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walking in the park and hungry!

Hi everybody! a large group of friends will be coming to NY last week of March. It is my task to plan for us all to meet in Central Park followed by a lunch in close walking distance for 20!
Some in the group are not too wealthy.
I want to keep the lunch around $15 for them. In LA or San Diego, this is easy. Many places will have a private room for 20 without a costly prixfix . the Boathouse wanted $45 for lunch! This is just taking advantage of tourist...
Any ideas for a private area of a nice place that is not too costly?

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  1. around where in Central Park? East or West and about what Street?

    1 Reply
    1. re: G3B

      We will start a two hour walk from any point toward the best place for us to lunch, wherever that is.

    2. Check out the menu at O'Neals

      49 W 64th St, New York, NY 10023

      4 Replies
      1. re: Jane A.

        Sorry...O.K. Maybe taking advantage is too strong. Let's put it this way. So far I have had very good lunch experiences with nice views in LA, San Diego, Maui, and Tokyo for under $20. Of course I could find places for double that in any town. I didn't mean to offend. I was just shocked.

        1. re: totwilight

          New York prices are very fair. Try going out in London where everything is double, including pubs. Central Park is one of the wonders of the world so of course prices will be a bit higher. You could go to the Metropolitan and do the cafeteria or Petrie Court Cafe with a wonderful view of Central Park.

          1. re: bronwen

            The Petrie Court Cafe is an excellent suggestion. The food's very good, and the huge, airy space with, as you mentioned, the view out to the park, is really pleasant.


            P.S. With regard to your comment about London, with the current situation vis-a-vis the dollar vs. the pound, you have to take a second mortgage on your house and possibly sell your first born to dine there. lol

        2. I think your comment about The Boathouse taking advantage of tourists is way off-base. Considering it's on the pricey UES, inside Central Park and has a fabulous lakeside view, $45 for lunch is relatively moderate. Natives do eat there as well, and we've found the food to be very good.

          It isn't a given in NYC that prix-fixes are more costly than a la carte. There are quite a few upscale restaurants that offer "bargain" 3-course lunch prix-fixes, and many restaurants offer well-priced "pre-theater" dinner prix-fixes even if they aren't in the Theater District. That said....

          Restaurants very close to Central Park, especially on the UES, tend to be quite expensive. If you are looking for less expensive options, my suggestion is that you go further east to 3rd or 2nd Avs.

          You might consider Beyoglu, on the corner of 3rd & 81st, St., a Turkish restaurant with a menu that concentrates on tasty mezzes. Great for group sharing. I don't think they have a private room, but they can probably work out something to accommodate your group.


          2 Replies
          1. re: RGR

            Agreed, as a native I like the boat-house. It has pretty well prepared, simple food, in a fantastic setting. I consider it a value and a treat. Now Tavern on the Green, on the other hand...

            1. re: tbear

              I actually think the New American cuisine at The Boathouse is a step or two up from simple. Having read so many negative comments about it, I had originally hesitated about going there. But we happened to be nearby and looking for someplace outdoors-y to have lunch. I was truly shocked at how really good the food turned out to be, and we have since gone a second time. As soon as the warm weather returns, we will definitely be going there again.

          2. Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Tower is Thomas Keller's much less pricy but still tasty place. I'd think that would be a lovely place for lunch after your walk.

            Those who are not walked off their feet can peruse the shops in the TW Center after the meal!

            1 Reply
            1. re: ChefJune

              We can walk to there? Not too far? Hm... Well that does sound nice.

            2. take them to whole foods salad bar-options for everyone!!

              2 Replies
              1. re: UES Mayor

                Wait...a Wholefoods walking distance from Central Park, really? Where? That would be great to know

                1. re: totwilight

                  in time warner center-downstairs-huge one

              2. if its nice out, you can always have a picnic in the park!

                1. there is a LPQ le pain quotidien near the park on 7th ave in the upper 50's, low 60's i believe. this might be a good option for a large group.you can sit at the long communal tables.

                  1. Landmarc in the Time Warner Center (59th St. Columbus Circle, southwestern corner of Central Park, where Bouchon Bakery and the previously-mentioned Whole Foods are, as well) would be big enough for you. I think folks could make it out of there at $15 if they don't go crazy.

                    Word of warning: it would be hard to find seating for 20 at Whole Foods at lunch time (and probably any other time), and probably at Bouchon, too.

                    1. Resuscitating an old thread. Will be our 2nd family trip to NY(LA native). Thought it would be fun to do the Boathouse--row boats...How do people feel about the Lakeside for lunch? Menu looks good, a little pricey but an experience that cannot be duplicated?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Fru

                        Do the boats (you need $35 cash including 20 refundable at the very least). Stay for a drink lakeside. Then leave the park for either Salumeria Rosi or Gazala's.

                        1. re: Ziggy41

                          Good call- i wouldn't have high hopes for food there in the park....
                          Another option would be to pack a picnic stopping at whole foods in columbus circle (just be discreet with any beer or wine since its against park rules yet everyone still does it)

                          1. re: Ttrockwood

                            Have definitely taken these posts into consideration. I think we'll have a big breakfast first! .

                      2. Might be best to start a totally new thread.
                        This one is over 6 years old.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: pbjluver

                          Thanks for the reply. I realize how old this thread is but often, posters get lambasted for not utilizing existing threads when posing a question..

                        2. You might want to think about the 79th St Boat Basin Café. It's not too far to walk on a nice day and it's right on the Hudson River.
                          Otherwise, Gabriella's Mexican is good and inexpensive.