Just came back to Toronto from my week long vacation in NY. Love your city, as many do, and just wanted to share some of my culinary experiences, with thanks for many suggestions from this board.
Il Buco in East Village - amazing Italian, the panna cotta with aged balsamic put an already perfect meal over the top.
La Pizza Fresca - everything I heard about NY pizza is true - I love thin crust pizza, and theirs is still slightly chewy. Basic tomato, basil and buffalo mozzarella is best (although could use more basil). The pastas are also very simple and tasty. If you're ever in Toronto, try Terroni for similar fare.
I had great fried chicken at M&G Soul Food (you can't beat it for atmosphere) but had overall better food at Soul Fixins in midtown (the chicken is not that good, though but ribs are great). In general, could not get enough of southern food, which we entirely lack in TO.
Amazing ramen soups at Menchanko-Tei (sp?).
Teresa's food in East Village is better than most of the Polish food in Toronto as well, even though it seems that few North American Polish eateries venture outside the meat-centred peasant fare. Teresa's menu has the same limitations, but what is offered is very good.
I must say I even liked a chain - Le Pain Quotidien was a pleasant surprise - you rarely encounter corporate restaurants that seem personal. The soups were a bit weak in flavour for me, but I really like the hearty bread, and some sandwiches were standouts.
Went for brunch at Havana Alma de Cuba on Christopher - had a sandwich with beans and avocado (my first). the food is okay, not great, but you get a mimosa with the $10 brunch.
Finally, I can't forget the stiff drinks at Lenox Lounge on a rainy afternoon in Harlem. That place is a gem that all of NY should cherish!
Went to many other places, both cheap and more trendy, and had many other good food experiences. These were some of my favourite meals.
Thanks again for helping make my trip most delicious.