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A "special" NYC meal for $60 a head?

I'm trying to plan my wife's 30th birthday in the city, but have to observe SOME semblance of a budget, and want to be respectful of the budgets of the various friends and relatives who will likely be attending. I want a fantastic meal, but I can't afford to pay for everyone, and also know some of those who will be coming can't necessarily afford $100 tasting menus and the a la carte prices of the higher-end "event" restaurants--i.e., Bouley, Nobu, Cafe Des Artistes, Jean Georges, etc.

I'm also not interested in expensive "scene" restaurants that are much more about the scene than the food--e.g., Tao, Japonais, etc.

I want a great, comfortable room and great food. I also have some time to plan this (her birthday is in January), so welcome any suggestions.

Can I get a "special" meal on a budget in NYC?

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  1. Some additional info would help Hounds make appropriate suggestions. Cuisine preferences? How many people? Private room? Day of the week? Lunch or dinner? (Note: Some upscale restaurants have "bargain" lunch prix-fixes.)

    1. pasta tasting menu at Babbo- i think it's just under $60 without wine. you could ask if they have a corkage fee and bring your own wine, just pay the fee. the pasta tasting menu at babbo is just spectacular. enjoy fb

      3 Replies
      1. re: frankbooth

        The Babbo pasta tasting menu IS amazing, I absolutely love and recommend it. But do note that it is $69. I don't know about the corkage fee, but I can say that Batali has plenty of well priced, excellent wines available. There are lots of $30 bottles. Babbo's reservations open one month in advance, and you should really call on the day the reservations open if you're going with a group (of up to 6 people).

        If you're going with a group larger than 6, I know that Inoteca and Otto both can accommodate larger groups. I had my wedding rehearsal dinner at Otto, and it was really lovely. (Although Otto is a bit on the loud side, which bothers some.) Food is excellent, and easily within your budget.

          1. re: cookiejesus

            They do. My husband spoke to them last week and was told that if you show up at 5pm, you are likely to get a table. Don't know how it works later in the evening.

      2. One of the better meals I've had in Manhattan (and I've been to almost every top rated place in the city) came from Anissa. I think the tasting menu is a little above your budget but you can definitely get an app, entree, and dessert for that.

        1. Blue Hill's tasting menu is $68 a head, last I checked. And you can order a la carte for less. Much has been written here about that fine restaurant which uses the freshest ingredients straight from its own farm at Stone Barns. www.bluehillnyc.com. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

          1 Reply
          1. Some restaurants I found affordable and tasty: Red Cat, Bellavitae, Cucina di Pesce, Resto.

            Alternatives to Babbo: Po, Lupa

            1 Reply
            1. re: Gluttonous Prime

              Puttanesca is Hell's Kitchen is one of my favorites.