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Feb 6, 2013 11:10 PM

Aquavit vs.Oceana for large business lunch?

Hi - Hoping to get some help as I hem and haw over organizing a large business lunch (likely will end up needing to do private dining because of party size). Will try to be as specific as possible to not waste your time. Thanks in advance for your thoughts!!

I've narrowed options to Aquavit and Oceana for their location, they serve lighter fare/seafood, ambiance isn't too stuffy, and availability for the date I need (struck out at a half dozen other places for at least one of these reasons). I haven't eaten at either resto. I was a bit apprehensive re: approachableness of AQ's Scandanavian-influence, but menu looks fine.

Btw, attendees will be a few out-of-towners, but mostly NYC-ers who get taken out to business lunches a lot. Also mostly females.

So, do you feel one restaurant is a better choice than the other - food-wise or otherwise?

Also, despite both of these places being around for AWHILE already, is one considered still "trendier" than the other (not the "am I going to see a celebrity?" trendy but the "oh, that's where we're going? that makes me happy/excited" trendy)?

Thank you so much!!

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  1. I would choose Oceana mainly for it's space and location.

    1. I prefer Oceana. Just ate there the other day and had wonderful frog legs and grilled sturgeon. Dishes can be simple or imaginative. Desserts are wonderful. Nice spacious feeling. Excellent wine list.

      1. Aquavit all the way. Oceana's food is quite good and seafood high quality but its style of cooking nothing special/unique. In fact, to me, its location and design/layout make it feel like an upscale chain restaurant to a certain extent.

        just got one Michelin star;
        has interesting design that feels more elegant and impressive;
        is part of the New Nordic wave of contemporary cooking;
        has lovely, serene private rooms;
        is just another league of dining than Oceana - more sophisticated and higher end.

        No one goes "Oh! The luncheon is at Oceana! Wow!" Whereas they may do that about Aquavit.

        1. Aquavit.

          Better, sleeker interior and more refined cooking. Unless you want a raw bar, Aquavit is the better choice. It might be even better post-Samuelsson.

          1. Go with Aquavit. I've had business lunches at both restaurants, and while the food is good at both (although I do find Aquavit's food more interesting), service is much better at Aquavit.