Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Jan 9, 2012 11:16 AM

Need Recommendations for birthday dinner

I'm planning to do my birthday dinner in about 10 days from now. We are about 11 friends, 2 of them are STICKLY VEGETARIANS (no fish, sea food). I don't want it to be too expensive (entrees less than $30) and want to have it in Manhattan, if not then I'm OK asking people to come to Williamsburg (Brooklyn).

I tried looking at few options (Public, ABC Kitchen, La Esquina and a few more) but I am having hard time finding a reservation for a group of 11 people.

I would really appreciate if you could suggest me few recommendations, again my constrains are the following:

1. Getting a dinner reservation on a Friday evening for a party of 11

2. Place should have a few (2-3) decent vegetarian options - no fish or sea food

3. Entrees preferably below $30

Thank You

La Esquina
106 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

ABC Kitchen
35 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Just to add - rest of my friends (non-vegetarians) eat anything and everything, they like trying new stuff/cuisines... so any cuisine would work.

    Thanks again

    2 Replies
    1. re: qwerty1120

      Try Hearth - it's in your price range, has a semi private room, and offers a few vegetarian selections.

      Also look into Empellon, Balaboosta and Rubirosa.

      403 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10009

      214 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

      235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

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

      1. re: H Manning

        Thank you!

        I called Hearth and was able to make reservations, and they said our server shall help us with few vegetarian option.

    2. I find your best bets for mixed crowds (vegetarians and normal, sane people) tend to be Italian or Indian. With other cuisines, vegetarian options tend to be fairly run-of-the-mill, afterthoughts, glorified appetizers, etc. At an Italian place there'll always be some decent pasta options for mains, and at a better Indian restaurant there'll be a number of veggie entrees.

      For Indian there are the standard three higher-end ones that come up often: Tulsi, Devi, and Junoon. The first two are a little less expensive, and IIRC both offer decent prix fixes where you can pick an app, entree, and dessert for one standard price instead of going a la carte. Even ALC, most entree options will be below $30, with the usual outliers (lamb, shellfish) perhaps a little higher.

      For Italian, there are any number of good options.

      Caffe Falai is solid, and all the entrees are under $30. It may not be as exciting as his former flagship, but everything is fresh and seasonal, and the pastas are excellent. One thing I've noticed is that portion size can vary a bit - some of the pastas are more entree size, some are more like large appetizers. So it's good to check with servers beforehand about individual dishes.They also usually have at least one proper vegetarian non-pasta entree.

      Osteria Morini right down the street from them could be doable, as well - I find the food there quite heavy and a bit oily, personally, but in midwinter that could be nice. They're a touch more expensive than CF, as well - most mains are in the high 20s.

      Porsena, Lupa and Dell'Anima also usually have multiple veggie-based pasta dishes available. Lupa is especially good, as one can easily put together a meal of small-plate veggie antipasti alone.

      Some other places could work with advance notice to the kitchen - sometime for a group that large, they'll be willing to put together a special veggie dish. For example, Hearth and Locanda Verde both have only one veggie option available among their pastas, and none for proper entrees - but either kitchen might be able to put together something so that both vegetarians weren't stuck with only one option.

      That aside, getting a rezzie for 11 people is no easy task. It might come down to who's the one place that has an opening.

      170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

      8 East 18th Street, New York, NY 10003

      403 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10009

      Caffe Falai
      265 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

      38 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10003

      Locanda Verde
      377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

      211 E 46th St, New York, NY 10017

      Osteria Morini
      218 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

      21 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

      27 W 24th St, New York, NY 10010

      1. Also note, many restos will not book parties that large through Opentable - so it's best to call directly.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sgordon

          Thank you! I called Hearth and was able to make reservations, and they said our server shall help us with few vegetarian option.

        2. Otto is a perfect choice. They will do a fixed price meal for 55 pp with antipasta, salad, pasta, pizza.

          1. i've recommended Cacio e Vino for groups w/ similar criteria -- they have simple pastas, pizzas, and salads that the vegetarians can enjoy, as well as some more intriguing Sicilian's small and cute and festive in a rustic way, and despite the cozy space they've usually been able to fit large parties w/ ten days or so notice...

            Kin Shop could also be fun, but a much harder reservation, as it's a bit trendy and the space is fairly small...

            Cacio e Vino
            80 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003

            Kin Shop
            469 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011