Murray Hill or Park Ave S. Italian for Big Group
I am organizing a meal for after a memorial service for a loved one. The service takes place at 29th and Fifth. There will be 40+people. I considered catering, (still might and suggestions are welcomed), but thought it might be refreshing to step outside and walk a few blocks as a group and have a good Italian meal and toast to our beloved. Also, service takes place in a location which doesn't allow alcohol, so toast not possible there, unless we do cider...There are some serious foodies in the group, I imagine setting a menu beforehand and doing a buffet style if the place allowed that. talking about lunch mid week so need a place that we could take over completely, or large enough for a group that size to have it's corner...
Went to Via Emilia (21st and Park Ave. S.) as a group of 6 and had an amazing time. Was just in Italy 3 weeks ago, so it was very nice to have food that reminded me of the good times/food there. Some of the appetizers were big enough to share, pasta dishes were amazing. The restaurant is an L-shape so they might be able to block the back to accommodate the group.
Campanile, on 29th St., b/t Madison & Park Av. S., is ideally situated. If you are looking for creative contemporary Italian cuisine, this is not the place to find it. However, if you are o.k. with well-prepared traditional fare, then Campanile would be an excellent choice. I agree that with 40 people, a set menu would probably be the best way to go, and I'm sure the owner will work with you to arrange it. They have a private room, but I have no idea how many it can accommodate. The large dining room seats well over 40, so you'd need only a section unless you'd prefer to do a buy-out for complete privacy,
My condolences on your loss.