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25th Anniversary meals

  • m

My wife loves NYC and so we're planning a trip for our 25th anniversary about two weeks before Christmas. We will eat at a variety of places, but I want to have at least one special dinner and lunch. Cost is not a concern but I want to feel we got our moneys worth. My wife is a farm girl at heart and is not accustomed to fancy restaurants so it is important that the staff is friendly and helpful. I want our dining experience to be as memorable as possible. Also, how early can and should reservations be made? Any suggestions will be much appreciated.

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  1. I've always been impressed by how nicely *everyone* is treated at the Union Square Cafe. I'm sure your wife will feel comfortable there. As far as the food goes, I'm always happy there, but there's been much discussion of the pros and cons of this place on these boards--you might want to check it out.

    You should be fine if you reserve a couple of months in advance, but do keep in mind that's a very busy season.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Sharon A

      Just made reservations for OUR anniversary at Gramercy Tavern. For a late June date, they wouldn't accept reservations until approximately one month in advance. They told me the exact date to call, the exact time the lines would be open, and advised me that people really DO call that early (9:30 am on a Saturday.)I guess that's hospitality these days. Anyway, it worked. We got 8:00 pm reservations on a Saturday nite. Not bad.

      1. re: Andrew
        j
        Jessica Shatan

        Good going!
        My experience with most hard-to-reserve places is they only take the res 1 month in advance. But it's always good to ask.
        ALSO: my advice would be to have lunch at Union Square Cafe, it's so warm and friendly and a bit more casual than GT so you can be wearing your walking-around-town clothes. Reserve for a Mon, Wed, Fri or Sat and then you can stroll around the Union Square Green Market after in Union Sq. Park (in NYC Farmers Markets are called Greenmarkets)

        1. re: Jessica Shatan

          NY's farmer's markets are called Greenmarkets...except by a lot of us who shop there and simple call them "the farmer's market".

          Gramercy has a more civilized, serene and beautiful environment that Union Square Cafe - its quieter and the tables are farther apart - I have family members who have been underwhelmed by USC for special occasion meals, so my pick would be Gramercy.

          1. re: jen kalb
            j
            Jessica Shatan

            Well, he is looking for a dinner and a lunch. I think he's set for the big anniversery dinner at GT.

            Call the mkts what you like, I just know some times out-of-towners don't realize that the greenmarket is the same as a farmers market.

            1. re: Jessica Shatan

              I very much appreciate all the good advice. Didn't realize I would start a prolonged discussion on greenmarket = farmers market. By the way I did know the two are the same. I'm old enough that I have many insignificant facts stored in the old brain.

    2. I'd go to Bouley Bakery for lunch ($35 for 5 courses - while it feels blasphemous to reduce their phenomenal food to a "great deal", it is a MINDBLOWINGLY great deal), and either Picholine or Gramercy Tavern for dinner.

      One warning - a search on "Bouley Bakery" will yield some long, angry tirades - don't let those scare you. Recent posts have all been positive. If you don't mind eating a little early, an 11:30 lunch gives you time to establish a good rapport with the waitstaff before things get busy.

      1. I think you'll find friendly and helpful service at any of Danny Meyers's restaurants--Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, Tabla--it's his hallmark. I wouldn't recommend EMP for an anniversary, as it is a bit cavernous and doesn't feel at all intimate. Besides, if cost doesn't matter and you're looking for the best meal, Gramercy wins. It doesn't feel stuffy at all, but is a really nice atmosphere. I'd think you could and should reserve 6-8 weeks ahead for Gramercy or Picholine.

        1. I'd second the Gramercy Tavern suggestions. I'm not exactly sure what puts people off by the staff at the fancier French restaurants, but I have to admit it's a common reaction. Gramercy Tavern has managed to offer first class service in a way that seems comfortable to almost any and everyone - or at least every and anyone from both New York and middle America. I've not spoken to any old European aristocracy about it. ;-)

          I should also mention that the food is as good as any in NYC, if possibly a little less fancy. I guess that won't hurt either.

          1. I agree with the Gramercy Tavern suggestion for dinner. For lunch, try Aquagrill in Soho. Small intimate restaurant with great seafood. The waitstaff is very friendly and laid back.

            1. I agree with the recommendation of GT, but you cannot reserve there more than 4 weeks in advance. I'd advise getting on the phone at 9 AM Eastern time on the day which is exactly 4 weeks prior to your desired day.

              I recently made a reservation there. I called around 10:30, 4 weeks early, and all they had avaialable was 6:30 or 9.....

              Once you get in, everything is good, and staff is wonderful