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Mission Impossible: Rez for 16 in 2 days

Yes, I was harnessed with the ridiculous obligation to find a good restaurant, preferably Italian, for a group of 16 on Wednesday night at a reasonable (~8:30) time.

Not sure if it is possible.

Can anyone suggest where I even begin to start to call? I was thinking Crispo, possibly Pepolino in Tribeca. Tried to get a rez at Lupa (yeah, I know, no chance), but they have set menus for large groups, and I have a couple friends with food allergies so would rather people be able to pick.

At this point, open to options outside of Italian, as long as it's not Cuban / Mexican / S American foods.

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  1. Try Il Giglio in Tribeca...slightly pricier than Pepolina, but not too bad if you stay away from specials containing truffles.

    1. Try Marchi's. It's a set menu, but as they prepare the same set menu every day, they know their ingredients and your food allergic friends can check what is in everything. It's retro and but really pretty good and they have large rooms. Really something different.

      1. Perhaps Otto? FYI: they have a side room where they sometimes put large parties/overflow. I'm not sure if this is a deal-breaker for you. As far as Crispo, they should have room for you on a Wednesday, but I would ask them if they require a set menu for a party as large as yours.

        1. I think Crispo would be a crowd pleaser, and they have enough seats that they may be able to accomodate. I also agree w/vvvindaloo on Otto, although it might be too late.

          1. Try Alta. Get the whole shebang (= the entire menu) and afterwards get a second serving of whatever everybody liked.

            1 Reply
            1. Have you tried fig and olive in the meatpacking? The park in Chelsea?

              1. Campanile, on 29th St., b/t Park Av. S. & Madison, is a neighborhood "hidden gem" that serves delicious traditional Italian fare. The owner, Slavko, is usually on the premises overseeing things, and his welcoming staff always provides excellent service. The interior decor has a kind of old-fashioned, but very pleasant feel. It's a large place, so they should be able to accommodate a group your size.


                1. I'm just thinking of three places big enough to where 16 has a shot on short notice: L'Ecole, Carmine's, and Craftbar. Of the three, Craftbar, American-Nouveau, is probably the most foodie friendly. L'Ecole is the restaurant for the French Culinary Institute. It doesn't get raves on this board, but I think that's due to the lack of a hip/chic vibe rather than the food quality. And Carmine's is going to get some flack for being a tourist trap, which it kind of is. But the food is fantastic.

                  1. I second Vindaloo's suggestion of Otto. They usually reserve a bunch of space for walk ins, so they might be willing to carve some of that out for a large party. It's worth asking, anyway. The other places I would suggest are Grotto on Forsyth Street and Gusto. Grotto's rice croquettes are terrific as are most of the secondis. It is quite affordable and they accommodated me when I needed a 10 person day-of reservation (without forcing a prix fixe menu on us). They also have a great garden in the back. It might also be worth calling Gusto and asking if they would be willing to separate their downstairs room for your party. I don't remember exactly how many it seats or if they will require a set menu, however. I've always had luck at Gusto with last minute reservations, but I have never tried for a larger party. Best of luck.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Saint Chole

                      I had to do the same this past saturday with a party of 9.. Crispo was first choice but for parties over 8 they required a prix fix and with picky eaters in our party wasn't realistic. Ended up getting a reservation at Convivio (formely L'Impero) and everyone loved it. Might be worth a try.

                    2. There is a great neighborhood place Grano Trattoria on Greenwich Ave. Solid food, really good pizza.

                      1. Have you tried using the "Great for Groups" option or "Large Party Banquet" in Opentable.com? Start from there and you may have an easier time calling restaurants randomly to get reservation

                        1. Youi have a lot of great recs but one more I would throw out is Bricco on West 55th- just off of 8th- I work nearby and they have put together amazing lunches and dinners for clients on very short notice. Nino, the owner is one of the best hosts in the city- wonderful pastas and fish- all of the food is unbelievable and you will be in wonderful hands and have a fantastic time- I promise!

                          1. you may also try barbuto -set menu 4 courses 60$ a person.

                            1. Puttanesca without a doubt...I had mine there; it was fantastic...oh and if you go to diningfever.com you can print out a coupon for 20% off!