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Recommendation between two places

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I'm trying to figure out someplace good to go for my wife and I for our anniversary. Right now I'm deciding between Lucques and Il Cielo. We have never been to either.

Other suggestions would be great also. We love places like Church and State and STK as far as unique and the atmosphere. I'd also love not to spend too much, though I know the two places are on the pricey side. My wife also hates small plate places too.

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  1. Il Cielo is quite pretty but the food is, in my view, inferior to that at Lucques. If you sit on the patio at Lucques, you can get much of the vaunted ambience of Il Cielo. You might want to also take a look at Hatfield's to see if that appeals.

    1 Reply
    1. re: New Trial

      I second Hatfield's. went for my anniversary this year. Had 2 apps, 2 mains, 2 desserts (1 on the house) and 3 drinks. Spent just over $150 including tip. Food, drinks, service and atmosphere were fantastic.

    2. The patio at the Ivy on Robertson is great for an anniversary.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Thor123

        I do not know about that one Thor123 - I would breakup immediately with someone who took me to the Ivy for an anniversary :)
        Furthermore, the OP would "love not to spend too much."

        I do not think Luques has much unique/atmo to offer.
        ranole - the new AOC has many big plates, even tho they were one of the first small plates places. Hinoki and the Bird is great looking, with a greater looking crowd, but it is small-ish plates.

        Have you tried craft?

        1. re: Ciao Bob

          I think Ivy gets a bum rap here. Their chicken dishes are very good and reasonable. Chop salad and pizzas are good too. Ivy gimlet is a plus and service is very good IMO. I tried Hinnoki and agree about the visuals, but thought the food was a mixed bag. Some very good and some (crab toast and skate) over sauced to the point the fish was drowned out.

          1. re: Ciao Bob

            Gotta go with CiaoBob on this one. The Ivy doesn't fit the OPs bill. AOC fits the bill perfectly if you want the food of the old (great) Lucques and the ambiance of Il Cielo.

            Also, Craft is firing on all cylinders. So much better than when they first opened. Incredible, actually.

        2. Patina, Scarpetta, and Hatfields (already mentioned) are other great choices.

          1. Thanks everyone for the info. I'll keep all those in mind also for future reservations.

            5 Replies
            1. re: ranole

              +3 for Harfield's over Lucques. Nice ambiance, service, food is tastier, wine list better priced. If you get the prix fixe it'll be cheaper than Lucques also.

              And agree with the overwhelming cries on the Manhattan board to do Katz's instead of Carnegie Deli and a big pass on Les Halles which was no good even when Bourdain was there.

              1. re: Porthos

                <<no good even when Bourdain was there.>>
                So true. That place was always so average. And I am a BIG fan of AB's TV shows.

                BUT I believe the Carnegie Deli had -- can't say HAS, been at least 2 years -- my favorite pastrami sandwich EVER. Langer's is GREAT, Katz's, not so much, but Carnegie makes me HAPPY.

                1. re: Ciao Bob

                  Ever since they sold out to Koreans, Carnegie has nothing edible. Nothing. Even their canned sodas taste "off".

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Dr. Yellow's Cream Soda????
                    I did not know that it was sold and slid. Too bad

                  2. re: Ciao Bob

                    Blasphemy. Carnegie over Katz's & Langer's!!??!!

                    As to the original post. I kind of found the portions sizing at AOC odd. Though I agree that it IS at a good price-point just below a Lucques. The small plates are fine, shared by a two or four. The black rice thing and the fried chicken were fantastic. I thought the platter concept for many of the larger things was ill-conceived. There's no way two people could eat it. It's even too much for four if you want more than a couple of items. Not to mention that IMO both the sausage one and the roasted chicken one were pretty mundane.

                    I like the new space. Especially the patio. But it is a bit busy tightly spaced, and on the one time I went we had some really lax service. Personally, all too much for me to choose for an anniversary.

                    I agree with the Hatfied's recco. We did the tasting menu there a couple of years back for out anni. and had a nice time.