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visiting friend wants to see celebrities - where would you take her?

I need to make a reservation for next week for dinner with a friend coming in from SF. She wants to go where she might see famous people.

I was thinking spotted pig or waverly inn - but they are annoying because you never know if you'll actually get a table.

any other ideas?


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    1. re: LeahBaila

      Gemma's a good celeb bet these days.

      1. re: ABT

        I third Gemma. I saw Cameron Diaz dining outdoors.

      2. re: LeahBaila

        2nd Bar Pitti. Over the years I've dined bseside Jay Z, Beyonce, Lohan+Ronson, one of the Olsens, Famke Janssen, etc. And even though your friend seems more taken with celeb spotting, the food is really good there.

      3. If you go late, i.e. after theater, Orso gets many celebrities. And the food is great, too.

        1. Michelle, there's always Elaine's on the upper east side (arrive during the latter part of the evening and do the bar)...or you might try Balthazar in SoHo, though the tables there are harder to come by...

          1. you'll very likely get a table at waverly if you go on a weekday, on the early or late side. its mystique has faded somewhat (thank goodness).

            josie's on the uws is the only other celeb heavy spot i can think of. i'm horrible at spotting ppl -- and even when i do, i'm too embarrassed / reluctant to violate privacy to really look. but for what it's worth, i've been there when dining companions spied matt damon (behind us at brunch), uma thurman (a few tables down at dinner), and cast members from The Office.

            it's too bad i'm not really a huge fan of the food at Josie's. :)

            i also hear buddakan is (still) a celeb heavy scene.

            7 Replies
            1. re: cimui

              I'm admittedly not the best celebrity chaser (I once had an entire conversation with Lenny Kravitz without knowing who he was), but Josie's?? I pass by nearly everyday and have never seen anyone interesting there. Who've you spotted?

              1. re: JungMann

                Heh! I once told Carrie Fisher at a party that she looked familiar.... She had to sing the Star Wars theme to me before I figured it out.

                I saw Matt Damon after my friend pointed him out, as well as Mindy Kaling on another occasion, but I would've had to go to the bathroom or crane my neck to unworkable degrees to see Uma. So mostly, I saw the back of someone's head, whom someone else alleged to be Uma.

                To bring it back to food, though... I know healthy food can be very tasty (my mother's food is a good example). So there's no excuse for the rubbery meatloaf, arid cornbread, and flavorless butternut squash soup at Josie's. Cocktails (note: not healthy) are, however, delicious.

                1. re: cimui

                  I agree with your assessment of the food at Josie's, which is one of the major reasons I'm surprised that celebrities would go there, especially with the explosion of good high-end restaurants in the neighborhood. Although I guess I can understand Mindy Kaling eating there ;-)

                  I once saw Keanu Reeves hanging outside my building but mistook him for a homeless man.

                  1. re: JungMann

                    A lot of celebrities are watching their waistline which is probably why they'll go to places like Josie's. Just look at all the celebrity pictures at Pump -- they're not going there because the food is tasty.

                    1. re: Miss Needle

                      I don't trust any celebrity's taste in food. Unless they're fat. :)

                    2. re: JungMann

                      if you ever have a reason to go back to josie's, the tuna burger and veggie plate are reliably good.

                2. re: cimui

                  Last time I was at Josies Kyra Sedgwick sat right next to my GF and I. Also Law and Order was being filmed right across the street.

                3. Waverly Inn was crawling with models and celebs Monday. J-Lo was there. I have seen a lot at La Esquina: Clive Owen, Vivica Fox, Carl Lewis, Ne-yo.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chow_gal

                    it was celeb-heavy last night as well. the paparazzi were camped outside all night, flashbulbs going off constantly. it was obnoxious...as was the hostess. our server was a doll, though.

                    1. More suggestions:

                      Pastis and Butter have celebs there all the time.

                      1 Reply
                      1. Once outdoor seating season starts Bar Pitti is always crawling with celebs.

                        1. New York Magazine had a story about someone getting kicked out of Lucali to make way for Beyonce and Jay-Z...

                          1. For the more indie crowd, Freeman's.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: mc22

                              I second Freeman's. I sat next to Hugh Jackman, and saw Mike Myers nearby a few days later.
                              The area around there is good for spotting as well - Whole Foods, Bowery Ballroom, Sweet & Vicious.

                              1. re: wanderluster

                                ha, i was jokingly going to suggest Whole Foods Bowery. I've seen a ton of celebs there --Hillary Swank, Val Kilmer, George Burns, etc

                            2. I've seen a number of celebs at The Coffee Shop in Union Square during past visits. Sandra Bernhardt (twice) and Julianne Moore to name a few.

                              1. I triple Bar Pitti. I have seen the most people though at NOBU (midtown)...Samuel L Jackson, Jim & Karen (from the Office), Rosie O'Donnell. Grey Dog is another celeb sighting heavy place--Michelle Williams, one of the Olsons and Monica Lewinsky. This sounds bizzare but I would say strolling in the west village in the afternoon will yield a D-lister at the very least. Most of my celeb sighting have been on the street in the village.

                                1. Nello on Madison bet. 62nd and 63rd. Page 6 always has pics of celebrities eating there.

                                  1. I just saw Topanga from 'Boy Meets World' at Extra Virgin. Great food too!

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Feaster18

                                      We thought we saw Uma thurman this weekend at The Stanton Social for brunch.

                                      1. re: Feaster18

                                        yeah, i've seen gisele & tom brady at extra virgin multiple times

                                        1. re: sga916

                                          They were at Kobe Club the other day too....

                                      2. I saw Hillary Swank and Mike Myers at The Spotted Pig on the same night. I also saw Natalie Portman at Stone Barns. Craft is good also i bumped into Elvis Costello in the bathroom once

                                        1. Mercer Kitchen; Cipriani on W. Broadway; Waverly Inn; Da Silvano (when the weather is nice); anywhere in the meatpacking district, especially Pastis and Buddakan. I also recommend the stretch of Bleecker in the west village that we residents like to refer to as MarcJacobsville- this includes Magnolia Bakery and the playground at Sheridan Square. The single place where I have seen the most celebrities in all of the time I have lived downtown: Equinox Fitness on Greenwich Ave. I suppose it should come as no surprise...

                                          2 Replies
                                            1. re: bgut1

                                              Sfoglia? Interesting. I was thinking about this last night, as I live in Carnegie Hill, and there are loads of celebrities who live in that neighborhood, though most of them are of the over 40 variety. Though I never mind seeing Paul Newman having his morning coffee, reading the paper, and looking like he just got out of bed!

                                          1. The Spotted Pig; They'll be getting whisked to the tables for which you waited an hour in line.

                                            1. Vento on 14th and Hudson (south of 9th Ave) for brunch.

                                              Sit outdoors on the west side, which faces Soho House. Lots of famous people to watch. Some even cross the street to eat at Vento.

                                              1. The only celebrity I've ever seen eating out is Howard Stern....But I saw him at 3 different places (Matsuri, Le Cirque and Nobu)...all in a span of about 3 months.

                                                Very very odd.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: roze

                                                  haha. I saw him at Giorgio's of Gramercy a few years ago, so I guess he gets around. I saw Dustin Hoffman and Romi from Project Runway in one afternoon brunch at Freemans. Other than that, my celebrity sightings have (thankfully) been at a minimum.

                                                  1. re: Lucia

                                                    Giorgio's of Gramercy!!! That's my neighborhood place! If I saw him there I really would have started to freak out a little. Whoa! Good thing it was you and not me :)

                                                2. I see people all the time.
                                                  Sitting at Dos Caminos on Saturday, Adrian Brody walked by our table. A few minutes later, Louis C.K.
                                                  Madonna was at Morandi last weekend.
                                                  Lou Reed eats at Sant Ambreuos often.

                                                  But then, my celebradar is always on.

                                                  1. The best best for celebs at Butter is Monday night. Otherwise a bit of a wannabe crowd.

                                                    1. Walk up CPW and you might get lucky.

                                                      Last time I ate at JG there was some boy band there (guessing from the hundred or so girls with signs and police making sure they didn't go inside the Trump building).

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: cmm3

                                                        I have never seen a celeb. at Josies and have been there quite a few times, but 2 out of 3 times I see them at Nobu down in Tribeca. I sat next to Demi Moore and most recently Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins.

                                                      2. I saw Kevin Bacon at Atlantic Grill. Why even dine...saw Tiki Barber on the M31 bus!

                                                        1. Q-Tip (from A Tribe Called Quest) was sitting next to me at Nobu (on Hudson Street). He was extremely friendly to the few people that approached him. I was pretty psyched to see him, as a long time hip-hop fan, but I didn't actually go over to him.

                                                          1. None of these places are sure bets to see celebs. It's the luck of the draw, the time you're there, etc. If you read page 6 and frequent the places mentioned that week it may give clues, but not really. It's also seasonal. Of the suggestions you got Da Silvano might be the because it's been around, and it's not some pr persons invention of a hot place of the moment.....but the truth is if you make a reservation there and press your face against the glass to look in, you'll know in two seconds if it's just a bunch locals eating pasta. There are times Mercer Hotel's lobby is celeb packed....but most of the time, it's not. There are times Pastis at lunch is action packed, but who knows if everyone decided to go around the corner that month?

                                                            That said, there is a blog you can read to get a sense of the trendy next flavor of the month by yuppie hipster standards:

                                                            1. i always see celebs at cafe habna

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: italianagambino

                                                                i spotted sting and mrs. sting buying chestnuts on 60th and 5th. and just last week saw dustin hoffman near gray's not grayz but gray's papaya on w72nd. amateur papparazzi always habve thier cameras in tow. happy hunting!

                                                              2. Waverly Inn...Its one of the few restaurants in the city that have paparazzi waiting out front.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: eddieandhismommy

                                                                  Yeah but the difference is they're usually there when they've been tipped off, and they're willing to stand there waiting all night long.