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Oct 19, 2012 09:10 PM

Reasonable, nice lunch for after central park wedding

My partner and I are getting married in Sept 2013 in Central Park. yay!

We are looking for a nice place to take our family and friends (20ppl) for lunch after... it doesn't have to be very fancy, but in a nice location, gay friendly and just a cool space with really good food. I would like to keep the budget to $600 or so, including wine if possible. Close to Central Park would be great.

Any good ideas??? :)

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  1. Central Park is very, very large.

    Have you narrowed it down to where exactly in the park? West side, east side, in the 60s, 70s, 80s, etcs?

    $600 total for 20 people including tax, tip, and wine as well?

    That is very, very low for such a large group. That's only $23pp for food and wine, to account for tax and tip.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      I realize it is very low... We might be able to go up to $30-35. Any ideas would be really appreciated!
      No we haven't narrowed down a location! Honestly, for the right place I will be happy to drive a bit... No big deal. So, any suggestions in manhattan are good !!! Thanks, Kathryn!!

      1. re: Julia4480

        I think you should forget about a "cool space" at that price. Just go for a Cantonese banquet at a place like Oriental Garden. You could reserve a private room, and they'll be happy to work with you to stay within your budget. There are several Cantonese restaurants that are very much accustomed to serving banquets. Other possibilities include Congee Village and Congee. But at those prices, I really think that will be your best bet. Bring your own wine, and they'll serve it for you (check first, but I certainly believe that's true at Oriental Garden).

        1. re: Julia4480

          Well, at a minimum, a brunch reception will be cheaper than a dinner one. I think Pan and Monica have good suggestions -- Asian restaurants will probably come in at a better price point.

          (Also for a Central Park wedding, make sure you plan a backup location in case of rain. This is one of the reasons why we chose not to get married in a park.)

      2. Julia in my experience all of Manhattan is "Gay friendly" not to worry.

        2 Replies
        1. One of my friends had a small family and friend gathering at a Viet/tThai fusion restaurant called Obao after their wedding at the Central park boathouse. They have a lovely outdoor garden in the back that should be big enough for 20 people. It's on 53rd between 3rd and 2nd and your budget should be ok even with some wine. Btw, their food is really good.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Monica

            I might have found a nice list with prix fixe lunches that might work with our budget. What do you guys think of this?


            1. re: Julia4480

              I know the site claims it's a 2012 update, but at least some of the information is not current. For example, Nougatine's lunch prix fixe is $32, not $28 - - and Tocqueville's least expensive lunch prix fixe is $29, as you can see on their own website. The other point you have to consider is whether the restaurants in question would offer their regular prix fixe menus to a group of 20. Many probably will only offer you a higher prix fixe, possibly with fewer choices, and some of the restaurants on the list simply don't have room for 20 or/and won't give such a large group reservations.

              1. re: Pan

                Humbly I state that I have found the perfect place. If you can afford that list you just posted, this one is a breeze and charming as can be.
                It is a walk-down and you'd swear you were dining on a Parisian street.

                1. re: arepo

                  In my experience La Boîte en Bois is merely OK. The food was passable but the space is so cramped, hence the name, which should be shoe boîte. Might be a tight, uncomfortable fit for larger people. Perhaps more important, it would be hard to stay within your tight budget. I think some of the Asian options above would be preferable.

                  1. re: City Kid

                    Tight quarters absolutely, but I was speaking of taking over the entire place where it would then become an intimate love-in for the occasion.
                    Passable food?
                    Are you serious?
                    The food is excellent, enjoys a fine reputation, and the restaurant is extremely popular with the Lincoln Center Met opera and theater crowd.
                    Don't just listen to me, check it out on Chowhound and competition elsewhere.

                    1. re: arepo

                      Yes, arepo, that was my experience there, glad yours has been better. I remember a very limp salad, uncomfortable seating (including chairs and I am quite petite), and brisk service. Opinions vary, as reflected on this board and elsewhere. Still think it is out of the budget range in any case.

                  2. re: arepo

                    My very limited experience with la boîte was awful, and from this thread it does not seem particularly tempting:

            2. Just an aside, remember to apply for the permit to marry in the park.

              1. The original comment has been removed
                1. If the consensus is that La Boite en Bois, whose prices were under $30 for the Prix Fixe, is not up to snuff, fine.
                  Telepan, which is definitely more upscale, comes with a more upscale price as well, just like the rest of the other ones on your list.
                  I was trying to recommend something that was in your price range and you stated $30 would be okay. La Boite en Bois is $28.
                  Whatever you end up choosing, I wish you a happy and fulfilled life together.