My two friends and I are getting together August 28 & 29 to celebrate a milestone (all just turned 60) birthday. Two of us will see Wicked on Wednesday afternoon and meet up someplace with the third, who has an apartment in the upper west side where we will stay. I am an Atlanta native who lived in New Jersey in the late 80's and it has been that long since I have been to New York.
We will be eating two dinners (Wednesday and Thursday) and one lunch (Thursday). My personal favorites in Atlanta are Aria, Bacchanalia, Restaurant Eugene, and Bistro Niko. I don't think we would lean toward a steak house but would love a place that doesn't break the budget and has a nice vibe. I wish to avoid stuffy places that give snotty (and snooty) service to non-regulars. We love to laugh and talk so it shouldn't be an atmosphere in which that behavior would be offensive to other diners. However, it shouldn't be a place so loud that we won't be able to hear one another!
None of us are vegetarians, but one of us must eat a gluten-free diet. That should not be a real problem these days.
All three of us love good food and wine, so quality is important. It would be wonderful to find a place in New York which has the ambiance of a bistro such as La Closerie de Lilas in Paris! I have just begun to browse on the Manhattan board and of course am overwhelmed by the options. I must admit that although I am a fairly savvy diner, I can be somewhat unnerved by fast-talking, brusque professional servers.
Thank you in advance for your help!