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Dinner 28th & Park?

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Need suggestions for nice solo dinner after an early after work appointment. Don't want to go any place too upscale, nor do I want to sit any place too much a "date" atmosphere. Looking more for a neighborhood feel, on the quiet side.

I used to live somewhat in the area but more on the northern tip of it, so I'm not as familiar with this end.

Any type of food except for asian (but indian would be fine).

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  1. Les Halles maybe? Never been there solo, but in general I've found French Bistros pretty accommodating for solo dining

    1. Park Bistro would probably be my choice. It's directly across the street from Les Halles - it's smaller, quieter, a bit more intimate. If I were dining alone, I think I'd be more comfortable in a place that's not quite as crowded and loud.

      1. yeah, Park Bistro is better than Les Halles. Frankly, I'd probably walk over to Lexington Ave. and go to PAn-Asian Rice try the salmon) or one of the many Indian joints.

        1. I've stayed a couple of times in that area, solo on my part also, and had dinner at a couple of places. I tried Les Halles and liked it. The waiter was really nice. He was French and noticed that I spoke English with an accent (I speak French also since I'm from Montreal) and he was super nice and offered me a glass of port at the end of dinner. The food was good, but the service was even better.
          The best place for solo dining at that area is Campanile (29th street between park and madison). Have dinner at the bar and the owner, Slavko, will take care of you and make you feel like family. The food is really good. I'm going to NY next weekend with my boyfriend and that's the place I'm bringing him for his birthday. He loves Italian food and I know he'll love the place.
          If you don't mind taking the bus, or a cab, you could go to Otto. It is on 8th street at the corner of 5th avenue. Have dinner at the bar. They serve quartinos of wine (around 2 glasses of wine) and they have a great selection of wines.
          If you are on an expense account, you could go to Wolfang's which is on Park a couple of streets north. I think it is around 34th street.
          There's l'Artisanal around 32nd street, between Madison and Park.

          1. Park Bistro or Campanile sound good. I have not been to either, and I've heard good things particularly about Park Bistro here.

            I've been to Les Halles, I like it but it's much too noisy. Same for Artisinal, love it, been there many times but again, too frantic. If I were going for that type of food, I'd pick Artisinal over Les Halles anyway.

            Also, I'm trying to stay local since I need to get back to Penn Station to head home, so going down to Otto makes no sense, tho it sure was a great idea otherwise. I've been wanting to try it but I think my husband would have a fit if I went without him :-)

            BTW no expense account - It is a personal thing I have to do. I've heard Wolfgang's is awful. Last place I'd go if in the mood for steak. Several people I know have been there and were very underwhelmed.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sivyaleah

              I agree with the suggestions here, lots of good choices and I would go to Park Bistro myself (glass of wine, good bistro food (my fave), pleasant atmosphere), however I must repy to your Wolfgangs is awful comment. Wolfgangs is not awful... Both my husband and best friend work right there and we have all (including their co-workers) been to Wolfgangs more than a few times out of convenience and ease, lunch and after work. The food is good to very good, not the best steakhouse in the city but definitely very good if you order right. I have eaten at the bar a few times as well for more casual dining, last time with my best friend a few weeks ago...we split a salad, steak, side of onions and a baked potato. Bartenders were terrific, I am pregnant and they served the steak medium rare so my friend had her preference, cut my slices and took them away to cook through (unfortunate necessity of pregnancy). They split everything for us to make life easy, made her a terrific martini and kept my soda water filled all the time. Made friends at the bar and enjoyed the free homemade potato chips served warm at the bar. Did I mention that everything was delicious?

              I would recommend it if you are in the area and in the mood for that type of place, lots of choices beside steak as well...

            2. The best, inexpensive food in the area, in my opinion, are a handful of the Indian restaurants on or near Lex. Not all are good, but I've found these to be. Saravanaas is my favorite.

              Saravanaas - 81 Lexington Ave on NE corner of 26th St
              Pongal - 110 Lexington Ave btwn 26th & 27th
              Chennai Garden - 129 E. 27th btwn Park & Lex
              Madras Mahal - 104 Lexington Ave btwn 27th & 28th

              2 Replies
              1. re: Jorel

                Thanks Jorel, I'll keep these all in mind if I'm low on time and cash :-) I haven't had Indian in a while, so it's very appealing to me.

                1. re: sivyaleah

                  Chennai Garden and Madras Mahal are the best of that list.

              2. L'Express on Park Ave. South around 20th Street is fun for people-watching as a solo diner and has decent bistro food for relatively good prices.

                2 Replies
                1. re: JennS

                  Agreed on L'Express. A great, casual choice.

                  1. re: xavier

                    I totally forgot about L'Express! Haven't been there in ages and I really like it very much. Good idea!

                2. I would also suggest Houston's, which is located at 27th Street and Park Avenue. Great place to sit at the bar for dinner.

                  1. If you like sushi, you should try Sushi Sen-nin on E. 33 St. between Park and Madison. You can sit at the sushi bar or at a table. Service is very nice and the food is delicious!

                    1. one of my favorite places to dine alone is kitchen 22 on 22nd street between park and 5th. i get their $29 prix fixe at the bar with a few glasses of wine. yum.

                      1. Chinese Mirch on 28th and Lex. Indian-Chinese.
                        Now that they have been renovated, they have a nicer upstairs area,
                        and it's much less chaotic than it was. The service seems better, too.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Muffin

                          Is the food any better? It sure wasn't impressive when I went a few months ago.

                        2. El Parador is good on 34th st between 1st and 2nd I think.

                          1. there's a vietnamese place on 27th and 3rd called ahn. their food is hit or miss but i like their clay pot ginger chicken and you can also order a cocktail. it's never been noisy during my meals there. i also like penelope (on lex - can't remember where). it's a pretty little restaurant with light food - salads, etc. there's a small french place called cosette somewhere in the area - i've been there once and it was pretty good. very cozy.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: jgc10

                              Cosette's at 163 E 33rd, between Lex & 3rd. I'd forgotten about that one. Cute, little place with a relatively small menu of simple French food. The antithesis of Les Halles in atmosphere, and that's not a bad thing.

                              1. re: jgc10

                                Penelope is at 30th and Lex. and is one of my favorite little places in the city. I wish they'd add something new to the menu though...its been the same thing for the 2 1/2 years I've lived in the neighborhood. Cosette is good, Trio (next door to Cosette) is also good but both rooms are fairly ugly.

                              2. How about the Bread Bar at Tabla? That's at Madison and 25th. It's not super cheap, but if you're interested on a light meal, you can get a variety of things and the overall meal won't be exorbitant. Plus, there's the added bonus of being able to sit outside. Of course, if you're at the Bread Bar, you're basically across the street from the Shake Shack, if that's more your cup of tea.

                                A couple of other recommendations I have are:

                                Vatan - 3rd Ave and 29th
                                Rice - Lex and 28th.

                                Vatan is great - but I've never been alone. No menu - it's basically Gujurati style thalis. All you can eat. You can order mild, medium or spicy, and they bring out an "appetizer" thali then an "entree / desert" thali.

                                I don't think food at Rice is remarkable, but I do love the jerk chicken wings and the cranberry rice krispies. The veggie meatballs are reasonable, IMO, as well. (Edit: I know you said no Asian. Rice does make a pass at Asian, so maybe you want to skip it. However, Rice's resemblance to Asian is faint enough that I initially didn't think to disqualify them when writing this.)