Tag Archives: where to eat near penn station

Solving your Penn Station problem

7 Dec

“Near Penn Station” always seems like a convenient place to meet for food or drinks when someone is coming or going—until you remember it’s actually a wasteland of crowded sports bars overrun with rush-hour douchebaggery. Well, I found a spot! Not necessarily a destination in itself, but a yummy, spacious, well-decorated, clean, much-needed option in that area: CASA NONNA.

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Order light Italian bites like salami, cheese or antipasto platters to go with the focaccia-like table bread: little triangles of crispy, garlicky, cheesy goodness. A wood-fire oven churns out perfectly thin-crust pizzas (from $15), and the pastas (from $20) are made in-house. Main dishes (carne/pesce) are a little pricier. The arancini, by the way, are perfect.

Casa Nonna‘s location (38th b/t Eighth and Ninth, but closer to Eighth) near Times Square also makes it convenient for pre-theater. In addition to the huge, marble pizza bar, there’s also a comfy beverage bar in front, where you can get free snacks with the purchase of a drink during happy hour.

This venue happens to be strikingly huge—good for groups, office parties or events. It’s so big that I wondered how they afforded the lease, until I realized it’s owned by ESquared Hospitality, parent company of BLT Steak/Burger/Prime/Market/Fish Shack, etc.

Ultimately, this is the best place I know of in the area for dependable food in a warm and inviting space. While it’s not cheap (it’s still midtown, after all), you won’t feel completely hosed. They also take reservations, which are prob unnecessary … but may be worth the peace of mind if one of your drinking or dining companions has a train to catch.

Where to eat near Penn Station (or Port Authority)

21 Jun

You know when friends come into the city for dinner via Penn Station and want to stay in that area because of time constraints? I used to cringe because the options were so limited/gross/uninspiring. But last night I discovered Mercato on 39th b/t Eighth and Ninth. It’s a solid, reasonably priced Italian spot with a cozy, rustic interior—practically unheard of in this No Man’s Land. Pastas run about $12 to $15, entrees are a few bucks more. Expect interesting apps, quite a few fish options and a decent list of Italian wines. Mercato won’t change your life, but it could very well save an evening.