Manhattan is one of the world's culinary capitals. In certain parts of town there are so many good choices that you could decide where to eat by flipping a coin.

Of the restaurants listed below, I ate at Kelly and Ping (yum yum) and had dessert at an Italian pastry shop called Rocco's (magnifico!). But I peeked into many of the others, inhaling deeply to take in the aromas. The eateries on this list are the recommendations of the Big Apple Greeter guide.- Kelly and Ping, 127 Greene St., 212-228-1212. An Asian grocery store and noodle shop. A favorite with everybody - college kids, young families, empty nesters. I had a vegetarian lunch - fabulous! The bill for two people was shy of $12.

- Harmony Palace, 98 Mott St., 212-941-4697. Serves Cantonese cuisine with dim-sum you'll never forget. The Saturday morning I strolled by, the place was packed with Chinese-Americans. You know what they say: Eat where the locals do.

- Rocco's Pastry Shop & Espresso Cafe, 243 Bleecker St. (in the Village), 212-242-6031. A visual and confectionary treat. The pastries are a work of art. And they taste better than they look. Savor each mouthful because they don't come cheap.

- Balthazar Restaurant & Oyster Bar and Balthazar Boulangerie, 80 Spring St., 212-965-1785. The restaurant has all the charm of a French eatery. The bakery next door has an array of pastries and breads that will knock your socks off. If you can walk out the bakery door empty handed, you have no stomach.

- John's Pizzeria, 278 Bleecker St., 212-243-1680. Serves only whole pizzas. (Don't worry, they're reputedly good enough that you'll be able to eat the whole thing.) A large one costs $11; a medium one $9.75.

- Dean & Deluca, 560 Broadway, 212-226-6800. A gourmet food store that's worth going in just to look around. You'll want to fortify yourself with something from the bakery, which you can eat at the stand-up counter.

- Zabar's Broadway and 81st St., is the ultimate food specialty store.