I'm taking a very dear friend out to to a birthday dinner in Manhattan. Sorry to be so "take-take" about it, but I am not nearly as well-versed in Manhattan restaurants as I am in Brooklyn ones, sadly... Any suggestions are appreciated.
The preference is for a place with:
- great food, but nothing overly conceptual or intellectual. Preferred cuisines: Italian, generally Mediterranean, possibly American-eclectic
- stylish but relaxed ambience, not overly formal; warm, friendly atmosphere
- possibility to have a good conversation (i.e., not loud)
- wine list with some exciting but affordable options
- not a hipster scene, even if the food is good
- south of Midtown
- price: Well I wish I could say "sky's the limit", but it isn't. Entrées in the $20-$30 range, preferably. I'd like to get out of there having spent about $250 max.
The friend in question adores Otto, for example. Also likes Wallsé. The "event" takes place next Friday. I have considered:
Lupa (as walk-ins, as no reservations are left)
Anything else that comes to mind? Either Village (East or West) would be fine, as well as Flatiron, SoHo, Tribeca, even Lower East Side (but not wd-50.)