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Jul 25, 2007 08:37 AM

Warm, intimate Italian for Party of 10

I'm planning a surprise party for my mom, who'll be flying to Manhattan for her birthday weekend. Price and neighborhood not major concerns, but must meet the following criteria:

1) Authentic Italian: non-cheesy yet unpretentious;

2) Although I guess I won't be able to find a private room for a party of 10 (though I'd love one), I wouldn't want the sort of place where the tables are too close together, as there will be all kinds of surprise-related gasps and hollers at our table, and I want this to have an intimate feel; and

3) A celebratory place worthy of the occasion (everyone's coming from all over the country for this surprise: doesn't matter if it's quintessencially Manhattan or just new/hip, but must be memorable).

Really appreciate your thoughts... Thanks in advance.

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    1. I second the recommendation for Crispo. They even have a small private alcove that wouold probably fit your group.

      1. Try the back room at LUPA...LOVE THIS PLACE...Far superior than Crispo.

        1. For intimate, how about Il Buco? The food there is very good, IMO. Some people don't love it. You may want to do a search on it here.

          For really excellent food, how about A Voce?

          If people are flying in from out of town, I'd probably go a little more upscale than either Lupa or Crispo... very VERY solid places, but a little mid-range for a transcontinental flight.

          1. I reluctantly say Florio's on Grand and Mott. I say reluctantly because even though I think they make great red sauce dishes and a killer seafood and/or scungilli-calamari salad, it's the last of the cigar bars. Even though they have a non-smoking section the smoke still seeps in. Thoughts?