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Lively downtown spot under $50 per person?

  • g

I need suggestions for downtown restaurants, any cuisine except Chinese or Japanese, that are lively but not deafeningly loud, and that take reservations. I'd prefer that the tab be no more than $50 per person (without drinks, tax, tip). I could fall back on an old favorite like Mercadito on the LES or Gnocco, and I'd go to Blue Ribbon Bakery in a heartbeat if they took reservations. But I'd like to try somewhere I haven't been and would welcome your suggestions!

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  1. Lots of restaurants fit this description. A few that come to my mind are Supper, Inoteca (I'm not sure if the Lower East Side location takes reservations), Malatesta (I think they take reservations), and Pylos. I was going to mention Aria Wine Bar, but I don't think they don't take reservations, and I guess they can be very loud, sometimes.

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    Malatesta
    649 Washington St, New York, NY 10014

    Pylos
    128 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

    'inoteca
    98 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

    Supper
    156 E 2nd St, New York, NY 10009

    4 Replies
    1. re: Pan

      Thanks for these suggestions. I hadn't heard of Pylos, so I'll check it out. How about the Inoteca in Gramercy (e liquori)? Looks like they take reservations. Is it as good as the one on the LES?

      And I see that Supper has the same owners as Frank. I love the food and atmosphere at Frank, but I always feel rushed there. Is it similar at Supper? I don't want to feel pushed out the door after an hour.

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      Frank
      88 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

      Supper
      156 E 2nd St, New York, NY 10009

      'inoteca
      323 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010

      1. re: gab

        I haven't ever felt rushed at Supper. It's a bigger space, has a more relaxed atmosphere, and it's less expensive than Frank, but I think its food is actually more reliably good.

        I've been to the Inoteca in Gramercy once, and though somewhat different, I think it's just as good as the Lower East Side location.

        Pylos is a good Greek restaurant with cool decor - a bunch of amphorae are suspended from the ceiling.

        1. re: Pan

          I also like the food at Supper but I often find it extremely loud.

          1. re: visciole

            yeah, the last time i had dinner at supper there were parents involved and it was comically loud

    2. East of Broadway...

      Vandaag
      JoeDoe
      Alias
      Prune
      Porsena
      The Redhead
      Back Forty
      Rayuela
      Five Points
      Caffe Falai

      Further West...

      Empellon
      Colicchio & Sons Tap Room
      Spasso
      Lupa
      Commerce
      Barbuto

      ...a couple of those could be, like, $55 if you ordered the most expensive items from each course, but all are certainly doable for $50 pre-t/t/d. Personal favorites among the above would probably be Lupa, JoeDoe, Caffe Falai, Vandaag and Prune - with the caveat that I haven't had a full meal at Vandaag since the original chef left, only popped in for apps & cocktails, but it looks like the new guy has carried over most of the signature items. And the cocktails are still among the best of any restaurant in town.

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      Barbuto
      775 Washington St., New York, NY 10014

      Alias
      76 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

      Five Points
      31 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012

      Rayuela
      165 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002

      Back Forty
      190 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

      Caffe Falai
      265 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

      Prune
      54 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

      Commerce
      50 Commerce Street, New York, NY 10014

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

      JoeDoe
      45 East 1st Street, New York, NY 10003

      Colicchio & Sons
      85 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

      Vandaag
      103 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

      Porsena
      21 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

      Empellon Taqueria
      230 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

      Spasso
      551 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

      7 Replies
      1. re: sgordon

        I love Lupa, and on reflection, it is within gab's price range, but it is almost impossible to get reservations there at a reasonable hour. Of the other restaurants you mention, I can back you up on JoeDoe (but don't get the "gnocchi": they were super-heavy when we got them - really kneidlach) and Redhead. I haven't been to Five Points for dinner but their brunch is really good.

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        Lupa
        170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

        Five Points
        31 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012

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

        JoeDoe
        45 East 1st Street, New York, NY 10003

        1. re: Pan

          I looked at the Redhead website, and they don't take reservations for parties smaller than 5. Their menu sounded interesting so that's too bad. I also checked out JoeDoe's website and there wasn't anything on the menu that grabbed me. Do they have a lot of specials? Otherwise I think I'll look into some of the other places mentioned.

          1. re: gab

            They do have some specials, but I don't think you should count on them to appeal to you more than the regular menu.

          2. re: Pan

            I used to like Redhead but was quite disappointed on a recent, late-night visit. Everything was too salty, and even their signature fried chicken was too dry. I probably won't return.

            Five Points is great for dinner as well. Nothing that will blow you away, but they consistently put out delicious food with top-notch ingredients. Their pork chop, if it's on the menu, is the best I've ever had, and I love their chocolate brioche bread pudding and sticky toffee pudding for desserts.

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            Five Points
            31 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012

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

            1. re: uwsister

              Sorry to hear that about Redhead. Their food's been a hair saltier than ideal for me, nothing more, and I've never had dry chicken there: One of the special things about their chicken was even the white meat was moist and good. I hope it's a one-off and not a downhill trend.

              1. re: Pan

                Redhead used to be my number one for (Manhattan) fried chicken, but of late Peel's has supplanted them. The FC on a breakfast biscuit w/ red-eye gravy has become my go-to unhealthy brunch choice.

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

                Peels
                325 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

                1. re: sgordon

                  Thanks for the recommendation. What else do you like at Peel's? Also, when I've passed, they've usually been packed and incredibly loud. Are weeknights good there?

        2. The Dutch and Saxon and Parole FTW - both take reservations.

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          The Dutch
          131 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

          Saxon + Parole
          316 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

          1. Rubirosa, Balaboosta, Vandaag, Empellon, Rouge et Tomate

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            Balaboosta
            214 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

            Vandaag
            103 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

            Rouge et Blanc
            48 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

            Rubirosa
            235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

            Empellon Taqueria
            230 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

            1. What about Hearth? Without drinks, tax and tip I would estimate it's about $50 a person. It's super cozy in the winter. I had a birthday dinner there once with about 8 or 9 people and they were extremely accommodating and they handled it seamlessly.

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              Hearth
              403 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10009

              1 Reply
              1. re: BaconBits

                I was underwhelmed with my last meal there. The duck, for example, tasted kind of off.