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Small group of girlfriends going to NYC for a weekend

without kids or husbands- we;re in our late 30s - I';m pregnant (so won't be drinking but still want to have fun). We are staying at the westin times square..

I'd appreciate some ideas for :
1) Friday night- fun dinner but not too young of a crowd, good food essential- can be anywhere in Manhattan.. I was thinking of Stanton Social based on what i read- thoughts? other ideas? Price range mid (not super expensive like Daniel)- any suggestions of a bar or lounge to go to afterwards would be great (near the restaurant we go to?)

2) pretheater dinner- in theater district- read quite a few but recommendations were dated- prefer reasonable - not as much as Friday night.. fixed price menu helps.. I saw Cascina, Becco, Marseille (I read it was $20 but nothing on their website)

3) great people watching but good food lunch place- not sure where we'll be saturday but i imagine shopping, spa.. sorry- can;t be specific here since not sure- we can cab it of course..

Thank you so much!

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  1. Re: Pre-theater dining

    Cascina's food is good, and the rustic atmospherics are pleasant. They have a pre-theater prix-fixe for $24.50.

    http://www.cascina.com/c1/pretmenu.html

    Marseille serves excellent French/Mediterranean cuisine in a very attractive brasserie setting that has a nice upbeat vibe. The menu is strictly a la carte, so no prix-fixe.

    http://www.marseillenyc.com

    I'm not a fan of Becco. The antipasti are o.k., but I think the pastas are mediocre. Seating is extremely cramped, and the noise level is so insanely high that it becomes impossible to carry on a conversation without shouting. Many Hounds do like it. The ayce pasta special at dinner is $21.95.

    http://www.becconyc.com

    2 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      RGR,

      I forgot to thank you for your rec for Marseilles back in February. I should have reported back. We had an excellent dinner and it was very reasonable.

      1. re: sherry f

        Hey, sherry f, As the expression goes, "Better late than never!" lol So, thanks for your post. It's always nice to know when a recommendation works out well.

    2. I was in NY recently and went to Becco for a pre-theatre dinner and really enjoyed it. You'll find a lot who don't on chowhound but I felt it was reasonably priced and we enjoyed the food--particularly the antipasto salad and the gnocchi (we both got the fixed price pasta special which is $21.95 pp and includes salad and unlimited servings of their three daily pastas.) If you decide to go, try to sit in the back room with the skylight--it has a light, open quality. It can be rather noisy and is crowded, but so many NYC restaurants have that close-quarters feeling, in my opinion.

      I don't live there, so perhaps you will get a better recommendation from some local NYC chowhounders. When I inquired on CH about a pre-theatre meal before my trip, Le Madeleine, Marseille, Roberto Passon, Cascina and Orso were all recommended.

      Enjoy your trip!

      1. I suggest Balthazar for your "great people watching but good food lunch place". Not sure how soon you're coming but you should definitely try to get a reservation for lunch.

        1. Thank you for all the great replies! How about the first night- fun good food place? I was considering stanton social- but is it too young of a crowd (we're late 30s but all look much younger)- we are married so just checking out the scene..

          I also thought of db moderne but not sure about the social aspect (though food would be good)..

          5 Replies
          1. re: lisadc01

            My daughter and her friends went to Stanton Social not long after it opened in 2005, and they are in their low to mid-30's. They thought it was o.k., but none has been inclined to go back. It has lots of fans on this board though there are many who think it's overrated.

            You're right about the food at dbBistro being good. It's not a buttoned-down place, but I wouldn't call the vibe super-upbeat either. Kind of in the middle. It's very popular for pre-theater dining -- I think they have a special prix-fixe for around $40 -- and at lunch, there are lots of business people. Clientele is mixed ages though not many in their 20's.

            For that first night, you might want to consider Barbounia, on the corner of Park Av. S. & 20th St. They serve very good Mediterranean cuisine, and the mezzes are great for sharing. Service is friendly and prompt. It's a huge, soaring space with eye-catching decor and a vibe that is very upbeat (sometimes, a little noisier than I prefer). The crowd tends younger -- definitely lots of 30-somethings -- and everyone always seems to be having a really good time. Prices are moderate.

            1. re: RGR

              No offense to RGR, but I wasn't a big fan of Barbounia. I thought that the service was bad and I've had much better Mediterranean cuisine elsewhere. Perhaps I was there on an off-night?
              I'd suggest Crispo, which has yummy and reasonably priced Italian food. www.crisporestaurant.com

              What type of bar/lounge scene are you looking for?

              1. re: Chookie

                No offense take, Chookie. I'm going by my experiences the three times we've been there. While I actually agree with you that there is more sensational Mediterranean cuisine elsewhere (one example, our dinner at Amalia), still, the food we've had at Barbounia has been very tasty. Only one complaint. My husband ordered the sorbets once, and the portions were thimble-sized. Totally ridiculous! We still laugh about it. When it came to service, it almost surprised me how really good it was each time. So, maybe in that regard, you did hit it on an off-night.

            2. re: lisadc01

              Too many kids on the Lower east side on friday nights. Stanton social might be the only bar worthy in that neighborhood.Your better off in the meatpacking district. One little west 12th, pastis, buddha bar, gansevoort hotel bar. maritime hotel are all close by.

              1. re: lisadc01

                For the first night here are some toher places you might consider: Kittichai (Thai/Asian), Thor (eclectic, great environment), Son Cubano (tapas/ Latin American/ Cuban).

              2. Great people watching at Blue Water Grill on Union Square. Reserve the outside tables. Its across from the park and farmer market. Always a scene on saturdays.

                1. How many of you are there? One place that might be good on Friday night is August, but I think they only take reservations for 6 or more. I find it both a scene and relatively quiet, if that makes any sense. (I think you'll find Stanton Social too loud on a Friday night, and it's more of a bar than a restaurant.) Also, August is in the West Village, so you can walk around before and/or after in a nice area. It's one of my go-to places with out of towners these days.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: scrittrice

                    If you are going to be shopping in SoHo, I would suggest Bar 89. Great burgers and wings! Not to mention perfect cocktails.

                    1. re: scrittrice

                      We'll be 4 of us.. I'm starting to lean towards good food on Friday (splurging a bit- just trying to pick a place that has atmosphere- some sound like good food but so so restaurant).
                      Saturday we've got marseille..

                      I have tentative reservations at Gramercy Tavern through the hotel.. is that atmosphere pretty good- easy to walk to other places?