
    – My favorite Brunch spot. Great prices for Brunch, plus for $5 you get unlimited Mimosa’s, Bloody Mary’s, or Screwdrivers. I can drink a lot for $5. Service is ok… some are better than others.

    Cafe Largo
    3387 Broadway (at 137th St)
    -Great New-ish restaurant in an up-and-coming neighborhood. Spanish-influenced food, but some Italian in there too (Bi-lingual Entrees… nice). Great service, great food, great prices.

    That’s all for now. I’m not going to give away ALL of my secrets. 😉 And my restaurant is of course… not on the list. I have enough trouble with tourists.

  14. bartender says:

    I second Blue Ribbon sushi. It is thee place for after shift deliciousness.

    And waiter, please visit me at Milk and Honey, I know we’ve recently gone private, but I would share my staff key with you any day 🙂

  15. Dorothy says:

    I’ve never been to any of the places you listed, but I will add them to my list. I was thinking…are you allowed to post a list of places not to eat? Hehe.

    I have been watching reruns of Friends lately and this reminds me of the episode where Phoebe dates a health inspector…maybe it would ruin the fun out of eating out for me.

  16. frank D says:

    whew, that was close !

    apparently your “mafia” isn’t italian so none of my favorite NYC italian places were outted.

    thats happened to me before, as Fulvio’s an italian restaurant in Davie FLA (now closed so i can name it) was exposed by dan marino, an italian and at the time the starting QB for the miami dolphins, as HIS favorite italian restaurant in a widely circulated positive media quote and all of a sudden my long time favorite place was overrun by interlopers !

    and two other close calls, as Le Tub, a hamburger joint in Dania FLA was listed in GQ magazine as the best hamburger in the US but its such a small place without air-conditioning most interlopers are turned away or cannot last to brave the hot humid weather or Jackson’s Ice cream Parlor, also in Dania FLA which was among three finalists in a popula sunday morning nationally televised competition for best ice cream in the US but has since raised prices to unconscionable levels thus holding off most budget minded tourists.

    once YOU give a compliment to a place – it may unwittingly become its “kiss of death” !!


  17. JC says:

    Can we from now on refer to the ‘waiter mafia’ as the ‘wafia’

  18. VanillA says:

    I have just finished reading the book…. I loved it !!! I live in Israel, so I am not sure that all the descriptions are applicable to restaurants in Tel – Aviv, but I will think about it the next time I will visit a restaurant 🙂 I also was a waiter a few years ago, and now I am the manager of a restaurant review forum.

    Great book, and I am glad that now I can read your blog ! are you working on another book ?

  19. banquet manager says:

    I can’t go out to eat anymore. I’m always critiquing the waiters. I know it’s not fair but that’s what I do.
    So You Want To Be a Banquet Manager

  20. Brendan says:

    Not in nyc but waiter will remember OVI in our town. Open till 3 and good irish food for late night.

  21. bodacia says:

    I travel to NYC several times a year on business – and have eaten at more bad restaurants there than I care to remember! Thanks for the list – I’ll have to check them out.

    Three of my favorites:

    Jewel of India at 15 W.44th
    Outstanding Indian food, icy cold Kingfisher and my waiter remembers me each time, even though I only dine there 4x a year!

    Madison Bistro at 238 Madison Ave.
    Wonderful, simple French food. I hate it when a chef tries too hard. Madison Bistro does it right. Great desserts, too.

    Japas 38 at 38th between 5th and Madison
    Good sushi, better sake and Kick-Ass Karaoke! What more can you ask for? I mean, the karaoke is in Japanese with English subtitles. And it’s right down the block from the hotel I usually stay at, so I can stumble and weave ‘home’ quickly.

  22. Rose Royce says:

    Hey, over on CNN’s page is the Oprah article on rudeness with you quoted in it from the show you did with her. Does that seem weird to you? Or are you getting used to it.

  23. Liz says:

    There are several affordable and delicious Japanese Izakaya (tapas bars) that are hidden throughout the city. The food is delicious and bite sized – perfect for late night noshing – sake, beer and shochu reasonably priced, and the hours are a waiter’s dream – most places close around 3 or 3:30. I recommend checking out Yakitori Taisho or Village Yokocho in the village, or Hagi in midtown. For sake lovers, check out Decibel in the East Village for one of the larger sake lists in the city.

  24. Tasha says:

    As a server myself.. thanks for the tips.. I will be sure to check these places out on my next trip.

    And to add to other comments.. Canadians tip just like Americans do. I had a couple of Aussies on their way to Whistler (I’m in Vacouver) actually ask what is customary.. how nice!

    And if you come the Vancouver way, let me know and I’ll let you know what good eats are here, but I’m veggie biased! (I do know some amazing places though)

  25. risspoo says:

    How about conveyor belt sushi?Come by to sakae sushi at west village. its btw w3rd and 6th ave..its a lovely place,Hope you could try our food. Its Mr. Bobby Flay’s favorite place too according to him.:)

  26. risspoo says:

    oops..heres the url..www.sakae-sushi.com

  27. Mike says:

    My vocabulary expands every time I read your blogs.

    Very, very entertaining and informative!!

  28. daviddowney says:

    I read all of yours recommendations.But I dont see anything that i’m interested in.I’m really not into irish food or dogs.Sorry.I’m watching top chef right now and there in N.Y.So I’m psyched to see waht rest. are featured or show.I always like that.I used to work at Wild Oats Market in Santa Monica ca. and they featured the market when they were doing the show over here.It was pretty cool.Just like there featuring Whole Foods.The new owners.I’m planning to go over there in march.So please let me know what GOOD rest. I should try out.I’m a bar rest. type of person.I like seating at the bar and observing my surroundings.Espeacially if they have screen T.V.s.And Especially if the bartender is cute.I always end up getting the hook up.It works if you have good conversations.

  29. Kris says:

    I’ve caught up…now what?

    Hard to believe a few weeks ago I saw a link on my MSN page and got curious. Due to traveling and whatnot, it took me a few weeks but now I’m all caught up.


  30. Carrie says:

    The Blue Grotto in little italy!

  31. Kate says:

    Thank you for the list. It came out just in time for my trip to NYC from Toronto and you were a great culinary guide. Loved Dim Sum Go Go and ‘intoteca.

  32. AlanWaiter says:

    Any chance you’ll be going to any of these places and then blogging about your experiences, Waiter?


    most people are just greedy selfish low lives. the economy is just showing everyones true colors. people at the core are reverting back to their base animalistic survival tendencies to preserve their retarded comfortable lives.its funny when you think about most of the world, most people live in abject poverty, with no food, clean running water, and then you look at how pathetic complaning pusssies most americans are. Then look at the waste of idiocy of wall street. Wall street firms were supposed to be full of the brightest, most educated people of our country that graduated from the best universities and ivy league schools and all those investment banks are going bankrupt because the supposed “genius investment bankers of wall street” lost so much money. Now all these low life degenerate companies that have lost all their money from basically gambling investors money want a federal bail out, they are all criminals, and should be thrown out on the street, the bums. no one should get a bail out, if your company makes mistakes, loses money, your business should go down, and you should be out of the job, i own a business and if i lost money, the government wouldnt bail me out, i would lose everything. Then I hear about all these ceos that get paid 20 million a year, asking for bailouts, i want to spit on them. its sickening.

  34. devtob says:

    I live in Albany, and don’t get to the city enough, but on one weekend trip to see a show, I joined a blogger get-together at Ulysses Pub, way downtown, 95 Pearl St., near Wall Street.

    The all-you-can-eat $20 Sunday brunch (in early 2007) featured hot meats carved to order, an omelet station, smoked salmon, a variety of breakfast meats, breads, salads and fruits, and a drink.

    But most amazing was that it also included a raw bar of clams and oysters, which can go for $2 apiece in restaurants.

    I don’t know about the others, but I did not need to eat dinner after that brunch.

    Their website is under construction, so I cannot update the price/selection.

    But it was an incredible deal last year — and on-street parking was easy and free.

    On a topic related to your new book, what is an appropriate tip at buffets? I didn’t handle the check for that party of about 10, but I usually tip 10 percent.

    That’s what I read somewhere and it seems right, since servers/waiters are doing less than half the normal serving/waiting, and presumably can handle twice as many tables.

  35. BlizZard says:

    Не очень понятно о чем идет речь, хотелось бы более обширнее получить информацию о данной теме.

  36. Johnny says:

    Why are Indians so cheap?
    most of them do speak and read english, and are pretty good in math. But when it comes to calculating 15% for tip, they never make it right? This country is flooded with Indians in the computer sector. I’m sure they make good money, A lot more than I do. So what can we do about that?

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