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it's my birthday! where to have dinner for 7 on saturday?

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i'm having dinner with an eclectic collection of people, including my mother and my 25-year-old roommate. last year we went to 'Cesca, which was perfect both in terms of atmosphere and price. what's a good bet for a large party, mid-to-expensive range, and not oppressively loud and hip?

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  1. Alta on W. 10th. Good for groups and lots of interesting small plates (not just typical tapas choices), so you get to pass around and share a lot of good things.

    1. Capsouto Freres. They have big round tables which are perfect.

      1. You guys might like Mai House down in Tribeca, where I had a really fine dinner. Tables are round and pleasant. But reserve now, because it's being reviewed in the NY Times tomorrow and if the review is a good one, reservations will be tough to get. (And I guess if you're dismayed by the review, you could always cancel!)

        Another suggestion: Artisanal. It is a bit on the loud side but I find the atmosphere bustling and fun. Fondue is fun in groups!

        1. I think Crispo could fit the bill nicely.

          Also, Otto?

          1. great suggestions! i made a reservation at Alta and also on a whim called Cookshop, which would be perfect except that - naturally - they're booked solid.

            As it happens, I've had past birthday celebrations at both Artisanal and Otto. Artisanal was delicious but loud, as ever, and the service and food at Otto was astonishingly bad (I'd been several times before and it'd been much better).

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            1. re: helenheaven

              I really hope you like it. I'd be very surprised if there's not something for everyone and then some on the menu. I've had some great meals with groups there. Enjoy and happy birthday!