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Five Nights--Help us Narrow Down Our List

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We are spending five nights in manhattan and are having great difficulty narrowing down our list.

We've grouped them into a few categories and would appreciate any suggestions.

High end: EMP, Four Seasons, River Cafe, Gilt, One If By Land..., Bouley

Outdoor (wanting romantic setting): Il Buco, Peppelino

Italian: Babbo, Scarpetta

Other: Aldea, Aureole, WD-50

We are hoping to dine finely three nights and more reasonably the other two. We are foodies but ambiance (and romance) is just as important.

Thanks so much!

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WD-50
50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

Il Buco
47 Bond St., New York, NY 10012

The Four Seasons
99 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

Scarpetta
355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

Aldea
31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

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  1. Babbo & Scarpetta are both great so it's your choice. Scratch One if by Land off your list for food - go there for a cocktail and listen to the singer at the piano singing romantic songs.

    I haven't been to Gilt but EMP is good, I find Four Seasons too corporate, Bouley is fine.

    WD-50 is different from your other two choices as Chef Wylie Dufresne likes to experiment with flavors and textures - some people love it, some don't.

    I didn't care for Il Buco - it tries too hard to look like a rustic farmhouse and the chairs are uncomfortable. I didn't realize Il Buco has a garden setting so maybe this would add to your romantic dining experience

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    WD-50
    50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

    Babbo
    110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

    Il Buco
    47 Bond St., New York, NY 10012

    The Four Seasons
    99 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

    Scarpetta
    355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

    1. Eleven Madison Park is one the best restaurants in the city and is a fine choice. If you're celebrating any kind of special occasion, do let them know in advance.

      Both Babbo and Scarpetta are very good (but very different). I love them both but for different reasons. Do note that getting a Babbo reservation can be challenging and sitting on the lower level can be loud. Scarpetta can be difficult, too, but only if you want to dine at 8pm on a Friday or Saturday night. Make sure you call RIGHT when the reservation book opens. I believe it's something like 10am one month in advance to the numerical date (i.e., call on June 14 to dine on July 14) for BOTH of them.

      I love Aldea and it's quite reasonable for the level of cooking they're doing. Plus it's not overly cramped, crowded, or noisy.

      I'm not a huge fan of WD-50, which I find to be a very polarizing restaurant, particularly because Wylie chooses quite challenge flavor profiles and combinations (some of which I find amazing, others of which I find terrible). I do respect his work and NYC doesn't see a lot of that style of cooking these days (RIP Tailor).

      If you wish to dine more reasonably the other two nights, perhaps some non-European cuisines? Indian? Mediterranean? American? What's your price range for the "reasonable" dinners, including tax, tip, and drinks/wine?

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      WD-50
      50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

      Eleven Madison Park
      11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

      Babbo
      110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

      Scarpetta
      355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

      Aldea
      31 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011

      1. Babbo is outstanding but it's difficult to get a reservation. Start trying on the exact date they begin accepting reservations for your visit which is I think 30 days before. This gives you the next couple of days to get a table there if the first date is not available. You must have patience to get a reservation there. When you start calling the line will probably be busy. Just keep trying. I see Kathryn has explained this also.

        I would definitely go to EMP for dinner. Out of your choices I would go with Babbo, EMP and River Cafe simply for the view and great atmosphere. If you are celebrating this is the place to do it. The food is average to above at the most but who cares when you are having a great time just as long as it's not hot dogs.

        Bouley is very nice. The room is beautiful. And DB has been around quite some time. This restaurant is actually very close to his first one I think. You should include your other choices for lunch assuming they are open for lunch. Have a nice trip.

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        Babbo
        110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

        1. The outdoor space at Il Buco (unless something has changed quite recently) consists of two tables on the sidewalk but the downstairs cellar is very charming. Pepolino's outdoor seating is also out on the street and is a little cramped. If you are looking for some sort of romantic garden, go elsewhere. I like the outdoor garden at Gottino but apparently Jody Williams just left so I can't vouch for the food. In any event, it's a charming place to get a glass of wine and perhaps a small bite.

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          Il Buco
          47 Bond St., New York, NY 10012

          Pepolino
          281 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

          Gottino
          52 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011