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Girls Weekend: Where to take 8 mid-20s wanna-be-foodies?

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Hi Chowhound Crew -

I've been reading & trying to sort this out on my own...but would love any & all help! I've lived here for 5 years and definitely have my favorites...but they tend to be smaller venues that a group of 8 women (mid-westerners) will take over!

What are your suggestions for brunch, lunch, dinner & coffee/snacks?
They can be in any neighborhood - I plan to take them shopping/sightseeing thru Manhattan and will map it out accordingly.
As for price - I'll need to balance that out for them but we want at least one good dinner (under $100pp) and the rest good finds (at least under $50 for dinner, $10 for lunch/snacks)
Most of the girls have lived in or at least visited NYC, London, etc so we're really just looking for good food, atmosphere & prices to enjoy conversation & new/old memories! Of course, I'd like to show them the inside view and get them to love it and move here!

Tentatively I'm thinking:
Thursday night: East Village drinks (everyone gets in at different times and I live around there). Perhaps a wine bar (like Ten Degrees but it's a bit small)
Friday day: Breakfast enroute to Century 21, snacks while shopping in lower Manhattan/Soho
Friday night: dinner & night out. Had thought about Highline for decent Thai, Meatpacking scene without getting too involved and then make our way to a comedy or burlesque show. Good bar/lounge after.
Saturday day: Brunch as we make our way to Central Park, window shop along 57th St, pop in a museum or two. snacks or drinks along the way as we make our way back to East Village to get ready for dinner.
Saturday night: Dinner is the main event - had thought perhaps Fig & Olive but don't want to have both nights be in the Meatpacking...cause that isn't really my preferred scene, it just seems to better suit 8 women. Perhaps a rooftop bar after dinner or a good dessert stop after.

Thanks for your thoughts & suggestions!

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  1. Sounds like a fun wknd! Here's my suggestions:

    Thursday night: East Village drinks (everyone gets in at different times and I live around there). Perhaps a wine bar (like Ten Degrees but it's a bit small) THOUGH I'VE NOT BEEN, I'VE HEARD WONDERFUL THINGS ABOUT TERROIR.

    Friday day: Breakfast enroute to Century 21, snacks while shopping in lower Manhattan/Soho - WILL YOU BE TAKING THE TRAIN TO CENTURY? IF SO, WHAT LINE? WHAT TYPE OF SNACKS ARE YOU THINKING?

    Friday night: dinner & night out. Had thought about Highline for decent Thai, Meatpacking scene without getting too involved and then make our way to a comedy or burlesque show. Good bar/lounge after. - WHERE IS THE COMEDY/BURLESQUE SHOW? THIS WILL HELP IN CHOOSING A BAR/LOUNGE FOR AFTER.

    Saturday day: Brunch as we make our way to Central Park, window shop along 57th St, pop in a museum or two. snacks or drinks along the way as we make our way back to East Village to get ready for dinner. - YOU COULD DO BRUNCH AT: THE CENTRAL PARK BOATHOUSE, SARABETH'S, BLT MARKET, BG (BERGDORF GOODMAN), NORMA'S

    Saturday night: Dinner is the main event - had thought perhaps Fig & Olive but don't want to have both nights be in the Meatpacking...cause that isn't really my preferred scene, it just seems to better suit 8 women. Perhaps a rooftop bar after dinner or a good dessert stop after. - IF NOT FIG & OLIVE, WHAT OTHER CUISINES DO YOU HAVE IN MIND? ROOFTOP BARS: 230 FIFTH, EMPIRE HOTEL, RARE BAR & GRILL AT THE SHELBOURNE HOTEL

    www.thelunchbelle.com

    15 Replies
    1. re: LeahBaila

      I like Terroir as well but there is no way you are getting 8 people in there. The Redhead might be a fun place for drinks on Friday night and those who want bar snacks can get them. For breakfast in soho the morning you are headed to century 21 I would suggest Balthazar, then hop on the subway and head down.

      1. re: prdct

        You're no more likely to get 8 into Redhead as you would getting them into Terrior. Both are going to be too crowded.

        1. re: KTinNYC

          Nah--Terroir barely fits 8 in the whole place. Redhead bar area gets crowded in a crowded bar kind of way--as opposed to a place where you have to wait for a seat. I've been twice on Friday nights with groups and the bar area has been crowded but doable. True that you are unlikely to be able to grab seats.

          1. re: prdct

            Not only won't they be able to get seats they aren't going to all even be able to stand near each other. The bar area is tiny and there is always people waiting to be seated.

      2. re: LeahBaila

        Thanks so much!

        I still have a few weeks to plan but you can see the challenge to this! No wonder tourists end up in Applebee's in Times Square - there are always too many of them to fit anywhere else!

        I've been to Terroir, it's wonderful but definitely too small.

        The transportation & locations for everything can change - I'm more concerned about finding places for a group of 8 to eat & drink than sticking to a certain mode of transportation, area or plan for the other activities. I'll plan everything else around food & drink! :)

        Snacks could be savory or sweet - again, just somewhere that 8 people can pop into w/o making a mob scene! Since we'll be shopping around - perhaps somewhere in chinatown for dumplings and then a dessert stop.

        Like the brunch suggestions but I was hoping for somewhere a bit more upbeat - will likely end up somewhere LES or EV and then head up to Central Park. Balthazar is definitely an option.

        Cuisine's for Saturday night - not sushi or indian - like tapas or small plates to share. Could be American or Italian or Asian Fusion...

        1. re: Nicolle

          You can get the Bo Ssam at Ssam bar and that allows you to make a reservation ahead of time. That's good to share between 8-10 people. Also, you can go to Mercat in Soho for Tapas, you can make a reservation there as well. After that, walk over to the dessert truck for dessert.

          1. re: lanadai

            If you want to do the Bo Ssam, reserve ASAP. They do a limited number (usually early and late, never at prime time).

          2. re: Nicolle

            Thanks for clarifying. BTW, what wknd is this for? Here's some more ideas:

            Like the brunch suggestions but I was hoping for somewhere a bit more upbeat - will likely end up somewhere LES or EV and then head up to Central Park. Balthazar is definitely an option. THE STANTON SOCIAL, FREEMAN'S, ABSINTHE WINE BAR (FOR $20, YOU GET AN ENTREE PLUS 3 ALCOHOLIC DRINKS), FIVE POINTS

            Cuisine's for Saturday night - not sushi or indian - like tapas or small plates to share. Could be American or Italian or Asian Fusion. L'ARTUSI IS A FUN SPOT TO GO TO W/ A GROUP. EMPLOYEE'S ONLY (BAR) IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER, TOO.

            www.thelunchbelle.com

            1. re: LeahBaila

              Five Points' tables may be too small for 8 people. I think they have one table that fits 6? It's worth calling. Definitely make plans in advance for brunch if you want to go there, it is very popular.

              Ditto for Stanton Social and Freemans. For Stanton Social, they do large groups pretty well but it can get pricey quick. For Freemans, they have a private room. Both are pretty popular so call / reserve as soon as possible.

              1. re: kathryn

                we had 10 at 5 points and it was fine ,, they moved tables together along the wall. Other options are Buddakan, Pastis, Odeon for brunch ( they have big tables( on the way to Century

              2. re: LeahBaila

                I think this is the first recommendation I've seen for Absinthe. This is the place just south of 7th on 1st, right? What do you like there? Is it worth going for a meal?

                1. re: Pan

                  Hi Pan, yes, you're correct. I found my brunch meal to be quite good. I had the Tunisian breakfast that came with merguez sausage. For $20, you get and entree and 3 alcoholic drinks...Pretty good deal! I believe they do tapas/small plates in the evening...Hoping to check that out soon.

                  www.thelunchbelle.com

                  1. re: LeahBaila

                    3 alcoholic drinks would be a lot for me, especially with brunch. Are they small tasting pours or full 6-ounce glasses or shots?

                    1. re: Pan

                      Yes, agreed...3 is a lot! :) They're normal sized beverages (but again, I ordered the girlie champagne-based drinks).

                      www.thelunchbelle.com

              3. re: Nicolle

                Mercat? It's iively, food was very good last time I went. Spanish tapas. Not sure it will work with your budget . . . Rayuela also has small plates. I have only gone on week nights so not sure if it will be lively enough.

            2. There's a cute newish spot on East 3rd called Elsa. They focus on old-fashioned cocktails and have a nice wine list. They also serve small bites like cheese plates and olives. It's not very busy early in the evening. I would try there. They are also quite sweet and accommodating. If you call they might just reserve you a big table in the corner.

              http://newyork.citysearch.com/profile...

              4 Replies
              1. re: malibu

                I have a great idea for Saturday night dinner... Bacaro in the LES. The place is ADORABLE and perfect for large groups. Make sure you sit downstairs. There are plenty of long tables for groups of 8, and if you're lucky they might be able to seat you in yoru own private "nook". I believe they will make you do a pre-fixe, but I think it will be about 50 bucks a person not including drinks/tip/tax, so it probably wouldn't be more than $100 pp depending how much you drink. The food is Italian and the pre-fixe will be served family style.

                Or, Inoteca in the LES would be fun for a group. There's a room downstairs that seats larger parties. Great for sharing plates. Love that place.

                For brunch I would hit up Essex or The Stanton Social in the LES. Both would be GREAT and super fun for a group of gals.

                As for snacks, how about Hummus Place in the East Village? Also, Viniero's for dessert? You can take out and do dessert at your apartment.

                I've never been, but maybe The Bourgeious Pig would be a fun wine bar for Friday night?

                If you're shopping in SOHO, Bar 89 is a fun stop to grab a drink. Don't forget to check out the bathrooms.

                1. re: jdogg80

                  I 2nd Bacaro. Still lively and somewhat "sceney", but not in a meatpacking way.
                  You could walk over to the Delancy afterwards- they have a roof top bar.

                  1. re: AimeeD

                    Bacaro is a great space. We went recently and their food is not as good as it used to be.

                    Rayuela might be fun and 8 is not a problem. www.rayuelanyc.com

                  2. re: jdogg80

                    Hummus Place is pretty small. Can it seat 8?

                2. I would like to put a strong recommendation for Alta (10th St btw 5th & 6th) for the Saturday dinner. i actually prefer it to Fig & Olive...It's a huge menu with a great variety of tapas and a great wine list; their cocktails and sangria are also delicious.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: blueyes425

                    Thanks for the ideas guys - I'll let you know where we end up - tossing some of them out to the girls!

                  2. Snacks in Soho - how about a Vietnamese Sandwich (takeout) from Banh Mi Saigon Bakery for lunch? If the weather's nice, eat it outside in a park (if you go there on the way back from Century 21, try the park on Mulberry and Spring; if on the way to Century 21, hang out in Columbus Park between Mulberry and Baxter, south of Bayard).

                    Or, for actual snacks, not lunch, actually in Soho, go to Kee's on Thompson St. and buy a few excellent chocolates, or get some hot chocolate and such at the counter at Jacques Torres (King and Hudson), which has the advantage of a place to sit down (otherwise, my general feeling is that Kee's products are much finer and more interesting, on the whole).

                    Depending on whether you go to Balthazar (which I think is a great idea) for breakfast or not, Pastis for dinner/drinks is a possibility (their cuisines are too similar to do both in one day, I think!). Purely in terms of a bar, I love the cocktails at Pastis! But it might not be the kind of scene you want.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Pan

                      Century 21 day you might want to have breakfast at Financier on Stone Street or William (closer to Century 21). Onda (Latin) on Front Street is good for a nosh, it's small-ish so not sure about 8. Onda has drink specials almost every night and mojitos. Table Tales on Water Street has great food and is one of my favorite lunch places. They also have a 3 course dinner for $26.95 if you are in the Seaport area. Table Tales has one large community table that will definitely seat 8 and a few smaller tables. Also, Acqua. Other then that not many good food options near Seaport. . . .

                      www.ondanyc.com
                      www.tabletales.com
                      www.acquarestaurantnyc.com

                      1. re: financialdistrictresident

                        www.financierpastries.com

                    2. Highline is closed. I think it is now Sea. I've never been to Highline, but I have been to Sea in Brooklyn and I think it is pretty much the same concept. Trendy, affordable Thai food.