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HELP! Madison Square Park area

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Will be in Madison Square park on Friday and need restaurant suggestions in the area. Prefer Japanese and would love outdoor seating although would be interested to hear all recommendations. Not interested in really fancy or expensive restaurants. Also, looking for restaurants closer to 26th than lower park area.

Thanks in advance. This area has me stumped!

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  1. Tabla is on the corner of Madison & 25th and has a lovely outdoor terrace with a view of the park. The food's delicious. Prices on the revamped menu are moderate.

    Tabla photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

    A Voce is on 26th, just off the corner of Madison and has a large sidewalk seating area. We haven't been there since right after it opened with Carmellini heading the kitchen, so I can't say personally how good Missy Robbins' food is.

    http://www.avocerestaurant.com/avoce_...

    8 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      Tabla's terrace is lovely, but make sure you ask to sit on the side away from the bus stop.

      I found Missy Robbin's food at A Voce good but somehow it didn't have the "soul" that Carmellini's did. But that's not to say it wasn't a good meal, it just didn't speak to me the way I wanted it to. But I'd still recommend trying it out.

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      A Voce
      41 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

      1. re: RGR

        I've been meaning to try Tabla. Tried for last minute reservations a few Saturday's ago, and not surprisingly, they were booked :)

        1. re: metfan630

          I think that since they eliminated the Bread Bar and reconfigured the single menu for the entire restaurant (upstairs and down) using Bread Bar's menu as a base, i.e., lower price point, business has picked up considerably. That was, of course, the idea....

          1. re: metfan630

            Did you use Open Table or call for your last minute res? We went on a Friday at lunch and the restaurant was only maybe 30% full.

            1. re: buttertart

              I had called for the res. It was very last minute, 5 pm on a Saturday and I was looking for a table in the 7-9 pm range. They had a table actually for 10 or 10:30 ( I cannot recall) but alas, we were too hungry for that :)

              Ended up walking in and sitting at the bar area of 'inoteca, liquori on 3rd and 24th street. Enjoyable meal at a good price (certainly a change in cuisine from Tabla!).

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              'inoteca
              323 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010

              1. re: metfan630

                We've been to 'inoteca Gramercy several times. Like the food, especially the lasagnette di m elanzane, and the affogato is one of the best around. We only go there for lunch or very late evenings midweek when it isn't busy because when the dining room is full, the noise level is hideously high. Never been in the bar room.

                'inoteca Gramercy photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                1. re: RGR

                  Nice pics! we split a few bruchettas, with the fig marzapone being our favorite.

                  Split a pasta dish, the paccheri w/ a pork ragu, very tasty.

                  Side of the meatballs, eh, nothing special, wouldn't recommend.

                  Good service at the bar, bartenders walked us through the menu and suggested good wines (very good prices as well).

                  Indeed it was LOUD. Lot of scantily clad 20 somethings preparing for a Saturday night on the town.

                  1. re: metfan630

                    Thanks for the compliment, metfan360. :)

                    My husband's favorite is the spaghetti di pomodoro. We tried the Heritage Foods Wagyu Beef bollito once, and it was delicious.

                    I pretty much figured the bar room would be LOUD. And the crowd you describe is definitely not our speed.

        2. Tabla is very nice but a bit on the spendy side as far as I can see - prix fixe lunch under $30, but just. A la carte gets expensive. Last two times we went (once for dinner, once for lunch) did not find the food quite as riveting as we had the first few (mains were a bit on the sweet side, and the spicing a bit blunt).

          1. for japanese, maybe the ramen place Terakawa:
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/624253

            otherwise, can't think of good japanese nearby, I don't think Haru or Japonais count as suggestions but there may be some other Park Avenue South Japanese options; not too familiar with them though.

            2 Replies
            1. re: bigjeff

              Had dinner for 9 at A Voce last week. Very pleasant, good service, hugely dark bathroom (not so good) , and interesting food like octopus appetizer, crab and home made noodles, and many good desserts. (25th-26th and Madison.)

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              A Voce
              41 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

              1. re: elizabeth2929

                I'm surprised you found A Voce pleasant. The reason we've never gone back after our first dinner there just after it opened is that the noise level was hideously high, shouting was the only way to converse -- not my idea of pleasant ambiance. Btw, it's on 26th, just off the northeast corner of Madison.