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Apr 12, 2012 12:02 PM

Last-minute Friday reservation (or reservationless dining) for a celebratory meal


My husband and I want to have a lovely dinner to celebrate some recently arrived good news. This Friday is the only evening we can do this (preferably early in the evening.) Many of the restaurants we've checked have already been booked, even for early evening seating. Does anyone have a gem to recommend, which would provide great food in a good atmosphere even without our having made reservations well in advance? (We're looking for something in the $25-40 per entree range. We could basically go anywhere in Manhattan, though downtown or West side would be convenient. We're open to many different cuisines.)

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  1. Silly question, but have you checked OpenTable for availability?

    2 Replies
    1. re: ellenost

      A quick search on Opentable turns up:


      Ai Fiori

      Cafe Boulud

      That was just 3 places that jumped out at me when I glanced at the screen (from A-C). I think there's actually a pretty decent list of good restaurants still available. Just take a look at Opentable.

      1. re: ellenost

        Not a silly question at all. Thanks so much!

      2. Good suggestions above, though Cafe Boulud might break your price point depending what you order - many of the entrees are in the $40s, with apps similarly high, usually in the $20s.

        A few other standing out from opentable:

        A la carte menus:

        Monkey Bar




        Prix Fixe places:

        SHO Shaun Hergatt


        (both might be a little high, with prix fixes in the $80s, but offer a good deal for your money - four courses rather than the usual three, though many options at SHO carry supplements)

        1. Babbo tweets any same day cancellations at about 3:00 pm almost daily.


          1 Reply
          1. Scarpetta has 6:30pm or 7pm for tomorrow on OpenTable right now.

            The NoMad (28th/Bwy, the new place from the folks at Eleven Madison Park) has 5:30pm.

            Recette has 6:15pm, it might be a little too loud/crowded for a celebration, though.

            Blue Hill has a 5:30pm.

            Wong has plenty of times available, but it's definitely a little loud.