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Dinner before an opera

Gave my parents tickets to see and opera at the Met this weekend and looking to find a place to send them to dinner beforehand. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks.

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    1. Telepan come to mind - others have recommended Compass, which I've not tried. Picholine recently reopened and I recall one negative review about it in the last week or two (which doesn't mean I wouldn't try it). Despite the nay-sayers, I always enjoy the food at Rosa Mexicano - right across the street from Lincoln Center. Sapphire is a pretty decent Indian place a couple of blocks south of LC.

      4 Replies
      1. re: MMRuth

        Second Telepan and Compass. Although I lean more towards Telepan.

        1. re: MMRuth

          Here's a link to the recent Picholine review - albeit brief.


          1. re: MMRuth

            I agree with you about Rosa Mexicano, MMRuth. If you avoid the pressure to order their ridiculously overpriced guacamole, you can have a very decent meal there. Another place I like, also with a lot of naysayers here, is Luxembourg Cafe, right next door to Compass on West 70th. I find it comfy and rather charming, although sometimes a bit crowded. And I've never had a bad meal there. Very good French comfort food.

            1. re: JoanN

              And I actually like the guacamole - overpriced though it is!

          2. If they like Japanese, Bar Masa.

              1. Picholine is excellent but very upscale and expensive. We stopped going there before operas years ago because it was rushed and not nearly as good as when you go there "to dine."

                If they can walk to 70th St., we loved Compass. They have a $35 prix fixe, but even if you don't choose that, it's not much more. That doesn't include tax, tip or drinks. Telepan is on our list for the future - more expensive.

                Fiorello Cafe (or maybe Cafe Fiorello) is right across the street and is deservedly popular. However, it is hard to get reservations for before the opera - probably too late, but you can try. They would probably enjoy it.

                3 Replies
                1. re: sylviag

                  According to Frank Bruni's recent 3* review of Picholine in the NYTimes, Picholine has relaxed its rules and "you can elect fewer courses or one of more than a dozen small à la carte dishes and cheese plates at the bar." I'm definitely going to give this a try soon.

                  1. re: Blumie

                    i didn't read the Bruni review, but i've never noticed any "rules" there in the past...in fact, although i've only been there about 3 times, we've always ordered odd combos of appetizers, soups, and/or split entrees as compliments to the cheese plate (the main reason to go there, imho)...

                  2. re: sylviag

                    I've actually had luck walking into Fiorello before operas, but I've only done it on weeknights--maybe it won't be bad since it's Thanksgiving weekend?

                  3. We just went to see Barber of Seville two weekends ago and I had posted the list for restaurants within walking distance. We ate at Cafe des Artistes. Expensive, but definitely worth it. The service and the food were outstanding. We had early reservations (5:00) and made it quite comfortably to the opera.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Andiereid

                      What did you have to eat? It's a sentimental favorite (first date with DH) but haven't been for years except for a late glass of champagne.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        I had a most delicious duck breast, my husband had the pot a feau. It really was delicious and the service was wonderful. My husband's parents loved it. They were with us. The opera was wonderful too, if they're going to see "Barber".

                        1. re: Andiereid

                          Wow! That wasn't in any way our experience at Cafe des Artistes when we dined there pre-opera. The food was mediocre at best, seating was extremely cramped, and the service was of the very brusque, how-fast-can-we-get-you-out-of-here variety. Granted, this was a few years ago, but it definitely left a bad taste in my mouth (pun intended), and I have no desire to go back.

                          1. re: RGR

                            Oh, that's too bad. We had a marvelous time. The wait staff was wonderful and extremely accomodating. The seating was a little crowded, but that was my experience with every place we ate in NY that weekend, so I didn't mind it much.

                    2. If they aren't comfortable getting around, dinner is available on the premises at the Met starting two hours before each performance. Likely, not cheap.

                      1. What about Gabriel's on W. 60 St. I haven't been there in a few years, but I remember having excellent food.

                        1. Hmm. Has anyone tried the restaurant at the Met? My companion does have trouble getting around. Cabbing over and eating there has some appeal, although I hate to go to New York and not try new restaurants.


                          2 Replies
                          1. re: linFinkle

                            they also offer the option of preordering and eating at intermission..

                            1. re: linFinkle

                              We have had lunch in the Grand Tier Restaurant several times before attending the ballet, and we've found the food to be surprisingly delicious. Service is quite efficient, seating is very comfortable, and the overall ambiance is lovely.

                              Note: Previously, only people attending performances in the Metropolitan Opera House had access to the Grand Tier Restaurant. However, that has been changed, and anyone attending a performace at any of the Lincoln Center venues can now dine there.

                            2. Thanks to all for your suggestions. We sent them to Compass, which they both seemed to have enjoyed a lot.

                              1. Rosa Mexicana is good and I like the guacamole! Saphire (Indian) is another good choice. One of the better Indian restaurants in the city. Nick and Toni's is one of my favorite places to eat. Fiorella's is choppy - sometimes great, often mediocre, and occasionally bad.

                                For cheaper fare, head up Columbus to Penang. Or try La Fenice on Broadway near the Loews.