Birthday Dinner Suggestions?

So my loves, I need a bit of help.  I’m going to be celebrating my birthday next week in New York and would love some restaurant suggestions for dinner with my girlfriends (including my amazing Matchbook team coming from Philadelphia, Kansas City and D.C.!).  I’d prefer somewhere low key yet scrumptious — top contenders are Schillers, Balthazar, JG Melon…any other suggestions?  I’d love to try somewhere new…

(painting by Janet Ternoff)

89 comments on “Birthday Dinner Suggestions?

  1. ccnyc

    All we talk about at work is food! So here are some of my favorites:
    – l’artusi
    – tartine
    – osteria morini
    – corsino
    – cafe cluny
    – alta

    All of the above have great food and a nice atmosphere.

    For a good croissant and coffee, try doma on perry st. For a good cupcake and glass of wine, go to sweet revenge.

    Hope this is helpful!

  2. Mackenzie

    My three suggestions would be:
    ABC Kitchen
    Modern at the Met
    They are all delish, have great ambiance and are low key but sumptuous!
    Have a happy birthday!

  3. lauren

    Lately my go-to scrumptious spot, yet good with friends is Bar Baressco or you can hop next door to Bastardo..which ever strikes your fancy:) But amazing italian, great wine selection and the ambiance is nothing short of perfect!

    Also, more of a brunch spot (perhaps you can go the morning after) is YUCA BAR in the east village…HOLY BRUNCH it’s SO GOOD.

    Happy early Birthday!

  4. Tara

    Gemma at the Bowery Hotel… it’s so cute! Or Peels which is just down the street from Gemma and opened not to long ago.

  5. Danielle


    Happy Birthday!

    As a New Yorker, Balthazar is totally a brunch place- show up after you all have had a long night out and need lattes and mimosas to take the edge off. :)

    For dinner- do Aldea on W.17th Street. Chef George Mendes is very up and coming- the cocktails are fabulous and the food is inventive! (Nouveau Portuguese) There’s also a special chef’s area where you can sit and watch them cook in the kitchen. After, you should all go out for cocktails in the area, there’s a fabulous “speak easy” style lounge on the same block and some other fabulous places in the area.

    Have a great time!!!

  6. Hilary

    Come to Boerum Hill/Cobble Hill Brooklyn (& keep your eyes peeled for our adorable neighbors Michelle Williams, Alexis Bledel, Maggie Gyllenhall & Keri Russell. ;) I celebrated my birthday in the small side room at Apartment 134 & we did my roommate’s at Chestnut, both on Smith St. There’s also a tiny French place on 5th Avenue at St Mark’s where you’ll basically be the only people in their because it’s so small & the French owner will so make you feel you’ve escaped to a European cafe! After dinner drinks at Black Mountain Wine Bar would be cozy too.

    with grace & gumption,

  7. Wendy L.

    Have you ever been to Alta on West 10th in the Village? It’s a gem! As you enter the bar it seems like you are just walking into the downstairs of a regular brownstone, then VOILA! You’re inside a building that’s been “hollowed out” with a main floor dining area in front of a roaring fire and a dining “balcony” up above. It’s so special! The other secret is that many scenes from the classic Hitchcock/Grace Kelly movie “Rear Window”were filmed in the (original) building. All this aside, the small plate/sharing food is wonderful — especially the Brussels Sprouts one of my favorite dishes EVER!

  8. Jessica Kelly

    I recommend Carmine’s! Its family style served Italian food, that is so good you will have a mouth orgasm bite after bite…and I do NOT say that about every place I go to. I recommend the UWS location to avoid the touristyness of Times Square. But its a cozy atmosphere and delish food!

    Happy early birthday!

  9. Jessica

    I recommend Carmine’s! Its family style served Italian food, that is so good you will have a mouth orgasm bite after bite…and I do NOT say that about every place I go to. I recommend the UWS location to avoid the touristyness of Times Square. But its a cozy atmosphere and delish food!

    Have a lovely birthday my dear! Any birthday in NYC is exciting no matter which fantastic place you choose!

  10. Katie Armour Post author

    I am officially stumped. They all look/sound so delicious — how will I decide?! Adding these to the list of possibilities, thank you friends! xoxo

  11. Lauren

    I love Otto. It has amazing wine, delicious pizza and pasta perfect to share with friends! I’m sure whatever you decide will be perfect!

  12. Meg

    I second the Prune suggestion! I’d also think about these…

    – Kasadela (Japanese izakaya in the EV)
    – Wallse (Austrian and fabulous)
    – Blaue Gans (Wallse’s pubbier younger brother)
    – Osteria Morini (Italian in SoHo)
    – Frankies’ Spuntino (INCREDIBLE Italian on the LES)
    – The Tipsy Parson (delectable Southern in Chelsea)

    Above all, have fun!

  13. Valerie

    Happy birthday!!! I would recommend either Alta and Aldea.

    At the risk of adding more confusion, I would also suggest Piadina (West 10th and 6th Ave) across the street from Alta. They are willing to accommodate a large group without providing a credit card. The only draw back is that it’s cash only. Look forward to hearing where you decide to go. xo

  14. Daily Cup of Couture

    I would recommend Commerce in the West Village! It’s cool and cozy and truly one of my favorites!! AND they even have real old fashion birthday cake on their dessert menu!

    Happy Birthday Darling!!


  15. Lauren

    I have a couple of great places:

    L’Artusi for their AMAZING amazing italian…the pasta is so simple and buttery and fresh

    The Darby: it’s a dinner show! Like at The Box, but without the raunchiness. A real NY throwback.

    The Smile: My favorite low-key but awesome neighborhood place, in an old merchant’s building in Noho. Very authentic and cool.

    I know you like things classic, simple, and whimsical (like me), but if you want to blow it out big and do a fun, once-in-a-lifetime NY type place, go to Beauty & Essex or Hurricane Club. Both just pure fun. Food is good (creative tapas and sharing plates), drinks are good, atmosphere and design are amazing.

    Happy birthday!

  16. Ginny branch stelling

    For dinner in manhattan…
    Little Owl in west village

    The smile(lunch)
    cafe cluny(brunch)
    Little branch(drinks)

    In brooklyn…
    Vinegar Hill
    Roebling tearoom ( I think you and your friends would looooove this)

  17. Annie

    If you want a free round of drinks, Key Bar in, I think Soho or LES is great for that and all of your friends within a week of the birthday! Also I think you need to check out Lilly’s Victorian Establishment in Union Square for a drink of brunch! I’m not a foodie so I found the food as great as any brunch but the decor- so adorable, old fashion! It’s a fav of mine just for that!

  18. Patterson

    A place called Bread…its in nolita…SO good and reasonably priced. I want my bday dinner there!

  19. Ivet

    Bond 45 has the best cheesecake I’ve ever tried! Its a lovely place to enjoy great food and great company :) Happy birthday, dear!

  20. Lulu

    For a lovely spot I would heartily recommend Freemans. It is in the Bowery, and is at the end of an alley way. You walk down and all of a sudden, amidst the graffiti, there is a glowing restaurant imbued with a glorious antique feel. The food is of course delicious. It is more focused on hearty Americana, but made with delicious fresh ingredients. The decor has the feel of an eccentric millionaire’s library. Make sure to ask to eat upstairs because it is usually quieter.

  21. Alinne

    Hi Katie!

    Ok… All these places that everyone recommended are all great. But alot of them are super pricey and a bit “trendy”/”sceney”… if you want a great little place off the beaten path, try Evo & Lulu. It’s a great little BYOB (no corking fee) French/Carribian place. Super charming, great service and AMAZING FOOD.I PROMISE you will NOT be disappointed. Google some wine shops in the area or take a little trip to Union Square and hit up Trader Joe’s for a great selection of wines in the $5-$15+ range.
    You can have a great 3 course meal for about $50.
    From a foodie college student on a super budget, you must trust me.

    There is usually a wait, and it’s first come,first serve, but worth the wait.

    Let me know how it goes girl! Or tell me when you are going and I’ll try to make it too. I’ve been meaning to go w/ my girlfriends. Totally craving it right now.


  22. Emily Evans

    this just comment thread just became my new list of restaurants to hit up next time i’m in the city !!

    yay neo-trad readers, the most fly ladies around town.

  23. Megan Abigail Chandler

    Katie I so hope you loved Balthazar … I had my first brunch there in February and the waffles were phenomenal. Tres Magnifique!

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