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3 women reuniting after 23 years, need 3 meals in NYC

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My two friends and I are getting together August 28 & 29 to celebrate a milestone (all just turned 60) birthday. Two of us will see Wicked on Wednesday afternoon and meet up someplace with the third, who has an apartment in the upper west side where we will stay. I am an Atlanta native who lived in New Jersey in the late 80's and it has been that long since I have been to New York.

We will be eating two dinners (Wednesday and Thursday) and one lunch (Thursday). My personal favorites in Atlanta are Aria, Bacchanalia, Restaurant Eugene, and Bistro Niko. I don't think we would lean toward a steak house but would love a place that doesn't break the budget and has a nice vibe. I wish to avoid stuffy places that give snotty (and snooty) service to non-regulars. We love to laugh and talk so it shouldn't be an atmosphere in which that behavior would be offensive to other diners. However, it shouldn't be a place so loud that we won't be able to hear one another!

None of us are vegetarians, but one of us must eat a gluten-free diet. That should not be a real problem these days.

All three of us love good food and wine, so quality is important. It would be wonderful to find a place in New York which has the ambiance of a bistro such as La Closerie de Lilas in Paris! I have just begun to browse on the Manhattan board and of course am overwhelmed by the options. I must admit that although I am a fairly savvy diner, I can be somewhat unnerved by fast-talking, brusque professional servers.

Thank you in advance for your help!

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  1. Two of my favorites that definitely fit the vibe you're looking fort:

    -illili www.ililinyc.com
    -Kefi www.kefirestaurant.com

    NOT quiet, but if you can go through Eataly (during the day, maybe?), it's pretty impressive!

    1. For dinner, try Telepan, 69 and Columbus. Great food, good service, cozy booths, non-rushed. Shouldn't be too loud.

      Annisa perhaps? again, cozy booths can help with sound levels.

      Maybe Nougatine for lunch? Enjoy your reunion.

      1. What about Prune. Small, charming, quiet but not fussy. I think you need to define "break the budget". There is a big difference in price btw Kefi and Annisa. I love them both, but totally different ideas. Also, if you like Asian, Jungsik is awesome and probably very different from anything you have in Atlanta. Another choice might be Blue Hill. I also second Telepan, very convenient for where you are staying.

        3 Replies
        1. re: JC2

          JC2, I feel that we would be fine with a tab of, say $500-$600 total for the three of us, including wine. The menus without prices are a bit daunting, and I know that one should ask the server about the prices. But if there is one thing I disdain, it is being made to feel like a cheapskate at a restaurant! Perhaps we could discuss how one does this in New York in an elegant manner?

          I am thinking we will skip Asian on this trip, but I have heard good things about Jungsik. I'll so some research into your other suggestions. We will do one splurge night for our birthdays and then one night out for just a fun dinner out and perhaps Prune would fit the bill for this?

          1. re: The Food Bee

            What restaurant suggested to you doesn't list prices on the menu?

            What are you talking about?

            1. re: thegforceny

              I looked at the menu from Gordon Ramsay at The London ( the prix fixe menus) and did not see the prices but I just scrolled down to the end. Voila! Sorry for that oversight. But, mind you, I have been in restaurants that did not have prices on the menus.

        2. Benoit
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