Toni's Take on Real Estate : Getting It Right in Gramercy

12/05/2011 07:21 pm ET | Updated Feb 04, 2012

I have a dear friend whom I love to death: It was her birthday, and to celebrate the occasion, I was dying to take her to famed TriBeCa eatery Locanda Verde. But it was impossible to get a reservation on short notice, and the birthday girl had a newborn at home so we didn't have the luxury of going and waiting.

So I picked BLT Prime on East 22nd Street, in Manhattan's tastefully trendy Gramercy Park neighborhood. It was amazing. I have become a regular there, and we were treated like royalty. They sent us a fantastic selection of salamis and cured meats and these fabulous grilled cheese bites with tiny bits of bacon and truffles. And to top it off a tray of unbelievable popovers that are totally, hands-down, worth breaking any diet for (they also attach the recipe to the tray so you can do this at home... Not.)

We also ordered wine of course (BLT Prime's wine list is both extensive and wonderful). And as far as main courses, my personal favorite is the short ribs but you honestly can't go wrong with anything you order there, even the fish.

BLT Prime isn't the only great restaurant in Gramercy Park though. This chic, low-key neighborhood is actually a goldmine for fine dining. There's a collection of fun restaurants nearby including Novita on E 22nd, as well as my good friend Stephen Hanson's Wildwood Barbecue on Park Avenue South.

Given the neighborhood's classic, discreet vibe, it's no wonder it's starting to attract trendsetters of all kinds -- and with its prime location between Union Square and the Flatiron District Gramercy is as centrally located as it is sophisticated.

... Stay tuned for more of my top neighborhood spots and favorite finds.