Upper West Side, New York USA
List out your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location.
Ok, so I'm going to broadly interpret "your location" as Manhattan.
5) The sadly-defunct Makor
Kosher dairy, which was great for an early dinner, not too expensive, and really close to Lincoln Center. I guess now when I am going to the Met I'll have to eat at Levana. Which is really a much different experience.
4) Seamless Web: Not really a restaurant so much as a way to obtain food, amazing for lazy Sundays/ any day of the week that you want to sit at home and order in without ever talking to a human being. It would be even more awesome if you could order from Ali Baba.
3) Ali Baba: The best shwarma on the Upper West Side, which probably isn't saying much, but Ali Baba is great. It's at 84th and Amsterdam, and on weekends open until 3am. Unfortunately it's getting expensive ($12 for shwarma laffa, and $9.50 for shwarma pita), but unlike Chickpea the heksher* is ironclad. Also super-convenient for those of us on the UWS.
2)Chennai Garden: one of the (many) vegetarian Indian restaurants in the 27th and Lexington neighborhood, this one has a teudah* in the window so stringent, it's in Yiddish. Also the food is great, super-cheap, and I've never had trouble getting a table. The decor is fun too. Not so great for a date place, or anytime that you want a private conversation as the tables are really, really close together.
1) Buddha Bodai: my favorite Chinese restaurant. It's at the corner of Mott and Worth (on the edge of Chinatown), and I've actually had dinner there for $10/person including tip. For those who really love the standard Kosher Chinese food, this is not the place for you. It is traditional Buddhist Chinese, so no meat, and they use tofu to create fake meat. Their dimsum on Sunday mornings is amazing. You know that a Chinese place is good when a lot of the customers are Asian, or in this case, half Asian, half Jews.
And last, I know that it isn't a restaurant, but KosherNY is actually pretty great. I get email updates on kashrut news, and they list every restaurant that I've heard of, some I hadn't, and include information about the heksher. It's a better resource than any other list out there.
*A heksher is a certification of Kashrut, given by a Rabbi or group of Rabbis to a restaurant or product.
*Teudah literally means announcement, and is a poster or piece of paper in the window/door of a restaurant announcing it's kashrut, and whose supervision the restaurant is under.