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Sep 7, 2013 09:47 AM

West Bank Cafe vs. Marseille?

Trying to decide between these two places for pre-Signature Theater brunch tomorrow. I haven't been to either. Considerations: volume level (i.e. not too loud for conversation), good food, general cheeriness. Price too, but it looks like cost at the two places are almost identical. Any thoughts? Not a momentous decision either way, I know, but want to do the right thing.

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  1. Marseille is LOUD when it is crowded, and I would expect it to be crowded pre-theatre.

    Never ben to West Bank Cafe so can't compare.

    1. I'm sensitive to noise, and have never found Marseille to be extremely loud. I haven't been to West Bank in many years, but would highly recommend Marseille for both food and atmosphere.

      1. I remember Marseille being fairly bustling, as it is a brasserie style restaurant. West Bank was much quieter in comparison.

        4 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          Bustling, yes. It is lively, as one expects with a brasserie, but the sound level is not intrusive. We can always have a conversation without shouting.

          1. re: rrems

            I got curious as to other reactions so I looked at reviews on Open Table. Some recent August diners reported my experience of needing to yell when it was busy, and another dryly suggested the place could so with some acoustical modification.


            Zagat flags "noisy" in its overall description.


            I used to work around the corner and went frequently. When it was half empty I had no problem with the noise levels. But I learned to avoid it pre-theater, most especially on weekends or evenings when drinking made some parties lose inhibition. The hard tile floors, lack of tablecloths and the wraparound glass just bounce around the sound pretty harshly.

            If I really wanted to talk, I'd pick someplace else. If I really felt the menu was the best choice for my group, I'd ask for a window table at a minimum. The center of the room seems to get the noise the worst.

            1. re: rrems

              PS: Some excerpts from the Open Table reviews for this August for people who better things to do with their time than scroll :

              "I thought the place had a nice charm but was a bit too noisy and we could not converse without yelling to each other. "

              "Marseilles could use some sound absorbing ceiling tile. Way too loud. So loud it gave me a headache and I felt nauseated. "

              "One concern is that this place can be too noisy, so we felt lucky to get a quiet table in a corner of the bar. I'd ask for this table again."

              Others didn't object, but my experience is that when it is loud there, it is very LOUD.

              1. re: barberinibee

                Thank you for your research! We will be there at brunch time -- around 12:30, so it could be a little quieter. During my own obsessive scrolling, I found some people complaining about noise at West Bank Cafe, but I have to assume that was at night. I don't understand why people like overly-loud restaurants. I will let you know where we wind up and what the sound level is like. (Depending on how we get there, I'll try to observe/listen to both places!)

          2. There used to be a place just west of Ninth on the north side of 43rd called Cafe Madeleine (among other things, over time -many incarnations); the last version closed, but it may be back in business under another guise. A nice space, withal.