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December 01, 2008

Birthday-Friendly Restaurants in New York


Watch our Hot List New York video for ideas on how to paint the town.

Daily Traveler reader pwrdwrf asks: What's the best fun restaurant in Manhattan to celebrate a 25th birthday? The DT has called on our food fanatics, and they've provided their picks:

* Arguably the most crowd-friendly restaurant in the Bromberg brothers' Blue Ribbon empire, Blue Ribbon Bakery in the West Village is a great place for a party. One of our own Daily Travelers hosted her 25th birthday dinner in the cozy wine cellar below the main restaurant (the long wooden table seats 10 or 12), and since hers was the second seating of the night, her friends could nibble on bone marrow and steak tartare until closing if they wanted to--and they did.

* For free-flowing wine and homestyle Italian food, try Supper in the East Village. Ask for the huge table in the semi-secret downstairs, and don't miss the burrata appetizer. This place is good good and cheap cheap.

* Kuma Inn is BYOB, and it takes reservations for up to eight people. Chef King Phojanakong's Filipino-Thai small plates allow diners to share numerous (inexpensive) dishes--we live for the caramelized Chinese sausage and drunken spicy shrimp. Afterwards, hit up some Lower East Side hot spots or snuggle into a booth at Allen & Delancey for a wicked cocktail.

* It may not be a looker of a restaurant (although its design was paid more attention than most function-only dim-sum joints; check out the slide show here), but Dim Sum Go Go's menu delivers. Big, round tables are good for groups, and multiple courses won't come close to breaking the bank.

* The über-popular Boqueria recently opened a Soho brand that has the same buzzy scene and haute tapas. Book the big table at the back (it has a nice view of the open kitchen) and a round of sangria. The huge menu is perfect for groups: picky eaters will be happy with patatas bravas and garlic shrimp, while more adventurous souls will swoon over truffled lentils with poached egg and Serrano ham, or grilled baby squid.

* If you feel like taking the crew to Brooklyn, Char No. 4 is one of our favorite recent discoveries. Austin transplant Matt Greco house-smokes and cures his southern dishes in a setting much more sophisticated than boot-tapping barbecue joints. The perfect pairing for charred oak-flavored meats? Bourbon. And the bar has more than 300 whiskeys for your sampling pleasure. Hop over to Julie Reiner's Clover Club afterwards, just a few doors down, for some punch served in vintage bowls and chilled teacups.

Have a travel-related question?  Ask Condé Nast Traveler.

Further reading:
* Hot List 2008: Condé Nast Traveler's New York picks
* Video: New York City in 24 Hours

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