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2 girls, 2 nights out on town, need help deciding between restaurants

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I am looking for help deciding between 2 restaurants for a fun girl's night out on Thurs and Sat nights in Manhattan in October for 2 people.
For Thurs night I have narrowed it down to two choices: Should we go to Minetta Tavern or Locanda Verde?

For Sat night I have narrowed it down to two choices: Should we go to Catch or Beauty and Essex?

Price is not an object. We are staying at Gansevoort Meatpacking but are willing to cab it. Italian, French, American, Asian, Seafood, etc cuisine all ok. We are looking for dinner at a lively, happening restaurant with a nice bar area where we could have drinks before or after dinner and that might be conducive to meeting new people. I am a foodie but my friend likes the scene more so trying to please both of us.
Any other recommendations would be appreciated if you think these are not good options or that you have better ones. Also, any ideas of places near these restaurants to go out after our wonderful dinner for more drinks.
Thanks in advance.

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  1. If you can get in, Minetta Tavern is not only better than Loconda Verde, but better than just about ANYWHERE in New York City.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sneakeater

      wow! Great to know for Thurs night....Thank you for info

      1. re: Sneakeater

        Yikes, now there's a strong statement.

        Just to bring another opinion to the table--I'm not quite so enamored with Minetta Tavern. It's good, yes, but I've personally enjoyed meals at LV more. Very different menus, so it's all just based on preferences and which one grabs you more. Can't speak to the bar scenes at either, but both can get pretty packed from what I've seen.

      2. I don't know that I'd wax as poetic on Minetta as Sneakeater, but they're certainly very good. But Locanda is as well. I'd probably lean towards Minetta myself, though.

        For Saturday - where it seems like you're looking for a "scenier" place - as far as the food goes I'd certainly pick B&E over Catch. Simply more creative, playful, fun. They're both very sceney so in that regard you'd do fine at either. Catch is... the food is fine, but that's about as much as I'd say about it. It's all well-prepared, it's just kind of boring, and a little overpriced. Certainly doesn't show the creativity we know Chef Huyhn is capable of.

        There are all kinds of good places for after-dinner drinks as well on the LES. If it's not too late, the bar at WD-50 makes some of the best cocktails of any restaurant in the city (and you could even skip dessert at B&E, do a la carte dessert at the bar at WD - Chef Livingston is probably the best pastry chef in NYC right now)

        That said, the bar area at WD is small, but there are many, many other options in the area, and just to the North in the East Village. Everything (good) will be busy on a Saturday night, so you might have a wait for seats, especially at any of the better cocktail lounges. You could make reservations (if they have one open) at PDT, just to be guaranteed. There's the bar at ACME as well - good drinks, VERY sceney, great food if you still want to snack.

        4 Replies
        1. re: sgordon

          Other places that can be fun to eat and less crowded than Minetta. Buddakan (meat market), Blue Ribbon Izakaya, Morimoto (meat market), Stanton Social, Bond Street, Upstairs bar at the Standard, the rooftop bar at the Gaansvoort.

          1. re: foodwhisperer

            I would never, ever, recommend Buddakan to anyone.

            I don't find Morimoto a meat market. Maybe in the basement lounge on the weekend, but if you're dining at a table or the sushi bar on the main level, it's pretty normal restaurant-y for the most part.

            Stanton Social can be MM-y, especially upstairs, though alot of the MM crowd has moved on to B&E at this point, it seems. SS has been a bit more chill since B&E opened.

            1. re: sgordon

              I agree on Morimoto, the downstairs level is the more energy level, and they have tables to eat down there.
              Buddakan I will continue to recommend,,to everyone ,Forever
              Stanton Social gets a big crowd. Perhaps many have moved on to B&E...i haven't been to B& E so i can't comment on it.

            2. re: foodwhisperer

              We have been to Buddakan before on a previous trip. Since staying at Gansevoort, we will defintely check out rooftop bar. Sounds like its a toss up on here between Minetta Tavern and Locanda Verde. Anywhere to have drinks after dinner around Minetta Tavern?