Welcome to your Weekend Planner, where Eater editors offer restaurants, cafes, and bars to try this weekend. They might be new and hot, or they might be old standbys. As always, please let us know if you’d like to see something specific.
A meal that’s just a series of vegetarian dips: Just uphill from the Lorimer stop on the L, Samesa is a four-month-old hole in the wall that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch with a Middle Eastern flair. Sure, there are dishes featuring chicken and lamb, as well as salads and sandwiches galore, but the best thing we’ve tried so far are the bread dips, served with two kinds of pita, one of which is puffy and pumpernickel. For 20 bucks, you get pitas and all six (sometimes seven) bread dips: roasted beet, carrot romesco, avocado hummus, white bean, lentil pistachio, and labneh. Beer available. 495 Lorimer St, Williamsburg — Robert Sietsema
For an interesting place to eat alone at the bar without judgment: Dining solo has its perks — no sharing and eating where you want, to name a couple. The key is finding a restaurant that's busy, where people-watching is part of the fun, and the staff takes kindly to solo diners. Keith McNally's Cherche Midi is among the quieter options of his restaurant group. Still, it's a fine place to eavesdrop on other tables involved in a business dinner, third date, or 25th birthday. The restaurant's namesake burger is petit, wonderful, and easily enjoyed with a personal wine carafe. A meal at the restaurant feels like an escape to Paris, where dining alone is an art. 282 Bowery, Nolita — Patty Diez
For legit Mexican food that’s way cheaper than Cosme: I've been hanging out lately at Julian Media's affordable cantina Tacuba in Hell's Kitchen. The motivating factor is partially geographic: It's close to my apartment. But there are more compelling forces at play. Frozen margaritas are piped out of a machine, which means ordering one doesn't require any more effort for the bartender than pouring a beer. And the marquee pork dish — a baseball-sized pile of slow cooked suckling pig with chicharron, habanero-tamarind salsa, and piping hot tortillas — is just $25. It's easily a one plate meal. 802 Ninth Ave., Midtown — Ryan Sutton
Dinner with a taste of old New York: I can't help but feel uplifted after feasting on oysters at Grand Central Oyster Bar. Go with a friend and do the talk into the wall trick at the whispering gallery before entering, then join the fray of a zillion commuters inside. You'll appreciate the retro accoutrements, from the counters to the menus to the style of service. There is no shtick here; it really is Old New York that's becoming an endangered species. Grand Central Terminal, Midtown — Melissa McCart
A big restaurant story to talk about at dinner: Globe-trotting food TV celebrity Anthony Bourdain dished more details about his huge new international food hall in New York this week. He wants Bourdain Market to be a place for more than just food world obsessives and “gringos.” Bourdain hopes Asian immigrants will seek the West Chelsea market out as a place to eat what they used to have at home. But some New Yorkers pointed out that Asian immigrants already have plenty to eat here — in Flushing and Sunset Park. — Serena Dai
Past editions of weekend restaurant picks: noodles at a restaurant that’s chilled out and an easy lunch at a restaurant with a typically tough table