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Business dinner-Murray Hill area?

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I'm looking for suggestions for a weeknight business dinner in the Murray Hill area. Criteria are: moderately priced (around $60/pp), quiet enough to talk-- but popular enough that we don't run the risk of being among the only people in an empty restaurant, and good, solid food. Food preference is Italian, French bistro or American. I was thinking La Petite Auberge or Campanile... do these fit the criteria? I have read that La Petite Auberge skews very old, but I'm not sure whether this means old as in all grandparents, or just not a hangout for 20 or 30-somethings. Any other suggestions?

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  1. I would strongly recommend Artisanal.

    5 Replies
      1. re: snacks_in_the_city

        I like Artisanal, too, but it is the one restaurant in the area that my dining companion has been to so I wanted to do something different.

        1. re: Shawn

          Actually, I don't think Artisanal is appropriate for what you're looking for. It's really noisy.

          I haven't been to La Petite Auberge or Campanile. I really liked Bar Milano. There's a really active bar scene. But if you sit in the dining room, it's a lot more quiet.

          1. re: Shawn

            I am a big fan of Resto, although it can get a bit hectic. Tables are spaced out though and you can totally have a conversation. Not recommended if either of you are vegetarian, however.

            People on this board love Cosette, though I've never been.

            1. re: snacks_in_the_city

              I like Cosette, but I don't think it's a good place for a business meeting.

              I also like Bar Milano a lot, and it would be fine for a business meeting. While the noise level in the dining room can be a bit high, one can still carry on a conversation without having to shout.

              http://www.barmilano.com

        2. Campanile's food is delicious, service staff couldn't be more pleasant or efficient, and the decor has an endearing old-fashioned quality. However, it can be quite empty.

          La Petite Auberge is one of our favorites, and we go there with some regularity. It is definitely *not* in any way, shape or form a "hangout for 20- or 30-somethings. The clientele does skewer mature, so, yes, many are grandparents, though I hope you realize that not all grandparents are ancient. Families dine there, and in the past few years, I've noticed that diners in their 20's and 30's have discovered LPA's charms. As for the noise level, it is of the gentle hum variety.

          You might want to consider Olana. I've not been but Hounds who've eaten there have had good things to say about it.

          http://www.olananyc.com

          7 Replies
          1. re: RGR

            "The clientele does skewer mature, so, yes, many are grandparents, though I hope you realize that not all grandparents are ancient."

            Yes, I understand that, I did not intend to slam grandparents! I'm closer to grandparent age than the 20- or 30-somethings myself, but by that comment I was just expressing a preference for a mixed-ages place.

            1. re: Shawn

              Go to Wolfgangs for steaks and all will be happy.

              1. re: princeofpork

                Unless they like steaks, then they are sure to be disappointed.

                1. re: princeofpork

                  There have been complaints on this board -- though not from me -- about poor acoustics and exceedingly high noise levels at the Park Av. Wolfgang's.

              2. re: RGR

                I also love Campanile. I haven't been in a couple of months but it varies clientele wise. Sometimes, many tables are occupied and other times it is quite empty but the noise level won't be deafening!

                I also wouldn't go to Artisanal because of the noise level.

                There is an Italian place on Lexington I haven't tried but wanted to is Da Ciro. Maybe RGR has been there and could talk about it. The reviews are always excellent and the place is nice looking.

                1. re: cricri7

                  Da Ciro has excellent pizza, and very good (not excellent) entrees. But I don't think it's suitable for a business dinner. Downstairs is very cramped, and upstairs is a bit too casual for a business dinner.

                  1. re: cricri7

                    I have passed by Da Ciro many times but have never tried it. So many restaurants, so little time....

                2. I agree with the suggestion of Bar Milano - if it's not too far south. Also in the area with excellent italian is ITrulli.

                  You may also want to check out Water Club - I think it's a great place for a business dinner.

                  And at the risk of sounding unpopular, I don't recommend skewering mature people - it's a real mess to clean up afterward.

                  1. I second Artisinal, and I don't think it's too insanely noisy. I've been in noisier, I guess. Also, Primehouse is on the edge of your price range, but it's quite good and while the bar is pretty crowdy and rowdy, the dining room is massive and hushed. Like a church for meat. Temple of steak?