If you’ve ever tried to go out for a birthday dinner or for a girls’ night out, you know that the hardest part of planning is getting a res at a fun, affordable restaurant that will fit everyone’s dietary restrictions. We’ve been to enough birthday dinners to know a thing or two, and we’ve made a list of some of our absolute favorites. You can thank us later!
When you walk into Rubirosa, the first thing that hits you is the smell of roasting cheese and their intoxicating red sauce wafting out of the kitchen. If they bottled scent that as a perfume we’d be the first to buy it. They’ve got eight kinds of thin crust pizza with plenty of ways to customize – you can mix and match half pies, add toppings and even sub in a gluten free crust. Shoot them an e-mail if you need a res for eight or more people, and they’ll set you up.
Head to Lil Frankie’s if you’re feeling more Neopolitan than thin crust, and devour some of their delish pizzas. Lil Frankie’s is done up to look just like a classic Italian trattoria, so naturally they’re dishes are total classics too. They also have a great 3-for-1 brunch special on ~prosecco drinks~ and they serve almost all of their dinner options then, too. So if you’re craving eggplant parm at 11AM on a Sunday, skip the leftovers and head over to Lil Frankie’s with a couple of your favorite gals.
Designed with white washed walls and blue furniture, Souvlaki GR is as close to the Isle of Mykonos you’ll get in the dead of winter here in NYC. This first-gen-family-owned Greek spot is serving up super authentic dishes, made from recipes passed down for generations. After one bite of delicious pitas and tzatziki you’ll be shouting “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!”
This is a fun one. Once you ascend that seemingly endless escalator on Elizabeth Street in Chinatown and enter the all-red-and-gold dining room that casually fits 500 people, you’ll be in dim-sum heaven. Complete with a bustling kitchen and trollies stacked with tasty treats, Jing Fong is the perfect spot for your dim sum fix. Whatever you do, don’t skip the char siu buns.
The Meatball Shop
This place has meatballs every way from Sunday – on sandwiches, sliders, pasta, risotto, and even on a salad if you’re feeling virtuous. What started as a literal hole in the wall on 14th and 6th has evolved into a handful of brick and mortar stores dotted all over the city, but it’s still stayed a family run op. They’ve got five kinds of homemade meatballs, and a weekly special too, made with only the finest ingredients (like La Quercia prosciutto and Creekstone Farms beef). Pro tip: Jello shots cost $4.
Need a switch for your usual Italian spot? Try Galli in Soho, where they’re serving up classic Italian comfort foods with a contemporary take on each pasta dish and fabulous cocktails to match. Make your weekend reservation on the earlier because you’ll want to stay here for a few drinks before heading out for the night.