Where to Dine on Your Parents’ Dime


Tony Wu

Tsuru Ton Tan, a Japanese noodle restaurant, is located on 16th Street.

Natalie Chinn, Culture Editor

When your parents are in town, finding a place to eat out becomes a game of scoping restaurants that will impress them with your sophistication and maturity. The task, usually approached with great enthusiasm (you’re getting a free meal after all), is often made daunting by the sheer number of options for food in New York City. That’s why we’ve done the research for you — here are five delicious spots, at varying price points, that you and your parents will enjoy.

Tsurutontan Udon Noodle Brasserie $$

21 E. 16th St.   

If your parents are craving Asian food, take them to Tsurutontan, located around the corner from Carlyle Court. This Japanese chain — also found in Midtown and Hawaii — is famous for their giant bowls of udon, which can be ordered cold or hot. Popular dishes include the cold Mentaiko Caviar Udon and the Wagyu and Mushroom Sukiyaki. Tsurutontan is on the fancier side for a noodle house, with a trendy, sleek interior and waiters dressed in black. There is often a long wait during dinnertime, but you can avoid the line by going for a late lunch.

Union Square Cafe $$$$

101 E. 19th St.

If your parents are looking to splurge, try Union Square Cafe. This modern-chic restaurant elevates classic dishes like pasta, grilled pork chops and burgers. Guests recommend the gnocchi and the tuna burger. If you choose the ricotta gnocchi, $2 of the price will go toward City Harvest’s campaign to end hunger in New York City — it’s not every day you see a fundraiser on a menu. Parents will love this trendy cafe and you’ll love your parents for footing the bill.

Although just spending time with your parents is fun in itself, it’s always fun to try something new with the people you love.

Giano $$

123 E. Seventh St.

This cozy Italian restaurant isn’t just parent-friendly, it’s also conveniently located right next to Tompkins Square Park. While Giano offers a typical Italian menu — caprese, pasta, tiramisu — its attention to flavor combinations and guests’ overall dining experiences will definitely impress your parents. Giano’s service is quick and inviting, and the wait to get in is usually short. Popular dishes include the Spaghetti Alla Gricia Con Tartufo with its tangy wine sauce and the Tagliatelle Tirolesi, a pasta dish made with mushrooms and cream. As always, don’t forget to save room for dessert because Giano’s tiramisu is arguably one of the best in New York City.

Samwon Garden  $$$

37 W. 32nd St.

Grill your own meat at one of South Korea’s most famous Korean barbecue restaurants. Located in Koreatown, Samwon Garden is known for its delicious meats and banchan (small dishes). Try the house-marinated fried chicken for an appetizer and Galbi ribs for the barbecue — you won’t be disappointed by the rich flavors. Plus, the attentive staff makes sure the meat is cooked to perfection. These smaller details distinguish Samwon from the many Korean barbecue restaurants peppering the city.

Kiin Thai Eatery  $

36 E. Eighth St.

Take your parents to something cheap and close to school like Kiin Thai. This restaurant is great for groups and has efficient, friendly staff. Some of its most popular dishes are the Pad See Ew and pineapple fried rice. Don’t forget to order a Thai-style iced tea and maybe even help your parents with the bill by using your NYU ID to get a student discount.

Email Natalie Chinn at [email protected]