If you have the romantic notion that you need to wander freely and choose restaurants in the moment, cure yourself. Do your homework to find the best places in the areas you know you're going to visit, and make reservations whenever possible.
The Breslin Bar & Dining Room Even without a reservation, we didn't wait to be seated at noon. Breakfast, lunch and dinner; 16 West 29th St. (between Broadway and 5th Avenue); 212-679-1939; thebreslin.com.
Lupa Part of the Batali empire, but cozy, casual and zero attitude. Lunch and dinner; 170 Thompson St. (between Bleeker and Houston); 212-982 -5089; make a reservation online at luparestaurant.com.
Pastis Trendy French bistro across from the Gansevoort. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night snacking; 9 Ninth Ave.; call 212-929-4844 for reservations; pastisny.com.
ABC Kitchen A pretty room and honest yet elegant food inside the beautiful ABC Carpet and Home store. Lunch weekdays, brunch Saturdays and Sunday, dinner every night; 35 East 18th St. (between Broadway and Park Avenue); 212-475-5829; make a reservation online at abckitchennyc.com.
Chelsea Market When you're tired of eating in restaurants, stroll through this cool indoor space and pick up whatever you please - baked goods, soup, produce, Italian takeout, cheese, Jacques Torres chocolate, and more. 75 9th Ave. (between 15th and 16th streets); chelseamarket.com.
Of course, even the best plans go off the rails sometimes. Be prepared with the right remedy to restore happiness. Forthwith, destinations to put your trip back on track, with a handy guide to whose emergency each will remedy - your daughter's (D), Mom's (M) or both (B).
Shake Shack (B). Come for legendary burgers, shakes, fries and frozen custard, and a happy, casual atmosphere. 366 Columbus Ave. (at 77th Street - a block from the American Museum of Natural History); shakeshack.com.
Joe The Art of Coffee (M). One of the only hip coffee shops on the Upper West Side, Joe is friendly, crowded and delish. 514 Columbus Ave. (at 85th Street); joetheartofcoffee.com.
Dylan's Candy Bar (D). A colourful candy wonderland guaranteed to chase her blues away. 1011 Third Ave. (at East 60th Street); dylanscandybar.com.
Momofuku Milk Bar (B). A dessert outpost from the brilliant restaurateur and chef David Chang. Don't miss the cereal milk ice cream. 15 W 56th St. (between Fifth and Sixth avenues); other locations around town; momofuku.com/restaurants/milk-bar.
Magnolia Bakery (B). Old fashioned, West Village cupcakes that are as sweet to look at as they are to eat. 401 Bleecker St.; magnoliabakery.com.
Il Laboratorio del Gelato (B) . Lower East Side artisanal gelato with flavours like buttermilk, fresh fig and orange hibiscus. 95 Orchard St. (between Broome and Delancey); laboratoriodelgelato.com.
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