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Does anyone know any cool restaurants for teenagers in NYC?

I'm planning on going to NYC for my 17th birthday in a couple of weeks. I'm taking 5 friends (6 people including me) in and we're going to either take the bus or the train in from NJ. However, despite my growing up 30 minutes away from the city my whole life, I have no idea where we should go. We're looking for a nice restaurant that will have dinner for $30 or less per person. If anyone knows of restaurants that a group of 17 year old girls would enjoy that would be great. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Otto would be good for you girls, i think.
    Maybe you can be a little more specific? Food, area, exactly what kind of scene?

    3 Replies
    1. re: RebelWithaCause

      I like Malatesta (cash only) but I don't know that it fits with the "cool" vibe. Definitely fun, cute, and popular for girls' nights out though. Beauty & Essex is another option but unless you all order burgers, I don't think you can get out of there for $30 or less. Maybe tapas at Boqueria?

      1. re: RebelWithaCause

        I'll second Otto--I think it has the right vibe for a birthday along with the price point.

        1. re: RebelWithaCause

          Honestly, any area is fine. We can always take a cab to where we need to go. Same with food. I'm open to anything.

        2. I agree with Rebel that we need to know a little more, particularly about the food. I will say with a group that large you can save a lot of money by going to a restaurant that serves food family style -- large dishes meant for sharing. Depending on how adventurous you're feeling you can do this with a lot of foods. Italian (Carmines is a classic tourist spot, but for a reason. The food's not going to win a ton of awards but it's decent, there's a lot of it, it's affordable and the atmosphere is perfect for a large group out celebrating), and Chinese (you can take over a table at a lot of restaurants in Chinatown for either dinner or for dim sum) are most commonly associated with family-style but you can get much more exotic. I'd recommend Ethiopian. Go to Queen of Sheba on 46th and 10th, tell them what you want and how much you have to spend and they'll take care of you.

          3 Replies
          1. re: nokitchen

            For Italian-American food, I'd recommend John's of 12th St. way over Carmine's, and you can do family-style there with apps and salad (I think it would be harder with main dishes, but they're friendly and give great service, so if you wanted to share mains, I imagine they'd let you do that, too). Dinner under $30 including tip might be a bit difficult there, depending on what you order, though. It could be more like $40.

            Otto, mentioned above, is an excellent choice, and might be OK with the price point if you share a bunch of appetizers and perhaps some pizza. Apps may be the best things you can get at Otto, anyway. But what I don't like about them is they insist (or at least insisted the times I went) that you order all our apps at once and told us we wouldn't be allowed to order more if we decided we wanted more. So we over-ordered and were annoyed.

            1. re: Pan

              John's is about my favorite red-sauce place in the city, but I think it would be difficult to get out of there for $30, even with a no-alcohol group. That said, modern technology allows Cathgirl to decide for herself. :-) http://www.johnsof12thstreet.com/page... Cath, if that fits in your budget and the kind of food you're looking for John's is a good choice.

              1. re: nokitchen

                Come on - John's and that tourist slophouse Carmine's are some of the UN-coolest places for a 17 yr old and her BFFs to celebrate a birthday in Manhattan.

                I like the Otto idea.

                Maybe sharing a bunch of small plates at Alta?

                If they don't mind a wait - how about Mission Chinese?

          2. When you say "cool," do you have some specific criteria in mind?

            When I was that age I thought that pizza was the greatest thing ever. I imagine that's still true.

            You could do Motorino for dinner, then walk over to Big Gay Ice Cream or a slightly longer walk to il laboratorio del gelato for dessert.

            The East Village and Lower East Side are pretty colorful, so I'm sure the kids will have fun just walking around.

                1. Don Anotonio for great authentic Neapolitan pizza in Hell's Kitchen. Walk from Port Authority or quick subway ride to 50th St from Penn Station. Gets a nice crowd.
                  Also in Hell's Kitchen - Eatery. Not a major foodie destination but certainly fun with solid "New American" fare.

                  1. Though the food is good, Otto is not cool.. For the "cool" factor, Stanton Street Social tops the list. Also Hecho en Dumbo in the Bowery and Schiller's. With careful selection, you should be able to meet your budget at any of these places. Red Farm would also be on the cool list.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Will4Food

                      Cathgirl - Here are some places that my kids enjoy... These places are more about the theme (& fun factor) & less about the food.... Also - you may want to go during lunch.. the prices will be lower. Several of them are way above your $30price point... but you may just want to split some appetizers and try one or 2 of them... Sometimes we'll go to a restaurant .. order appetizers and then head to another place for some more appetizers and / or dessert.....

                      Max Brenner - Union Sq. (IChocolate Heaven)
                      Ninja- very expensive, Japanese themed restaurant (wait staff dresses up...)
                      The Hurricane Club
                      Beauty & Essex - & combine it with a walk around the Lower East Side, Economy Candy, check out the Tenement Museum, etc. There are walking tours on chow hound around the Lower East side that take you from one food place to another... search the site for the links.....
                      Ellen's Stardust Diner - near Broadway, singing wait staff, diner style food
                      Inakaya - Japanese (it will be cheaper if you go during lunch)

                      let us know where you go....

                      1. re: rk1

                        I can't imagine any group of 17 year old girls that would think Ninja was cool- to me, it's a theme park for pre-teen boys.. Same with Ellen's- a kind of diner theme park with very mediocre-over-priced food and packed with tourists.

                        1. re: Ann900

                          Perhaps they're filled with tourists... but the girls are tourists, too.. And if you look at the crowd, they're filled with kids of all ages. I think it's worth suggesting & the op can check out the websites & menus & decide for herself.

                          Personally - my friends & family enjoy exploring restaurants that are different from the regular ones we normally frequent. Waiters that sing or that are dressed as Ninjas is certainly different & may not be very well known.

                          That said.. if the girls are looking for a grownup / chic atmosphere.. then yes, these are not the right places......

                          1. re: rk1

                            and I definitely say NO to Ninja..Definitely no....

                        2. re: rk1

                          For 17 year olds? Assuming they are semi-cool and not immature, I'd say:

                          Max Brenner - No. Crap quality chocolate anyhow.
                          Ninja- OMG NO. No. No one in their LIFE should ever go there. No. (Did i mention 'No'?)
                          The Hurricane Club - cocktail oriented, so not good for underage girls. It does feel celebratory, but it is WAY over their budget.
                          Beauty & Essex - This - and Stanton Social - are best for them actually, but over their budget.
                          Ellen's Stardust Diner - God, no.
                          Inakaya - No opinion.

                          P.S. I'll just leave this Classic Frank Bruni review of Ninja here:

                      2. How about LA BIRRERIA on the rooftop of Eataly?

                        I cant imagine they wouldnt be excited about that atmosphere.

                        PLUS, it's right by Penn Station...

                        OF course, check out the menu first. I don't know what kind of eaters you all are ...

                        1. How about Ippudo? Assuming your group likes ramen and pretty much every teen I know does, it's well within your budget. Pretty boisterous place. One of the big booths on the side would be ideal set up.

                          1. For a group of 17 year olds I would suggest:
                            Nai Tapas (flamenco on Thursdays and Saturdays)
                            Thai Terminal (thai food in a modern space)
                            The Redhead (yummy American comfort food)
                            Hill Country (decent bbq with live music)
                            Malatesta (Italian with outdoor seating)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ukitali

                              What about the private room at Danny Ng's