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Please help me find the right place

I am having dinner with 3 old friends from high school--haven't seen them in almost 20 years. They are all coming in to "The City" for the occasion from there suburban homes. I want to find a place that has great food, but casual and not too expensive, preferably downtown. I would love them to be wowed by a fun and delicious restaurant experience. Olive Garden is out. I was thinking about Frank in the East Village but they don't take reservations. Thanks!!

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  1. I'm assuming that you're looking for Italian?

    5 Replies
    1. re: LFeinberg

      No, really flexible. No Mexican or Japanese.

      1. re: juliebrooklyn

        People will want me ousted for this, but I think The Stanton Social would be perfect for you all. The food encourages interaction and the atmosphere is very fun.

        1. re: LFeinberg

          Why would you think we would oust you for that rec, LFeinberg? Just because you happen to love it and suggest it whenever possible (says she who appears to have a "thing" for Eleven Madison and suggests it whenever possible)... lol

          That said, having never been to Stanton Social, I can't say from personal experience if it's a good suggestion for the o.p.'s needs. It's now been open for about two years, and my daughter and a big group of friends celebrated her birthday there shortly after it opened. They had a good time, and though they said the food was fine, they didn't rave about it. As far as I know, none of them has been back.

          I think Hearth, which is in the East Village, would be a good place for this occasion. The food is delicious; service is very friendly and efficient; there's a very New York feel about the ambiance; and there is a nice upbeat vibe in the big front dining room while at the same time, the noise level does not impede conversation.

          http://www.restauranthearth.com

          1. re: LFeinberg

            Thanks so much for your input--this is my 1st time posting and I think I am hooked. Best, julie p.s. I thoroughly loved 11 madison

            1. re: juliebrooklyn

              Welcome, juliebrooklyn! So glad to hear you're a member of the EMP fan club! I hope you will post here often with your restaurant experiences and opinions.

              P.S. Given your screen name, don't forget about the Outer Boroughs board. Lots of action there.

      2. Il Bagatto on 2nd Street between Aves A & B is the bandwagon I always jump on.

        1. Also check out Blue Ribbon Bakery. Great food, casual, not too expensive, downtown. On the corner of Bedford and Downing if I remember correctly.

          1. I went to August two weekend ago and loved it. If you can go on the early side and don't mind having a couple glasses of wine while you wait, Freeman's and The Spotted Pig are two of my favorites.

            1. If it's a weekday and hopefully a few weeks off, call Lupa right now and book. Try and sit in back and it should be quiet enough to catch up. The food is amazing for the price.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ronoc

                I recommend 'inoteca although they also don't take reservations. Tapas style Italian with a great wine list...

                1. re: xtgirl

                  How about Schiller's? You might get them to take a reservation if you explain.