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Dinner near 12th and 6th

Staying in NYC at 12th and 6th at the end of July. My wife and I always enjoy eating out in Manhattan. Looking for a nice neighborhood restaurant within walking distance. A comfortable place that does not require me to hit the speed dial button 28 days before to snag a reservation. I guess a place like Babbo without all the hype and hassle...
Any suggestions?

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  1. For Italian: Crispo, Po Otto
    Otherwise: Cafe de Bruxelles, Cornelia St. Cafe, Deborah, Snack Taverna

    1. Go to Gotham Bar and Grill or Japonica. Gotham is beautiful, and Japonica has the nicest staff of any restaurant in NY. It is just about to celebrate its 30th anniversary, and there are tons of dishes besides sushi. If you tell Shingo (the owner) that is your anniversary, he will take good care of you.

      1. these are no where near as expensive nor are they as gourmet as Babbo, but if you want to feel part of the neighborhood...
        Village (9th at the corner of 6th Ave)-great neighborhood spot, friendly staff and good, bistro food.
        Gusto (Greenwich Ave)..a bit classier, but good Italian and a great atmostphere / vibe. always buzzing
        Cafe Asean (Greenwich Ave and W 10th)-southeast asian, a garden, CHEAP, and the sweetest staff. A gem of a restaurant
        For lunch or a very casual dinner, I love Elephant & Castle (Greenwich Ave). it's unpretentious, a real neighborhood establishment and solid "pub grub" wiht a warm staff and VERY reasonable prices.
        I've heard mixed reviews of BLT Burger, but could be good to saddle up to the bar for a beer and a burger
        Flors KItchen--waverly b/t 6th and 7th. I think it's undervalued. Again-warm staff, small cozy space and great arepas.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jabuon

          BLT Burger is worth a try. also Buona Sera good neighborhood italian at 12th and univ across from japonica. have the spinach lasagna.

        2. Otto & Lupa aren't too far away from there - both are Batali and both excellent.

          1. Crispo, on 14th between 7th and 8th is HUGELY underrated and one of nyc's best kept secrets. there's a beautiful garden in the back, the food is superb, the service lovely, and it's not expensive at all. Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't tell... it will get more crowded!
            It's a really lovely place, definitely go and check it out.

            1. From someone who has lived in the neighborhood for +7 years...(and born in NYC)...Definitely try Alta (10th off of 6th) for excellent tapas. Otto (8th off of 5th) for pizza, pasta and the best gelato. Great burgers and fries at Stand (12th between 5th & University). I did not like BLT Burger at all. Gotham Bar & Grill for more of a dining/upscale experience.

              Skip Japonica - it's overpriced and their sushi isn't good. Instead try 15 East (15th between B'way & 5th) it's supposed to be great. N.B. I have not tried it yet, but it's high on my list!

              Enjoy!!

              1 Reply
              1. re: rjm

                I agree with Crispo 100%! Great food, atmosphere, prices, etc. Dont think you can guarantee the outdoor area when you make a reservation but they'll try their best to accomodate you.

                And im a huge Gotham fan if you're looking for something more upscale.

                Also I like Sala 19 for tapas which is on 19th and 6th i think. And Markt for mussels / belgian food on 6th and 21st. One of my new favorites for greek food is Periyali on 20th between 5th and 6th. A really pretty restaurant with very good food and friendly service - all around a good experience.

              2. OK, thanks for all the suggestions. After perusing this list and a couple of other threads I am thinking Gusto, Crispo or Da Andrea.
                Part of the reason this list is Italian-centric is that these places seemed to have more vegetarian options (pasta dishes, etc) which is important as my wife is a vegetarian (me, not so much).
                We also enjoy a well-mixed vodka martini (dirty, up) to begin the meal.
                Have already been to Otto - not really interested in going back.

                Which place would be best?

                3 Replies
                1. re: RolandParkGuy

                  Crispo. Da Andrea is a notch below. I have not been to Gusto, but the restaurant lost it's chef several months ago, and I'm not sure if that has had any impact on the kitchen's current performance.

                  1. re: Lucia

                    Just as an aside here, the chef that replaced Jodie in the kitchen at Gusto, Amanda Freitag, seemed to be keeping the place going just fine when last I was there. She comes from a place in Park Slope that hasnt been the same without her unfortunately (Sette).

                  2. re: RolandParkGuy

                    Cafe Asean, as previously recommended, has great vegetarian options. I would pick Crispo out of your Italian options.

                  3. This board is awesome and so helpful!
                    I think the choice is between Cafe Loup and Crispo; both a short distance away (any closer and we'd be dining at Joe Jr.'s - which I love for breakfast by the way). Kind of leaning toward an early dinner at Cafe Loup (6PM). It sounds a little more quiet than Crispo.
                    In my heart of hearts I really want to hop in a cab and take my wife to Gramercy Tavern for the new vegetarian tasting menu (with wine pairings, of course); but I'm gonna have to save up for that one...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: RolandParkGuy

                      If you have more than one meal to enjoy while in the neighborhood and your wife is a vegetarian, I'd also strongly recommend Gobo on 6th Ave @ 8th st. Gourmet vegan with asian flair. I'm a carnivore but I love it -- great atmosphere, actual wine list (!), wonderful food. They take reservations but it's not terribly hard to get one.

                    2. And what about a little vegetarian takeout or eat at tiny counter? For when you're in transit. Lassi - on Greenwich Ave around the corner from Jeff. Mkt Library and from 12th and th- has delicious Indian-esque food and lassis (mango and lavendar, for example) by a chef who formerly was a well-known and well-regarded restaurant chef. Pricey for everyday, to me, but very nice when on a trip.