Tiny La Taza De Oro (96 8th Ave., between 14th and 15th Sts., 212/243-9946, $8) serves authentic Puerto Rican food. For hearty Cuban-Chinese fare, try hole-in-the-wall La Chinita Linda (166 8th Ave., between 18th and 19th Sts., 212/633-1791, $7).
Numerous restaurants, many with outdoor tables in summer, line 7th and 8th Avenues between 14th and 23rd Streets. Among them is Cafeteria (119 7th Ave., at 17th St., 212/414-1717, $15), serving excellent brunches and a wide range of American fare.
Le Singe Vert (160 7th Ave., between 18th and 19th Sts., 212/366-4100, $18) is a popular French bistro.
Gourmet-style Mexican fare can be found at the bustling Rocking Horse Mexican Cafe (182 8th Ave., between 19th and 20th Sts., 212/463-9511, $19).
Gascogne (158 8th Ave., near 18th St., 212/675-6564, $24) specializes in the hearty foods of southern France. In summer, a backyard garden opens.
Colorful, festive Negril (362 W. 23rd St. between 8th and 9th Aves., 212/807-6411, $15) serves spicy Caribbean fare in a lively setting.
At Matsuri Restaurant (363 W. 16th street in the trendy Maritime Hotel, 212/243-6400), chef Tadashi Ono makes excellent use of daily fish and grain shipments from Japan for this broad menu that features everything from yellowtail carpaccio to healthful comfort food via Ono’s “Japanese hot pots.” The experience is enhanced by the eatery’s sake sommelier.
Da Umberto (107 W. 17th St., near 6th Ave., 212/989-0303, $28) is a classy, albeit noisy, spot acclaimed for its Northern Italian fare, wines, and well-dressed crowd.
For a taste of late-19th-century New York, visit Keens Steakhouse (72 W. 36th St., between 5th and 6th Aves., 212/947-3636, $45), an atmospheric multi-roomed pub with a crackling fireplace in winter.
Merchants (112 7th Ave., at 17th St., 212/366-7267) is a comfortable modern bar with a sidewalk café in summer and a crackling fireplace in winter. On the menu are gourmet sandwiches, salads, and desserts.
The well-worn Peter McManus (152 7th Ave., at 19th St., 212/929-9691) attracts both long-time regulars and young professionals. Juicy burgers are served at the big, rickety booths in back.
For a mellow gay bar that is less of a scene and more of just a relaxing place, try Barracuda (275 W. 22nd St., 212/645-8613).