Midtown, dinner for six 30-somethings
So 2 of my friends from work and their significant others, my wife and I are planning on dinner next Friday. We're all Manhattanites, and all work in midtown. We're mostly all foodies, but consider midtown to be a bit of a wasteland (except at the real high end) for "good" restaurants. We don't want some suit-dominated place (none of us are "suits"), but somewhere fun with great food and good service.
I was tempted by Bar Americain, but now have read mixed reviews on here so am a bit scared. But that price range seems to be fair, a bit cheaper is fine, more expensive is probably not fine. Some of my favorite places in other parts of town are Telepan, Crispo, Apizz, or nearly anything that Steve Hanson runs.
Only limitation is no Mexican or Indian. And for "Midtown" let's say between 42nd and 57th street.
Recommendations? Thanks in advance!:)
While I agree that L'Impero does have excellent Italian food, very good service and is fairly casual, I wouldn't call it a "fun" place because the overall ambiance is on the quieter side. In fact, it has quite a romantic feel. Definitely, definitely not anything like the bright and brassy atmospherics of Bar Americain. If that's the kind of vibe you're after...
I recommend that you consider Amalia, the relatively new restaurant, on 55th St., b/t B'way & 7th Av. The Mediterranean cuisine is delicious, the staff couldn't have been nicer, and the beautiful decor has a hip feel. We were there on a Sunday just a week after they opened, so it was pretty quiet. But I'd venture to guess that now that things have gotten going, it's a very convivial spot. Btw, while it's too soon for any major newspaper reviews (though I'm sure they're coming), you might want to have a look at Andrea Strong's write-up.
felidia's on 58th might do the trick. vg food and service. if you like telepan (i do) you'll love felidia's.