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Suggestion for inexpensive, festive ethnic (Indian, Mexican, Thai top choices) restaurant for group of 12?

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It's my mom's 65th birthday. I'm having a surprise dinner for her and since I'm footing the bill, I'm looking for something really fun, super tasty but on the cheap. Prefer round tables but don't want to do Chinese because that's what we always do. Would love any and all suggestions. Thx!

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  1. What does "on the cheap" mean for your budget? Please include tax, tip, and drinks.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      $35 per person max for everything. But these are not heavy drinkers. In fact, about a third of the party doesn't drink at all.

    2. Spice is fun. I'm not sure how "festive" they are but their prices are really reasonable and they have a few locations. The one I go to is on 22nd and 8th Ave. It's Thai food. Also, Nirvana on Lexington is great Indian food, but pricier.

      1. Kefi is Greek, but it could work. They might be able to push two round tables together to make twelve, downstairs.

        There are a lot of Thai restaurants in Chelsea that are not wonderful for food, but not terrible, either. Spice is one of them, as Thatgirlmarie suggested. There's also S.E.A. by the same group that does Spice. The clientele tends to be young and I'm not sure the modern vibe is 65 year old grandma appropriate, but maybe your grandma is very hip, I don't know. I believe S.E.A. has a long, rectangular table that might fit everyone.

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        Kefi
        505 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

        1. Thai Market, upper west side. They might be able to push some tables together for you -- I've never noticed any round tables there.

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          Thai Market
          960 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

          1 Reply
          1. re: travel.eats

            Great suggestion for the food, though 12 might be a tight fit. (Maybe six two-tops pushed together in that front corner could work, though?) Thai Market also has reasonably nice decor, no deafening techno music blaring from the speakers, and good small plates for sharing.

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            Thai Market
            960 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

          2. Vatan, near 28th and 3rd, has the whole rustic Indian (Gujrati thali) thing down pretty good. Its all-you-can-eat for $30.

            Chinese Mirch on 28th and Lex, does Indian Chinese. The fish and lamb are pretty good.

            Caveats: These are both slightly offbeat and you may want to try the cuisine to see if it will suit your party before committing to it.

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            Vatan
            409 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10016

            Chinese Mirch
            120 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

            1 Reply
            1. re: geeksaregoodfun

              It will be hard to find a table that seats 12 at Vatan.

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              Vatan
              409 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10016