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Help! My boss asked for dinner recs near The Barclay Hotel on East 48th

My boss asked me for dinner recommendations near The Barclay Hotel on East 48th. He has friends coming into town and looking for a dinner spot for this Friday. He doesn't want to recommend anything in Grand Central and it shouldn't cost the earth (as his friend puts it), but not low end either. Any suggestions?

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  1. A friend and I had a wonderful experience at Cibo (2nd Ave between 41st and 42nd). It was casual enough to go to in (nice) jeans, but nice enough to go to in a suit. They have a wonderful $35 prix fixe dinner menu with a surprising number of options, and the waiter even allowed us to choose off of the entire dessert menu, not just the prix fixe choices. The wine list is well-chosen, tending toward Italian. The food was spot-on, and the service attentive, but not fussy. Plus, we walked in at prime time on a Thursday and had no problem getting a table-- and they didn't rush us out after occupying the table for 2 1/2 hours.

    You didn't mention what kind of atmosphere he and his friends are looking for, but Cibo is relatively calm and good for conversation-- not so good if they're looking for somewhere lively.

    1. I don't know if this is what you're looking for, but Nanni's is great, old-school, no frills, perfect service (even if not my particular favourite type of "perfect"), boys club, authentic italian. It's mostly after work suits, and old, decked-out couples (think brooches and fur). It's not particularly cheap, but it is good. I'm not even sure they have music playing, but the chattering in the room keeps things from getting awkward. They don't like late diners, even on weekends though. 7pm is the perfect time to go, but plan something else afterwards for drinks.


      1. Cibo is a good choice. But my favorite restaurant in the area is Fresco by Scotto.

        1. You could suggest Pampano, delicious, upscale Mexican on 49th between 2nd and 3rd.

          1. Delicious Italian...beautiful decor, quiet, great service
            213 E. 50th (between 2nd & 3rd)


            1 Reply
            1. re: Lettucepray

              I don't know if W 51st bet 8 & 9 is okay and if so, look no further. Vice Versa is simply perfect.

            2. Avra (upper-mid-price Greek) is pretty much next door to the Barclay and is very nice. I also like the food at Pampano a lot, but it's really loud in the main room.

              1 Reply
              1. Luna Piena is solid Italian with great pasta and steak/chicken/fish offerings. The atmosphere is charming, the service is pleasant and the price isn't hard on the wallet. They make a fantastic Bolognese sauce.


                3 Replies
                1. re: LeahBaila

                  Luna Piena's solid, but not really an "occasion" spot, I don't think. Check out Jubilee on 54th between 1st and 2nd. Really good spot. Crowd's older, a lot of UN-types. But some really good french bistro fare. Get the mussels.

                  1. re: egit

                    Maybe I misread, but I don't see "occasion place" anywhere in the OP's post.


                    1. re: LeahBaila

                      Well, no. "Occasion" wasn't in the OP. But if I have friends coming in from out of town, personally I'd rather go some where a little more upscale. Luna Piena's very good. I live about 2 minutes away and go there often. Someone mentioned Da Grezia above, and I'd go to Luna Piena any day instead.

                      Mint might be another good option, if they'd like upscale indian. If they feel like walking 10 blocks for upscale indian, they could go to Dawat or Chola. "Cost the Earth" in my mind would be Jean George, Grenouille, Smith and Wollensky, etc. Though S&W Grill might also be a decent option.

                2. Try Cafe Linda on east 49th between Lex and 3rd. Very nice Place.
                  Cinema on 45th between 5th and Madison is nice too.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: valpal

                    Cafe Linda is delish! Best gnocchi Bolognese in town IMO.