I've enjoyed Gennaro in the past, but since they expanded I don't like how long the wait is (no reservations), and how crowded the tables are. Also, the last time I was there with two friends they tried to jam the three of us into a table for two, in a very crowded area.
Haven't eaten at Celeste, but I did stop in once and also found it pretty crowded and noisy.
This is for a group of seven, and we're going to want to talk in a relaxed atmosphere. Am willing to leave the UWS if necessary, but still prefer UWS. Somebody is treating the others, so it can't be horribly expensive, but it needn't be cheap, either.