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Recommendation sought for 8 people flatiron area

I am meeting academic colleagues on Friday night for dinner in the Flatiron area. There are 8 of us, from all over the country, some vegetarians, want to eat light but at a nice, hip, not too loud place. Age range of dinners 35 – 65. I am flexible with the location, originally we wanted Otto Enoteca and Pizzeria or Buddakan but both are booked. I thought about Balthazar but it is too expensive. Any ideas? hilary@hilarylorenz.com

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  1. None of the restaurants you mentioned are in the Flatiron area. In that area, Via Emilia, Giorgio's of Gramercy, or Craftbar (but don't expect great food at Craftbar).

    2 Replies
    1. re: Lucia

      I like Via Emilia and Giorgio's, but I wouldn't consider either of them really hip. Of the two, Via Emilia definitely has more modernistic decor, which gives it a kind of hip feel. However, it is popular with families because it's very kid-friendly. I think it has more options for vegetarians than Giorgio's. Keep in mind that Via Emilia does not take reservations, and it's cash only.


      Barbounia has something of a hip feel. There are lots of small plates on the Mediterranean menu that make for light eating, many of which will work for vegetarians. The space is huge and has really attractive decor. It can be on the loud side but not to the point of being deafening.


      1. re: Lucia

        yes Lucia you are very right that the places I named are not in the area. My guest's original request was to stay in the flatiron area but she wanted to eat at Otto which is downtown. Ultimately they would say if we can find a good priced, light dinner menu in flatiron for 8 people that is ideal, but they are willing to travel. thanks for your suggestions

      2. Gonzo has great food, reasonable price and is on 13th.

        Mexicana Mama is nearby. Republic is in Union Sq.

        1. I'm not sure about the not too loud part, but Republic in Union Square just a little south of the Flatiron is very good for light, hip, vegetarian friendly food. Rosa Mexicano would be a pick of mine as well. I like Haru for sushi, on Park and 17th or 18th, although I believe that might be a controversial choice among Chowhounds.

          1. You could try Bolo or Mesa Grill. Rosa Mexicano is the Mexican restaurant nearby. That's always a fun spot and the food is good.

              1. re: jsmitty

                I am a huge fan of Veritas. However, if you read the o.p.'s post carefully, you will see the comment that Balthazar is "too expensive." If that's the case, then Veritas is definitely above their budget. Also, it's hardly the place to eat lightly -- except, perhaps, at the bar -- and the menu is not vegetarian-friendly.

              2. OH! Le Petite Abeille is also really good. Belgian bistro, great salads, and bistro staples. It's on 17th between 5th & 6th.

                1. Bouqueria 19th&Sixth Ave - authentic tapas - accomodates large parties with sharing tables
                  Basta Pasta 16th bet Fifth/Sixth Iron chef type kitchen in front of house Good food&service
                  Crema bet Sixth/Seventh Modern Mexican great salads Dinner prefixe $27

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: scone07

                    Bocqueria is great, but I would think it would be too loud for the original poster. It's very hectic there. And hslorenz should be warned that they don't have regular seating, it's all high tables and bar stools. But I agree, the food is excellent and so is the atmosphere.

                  2. I love Devi - upscale Indian - on 18th St. between 5th and B'way. Really delicious and beautiful atmosphere.

                    1. Beppe is a place I would describe to be exactly what you say you're looking for. Mixed age, but cool crowd. Excellent food, including great pasta and vegetable dishes for the vegetarians. Really pretty atmosphere and nice service. Not too big, popular, but not exactly trendy. Another nice place is Barbounia on Park around 22nd St. Very lovely atmosphere, grilled fish, fresh salads - Greek/Mediterranean food. Can be expensive, but very nice.

                      1. i would recommend Via Emilia. Superb Italian. Must try the Lasgana. Only drawback is cash only.