Ask the Critics: Where Should I Have Lunch Near NYU?


Coreen K. asks: I’m going to be visiting New York for my son’s NYU graduation. Can you recommend some restaurants where we can have a nice but simple lunch near the campus?

Dear Coreen: Well, first off, congratulations to your son for graduating! NYU is near tons of restaurants, so eating well should be a piece of cake. Here’s a list of places that I think would be especially fun for out-of-town visitors.

I’d start by recommending Otto, Mario Batali’s casual pizzeria. I’ve brought out-of-town guests there before, and they’ve all enjoyed the laid-back ambiance and Italian food. I actually prefer the salumi, cheese, and veggie options as opposed to the pizza, however. And the wine list is great — and what better occasion than a graduation to break open the bubbly? Especially now that Junior can legally drink!

Another good spot that’s really under the radar is North Square, adjacent to the Washington Square Hotel. It’s quiet and has an old-New York feel to it, with a menu that features upscale salads, as well as larger entrées like seafood paella and grilled salmon.

Blue Ribbon Bakery is a little further away from the main campus, but the restaurant (as well as the original Blue Ribbon on Sullivan Street) is a New York institution. The fried chicken is a classic, and I personally love the simple-yet-tasty goat cheese salad.

Finally, Bar Pitti might be a fun spot. It’s cheaper than its neighbor Da Silvano (also a good bet, especially if you’re on the lookout for a celebrity sighting), and it offers affordable alfresco dining. Get the burrata, and try not to inhale the fumes as buses chug along Sixth Avenue. Or maybe do inhale — after all, it’s part of the New York City experience.