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Suggestions for a cheerful, not too dear Christmas Eve dinner on the West Side for two Philly visitors?

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I hadn't realized this would be much of a problem until another post on this board caught my eye...My boyfriend and I will be staying around 7th and 57th from the 23rd until the morning of the 25th. I guess I had assumed that given the area and New York, finding decent food on the 24th wouldn't be a huge problem...We'll be going to mass at 5:30 at St. Patricks, so anything within a mile or two would be great.

Prix fixe is fine, although we are but young twenty-somethings without too much disposable income (say $30 to $40 dollars a person, maybe a tad more?) Almost any cuisine is fine except Chinese (reserved for Christmas itself), only one of us drinks, and it should be kind to vegetarians. And if anyone does have suggestions for a pre-theatre dinner on the 23rd (near 8th and W. 44th), that would be fantastic. Thank you in advance for any advice!

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  1. Assuming that's $30-40 NOT including drinks, tax or tip:

    For Italian, Teodora (57th and Lex) and Mia Dona (58th and 3rd) are good reasonably priced options. PJ Clarke's is an old NYC saloon, now a chain of bar/restaurants. The food is solid - better than the typical bar food - and fits your budget.

    If you can afford a splurge one night, consider Convivio all the way over on the East Side at 42nd St and Tudor City Place. You could eat there without going way over your price range, and the food is very good Southern Italian (not red sauce Italian-American).

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    Mia Dona
    206 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022

    Convivio
    45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

    4 Replies
    1. re: ml77

      Like I said, I'm the only one who ever drinks and it's not essential, so that's roughly 30 to 40 sans tax and tip, yes. Thank you for the suggestions! Really, we're even fine with doing Thai (or if anyone knows a place doing a decent fesenjen....) but I wanted to know if Christmas Eve will be a tough thing to wrangle. Thank you for the suggestions; I've heard about Convivio and I'll add it to the list to check out!

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      Convivio
      45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

      1. re: chocolatstiletto

        Go on opentable.com and put in the date (12/14) and see what's open...

        1. re: gutsofsteel

          I appreciate the thought; I'm well-aware of open table, but not every restaurant participates, nor do I spend enough time in Manhattan to really know how to best filter the options (currently running at 616 within two miles of where I want to be.) Do you have any more specific recommendations? They are very appreciated!

          1. re: chocolatstiletto

            You can use the $$ indicators to narrow down the list. I'd also think about what kind of food and atmosphere you're most interested in. Not only whether you'd prefer French or Spanish or Japanese, but also aspects like whether you'd like simple straightforward preparations, or something more creative. These types of parameters would make it easier for folks here to give you more useful advice.

    2. Take the 6 train downtown to Astor Place, walk east to the East Village, and then have dinner at Motorino (great pizza and wine), then get a dessert at Chickalicious (their cupcakes are lovely).

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      Motorino
      349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

      1 Reply
      1. re: Nancy S.

        Nancy S is speaking of Chikalicious Dessert Club which is takeout. The full dessert bar with table service is across the street.

        For both I'd phone to ask they were planning to be open.

      2. A bit of non-food advice: get to the Cathedral really really early for the 5:30 Mass.
        If I were you, I'd concentrate on a big, late lunch.... and do a lighter, pizza-type dinner.