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turning 30 -- need something memorable to make it okay

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any recommendations?? i'm looking for the best meal you've ever had in this city, in a suitably birthday-festive atmosphere. doesn't need to be le bernardin, but would like something extraordinary, delicious, and not boring. turning 30's rough -- need to eat my way into it, i think. is there anything appropriate on the upper east side?? it'll be a family of 4.

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  1. Hey- what's wrong with turning 30???! I don't eat out on the UES too often, so nothing comes to mind, but I was going to recommend Eleven Madison Park (modern French/American), which is on the east side and has become my go-to special occasion restaurant for food lovers. There are literally hundreds of recommendations, raves, and descriptions of it on this board. Not only is the food memorable, but the atmosphere is set in one of the grandest and most tasteful dining rooms in Manhattan.

    1. Ugh, 30 sucks. I went to Alfama for my 30th last year, and it was a big disappointment. My favorite restaurants in the city (thus far) are Babbo and Per Se, both of which would be amazing for a 30th bday celebration. In fact, I am thinking of booking Babbo for a belated 31st bday celebration!!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: biondanonima

        I went to Barbuto for my 30th, two years ago (couldn't get in at Babbo, which was my first choice). I hated it. But I don't attribute any of my disappointment with turning 30-it was definitely the restaurant's fault :)

      2. great food, festive atmosphere, UES, and DEFINITELY the best place to celebrate 30th birthday is Davidburke & Donatella

        btw, I am not sure whether "the best meal in the city" is the best place to celebrate your birthday. That said, food at DB & D is outstanding and a great place to have fun.

        1. I celebrated my 30th at Per Se, which was a wonderful but kind of sedate as a birthday party. From the way you are talking about your birthday I agree with the other poster that eating in a formal restaurant might not be the way to go, unless you just want to do something that you might not have been able to afford @ 20.

          BTW I got a ticket for drinking a bottle of port on the Brooklyn Promenade afterwards, which was only 75 dollars and made me feel young. The cops were very polite & let me finish the bottle. Again, maybe not what you are looking for.