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Oct 11, 2011 06:52 PM

Really nice Manhattan dinner for $35-40 pp before drinks, tax, tip

I spent a week in Paris a few years ago and (at that time) I had no trouble finding delicious three course meals in high-quality neighborhood restaurants for 30-35 Euros, which of course includes tax and service. This comes out to a total bill without wine of about $50, and good wine is cheaper in Paris than here. Places that looked equivalent to storefront ethnic restaurants in NYC were substantially less pricy, though not exactly inexpensive (15-20 Euros), but I didn't try them.

Is this possible in Manhattan? Is there a nice place that doesn't feel mass-produced or rushed; really good food--not amazing but better than "pretty good"; with three courses for $35-38 or so, except maybe for the most expensive things on the menu? Or the equivalent in small plates... To make things (quite) a bit easier, I'm willing to share the appetizer and dessert, since portions here are too large anyway. But still, unless there's a prix fixe, the main courses probably need to be in the $20-$23 range, or at most $25. Can you get quality food and a decent relaxed atmosphere in that price range, a place you'd be proud to take someone out to for a pleasant 90 minutes or so? (In Paris you get the whole evening.)

Target neighborhoods: Manhattan north of Canal and south of 79th Street, not too far east on the LES. ..

The place I know that comes closest to what I want is Novita...but not everyone likes it....and it's close to the upper limit of the price range. Both the food and the pricing are fine at Le Zie--it's less elegant but charming in its own way--but unless you go early the noise is deafening....Despite these two examples, I'm not stuck on Italian....

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  1. I'm quite curious about this as well (and also curious what restaurants in Paris you visited for €30). I can't think of any 'really good' restaurants in Manhattan that meet your criteria (other than during lunch and perhaps some 'ethnic' standouts, eg Szechuan Gourmet).

    Bloody hell, I remember when Bouley Bakery broke the $30-dish barrier over a decade ago, and I thought Manhattan was an investment banker's isle even then...

    Szechuan Gourmet
    21 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

    1. first one that comes to mind is da andrea on 13th street.

      ino and ino'teca also come to mind.

      Da Andrea
      35 W 13th St, New York, NY 10011

      21 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014

      98 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002