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Country Girl needs your help deciding on an Upper West Side Restaurant

Hi! So I live in Virginia and have basically never been to NYC. I am planning a bachelorette party for my best friend. Long story short we will be staying at the Empire Hotel for one night. There are 8 of us going out for dinner and it would be nice to be close to the hotel so we can go back and hang out before hitting the nightlife. I think atmosphere is just as important as cuisine since this is a one time trip, but since we are springing for the nice hotel, I don't want to go overboard price-wise at dinner.
I have been researching and have narrowed it down to the following:
1. Compass- this is my first choice and I have already made reservations. It seems like most reviews of this place are a couple of years old now. Anyone have any recent takes on Compass? Is the ambience pretty cool? I am concerned about the reviews that this place is too quiet. We will be there at 8:30 on a Saturday night.
2. Agua Dulce- sounds fun but maybe not for a special occassion?
3. Calle Ocho- sounds fun but maybe to casual and a bit far off?
4. Telepan- seasonal food sounds amazing but atmosphere seems kinda boring

Am a missing a Gem of a place to take the gals? Let me know.

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Telepan
72 W. 69th Street, New York, NY 10023

Calle Ocho
45 W 81st St, New York, NY 10024

Agua Dulce
802 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10019

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  1. For a bachelorette, I would not do Compass or Telepan. Both are fine, although not spectacular, but a bit sedate. I have not been to Agua Dulce, but have not heard great things about the food. I haven't been to Calle Ocho for years, but remember it being pretty good, with excellent drinks.

    For something extremely close and fun, try Rosa Mexicana. On the same block as the hotel -- with fantastic frozen pomegranate margaritas. If you wanted something a bit more upscale, Bar Boulud is basically across the street, and is usually hopping. The crowd is usually a litter older though. Not sure how they would accomodate a group of eight - you may be able to sit at this round wine table in the back. A third option is right in your hotel -- Ed's Chowder House.

    Good luck and have fun!

    -----
    Telepan
    72 W. 69th Street, New York, NY 10023

    Calle Ocho
    45 W 81st St, New York, NY 10024

    Bar Boulud
    1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

    Agua Dulce
    802 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10019

    Ed's Chowder House
    44 W 63rd St, New York, NY 10023

    1 Reply
    1. re: kiworan79

      I'm in total agreement with kiworan79 that both Compass and Telepan are too sedate, although I was once seated next to a table of 8 at Compass that got drunker and drunker as the evening progressed and you would have thought you were in the meatpacking district. Rosa Mexicana doesn't get much love on this board, but I agree it can be fun, the margaritas are terrific, and with the waterfall and all it is sort of neat to those of us not jaded about it. Bar Boulud just doesn't have the atmosphere I would think this group is looking for; probably not the menu, either. Calle Ocho is always a good bet for a group looking to have fun; if you can decide it's not too far, I'd definitely put it on the short list. Have you checked out Luxembourg Cafe? Fairly close, and a very New York place, although somewhat subdued.

      -----
      Telepan
      72 W. 69th Street, New York, NY 10023

      Calle Ocho
      45 W 81st St, New York, NY 10024

      Bar Boulud
      1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

    2. as a nyc girl who goes to bachelorette parties i say rosa is a good bet. is it my favorite place no but it is perfect for bachelorette party. i think luxemborg is ny but too quiet. they want a place they can laugh be loud have fun. i've never been to calle ocho but i hear good things. you might want to check out landmarc or avoce in the time warner center for more upscale spots. citrus or vai might work as well-i've never been.

      6 Replies
      1. re: rogs

        I agree with the Rosa selection, but perhaps stick to margaritas and guac there, maybe some apps, and then move somewhere else for the actual meal (or vice versa, eat some mains at Bar Boloud or somewhere nearby, then move to Rosa for margs and guac).

        Compass, I like the food, but agree with the poster who called it sedate. Cafe Luxembourg which is pretty much next to Compass would be preferable, very nice bar area.

        What would be your high end price for dinner (food/drinks/tax/tip)?

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        Cafe Luxembourg
        200 W 70th St, New York, NY 10023

        1. re: metfan630

          I guess for the whole meal we want to pay $60 each; not including drinks.
          So the funniest thing is that everyone is recommending Rosa Mexicana. There is one in DC too, and that is where my friend, the bride, took me for my bachelorette! So that is the only reason I am not gung ho about Rosa Mexicana. But that is the perfect recommendation otherwise. That is exactly the vibe we are seeking. So maybe Calle Ocho is similar in terms of liveliness?

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          Calle Ocho
          45 W 81st St, New York, NY 10024

          1. re: Volsfanliz

            "So maybe Calle Ocho is similar in terms of liveliness?"

            Even more so. In general, a much younger crowd since there's no Lincoln Center overflow.

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            Calle Ocho
            45 W 81st St, New York, NY 10024

            1. re: Volsfanliz

              I haven't been to the others on your list, but I've been to Calle Ocho many times, and I think it would be a great spot for a bachelorette party. It's nice and lively - not sedate AT ALL - and the food is pretty good too.

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              Calle Ocho
              45 W 81st St, New York, NY 10024

              1. re: whitneybee

                I LOVE Calle Ocho for parties! :) Food's great, you can get the Gallitos to share for the tables for appetizers, enjoy the cheese bread and definitely order a few carafes of the diff sangrias

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                Calle Ocho
                45 W 81st St, New York, NY 10024

                1. re: kelea

                  Yeah given you have been to Rosa already, obviously that would not be great.

                  I have not been to Calle Ocho, but my wife went two weekends ago with her g/f's for brunch, and had an awesome time. It seems like a good fit re: price and atmosphere.

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                  Calle Ocho
                  45 W 81st St, New York, NY 10024

        2. Another option for you is Cafe Ronda...you'd easily be way under your 60/person food-only budget there...it's quasi-Argentinian tapas...Columbus Ave/72nd...