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Quiet, reasonable/cheap midtown dinner for two?

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A friend of mine has taken a job that has her commuting to the city from Connecticut. I live on UWS. She spends one night a week in Brooklyn. We having been trying to get together for dinner every few weeks or so and are looking for places in mid-town (or South) that are quiet & on the cheaper side (entrees in $20-$30 range).

We are pretty omnivor-ish. Ethnic (anything but Chinese) restaurants are great.

A place with tables large enough to take notes would be a welcome bonus (sometimes she needs to have a working dinner).

Thanks in advance for suggestions!

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  1. Ipanema (46th btwn 5th and 6th)

    Hanci (10th/56)

    1 Reply
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Thanks! I've passed Ipanema and for some reason developed an immediate suspicion of it. We'll give it a try!

    2. I used to stay at the Hotel Benjamin in Mid-town and I LOVED the restaurant across the street, roughly Lex and 3rd, called Mint. Fabulous, memorable Indian food that I still dream about.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Willa

        God that food looks amazing & the price is certainly right. Have you been there during the happy hour? Does it get loud then? We tend to meet up around 6.

        1. re: oya

          I was there at around 6 or 7 on a weeknight. It is not a loud "happy hour" kind of place; or at least, it was quiet that night. They are serious about and proud of their food. I remember the tables being spaced pretty generously but you might want to call. I have never had such wonderful Indian dishes -- except once, when my Indian brother-in-law's parents made a huge meal for our family. Mouth watering again. Good luck. The Hotel Benjamin is really cool as well if you are going to stay the night in Midtown. Right next to the Waldorf but on Lex, not Park Avenue and so rooms are cheaper. Old elegant building, most rooms have balconies, some have full or partial kitchens so you can take your leftovers home and get 'em out later that night. Beautiful views. Great beds. Have fun!

          1. re: oya

            I just looked at the menu at Mint again and omg. The ala carte menu. Photos of tables are as I remember. Prices are incredibly reasonable. Dishes are on the smaller side so my suggestion would be to order lots of different things and take home leftovers. So worth it. I can't even think where to start on that menu. It is a rare treat and a true celebration of Indian food to dine at Mint.

            1. re: Willa

              Thanks! That website made me want to drop everything and run over there.

        2. Kellari taverna has a pre theater menu from 5-7pm, $31.95/pp without wine for two courses.
          http://www.kellari.us

          I also like Gazala palace for middle eastern food
          http://www.gazalasplace.com

          Ippudo should be fine if you're meeting at six, but wouldn't be a good place for a working dinner
          http://www.ippudony.com