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Fabulous Midtown Lunch Recs

I'm meeting an old friend for lunch on Friday. I've been away from the city several years now, after having lived there for almost seven.
We're both adventureous eaters, but will be limited by needing to eat close to her office on 47th & 3rd Ave. (Otherwise I'd love to try Eleven Madison Park after reading so many good things here!)
We're both on a budget, but will happily splurge a bit on this meal. ($50 or less before drinks, tip, etc. seems about right.) Ideally, we'd like to be able to take advantage of a Prix Fixe, therefore trying somewhere we couldn't ordinarily afford.

Currently considering Le Cirque and Convivio. Vong is also an option, but she has been there before. Preferences? Anywhere I'm overlooking?

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  1. You certainly cannot go wrong with Convivio. At lunch, the 4-course prix-fixe is $49. The food's superb, the decor is appealing, and the vibe is accurately described by the restaurant's name -- convivial.

    http://www.convivionyc.com

    Pampano, on 49th, b/t 2nd & 3rd, serves delicious modern Mexican cuisine with an emphasis on fish and seafood. Very nice ambiance. They offer a 3-course lunch prix-fixe for $26.

    http://www.modernmexican.com/pampano

    3 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      Pampano sounds like another good option to throw into the mix. It will also gives us a little more breathing room, budget-wise. Thanks, RGR.

      Half the fun of this is the research and decision process. Promise to report back where we go and how it went!

      1. re: MaryishSally

        I second the Pampano idea - Ive always enjoyed my food there, including the lunch prix fixe offerings.

        1. re: MMRuth

          Thanks, MMRuth.

    2. I'd take Vong out of contention.

      1 Reply
      1. re: D...DF

        Thanks for the reply D...DF.
        We'd really like to go somewhere new to both of us anyway.

      2. Cibo or Le Perigord?

        2 Replies
        1. re: MaryishSally

          OH I really like Cibo - really good skirt steaks, suprisingly

          What about Patroon?

          I've been dying to try Convivio, just never get to that area of the city...

          1. re: MaryishSally

            Although Perigord tries to present that very French ambiance, the overall service and food are mediocre.

          2. i know it's a bit of a hike west, but if time allows (though perhaps it won't because it isn't really any further than EMP, which you've knocked out because of distance) - what about the oft-revered JG lunch special?

            otherwise i'd go with convivo.

            1 Reply
            1. re: vatl619

              Yes, we'd rather spend her lunch hour(ish) eating than traveling. Also, I think we've decided to scale back and do something a little more moderately priced, although Convivio does look like a wonderful treat!

            2. What about Aquavit Cafe for its $24 prix fixe lunch?

              1 Reply
              1. re: xigua

                I know my friend has been to Aquavit, which is why I haven't suggested it. The cafe menu does look nice though. (I'll have the salmon with the salmon, please.) Maybe I'll suggest it.

                Does anyone know if the $20 Smorgasbord is enough for a meal?

              2. Convivio. Their pastas in particular do it for me; they are just gorgeous.