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please help me choose!!

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will be in NYC mid April with 4 other women. I need to choose restaurants for 3 dinners and 3 lunches. Here's what I've come up with
Babbo
the Harrison
Alta
A Voce
Paradou
DB Bistro Moderne
Bette
Crispo
Ssam Bar
Morandi
Balthazar
Asia de Cuba
Spicemarket
Comments please!!

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  1. The food at A Voce is delicious, but the thing that has kept me from returning is the insanely high noise level when the room is full, which makes having a civilized conversation impossible. If this won't bother you and the other women, then go for it.

    I haven't been to dbBistro is quite a while, but the food we've had there has always been excellent. There are two dining spaces (front and back) with attractive contemporary decor. Since it's on the periphery of the Theater District, it gets really slammed pre-theater Tues.-Sat evenings. (Monday most theaters are dark, and on Sunday, there are only matinees.) Therefore, on those nights, you'll have a more relaxing experience if you make your dinner reservations after 8 p.m.

    1. crsipo-always good, comfortable space, flavor!
      babbo-always! please get the tongue vinaigrette
      i definitely say no to paradou=underwhelming
      morandi-too new for me, do a search on chowhound it has been written up
      speicemarket-one of the nicest, transporting to s.e. asia, spots you will eatin. the food although good, is uneven.
      db bistromoderne-known for the foie/short rib/ truffle burger. i found it good, not transcenedent. it was a while ago so i can't recall other stuff i ate.
      the harrison-great
      asia d cuba-again long time ago. great for big crowds, great rockwell (i think) designed.they bring you lots to try. trust them with a variety of foods to sample
      momofuku ssam bar-too casual for your purposes, but good.it's cafeteria style
      balthazar- always an event. great meat preparations, good raw bar.although my service was spotty last time.i have had too many enjoyable meals to indict the place on one meal
      bette,alta-never been. have heard goods and bads from others who have been to both
      i say suck it up and do a voce i love this place. if you do an a voce search under my name you'll see what i said.
      great luck

      1. A Voce gets great feedback all the time
        Il Bagato is fun and great food for dinner. very reasonably priced
        Babbo great
        Make sure you do one meal in the meatpacking area....5 ninth, Nero
        Deborah or Sushi Samba 7ave south are great lunch or dinner alternatives

        what type of places are you looking for? more specific I can help better w/ sugg's. where will you be staying?

        1. don't miss A Voce.

          I would add Bella Vitae (Italian - get a lot of dishes and share) and Boqueria (tapas - ditto). I really like both.

          I think you can do a lot better than Asia de Cuba and would knock it off the list.

          Spice market is a lot of fun and actually quite good food-wise too.

          1. mr seabass likes 3 i like alot a voce, bellavitae and boqueria.

            1. thanks for the Meatpacking choices---definitely an area we wanted to try. We are looking for innovative and well cooked food with a trendy atmosphere. Love Italian, not interested in steakhouses.

              1. You have a great selection! Here will be my suggestion:
                To Keep: Babbo, A Voce, Crispo, Ssam Bar , Balthazar (for brunch)
                May be: Harrison, DB Bistro Moderne
                Substitute: Alta with Tia Pol or Boqueria or my new favorite: Degustation
                Skip: Paradou, Asia de Cuba, Spicemarket (very ordinary food)
                Can't comment: Bette and Moranti (haven't been yet)

                I would add Eleven Madison Park to you list, and will only do Ssam Bar for dinner. If you want to try more restaurants for dinner time, you can always visit Ssam for late night food. It opens till 2am and I think it is actually more fun to go late night!

                If you like Italian and trendy, then Del Posto by Batali (Meatpacking district) is great!

                5 Replies
                1. re: kobetobiko

                  I had considered Degustation as love the concept of small plates. It was the only restaurant I couldn't find on Menu Pages.

                  1. re: trishottawa

                    any other comments re Nero or Deborah's? Any other Meatpacking highlights?

                    1. re: trishottawa

                      If you want to eat in the Meatpacking District, I'd do Spice Market. As others have said, food is good not great, but the space is fun and it's a good girls night place. There's also Barbuto, just a few blocks south of the Meat, check the board and you'll find posts on it, though if you're doing Crispo and Babbo (both great) and A Voce (haven't been) you probably won't want another Italian.

                      Never been to Nero. My experience with Deborah was fine, but it didn't feel like somewhere I'd go out of my way for. I see it as simply a solid place to eat when in the neighborhood. I wouldn't add it to your list. As for some of the suggestions above, I love both Alta and Tia Pol, but they're very different. Tia Pol is spanish tapas in a cramped modern dark space. Alta is small plates of more eclectic european and new american food for the most part, cozy space, bigger tables, more of a real restaurant (and better to hang out for a long time in) than a tapas bar.

                    2. re: trishottawa

                      Hi, this is the link of Degustation's menu in New York Magazine:

                      http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...

                      I went for the tasting menu once and a larte carte twice and it was delicious everytime!

                    3. re: kobetobiko

                      degustation is special!

                    4. be sure to make your degustation rez early, they only have 16 seats

                      babbo always gets my vote
                      ssam bar is fun
                      spice market is great fun, and yummy. hopefully it will be warm enough you can sit outside!

                      i had a quite enjoyable/trendy/fun meal at the EU on friday night. food was great, great atmosphere and crowd, well done wine list with really good prices. check it out.

                      1. Bette = melt-in-your-mouth scallops and fun drinks
                        Babbo = unbelieveably good. Worth every penny! Tasting menu is divine.
                        Asia de Cuba = really pretty decor, amazing coconut cake.
                        The Harrison = very cozy atmosphere and FONDUE! yum!
                        Spice Market = cool, laid back atmosphere. Food is pretty good -- especially the coconut rice. When you're there in April, hopefully the weather will be pretty and you can sit next to the open windows.
                        Balthazar = yummy for brunch. Good people-watching

                        Also recommended:
                        Cafe Habana = go for lunch or mid-afternoon after shopping in Soho. Amazing food and a cool hipster vibe. The place is TINY though so expect to wait unless you get there at an odd time or go to the takeout place next door. MAKE SURE YOU GET THE CORN!
                        Red Cat = sister restaurant of The Harrison. Very good food.

                        Have fun!

                        1. definitely no to Bette and Paradou. Spice Mkt is fun but food is good, not great. However, if you don't live here, it is a unique experience and lots of ppl like it. Same w/Asia De Cuba. Babbo, Crispo, Lupa, Supper--can't go wrong with any of them. If u go to Crispo, try to sit in the back enclosed garden w/fireplace. Dining room is VERY loud, low-ceiling equals terrible acoustics. I go there often but always avoid main dining room. Just had a very fun dinner at Baltazar. You may want to try Pastis if you can't get in there. Lots of celeb sightings at both and food is pretty good at both. It's a scene for sure. Have fun. Also consider Le Zie for Italian.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: fat parish

                            one of our evenings will be at the theater and as none of us wants an early dinner we are looking for late lunch and post theater light meal ideas. We are happy to cab it to any neighbourhood.

                          2. Babbo - a must for dinner. you need to reserve exactly a month in advance.
                            the Harrison - is okay, an alternative can be sister resto the red cat or mermaid inn
                            Paradou - don't bother
                            DB Bistro Moderne - nothing great
                            Crispo - is okay, but I still prefer Lupa
                            Ssam Bar - maybe a good option for a cheap lunch as they don't accept reservations and can be hectic for dinner.
                            Morandi - will probably a fun place to visit as it's so new.
                            Balthazar - always worth the trip, Pastis and cheaper sibling Schiller's are good options too specially for late lunches.