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Lavanga or The Mermaid Inn for Second Date

I'm brand new here...Can't decide between the mermaid Inn of Lavanga for Second date...Please help, thanks

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  1. Do you mean LaVagna (Italian)? If you do their food is much better than The Mermaid Inn. LaVagna also has a great wine list. LaVagna is pretty dark, small and intimate as compared to The Mermaid Inn. Not sure what type of atmosphere you are looking for.

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    1. re: financialdistrictresident

      Thanks for the help...yes, the italian place on 5th b/t A & B. I was there once and loved it. I was never at the Mermaid Inn, so I don't know how it measures up. Both my date and myseld live on the UES...I wanted to get out of the area and go downtown on the east side somewhere intimate but appropriate for a second date. but not too expensive. Would like to keep the bill under $150 if possible, do have any other palces you like better then LaVagna? Appreciate all the hepl

    2. I had great food at Lavagna when I tried it about 4 years ago, but you should be warned that the place is incredibly cramped and lacks privacy for a date situation. My recollection is it's a pretty casual despite the lengthy wine list.

      5 Replies
      1. re: sugartoof

        Can you recommend a place for a second date which you would prefer....Have you tried the Mermaid Inn

        1. re: Marginwalker

          I haven't tried Mermaid Inn to compare, and all my suggestions for the East Village would be on the more casual side as well. Maybe Frank's?

          1. re: Marginwalker

            Also, another suggestion: there's a cuban place which opened recently on 3rd street between b and c i think. I found out about it from a NYMag review. Unfortunately the name slips my mind, and it's a hole in the wall....but really great food, and almost every table appeared to be on a date when I was there. Make sure you order the plantains. Best I've had.

            1. re: sugartoof

              I think it's called Cortadito. I passed it the other day but haven't been.

              1. re: Lucia

                That sounds about right, yes. It doesn't look like much, and the mural on the wall is pretty silly, but the food was really impressive. If you go, make sure you try the Yuca Fries, and order the Plantains. Both are easy to miss out on, since they're such snackey items, but they took the meal to another level.

        2. The Mermaid Inn has totally forgettable food, and you have to shout to have a conversation, and the tables are tiny and very close together. Loud, cramped, ordinary food, and overpriced do not seem to me a great place for a second date, or any other.

          2 Replies
          1. re: rrems

            Not to mention, the Mermaid Inn just closed for renovations...after being exposed for having a rodent problem!
            Some ideas in the East Village and thereabouts are: Apizz, Degustation, Alta, Aroma Kitchen & Winebar. Good luck!

            1. re: jthefoodie

              Thanks for all the help...I think I'm going to go with LaVagna.

          2. Take a look at I Coppi on 9th Street between First and A.

            1. LaVanga over Mermaid Inn. It's awfully loud and the food isn't even close to being good. Skip Mermaid. Also in the area, The Smith was a nice place for a date and there's a photobooth downstairs which was a fun stop after our meal.

              1. Lavagna is going to make it seem like you're trying to "seal the deal" on the second date, might be a bit too intimate and come off as a bit strong. Mermaid Inn is much more casual and relaxed. The food isn't great but the atmosphere is fun and the foretune telling fish you get at the end could be a great conversation piece. I'd say Lavagna is more of a third or fourth date place.

                1. I also would recomend Lavagna and am suprised to read that some would think it's too pushy. I understand what one poster said about it being cramped but whether or not that is an issue probably depends on how formal the two of you are. Also, as an added bonus, two very good friends of mine had their first dates there and the relationships have been going strong so I feel like it brings good luck.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: bml

                    I think LaVagna is very dark and intimate (hence "seal the deal" comment). I had a third date at LaVagna and have also been many times with friends. Degustation is a bit more upscale, a bit more expensive and a bit less dark. I Coppi might be a nice compromise and food is better than The Mermaid Inn (currently closed per another post). At least it was the last time I went and I Coppi has that garden room. Pylos? Or that newer, affordable Italian that starts with a B and gets mixed reivews from hounds . . . Barbone or something like that?

                    1. re: financialdistrictresident

                      Barbone would be a great choice, but the trick there is you have to avoid their entrees. There are some gems on the rest of the menu, but then the bigger issue is their service can be so rotten it's been known to ruin meals. Not worth the risk for a date.

                      1. re: sugartoof

                        Thanks, sugartoof. Service was relaxed when we went. I think I posted a report. Pasta was the way to go. I thought I just read on this board that the chef left?

                  2. I've never been to LaVagna (sounds like La Vagina, which immediately turns me off), but I've been to Mermaid, and it was excellent

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: abbybernie

                      Lavagna means blackboard in Italian.

                      I think Pylos is a good idea, but it's crazy on weekends. As an alternative to Lavagna, I had a very good meal at Cacio e Vino, which can be cheaper, depending on what you get. It's less dark but the music was louder than we preferred.

                      1. re: Pan

                        Pan, I haven't been to Cacio e Vino. Might be worth a try. What do you suggest?

                        1. re: financialdistrictresident

                          I've only been there once so far and my date and I liked everything we had, which was:

                          The Arancina, the Timballo, a Schiacciata Norma and I believe one di Funghi, which would have been a special. I thought the food was delicious and a fine value. I believe the total was around $60 including tip and one glass of wine.

                      1. re: Marginwalker

                        FYI......I heard inoteca is closed for renovations also.