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Urgent!! cute and CHEAP birthday dinner for 12!

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Looking for a spot for a birthday dinner for 12 people for next saturday night. Open to cuisine but would like it to either be italian or something interesting. No Sushi, Thai, Chinese, Or Mexican.

Area: Lower East Side, East Village area, open to SoHo as well but I know that tends to be an expensive area. We want it to be near bars where we can go afterwards, but that's not crucial.

Other requests:
1.We would like it to be a pretty place, not super loud as we would all like to talk to each other.Want it to feel a little special if possible.
2. We are on a pretty tight budget as guests will all be on different budgets and we don't want anyone to feel bad. It'd be great if we could get a fixed price menu of around $20 a person so people don't have to argue about who ordered what and prices and such. But if we can't do that, that's ok, we just want cheap!
3. I know I"m on the Manhattan board, but we'd be open to Brooklyn as well, such as Fort Greene neighborhood.

Places we were thinking of (to give you an idea) Grape and Grain, Giano, Pepe Rosso

Thanks!

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  1. paladar sounds like a place for you

      1. re: smokeandapancake

        'Inoteca on Rivington sounds perfect for you guys. You can order as much or as little as you'd like depending on budget and they have plenty of affordable wine.

        http://www.StrumErika.com

        1. re: foodie4life

          Of the three above, cucina di pesce seemed the best in terms of price and food. Paladar was a little on the pricier side and I don't think people want latin american food. We've been to inoteca and love it but are looking for something new.

          Any other ideas? Has anyone thrown a dinner party and cucina di pesce? What'd the tab come out to be and how was the experience overall?

          Thanks for the ideas, guys. Keep em coming! I'm hoping to make a reservation tonight/tomorrow.

          1. re: sf2167

            ive never thrown a dinner party there, but its very inexpensive.

      2. may not be too far down for you, but bar stuzzuchini is an option. Italian tapas
        Falai
        mangiami is great, but small..

        1. Tre on Ludlow Street is really cute and not expensive. They have a prix fixe of $19 Sunday through Thursday, but maybe if you call them they will do something special for you. Good Italian food.

          1 Reply
          1. re: eeee

            Great recommendations everyone, thanks!

            Just out of curiosity has anyone been to grape and grain or against the grain for a dinner party? They're still on our list too.