Inexpensive sit-downs Downtown
Long time reader, first time poster. I have some friends visiting me but am having a hard time coming up with some dinner restaurants that will suit everyone. They're both recent college grads so money is on the tighter side, but they fortunately *do* have jobs, so eating every meal ordering at a counter in Chinatown isn't necessary (in fact, would prefer not to do this at all). Most of the spots I can think of are either of the self-serve or $30 entree varieties, but I'd like some places where they can get a good meal and fill up for maybe $25 per person (including tax and tip, either no alcohol or one beer), but is still a full service restaurant with some atmosphere.
For the record, it will only be three or four of us (no large groups), no type of food is off limits (although I'm having a harder time coming up with non-Asian options), and would prefer downtown, especially E Village, W Village, LES. Something that seems especially tough is decent Italian...Rubirosa? Otto? Parm?...
I didn't like a recent meal at The Cardinal, but YMMV.
I was at the newly renovated Cafe Katja this week, and it's as good, if not better, than ever. Slightly (for now - there's more on the way) expanded menu, and more than double the seats.
Schiller's will be out of your price range, as will Lupa, especially once you have that beer.
Korzo Haus for its unique "burgers"
Bianca for cheap Italian?
Any of the ramen joints would work as well.
Thanks everyone! Ended up taking them to Cafe Katja and Motorino, and had to bypass a few of the other suggestions made due to trying to early and having long waits. But everyone seemed to love both, so it was a success.