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Visiting NYC - can finally afford a GREAT meal. Help!

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So my husband and I went to college in NYC and lived on a tight budget there for years. We are finally returning with healthy appetites and more money to spend on an excellent meal. But we don't know where to start. We want one, special, anniversary meal. No seafood (I'm from Seattle and you can't beat that!). And I'm not a sushi fan. All else is fair game. I've been trying to get a reservation at Babbo all morning, but can't get through.

Please, send any and all recommendations. Thanks!!

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  1. So many options, really...some of it depends on the atmosphere and the cuisine you want...in addition to seafood, you Seattlers have NYC beat on American bistros: Lark, Matt's in the Market, etc are all superior to similar places here...

    i'd suggest Il Giglio...elegant, festive old-school Italian in Tribeca...or maybe go to Picholine and get the cheese course...

    1. Babbo books 31 days to the day ahead of time. If you are coming before that time without reservations you can go to restaurant at 530 when they open and grab a bar chair or they have a couple of tables for walk ins-BUT they fill fast so get your butt there before 530. That being said try calling couple hours after 10am when phones not as busy or keep redialing-they do answer and trust me the phone is not off the hook-just very busy! Other great substitutes are Eleven Madison Park, Gordon Ramsay at The London, Tabla, Adour, Market Table etc. Best of luck!

      3 Replies
      1. re: UES Mayor

        How about one if by land,two if by sea? this is a great place for a special occasion and located in an old stable from who knows how long ago and converted into a very elegant W. village restaurant. check out the menu on "menupages"

        1. re: traumachef

          Do not go to One If By Land....the food is mediocre at best.

          I would choose Eleven Madison Park, for sure.

          1. re: traumachef

            Even with the new chef OIBLTIBS receives universally horible reviews on this board. Do not go. I suggest EMP.

        2. If you want a rezzie at Babbo and don't have the time or patience to call, pay $20 for a table at www.tablexchange.com. I've used it and it was so worth it.

          www.thelunchbelle.com

          1 Reply
          1. re: LeahBaila

            I went to the drop down menu, chose Babbo, left all other search criteria blank to get back as many open spots as possible and got a, "Your search found no results. Try modifying your search parameters." This site is useless.

          2. My husband and I went to Felidia last night (for the first time, for our anniversary). It was truly wonderful. The food was fabulous, service perfect, and Lidia came to talk to us at our table. Pricy, but well worth it for a once-in-a-blue-moon-treat-yourself kind of dinner.

            1. bouley is a perfect special occasiony spot i think. i also would second picholine.
              but if you want something less uber-romantic, and more clean/modern elegance what about JG or perry street?

              1. Cru is one of the best restaurants I've been to in the city so far...we actually go there for our anniversary every year. I'd also suggest Union Square Cafe and Fiamma. All were pretty much flawless.

                1. French: Robuchon (at four seasons), Jean georges (1 Central Park West), db bistro moderne on 44th street
                  American: Per se (very hard to book: put your names on a waiting list), Momofuku Ko (korean inspired, very hard to book), WD-50 (molecular gastronomy), veritas (excellent wine list)

                  Italian: Babbo, Lupa, Esca, Felidia
                  Spanish: Casa mono
                  Japanese : Kai (try the wagyu beef) on Madison avenue
                  Libanese: illilli (haute libanese)
                  Moroccan: Azza
                  Steakhouse: try craftsteak (organic steak)
                  Scandinavian : Aquavit

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: larryfr

                    tell me more about illilli? --never heard of it...i love Lebanese food

                    1. re: Simon

                      It's spelled ilili.
                      http://www.chow.com/search?search%5Bq...

                      1. re: Lucia

                        Try Cafe Boulud on Mad/76..or Chanterelle in Tribeca...both special places..

                      2. re: Simon

                        it 's on 5th av at 28th. amazing shawarma. modern libanese cuisine.

                    2. Opentable.com is a great resource. It allows you to book tables online and also gives you a lot of great info on many restaurants like gayot rating, reviews, price range, neighborhood, cuisine, etc. Never had a problem booking with them as they are very reputable.