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Mar 16, 2010 02:13 PM

trip of a lifetime, want to get the food right!

the wife and i have got the babysitter (gran) organised, the flight and hotel booked and will be in nyc on 18th March staying for 4 nights.
we plan food close to the hotel (staying near the rock) on the first night. can anyone recommend somewhere with a lively vibe, $75 max per head (including drinks). japanese would be the only no go!
see what you can up with.

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  1. Does that $75pp budget for food and drinks also include 9% tax and 20% tip?

    2 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      was thinking yes. but could push it to $100 per head if u have somewhere in mind. forgot about the additionals! whoops. not routine here on the otherside of the pond.

      1. re: woodstockdoc


        Yes, especially if budget is an issue, you need to keep that NYC tax in mind, as well as the fact that unlike in Britain and on the Continent, in the US, the gratuity is usually *not* included. Two very upscale NYC restaurants, Per Se and Masa, do include the gratuity in the basic cost of the meal (but not drinks and tax). Many restaurants automatically add a tip to the bill for groups of 6 or more. If so, they are required to state that on the menu.

    2. So somewhere not far from Rockefeller Center, $100 max per head, including drinks, tax, tip.

      I would recommend Seasonal, a lovely Austrian restaurant on 58th St. Perhaps RGR would share her photo stream...

      14 Replies
      1. re: gutsofsteel

        gos, Happy to provide the photos. Our most recent time there was a Saturday post-Carnegie Hall, and it was lively. But we've also been there early on a Sunday evening, and it was quieter. Will the vibe be lively on a Thursday evening? In any case, below are the links to the photos.



        Now that there's a higher budget, I would also recommend Oceana, on the street level of the McGraw Bldg, corner of 6th Av. & 49th St. (the proverbial stone's throw from Rockefeller Center). Definitely has a very lively vibe without being deafening. Our dinner there last week was delicious! Fish and seafood centric, of course, but there are some carnivorous dishes on the menu.

        Oceana photos:

        1. re: RGR

          like the look of oceana. the seafood will do it for me and the wife will be happy with the meat dishes. thanks heaps for the photos.
          would u agree with perilla for the saturday night? have had to take a late booking so will miss the tasting menu.

          1. re: woodstockdoc

            You are most welcome! Glad that Oceana suits you.

            We have not been to Perilla, but it gets lots of praise from Hounds who have. For Saturday night, prime time bookings at very popular restaurants, like Perilla, need to be made far in advance. Have you considered switching your reservation there to Sunday evening, the 21st? OpenTable is showing availabilities at a variety of times: 7:15 7:45, 8:45, and 9.

            If you make that switch, OpenTable shows that Veritas, one of our favorite restaurants, has a reservation available for 9 p.m. on Saturday. We recently did the 9-course tasting menu there. Spectacular! They also have a 5-course seasonal tasting for $110, as well as the 3-course prix fixe for $85. In addition to sublime French cuisine, their wine list is one of the most extraordinary in the city, service is friendly and attentive, and the small space has understated elegant decor.

            Here are the photos of our tasting dinner:


            1. re: RGR

              Even at the $85 prix fixe level, that will not allow them to stick to their $100 budget. $85 does not include wine, tax, and tip.

              1. re: gutsofsteel

                I was presuming that the budget previously discussed was only for the first night, and that they would o.k. with upping the ante for other meals. If I'm wrong and the budget for all their dinners is $100pp tops then, of course, Veritas is out.

                1. re: RGR

                  why would the budget for the first night only be $100 pp. . .

              2. re: RGR

                Perilla is wonderful. Alas, it is only available at 10:30 on Saturday. I would go with RGR's suggestion to do it on Sunday. If Veritas fits your budget, that would be a great choice for Saturday. If not, maybe Allegretti?

                1. re: rrems

                  thanks for the postings guys. veritas looks the business and has great reviews.however, it is a little outside our budget. will look into allegretti. before i do, must go and get the rugrats dressed!

                  1. re: rrems

                    Allegretti is another one of our favorites -- been there too many times to count -- so I certainly agree with that suggestion. The Provencal-style French cuisine is superb, service is attentive, and the space has attractive decor. In addition to the a la carte menu, there is a 3-course dinner prix fixe for $39. No tasting menu.

                    Allegretti photos here:

                    and here:


                    Aldea is another fine option. Delicious Portuguese-inspired cuisine and pleasing atmospherics. There is a tasting menu.

                    Aldea photos here:


                    Note: Allegretti and Aldea are closed on Sunday.

                    1. re: RGR

                      RGR, do you ever dine at home? LOL. Jealous.

                      1. re: simetrias

                        semetrias, LOL! I actually love to cook and bake. Here's a link to photos of a recent at-home meal:

                      2. re: RGR

                        How do you ever get into Aldea. We went once. Loved it. Have never been able to get a reservation since.

                        1. re: JC2

                          Re: reservartions at Aldea. Just checked OpenTable. There's a reservation for two tomorrow (3/18) at 9:30 p.m. There are late reservations Mon.-Thurs. of next week. Mon., 3/29, there's an 8:30. Also, I'm sure they get cancelations, so calling directly on the day of can sometimes work.

                2. re: RGR

                  That potato gnocchi gratin from Oceana looks wonderful. RGR, I really appreciate your photos. Your photos are making my list of NYC restaurants longer and longer. Maybe I will need to stay for a month so I can get to all the restaurants on my list!

              3. I have had several amazing meals at Casa Lever on 53rd and Park.Check out the menu -there are lots of good choices and I believe the atmosphere exerts a sophisticated New York City vibe. They have booths on one side of the restaurant and the tables at the back are well situated too. A great first night choice,I think...

                3 Replies
                1. re: pammi

                  I must disagree. I think Casa Lever is a lousy restaurant.

                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                    If you could explain what makes it ousy, that would be a help.

                    1. re: yebo

                      Food, service, atmosphere. I think the food is mediocre and poorly executed, I thought the service was stilted and bumbling, and I don't like the room at all.

                2. I'd also consider the Bar Room at the Modern. Good food, lively atmosphere and definately within the price range.