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Suggestions for a group dinner for eight, please

uwsgrazer | Mar 23, 200805:12 PM

I have invited some friends to dinner next month. The dinner will be on a Thursday evening, and is basically intended as a nice get-together to show my appreciation for their friendship over the years. It will be seven women and one man. Age mix is 40s-50s. Preferred location would be UWS, UES or midtown. Downtown is also a possibility but none of us lives there so it's a little less convenient. I'm looking for a place with very good food and service. It doesn't have to be super fancy or anything but I don't want to have to deal with amateurish service. In fact, I would prefer to avoid a stuffy restaurant. Ideally, the place would be lively enough but not so loud that we have to shout to be heard. I find a round table is much more conducive to conversation and more intimate than when four 2-tops are strung together so it would be nice if the former were available. Obviously, I'm not expecting people to know about table set-ups but I just wanted to indicate that I'm trying to avoid being in the middle of a bunch of restaurant traffic or something. Price range: I don't have a firm budget in mind but was thinking of something along the lines of $75 to $100, tops, per person, before tax and tip but inclusive of wine, drinks, etc. Menu should be varied enough to offer options for most tastes. (No particular food alergies or issues in the group.) I guess I was thinking along the lines of Italian, French, broadly defined, or "Continental" cuisine. Nice Matin is high on my list but the round table they offered me looked like a tight fit for eight, even though they claimed that nine and even ten "broad shouldered men" have been seated comfortably in the space. Thanks for any suggestions or advice!

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