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Apr 7, 2009 04:24 PM

Restaurants for elderly NYC visitors

I'm taking my elderly mom and aunt to NYC in May. I am racking my brain for restaurants they would enjoy. They do not like ethnic food beyond French and Italian. They cannot handle too much noise, and it needs to be easy to get them in and out (so tables not too close together, not a lot of walking, stairs, etc.) Pretty is a bonus.

I was thinking about Le Bernadin for one meal, since my aunt requested seafood, and she loved the Inn at Little Washington when I took her there a few years back, so she'd appreciate it. But we can't spend that much for every meal. Can you offer some other suggestions?

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  1. China Grill (West 53? and 6th Avenue) is hip and young, but would also be manageable
    and fun for elderly moms and aunts. The food is unique and interesting. I would also think about lighter meals in the museums (the Met has a lovely cafe and MOMA has fabulous restaurants, although pricey). Eat your main meal mid afternoon (la comida in mexico, late lunch here) and it will be more affordable.

    11 Replies
    1. re: marobit

      Regis' favorite "Il Tinello" might be a good fit ......

      1. re: marobit

        China Grill is not French or Italian, though, right? I'm fond of Village Restaurant, which has an airy, high-ceilinged back room with well-spaced tables. The food is French-ish. Marseille is another good suggestion.

        If you give an idea of your preferred neighborhoods, it would be easier to come up with ideas.

        1. re: marobit

          China Grill for elderly? No way. It's one of those big early 90s style Chinese Jeffrey Chodorow monstrosities. Multi-level and really loud.

          Here are some: Cafe des Artiese is full of older people, as is Picholine, Compass. Le Grenouille.

          1. re: chow_gal

            Cafe de Artists is not a good rec for anyone . . .

            1. re: financialdistrictresident

              Yeah, I agree, but the old folks seem to love it. I think it is the room.

              1. re: chow_gal

                Really? I recently had dinner at Cafe des Artistes and loved it. The service was excellent, the food was quite good. And I didn't have to listen to any bozo's idea of cool music.

                1. re: chow_gal

                  I don't know about the food because it's been quite a while since I've been, but I don't think there is anything "old folks" about the room, just beautiful with murals by the American artist Howard Chandler Christy ("inventer" of the Gibson Girl) who had his studio at des Artiste.

                  1. re: City Kid

                    i LOVE cafe des artistes. good oysters. wonderful pot au feu (sp?) - good service, fun bar. like to sit near the bar. Food is always good. I go with older friends, but i would eat there more often if i lived nearby. Sexy walls.

                    Personally, i think it's a cool place and feel a bit sorry for people who don't get it. Go when the theatre crowd is finished eating and you'll be fine.

                    1. re: City Kid

                      Didn't say it was old folks, said there are always a lot of older people there. Was that the case when you were there? Did you notice an older clientele?

                      1. re: chow_gal

                        It was mixed when I was there in the winter (wish I could partake more often) maybe 60% over 40, if memory serves.

                2. re: chow_gal

                  I think La Grenouille would be lovely for this occasion - if only for the stunning room/flowers. It's probably the same price range though as Le Bernadin (which I've not been to). They have a prix fixe, with various supplements, including one for their fabulous Dover Sole.

              2. Perilla is not too noisy, fantastic food, not too cramped: West Village. One of my fave restaurants in the city. I find it somewhat elegant in its simplicity.
                Aquavit is Scandinavian food, but there are dishes that wouldn't grate too much on a relatively narrow palate (Midtown East). Sit in the more casual "cafe" section-still very nice, good menu, btu not quite as pricy. Minimalistic feel but neat design in its own way. Similar in atmosphere is Rouge TOmate; relatively simple food, also modernist design.
                While none of these could be considered cheap, they are reasonable compared to some other higher end NYC options, and I consider them to be a good value.

                1 Reply
                1. re: orthorunner

                  I like the Cafe at Aquavit, as well as the dining room, but I think the food is very different - my recollection of the food at the former is that it is heavily Scandinavian (salmon, herring, meatballs, etc.), where as the latter is not.

                2. Convivio could work, Marseille is another possibility. Lunch at Jean-Georges is a good deal and they should be quite impressed. Olana is also reasonably priced and has interesting Italian/French/American cuisine and is probably one of the most comfortable (and least noisy) restaurants in Manhattan. Park Avenue Bistro has nice updated traditional French food, while La Petite Auberge is very traditional bistro cooking in a very traditional bistro atmosphere, and may be perfect for what you are looking for. Picholine is a more high-end option, but the cost can be kept very reasonable by ordering from the "Tastes of Picholine" menu, 3 courses for $58 + $12 for each additional course. The portions are appetizer or half-entree size, but I find them to be quite generous.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: rrems

                    We went to Olana recently and really enjoyed our experience:



                    Convivio has a few stairs and was lively when we went. The tables where we sat were pretty close together. Duane Park (American) in TriBeCa is spacious, quiet. Not in the same league as Le Bernardin. It's a neighborhood place, a bit under the radar screen:

                    1. re: financialdistrictresident

                      Just realized Duane Park's restrooms are down a flight of stairs . . .

                  2. Try Cibo on 2nd ave in the 50s. It has good food, quiet, nice atmosphere and an easy menu to navigate. It may not be as hot as Convivio or Olana but it is not priced that high either and elderly folks will very much enjoy the roomy, upscale feeling.

                    1. I would suggest Allegretti. The Provencal-style French cuisine is delicious and includes wonderful fish dishes. Service is cordial and professional. The ambiance is just what you are looking for -- lovely decor, nicely-spaced tables, everything on one level, and a conversation-friendly noise level. While it's not inexpensive, prices are more moderate than Le Bernardin.