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I've done my homework, but would love your advice on my anniversary dinner picks...

We're visiting New York for our 9th anniversary, it's been a rough year so I'd like something special, we're coming from San Francisco, so we know good food & we know it usually comes at a price, unfortunately money IS an issue, would like to keep it under $300.00 after drinks & tip.

So far we got:

Babbo or Lupa
Love Mario & Lydia, is it possible to get out of Babbo on our budget? I realize Lupa is not as expensive but is it worth saving a few extra dollars for?

Minetta Tavern or Gramercy Tavern
We chose these because they just seem classic New York, figure we could get Black Label Burgers & a nice bottle of wine..

Open to knew ideas, any comments are appreciated,
Thanks,
Kristine

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  1. $150pp after tax and tip is $116pp for food and wine. How much will you spend on wine?

    Can you break out your budget for food only?

    I'd do Babbo and maybe scale back on the wine. Make sure you sit upstairs. I don't think Lupa will be comfy enough. Minetta is great but it's a bit cramped and loud, and we always get the steak there, which would possibly be over your budget?

    1. I think Babbo would be a good choice. It is a nice place to celebrate an anniversary. The food is excellent and you can order to fit your budget. You can order appetizer ( share 1), pasta and main and for $90/pp, then gauge what your drinking accordingly.
      Lupa will not feel like you're doing anything special. Minetta a bit too crowded and loud. Gramercy I'm not a fan of.
      Babbo is my choice

      1. Coming from SF, not sure that Babbo or Lupa is something you can't find back at home. Same with Grammercy Tavern as SF does the whole farm-table-thing quite well.

        From your list I would go to Minetta Tavern. Good food, and NYC vibe.

        Also might consider Gato or The NoMad.

        1. We had a terrific lunch at Babbo. Here's my little write up.

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9632...

          1. Babbo over lupa for rwasons already mentioned- did you look at felidia? Its pricey but they offer a pre and post theater menu, so if you can eat earlier or later that would allow a nice bottle of wine as well. Not nearly as busy or energetic as babbo though.

            Pass on GT, its too similar to many SF restaurants. Minetta wouldn't be ideal as "the anniversary dinner" IMO but wed-fri they do lunch so you could avoid the busiest time and go then