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Dec 2, 2009 09:20 AM

Best NY restaurants that only need reservations 3 weeks in advance?

Going to NY for Christmas from SF and need a dinner spot for 12/26. Tried to get a res. at Babbo and Peter Luger but all booked already. Looking for something under $150 for 2 people but can be persuaded to spend more for great food! Thanks!

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  1. This time of year is hard to get resies.
    but, try scarpetta. RIGHT now you can get a 6pm resie on opentable there.

    6 Replies
    1. re: smokeandapancake

      Totally agree -- there will be TONS of people in town especially just after Christmas and a bunch of them leave on January 2nd, it seems.

      Other than Italian and/or steakhouses, do you have any other cuisine criteria? Are you willing to dine a little earlier or later, like 6pm or 10pm instead of at 8pm?

      Scarpetta is a good call as is surfing around For example, right now for Italian on 12/26 for a party of 2 at 8pm, I see a bunch of options including: A Voce, Alto, Apizz, Convivo, Crispo, Esca (though may be a bit too pricey), Felidia, 'inoteca, Lupa, Maialino, etc. is a great tool for stuff like this, if you keep in mind that not all restaurants use OpenTable, and for those restaurants that do use OpenTable, they don't always put all their availability online (reserving some tables for phone reservations).

      1. re: kathryn

        I'm open to all kinds of food. Do you have any non-italian suggestions? I looked on open table but there are so many choices I thought I'd ask the board to help me make a decision : )

        1. re: vierra

          So about $75pp... does this include tax, tip, drinks/wine?

          So dinner for neighborhood, any cuisine? Any atmosphere preferences? Avoids or allergies? Must-haves?

          1. re: kathryn

            Yes $75pp for everything (but I don't drink). My husband will have a couple glasses of wine usually. Non-asian cuisine. Is Degustation any good? No allergies. Since I have a few Italian suggestions already, would love to hear something else. Nice romantic atmosphere would be great but food trumps all. thanks!!

            1. re: vierra

              I love Degustation but some other hounds don't (especially those that don't like octopus, sardines, tomatoes, ham, and other items often found in Spanish cuisine).

              I wouldn't expect, say, Jean George-level food, but for the price of 5 courses at $50, it's a steal. Not super romantic, though.

              1. re: kathryn

                Put me in the camp of the lovers of Degustation. But since Kathryn mentioned Jean Georges, you could consider Nougatine, the casual annex of Jean Georges. I think it is one of the best values around..more bustling than romantic, though, but with very good service.

    2. The food at Convivio is at least as good as that of Babbo....not sure if they have openings but I've booked with less lead time...

      2 Replies
      1. re: erica

        If I have 3 nights in NY, is it worth it to eat Italian for 2 of them?

        1. re: vierra

          I think so--"Italian" covers a lot of territory. You already have some great suggestions--I would put Convivio at the top of the pack of those mentioned above. For the set meal price--I think it is $58 pp) you get an awful lot of terrific food and they are very accommodating about customizing your meal! I am also a fan of Apizz--very cozy and kind of romantic.

      2. I'm in the same predicament looking for amazing food for 3 people at an early hour (e.g. when the restaurant opens). Today, Babbo told me they have reservations available starting at 10:15 to 10:45 pm every night between the 27th-30th December. They also have 6 tables that are unreservable in the bar area, first come first served, and of course, bar seating.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Food Tourist

          I've been to a few "food mecca" cities in the US in the past couple years and as someone who loves Italian I can honestly say NYC is the only place I go out of my way to get it - the Italian scene in LA, Vegas, San Fran, Chicago just can't compare.

          Babbo is great, as is Scarpetta. The original Il Mulino is an experience, but the food is so-so. Otto was a lot of fun but it was deafening loud.

          Alto - Alto made me re-think the way I feel about Italian - it was mesemerizing. The Foie was second only to The French Laundry and L2O on my personal list, the pasta was beautiful, the desserts.....if you can afford it. do Alto.

          I'm coming back in late December and planning on Marea and Convivio, perhaps A Voce as well.

          1. re: uhockey

            Thanks! You convinced me to book Alto.

            1. re: uhockey

              Oh - I'm so glad you liked Alto. I'm guessing you did post about it? I'll go search. I've only been three times, and, aside from some fish dishes I wasn't in love with, thought it was fabulous. The kind of Italian food I just can't make at home.

              1. re: MMRuth

                I did post about it here, and in my blog - it is in the Manhattan review from May. The Foie was magical and the service amazing considering I went w/o reservations.

          2. I have been going to Peter Lugers every time ( over 30 years) come into town from Los Angeles. My wife and I eat practically nothing for Breakfast, get a 2:30 reservation and never have a problem.. Most of the time we get a snack in the city at night, since we are not very hungry.

            1. None Italian suggestion with availability on 12/26 - Public. Yes, I suggest it a lot but we have always had great meals there.