Welcome to Ask Eater, a column from Eater New York where the site’s editors, reporters, and critics answer specific or baffling restaurant requests from readers and friends. A new question and answer will run every Thursday. Have a question for us? Submit your question in this form.
I live in Brooklyn and work in Chelsea and frequently have family visit and stay in Times Square. Now, I have a close family friend visiting with her 10-year-old granddaughter, and she wants to stay in Times Square to get the ultimate New York experience. When it comes to eating around there, I am clueless! We need a place that both the granddaughter and her grandma and everyone in-between can enjoy, including one vegetarian. Nothing too fancy, please.
— Reluctant Tourist
Hello Reluctant Tourist,
Haven’t we all been there. Try as we might, Times Square is just sometimes unavoidable. Before you panic and head into the nearest Olive Garden, walk just two avenues west over to Restaurant Row on 46th Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues. The street is similarly studded with subpar, if at least independently owned, restaurants, but some stand out.
One such old reliable is Becco, which has been a Theater District dining stalwart for 24 years now. It’s a Lidia Bastianich spot, which means Italian comfort food and buzzy vibes. While nothing at Becco will blow your mind, everything is just enough above average to make it a great go-to.
Plus, the unlimited pasta deal, perfect for the granddaughter, simply can’t be beat: Caesar salad or an antipasto with unlimited amounts of three daily special pastas. Past versions have included options such as orecchietti with braised cauliflower and roasted bacon, gnocchi alla Romana with Grana Padano, and spaghetti alla chitarra with tomato and basil. If you’re not looking to carb load (hi, grandma friend!), the rest of the safe menu, with plenty of vegetarian options, will do you right, not to mention the $29 wine bottle — yes, bottle — list.
Do note that if you go before a show, it is guaranteed to be packed — and fast. The restaurant is used to rushing people out quickly before the lights flicker on Broadway.
Hope this helps!