Casual place in Murray Hill
I'm meeting some visiting relatives from Ireland who are staying in a hotel in Murray Hill on E 37th and Lex. Any suggestions for a place to eat that is moderate in price and conducive to a long chat?
Hmm... for old-school Mexican (very Spanish influenced, with amusingly formal waiters), I love El Parador Cafe (34th btwn 1st and 2nd). Opinions of it seem to be divided on these boards, however.
For Spanish food with an authentic Spanish ex-pat crowd, try El Pote on 2nd Ave. (btwn 38th and 39th).
For an amazing hidden Japanese sake bar/izikaya, try Sakagura (43rd between 2nd and 3rd).
If they really want to eat "American" food, there's Hudson Place on 3rd Ave., or, if you are willing to pay a bit more for much much better food, there is the Dining Room at the Morgan Library (Madison and 36th).
For a really casual, pub-like atmosphere, I don't mind Benjamin's on 2nd Ave around 32nd-ish.
I've had brunch at Hudson Place a couple of times and just recently went for dinner, it was delicious! Between the two of us we got a great French Onion Soup (which anyone who like the soup knows is hard to find) and hearty burger and delicious pasta primavera. It's moderately priced and you can sit for as long as you'd like.
I'm one of those who gives a "thumbs down" to El Parador. I found the food very mediocre.
I would recommend Campanile, a neighborhood gem hidden away on 29th St., b/t Park Av. S. & Madison. Delicious traditional Italian fare served by a very friendly, efficient waitstaff in a space with an old-fashioned feel. It's a low-key place where you can relax and chat for as long as you want. Even if you are the last people there, they will never rush you out.
One of my favorites is Dukes (right near where you are staying on 37th and 3rd) It is VERY casual, Southern-style comfort food that is excellent. They have a few tables outside that are great for people watching and catching a little sun.
I would not recommend El Pote- even though the food is excellent- it might not be the casual route that you are going for...
From what I know of the Irish - they love their homeland and they love Irish pubs. There are plenty on Third Avenue - the one I'm thinking of is Paddy McGuire's on 3rd and 20th, but if that's too far downtown there's Patrick Kavanagh's on 33rd. More sports bar-y and less conducive to chat, but still a good time. O'Neils at third and what?...43rd? is better than Kavanagh's I guess.