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Nov 5, 2010 01:39 PM

Grand Central or Times Square - special occasion but not too fancy dress

we can spend @ $50-60 pp and need a place with good vegetarian as well as meat or fish options for a Saturday night for family with teenagers who don't really dress up very much - should be festive but not too loud

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  1. Is the $60pp before or after tax and tip? What about drinks for the adults? How many people will you have in total?

    4 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      We'll be 5 and would like to spend @ $300 max, including tax but not tip, I guess. Adults are not big drinkers - a bottle of wine should do it.

      1. re: sbg

        The Bar Room at the Modern has some people who aren't super dressed up but has a nice atmosphere that's appropriate for a special occasion, although you'll have to decide if it's too adult or not for your teens. It's rustic Alsatian small plates (there are a few but not a ton of vegetarian choices -- I might call to ask how they could accommodate the vegetarians). The savory "half size" plates are around $15-20 each (I find two sufficient to be satisfied if you order carefully). Desserts are $10-12. Official dress code is "casual elegant."

        1. re: kathryn

          "Half size" plates will have the teenagers asking for pizza less than an hour after they leave the restaurant. You definitely want a place with decent size portions.

          1. re: Jane A.

            Agree. The portions at Bar Room are not what I'd think teens would be satisfied with ... unless I have a bigger budget than stipulated by the OP.

    2. Rare on 37th and Lex,
      Mapo Tofu 39th and Lex or
      El Rio Grande 38th and 3rd
      are both a short stroll from Grand Central

      El Rio Grande
      160 East 38th Street, New York, NY 10016

      Mapo Tofu
      338 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

      5 Replies
      1. re: Motosport

        should have specified that neither Chinese nor Mexican would work.
        Prefer Italian or other European or inventive American, if possible.

        1. re: sbg

          You might want to check out Rossini's on 38th bet Lex and Park. Great Southern Italian I.M.H.O. You may need reservations.

          FYI: Very few restaurants in Manhattan require "fancy" attire.

          1. re: sbg

            Convivio? In Tudor City not far from GCT.

            45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

            1. re: sbg

              Not sure what your special occasion is so these may not be special enough, but some places we have enjoyed that are in the right location and within budget:

              If you prefer west side, consider Marseilles for Mediterranean (


              If you prefer east side, consider Cibo for Italian (with the caveat that I have not been in the last 2 years so you may want to search more recent reviews) (


              767 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017

              1. re: Bloombee

                Esca may work, though it is on the edge of the Times Square area. Marseille, as mentioned above, is another potential option.

                402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

          2. Fabio Piccolo Fiore on 44th between 2nd and 3rd Avenue. Good southern Italian and the chef always has a few specials-of-the-day very good surprises.
            Your budget fits and you won't leave hungry.

            Fabio Piccolo Fiore
            230 E. 44th Street, New York, NY 10017