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Best BYO restaurants in New York

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by Dora Bona (subscribe)
A freelance writer, and amateur photographer Dora also teaches creative writing classes. Check out her website at
Published April 24th 2011
There's no doubt that dining out in New York is a fabulous experience. It doesn't have to be costly, but it's often the wine that adds big dollars to the check.

Many licensed restaurants (BYO) allow you to bring your own favorite wine. They usually do charge a hefty corkage fee - however some of these waive their corkage fee on quiet nights like Mondays and Tuesdays.

There are also several excellent non-licensed restaurants (BYOB) in New York which offer excellent cuisine, a great night out, and can really reduce the cost of the bill. I've always been big on choices, so I've put together a list of a few I think are really worth a visit.

If you're a sushi lover, you'll love everything about Cherin Sushi. It's a little small and busy, but the food is inexpensive. The menu has it all. Soups for under $5. You're spoilt for choice with salads, fresh and cooked seafood, noodles and of course my favorite sashimi. You can get an assorted 10pc of raw fish with a side of rice for just $19.

The best thing is no corkage fee.
Location: 306 E 6th St, New York
Phone: (212) 388-1348

Located in the heart of New York's Lower East Side, Kuma Inn is a cosy little hard-to-find restaurant tucked away on the second floor, serving Filipino, Thai, and Southeast Asian cuisine.
Kuma Inn serves tasty small plates at a reasonable price. It's an original and unusual menu consisting of a variety of meats, seafood and vegetables, all served tapas style.

This is a particularly fun way to eat, as you get to share a myriad of flavors, textures and aromas all on the one plate. Here's an example of a wonderful meal for two to share. The yellowfin tuna tartare with rice noodle crisp (at just $10) Wasabi pork shumai ($7) Crispy pork spring rolls ($7) Deep fried pork belly ($12) steamed mussels with kaffir lime lemongrass coconut curry ($11.50)
Corkage fee is between $1 (for beer) - $5 (for 750ml wine)
Location: 113 Ludlow street, 2nd floor (between Delancy & Rivington)
Phone: (212).353.8866

Tartine is an insanely popular quaint and busy French themed restaurant. If you're prepared to queue, then it's worth the wait. If you don't mind back to back dining with little legroom, then this terrific restaurant will impress you with its simple, delicious French fare.

Nothing on the menu is over $25 and there is no corkage fee.
Recommended choices are Menu Bouchee a la reine (chicken pot pie), $17; spicy chicken with guacamole and french fries, $18
Location: 253 W. 11th St. Manhattan
Phone: (212)-229-2611

If you love the idea of a tiny French-Caribbean café on the Upper West Side, then you'll be right at home. Ivo & Lulu's is rustic, that's for sure. The menu is absolutely luscious with nothing over $20. The grilled avocados stuffed with spinach mousse, is very easy on the palate. Pheasant terrine covered in an herbed Brie crust is crazy good. Add to this the fact that you're drinking your own wine - and you have the recipe for a perfect long boozy afternoon/evening.

There is no corkage fee.
Location: 558 Broome St., New York, NY 10013 nr. Varick St.
Phone: 212-226-4399

Panna 2 is a wonderful Indian restaurant if you're in the mood for that cuisine. The gaudy decor does nothing to put you off the food which is affordable, fresh lively Indian cuisine at its best.

The menu is varied and has excellent curries. A great choice is the Seafood Dinner...a selection of any Seafood Entree, Appetizer, Soup, Paratha, Condiments, and Dessert.
$15.00 for one...$28.00 for two.
No corkage fee.
Location: 93 1st Avenue (bet. 5th & 6th Street)
Phone: 212-598-4610

Just a few of the many very decently priced restaurants offering amazing food and allowing you to partake of your very own favorite wine at the price you want to pay.

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Why? Because BYO is the way to go.
When: lunch & dinner
Where: Manhattan
Cost: Very reasonably priced
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