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A Chow challenge: cheap veggie-compatible EV-area restaurant with atmosphere

Hello fellow Chowhounds,

I have some friends coming in from out of town for dinner next Saturday night and I've got a little bit of a challenge on my hands. Here are the criteria:

* Dinner for four on a Saturday night
* Cheap (they are very budget conscious)
* Veggie-compatible (one is a vegetarian)
* Good atmosphere (i.e. no fast food but a nice sit-down place)

I know the EV pretty well but somehow I'm drawing a blank here. I was told 'no Chinese food' so I'm wondering if their palates are going to be up for any of my favorite Japanese izakayas or not. I'm thinking a more traditional sit-down restaurant. Any thoughts? I thought of taking them to Lombardi's and then Veneiro's but the price may be problematic for them. Other than that I've come up with Chat n Chew, which is fun but not necessarily quiet or conducive to having long conversations.

Any thoughts?

Cheers,
Hikaruhana

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  1. Forcella, Moustache, Zabb Elee. I've never been to Sigiri, but that was recently recommended and sounds great. When I lived in the neighborhood, I liked Gnocco but it's been years since my last visit.

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    Moustache
    265 E 10th St, New York, NY 10009

    Gnocco
    337 East 10th Street, New York, NY 10009

    Sigiri
    91 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

    Forcella
    334 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

    Zabb Elee
    75 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

    2 Replies
    1. re: rose water

      Wait, Zabb Elee has almost no vegetarian options, so ignore that one

      1. re: rose water

        Sigiri was my thought too. I reviewed it here a few days ago. The BYOB factor makes it doubly affordable if your group plans on drinking.

      2. Westville? Northern Spy?

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        Westville East
        173 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

        Northern Spy Food Co.
        511 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009

        1. Cafe Mogador if they'd be up for Moroccan food; they have vegetarian options in addition to meat kebabs and tagines. It is not necessarily quiet, but it is a sit-down spot and you can certainly linger long enough for plenty of conversation. It may not be the most amazing food in town, but it is quite good especially considering the price.

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          Cafe Mogador
          101 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

          1. Westville East and Northern Spy are both good calls. For something a little fancier but not fancy-shmancy, Dirt Candy - a vegetarian restaurant, yes, but one that even the most unabashed carnivores (like myself) love regardless. The food is playful and adventurous, not your usual vegetables-on-a-plate stuff.

            Otherwise, Italian is always a good option for mixed veggie / non veggie groups, as there are always veggie pasta dishes and such available. If you're willing to go a little further South, Caffe Falai (lighter, brighter, fresh/seasonal Northern Italian) and/or Osteria Morini (richer, heartier, heavier) could be good options.

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            Westville East
            173 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

            Caffe Falai
            265 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

            Dirt Candy
            430 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009

            Northern Spy Food Co.
            511 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009

            Osteria Morini
            218 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

            3 Replies
            1. re: sgordon

              The Redhead on 13th St between 1st and A(?)

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              The Redhead
              349 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

              1. re: sgordon

                I really loved Dirt Candy, but it's really not for the very budget conscious. I wanted to love Northern Spy but was really underwhelmed.

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                Dirt Candy
                430 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009

                Northern Spy Food Co.
                511 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009

                1. re: rose water

                  I dunno. Everything's under $20 at Dirt Candy. In this town, that's budget dining. Heck, at this very moment I'm spending more on BRUNCH than I would on a dinner @ DC.

              2. Thank you all for the great suggestions. I'm particularly intrigued by Gnocco, Caffe Falai and Osteria Morini. Intrigued by Dirt Candy too. We will check them all out!

                1 Reply
                1. re: hikaruhana

                  Osteria Morini is loud, crowded, and on the expensive side. Pastas are around 20, and not big enough to be a main. I think your budget conscious friends may not go for that.

                  When someone says cheap, I usually think under $20 for food.

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                  Osteria Morini
                  218 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                2. Angelica Kitchen might work..

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                  Angelica Kitchen
                  300 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003