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May 21, 2007 12:55 PM

A lengthy dinner on the UWS

I'm looking for recommendations for a late weeknight dinner in the west 70's, 80's or 90's. This group will be made up of big foodies, so an excellent quality of food is a must. Our price range is $30-$40 a person, and the ambiance should be such that our loud, boisterous conversation won't bother our fellow diners. Does anyone have any suggestions for a laid back restaurant that serves up some tasty grub?

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  1. Telepan on 69th btw Columbus & CPW. Ocean Grill on Columbus @ 77th St for seafood. Cesca on 75th btw Columbus & Amsterdam. Celeste on Amsterdam @ 87th for inexpensive Italian. Gennaro on Columbus @ 92nd. Ouest on B'way @ 83rd. Telepan, OG, Cesca & Ouest might squeeze your budget a bit while Celeste & Gennaro are well within range. You could also check out Aix on B'way @ 88th, Citron on Columbus @ 83rd & Compass on 70th btw B'way & Westend. Good luck.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Fallon

      I second Cesca. They have great parmiaggiano fritters that are great as a starter. I love Compass. I've never had a bad meal there, and the service is great. The decor is nice, too, modern without being overly trendy. I've been meaning to try Telepan, but haven't had a chance yet. Personally, I think Citron is a little over-rated.

    2. Will you be drinking? Your budget is very tight if it includes alcohol.

      Ouest fits your description pretty well, but you'll need to bump your budget up a bit.

      If you want to stay in that budget, you may look at West Side Brewing Company on 76th/Amsterdam.

      While I love Celeste and Gennaro, both are very small and not conducive for this situation.

      5 Replies
      1. re: harrison

        I should have specified that the budget didn't include alcohol..I know we'll be shelling out more for wine and cocktails.

        Thanks for these suggestions! I've been meaning to check out West Side Brewing Co. Ouest, and Cesca for awhile, and now may be just the time.

        1. re: harrison

          Good points on booze costs & Celeste/Gennaro being conducive for a loud, boisterous group although I don't know if any of the places w/great food will fit that bill... Not sure that West Side Brewing fits the bill very well for excellent quality of food for a group made up of big foodies either...

          1. re: Fallon

            Agreed - it was to illustrate what it would take to stay in that budget if booze is included!

            Ouest, Telepan etc, w/ drinking is going to double his budget at least!

            1. re: harrison

              Looking at the a la carte prices at Telepan, I don't think they can even do just food. Besides, while I haven't been to Telepan, I can't imagine it would be a good fit for a loud group.

              Compass has a 3-course prix-fixe for $35; however, it's definitely *not* an appropriate place for a loud group.

              1. re: RGR

                agreed. telepan is a little more up-market than the op wants.

        2. Although it's known more for b'fast/brunch-Good Enough to Eat on Amsterdam @ 83rd fits the price range for dinner if you like comfort food-meatloaf, turkey dinner, etc. I guess the problem w/your query is the combo of excellent quality food + $30-$40 pp + large group that is loud = few options on the UWS. There is a great Thai place that will meet your budget constraints + food quality but they don't take reservations & the space is smaller than Celeste or Gennaro's. It's called Land & it's located on Amsterdam @ 81st Street. Good luck...

          2 Replies
          1. re: Fallon

            i'll add flor de mayo to the great list of restaurants others have suggested. this place is lively enough that it may welcome your enthusiastic group. it's also more in your price range and open late. not sure if it's the cuisine you are looking for but people rave about the food here. it is typically packed solid on weekends but you may be able to slip in a bit more easily on a weeknight as you've planned.

            1. re: Fallon

              I love Land but i think it will probably be too small for a group to be having a long lengthy dinner. Plis the place is so tight it may not even be comfortable for such a long meal.

              I second Good Enough to Eat, it's amazing! Across the street at Fred's is also good for comfort food and they have a decent selection of beer.

              If you like cuban, I like the feel of Cafe Con Leche. The waitstaff is always friendly and I love the food.

            2. Gabriella's (Mexican) would be a perfect choice, I think. It has good, relatively inexpensive food, great tequilla, and a fun, yet classy, atm. conducive to boisterous convo.

              Vinyl (American/Thai) has the space and atm, the food runs from humdrum to good, and it's cheap. Cocktails are really overpriced, but beers might be reasonable.

              Ditto for Rancho (S. Western), though food is more expensive than at Vinyl and cocktails are actually good.

              3 Replies
              1. re: cimui

                Oh yes! Gabriella's is awesome! great strong magharitas

                1. re: kelea

                  I thought Gabriella's closed? Did it move locations?

                  1. re: outside25

                    I think it moved locations. I wasn't around for the old location, but according to my sister, who was, the food at the new location is much, much better than before. It's also an attractive space, which I hear wasn't true of the old UWS Gabriella's.

              2. All those in favor of 'Cesca, say aye!

                It's the place for you. Watch the budget, order carefully. But you can be boisterous, and the room will absorb you without problem. Besides, there's a very large table for 12, I think, that is semi private. Perfect for your group.

                When you're done at "Cesca, you can choose a number of local beer joints at which to continue the revels.

                - Sean