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Eataly: Manzo or Birreria?

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I'm trying to decide where to take a friend visiting NYC to dinner. One possibility would be Eataly. SO and I went to the Pizza / Pasta restaurant over the weekend. We loved the food, though not the wait; Eataly was an absolute zoo.

Manzo takes reservations, but I was only able to book a table for 8:15. That's a little later than we would like, but my bigger concern is if they don't seat us on time. Birreria alas takes reservations, though not yet for my desired date.

What's the noise-level like at both restaurants? Is the food of comparable quality? I guess Birreria is more informal?

Edit: The dinner will be on a Saturday night.

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  1. At any Batali restaurant: the noise level will be high, the food oversalted and formulaic...it's like asking "Should i order the Big Mac or the Quarter Pounder?"...either might taste good, but the overall dining experience won't be vastly different...

    I'd recommend expanding your search of Italian places to some of the less hyped...just my personal opinion...you may have a perfectly fine meal at either of the places you mentioned, but i don't think there is much difference btw the two...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Simon

      I can't disagree more...
      Take Del Posto, Birreria or Casa Mono. Food, ambience, service, prices, noise.. I can't think of anything they have in common but the owner..

      PS I would strongly avoid birreria for a dinner, it's fine for beers and snacks but Manzo, Lupa or Otto are way better for dinner.

    2. The two places are completely different; the Birreria as you know is on the roof and super casual; I think the house beers are "okay", the food (especially the salumi selections) is good but I think very over priced, we've been a couple times but nothing is compelling us to return. Manzo of course suffers (too strong of a word) from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding atmosphere but the food is very good. It is infinitly more of a dinner place than Birreria.

      1. I'd take my friend to Eataly to look around and maybe have a gelato..then I'd eat at maybe Otto or Lupa. More relaxing.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Monica

          More relaxing.
          _______________

          And better.

          1. re: Monica

            I agree- go check out eataly but for a sit down meal go elsewhere. The few times i have been it felt stressful and rushed and like we were in a fishbowl.
            In the immediate area of flatiron there are several italian options including maialino, i trulli, via emilia, and zio

          2. Manzo has many seats at the bar so maybe you could get dine there. There's usually no wait before 7:00 pm but then again it might be more crowded at this time of the year. The noise level is lively but not as overbearing as the more popular places downtown.

            I would skip Birreria, for the food anyway. Le Verdure, the vegetarian station, is also very good and a bit less crowded than the other restaurants in Eataly.

            1. I would avoid eataly on weekends at all costs. I have an aversion to feeling like cattle. That's just me. ymmv