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HELP PLEASE! Dinner tomorrow near East 38th Street

Hi, it's finally time - I arrive NYC tomorrow woohoo. I have changed my hotel, new hotel is located at East 38th street (between Madison Ave & Park Ave). As we won't get to our hotel before 7pm/8pm we would like to have dinner/drinks near our hotel. As my friend and I haven't seen each other for 2 years we would like somewhere casual and low key where we can chat over a good meal and of course somewhere we don't need a reservation. No Cuisine preference, price range (up to $20 usd for mains).

Thanks in advance.

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  1. I'm not personally familiar with restaurants in the area, but this post from a few months back might be helpful:
    Also, Google "Restaurants in Murray Hill."
    Enjoy your time in Manhattan!

    1. There are several places in the area, many rest on 3rd. El Rio Grande, 39 & 3rd. Ask at the hotel too. Also, there was Stella Del Mare on Lex & 40th, not sure if its still open. Docks $$$ on 41 St betw 3rd and Lex (? check address).

      1 Reply
      1. Use www.menupages.com for address specifics and to view menus.

        Ali Baba Turkish Cuisine (34th btw 2nd and 3rd
        )Ethos (3rd Ave btw 33rd and 34th)
        Wu Liang Ye (Lex btw 39th and 40th)
        Szechuan Gourmet (39th btw 5th and 6th)


        1. Josie's
          3rd at 27th
          American, Health Food, Sushi

          Rare Bar & Grill
          Burgers, American
          303 Lexington Ave
          (Btwn 37th & 38th St)

          1 Reply
          1. re: notsochubbychubette

            I, too, was going to mention Rare, but it gets so crowded and loud (maybe not conudsive to long-overdue conversation).


          2. While I like the food at Ethos, it is decidely not "low key." Unless you score a booth, tables are tightly packed, and when the room is full, the noise level can be defeaning -- imo, not exactly conducive to relaxed chatting with a friend one hasn't seen in a long time.

            I would suggest walking down to Campanile, on 29th St., b/t Park Av. S. & Madison. The traditional Italian fare is well-prepared and delicious; service could not be more welcoming and capable; the fairly big space has endearing old-fashioned decor; tables are nicely spaced; and the overall ambiance is very low-key. You can relax and chat with your friend without fear of being rushed out. Though reservations are not required, they do sometimes close for private functions, so it would be best to call ahead to make sure that's not happening.


            1 Reply
            1. re: RGR

              Thank you everyone for your input. I have to say that Campanile has caught my attention - after a long haul flight and a long overdue catch up it's exactly what we are after - thanks RGR.

              Manhattan here we come.

            2. For low-key, casual, excellent food I highly recommend Cosette, a small french bistro straight out of paris on 33rd between lex and 3rd. Da Ciro also does great italian and fresh neopolitan pizza's on lex between 33&34.

              If that's too far and you're looking for something closer, We've always had a good meal at Salute on 40th and madison. Their homemade pastas are very good.

              For a burger and a beer you can go to Rare on 37th and Lex. Or for a true NY deli experience Sarge's is open 24 hours on 3rd ave between 36& 37.

              I also agree with leahb... on ethos and wu liang ye.

              In the area I think you can do better than el rio grande ...

              1 Reply
              1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                I really like the food at Cosette, as well as the "straight out of Paris" ambiance. But I find the seating rather uncomfortable. Not so much because the tables are close, but the upholstery on the banquettes is in sore need of refurbishing, i.e., extremely lumpy.

              2. Sam's place on 39th between lex and 3rd is amazing! They are not on menupages, but they can be found here: http://www.greatrestaurantsmag.com/NY...
                Great prices, LARGE DRINKS, and they will make you any Italian dish you want...I don't even look at the menu.

                3 Replies
                1. re: mbs

                  I could not agree with you more. I can sometimes be very particular about food preparation / options and I have never had a bad experience at Sams Place

                  1. re: FoodieFemme

                    I know! I try not to tell too many people as I don't want it to get overcrowded!!!

                    1. re: mbs

                      Too many choices and too many decisions. It looks like it will come down to a coin toss. heads its Campanile or tails its Sams Place. Once again thank you all for your input, you guys are great. Im now going home to pack.