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Looking for a really good small restaurant in the village?

I'm going for my birthday tomorrow and was looking for something either Italian, continental, or Mediterranean.

I like aesthetics, something with ambiance is a must. Something small and cozy. Nothing trendy or obnoxious.

I would like to keep entrée prices at #30.00 or less.

Any suggestions

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  1. Dell'anima on 8th Avenue is beautiful, and has great Italian within your price point.

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    Dell'Anima
    38 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10003

    1. I like The Little Owl a lot (and it's definitely small). Not sure you can get a reservation on such short notice though. 'Cause it's small. And popular.

      http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/... - has prices
      http://www.thelittleowlnyc.com/ - does not have prices, but does have music!

      7 Replies
      1. re: small h

        I don't think it really fits in with the request for Italian, continental or Mediterranean though.

        1. re: loratliff

          Little Owl's a great suggestion, actually. I definitely think there's an Italian / Mediterranean bent to the food, though it's not explicit.

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          Little Owl
          90 Bedford Street, New York, NY 10014

          1. re: loratliff

            Check the menu. Sauteed skate with beurre blanc (French), tagliatelle with pork bolognese (Italian), and whole fish with string beans, potatoes and olive vinaigrette (Greek) seem pretty continental to me, since those countries are on the European continent. Plus, one is actually Italy, and all three are Mediterranean.

          2. re: small h

            I've heard good reports on Little Owl, and it's definitely small, but I think it would be impossible to get a table. It's trendy enough that you have to call weeks ahead of time for normal dining hours. Last minute, no way, unless you want to eat at 5:00 or 10:30...

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            Little Owl
            90 Bedford Street, New York, NY 10014

            1. re: johnblacksox

              If you're advising the OP, note that this thread was started on 4/16/11 about a meal the following day. So whatever was going to happen has already happened. And if you're advising me, I already know it's a tough reservation; I said as much in my post.

              1. re: small h

                Right, sorry, I saw the date after I posted!

                I'm curious where he went...

                1. re: johnblacksox

                  So am I. Come back, dslater417! Come back and tell us the end of the story!

          3. If you like Tapas..Caliu on Hudson is absolutely wonderful!! Flavors are amazing!

            1. I'm a big fan of Le Gigot. It's French though, but fits your other specs.

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              Le Gigot
              18 Cornelia Street, New York, NY 10014

              1. I agree with Le Gigot. It's small and cute, with fairly good food, but it can be a little tightly packed and it's on the pricier end of your spectrum. Some entrees are more than $30. Po (Italian), also on Cornelia St., is also good for food, but also potentially cramped and loud. The acoustics of the room really reflect sound back into the room.

                A few other lower-key places to consider:

                - Snack Taverna (Greek / Mediterranean tapas and larger plates; dark, cozy, not overly loud or cramped in my experience)
                - Gottino (wonderful, friendly, cozy atm; Italian wine bar with high quality small plates; it can get crowded and loud later in the evening, however, and there's a no reservations policy)
                - For atm alone, the little known Alma 33 is quite cozy and lovely and low key. The food is decent, though not amazing, but prices are extremely fair. The menu is Mediterranean and Argentinian.

                I do like the food at Caliu, but it's cramped and sometimes nearly deafening. Also, the restaurant sometimes places an upper bound on the amt of time you can spend at a table. I would not personally go there for a relaxed birthday dinner.

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                Le Gigot
                18 Cornelia Street, New York, NY 10014

                Snack Taverna
                63 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014

                Gottino
                52 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011

                Caliu
                557 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014

                Alma 33
                33 W 8th St, New York, NY 10011

                3 Replies
                1. re: michelleats

                  Gottino is the epitome of trendy and obnoxious, IMO.

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                  Gottino
                  52 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011

                  1. re: michelleats

                    I went to Snack Taverna recently, and both the appetizer and main dish had an excessive amount of thyme in them (in the case of the appetizer, powdered thyme, and in the case of the main dish, fresh thyme). That's such a basic mistake that even a decent home cook should know to avoid it. Needless to say, I wasn't impressed. I felt very disappointed that it got such good reviews on Yelp and also positive comments here, and with all the good options in the area, I don't see any reason whatsoever to give them another chance.

                    1. re: Pan

                      That sounds appalling. I can imagine how unpleasant it'd be to get a big bite of powdered thyme. I have not had over-thymed dishes in the past, but I'm sure the kitchen is not always perfectly consistent. Too bad you had a bad experience. I don't think Snack is the best Greek in the city, but it's local to me, in my experience competent across the board, and a pleasant, cozy place to eat. If I had complaints, it wouldn't be about the food so much as the red wine, which is always served too warm.

                  2. I would recommend Po, as well. Cozy, small, good service, good food, good value, and Italian. The only thing it doesn't really have is an amazing decor, but you are asking on quite short notice. Since it's for a Sunday, you might be OK noise-wise.

                    http://www.porestaurant.com/dinner/

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                    Po
                    31 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014