45 Tudor City Pl., nr. First Ave.
This Italian hideaway tucked away in Tudor City has a semi-private space cordoned off with pleated, off-white curtains, making it an elegant and warm choice for a rehearsal dinner. Guests sit down to a three-to-five-course meal complete with wine pairings. The room fits up to 34 people for a minimum of $6,000, which includes an open bar. Half of the room is also available for up to twenty guests, starting at $3,000.
Fishbar (R) (B)
142 Mercer St., at Prince St.
Designed to look like that of a luxury yacht, Lure's whimsical interior is perfect for a unique dining experience. The Vault seats up to 30 for a wide selection of oysters and crudi such as black-bass carpaccio ($2,000 food-and-drink minimum).
& Porcelli (R)
37 E. 50th St., nr. Park Ave.
This refined steakhouse transforms into a relaxed spot for rehearsal-dinner parties, where a feast of filet mignon, garlicky chicken, or onion-crusted salmon steak, plus hors d’oeuvre and open bar, starts at about $115 a person ($75 for brunch). An upstairs room with a gas fireplace and three large skylights fits 40 to 120.
Manhattan Ocean Club (R)
57 W. 58th St., nr. Sixth Ave.
Owned by the folks behind Smith & Wollensky, this midtowner delivers fresh seafood in a casual setting. A glass-enclosed room, surrounded by rare reproductions of Picasso ceramics, fits 28 (the whole place seats 220). Party menus feature dishes like a shrimp and crab cocktail and salmon served “à la plancha” with a chile-garlic sauce. The four-course, open-bar extravaganza costs $150 a head.
62 Thomas St., nr. W. Broadway
Megu’s ultra-fresh organic ingredients imported directly from Japan make this one of the best places in town to sate your Japanese craving. The red lacquered private dining room seats up to twelve for a ten-course tasting menu, including foie gras and black-truffle Japanese custard, edamame soup, and snapper-sashimi salad (starting at $100).
1354 First Ave., nr. 73rd St.
Fans of no-fuss Italian comfort food flock to this quiet, quality eatery for a slice of Tuscany. Part of the restaurant can be curtained off for groups of 20 to 80, and the whole space can be rented for up to 150 people. The party menu (from $85 per person) is a reduced version of their regular offerings, but they’ll also accommodate off-menu requests. Party fare includes fried calamari, spinach ravioli with pesto sauce, and veal marsala.
55 E. 54th St., nr. Madison Ave.
Sample chef Cornelius Gallagher’s highly rated seafood in two distinctive rooms: the expansive Salon, seating 35 to 60, and the intimate Wine Cellar for 12 to 25. Oceana includes flowers gratis and can customize a menu of dishes like yellowfin-tuna tartare or pan-roasted Atlantic salmon. Don’t miss the sticky-toffee pudding. Minimum of $1,500 for the Cellar and $6,000 for the Salon.
121 Hudson St., at N. Moore St.
Pace’s private basement dining room seats up to 49 for custom à la carte menus or family-style Italian food. The dining room’s large windows open onto a small kitchen—guests can watch the chef put the finishing touches on plates of antipasti, risottos, and spaghettis. Set menus range from $75 to $100, and private parties usually start with cocktail hour (beverages priced by consumption).
209 E. 49th St., nr. Third Ave.
Plácido Domingo and Richard Sandoval’s restaurant boasts an ultra-creamy décor and skylit dining room. A semi-private alcove on the first floor accommodates 25; the upstairs seats 70. Mexican seafood standouts include smoked-swordfish dip and guacamole starters, or lobster tacos and seviche. A three-course dinner runs about $120.
The Park (R)
118 Tenth Ave., nr. 17th St.
212-352-3313, ext. 256
This ever-trendy restaurant boasts three different rooms for private affairs. The Penthouse holds up to 300 people for a cocktail reception or 120 people for a seated dinner, and it opens onto a spacious rooftop patio that has a glass ceiling. The Red Room has an oriental vibe and fits 100 people for cocktails or 55 for a seated dinner. The glass-enclosed Atrium is the perfect option for a more intimate party, with room for 40 for a cocktail reception or 36 for a seated affair. It also boasts a brick fireplace for cold-weather gatherings.
Park Avenue Café Townhouse
110 E. 63rd St., nr. Park Ave.
The town house adjacent to the Park Avenue Café, with its pale-yellow walls and deep-green carpeting, beamed ceilings, and Americana artwork, holds 20 to 50 guests for private meals (brunch from $75 per person; dinner from $150, including bar). Options include steamed lobster dumplings with vegetables, filet mignon with eggs, and marinated tuna with crispy rice sautéed with mushrooms and a soy-ginger vinaigrette.
patisserie & Bistro (R)
1032 Lexington Ave., nr. 74th St.
The Upper East Side favorite is known for its scrumptious pastries and chocolates, but also makes fantastic savory food. Prices start at $68 per person for the five-course tasting menu. Guests will happily munch on a sautéed red snapper with sunchokes and young carrots, or a roasted filet mignon with a root-vegetable fricassée, but they’ll rave about the dessert. Savor a carré Payard—a gorgeous chocolate fondant with a center of soft, salty caramel, and an upside-down bittersweet dark-chocolate soufflé that’s to die for.
10 Columbus Circle,
Time Warner Center, fourth floor
Thomas Keller's grand new digs capture the essence of his renowned Napa restaurant, the French Laundry, with intriguing dishes like "Oysters and Pearls," a sabayon of pearl tapioca with Island Creek oysters and Iranian Osetra caviar. Per Se's two private dining rooms will accommodate small or large parties—the East Room seats eight to ten, and the West Room up to 60. Set menus range from three to nine courses ($130–$190).
Post House (R)
Lowell Hotel, 28 E. 63rd St., nr. Madison Ave.
With a menu that includes grilled chicken with jalapeño-ginger sauce and Cajun rib steak, the Post House is the U.N. of steak joints. It has no private room, so your best bet is to invite 30 or fewer guests, who can fit comfortably on the platformed section in the back of the restaurant. Guests order à la carte from a selection picked by the host; about $70 per person.
54 E. 1st St., nr. First Ave.
This little downtown restaurant can accommodate 30, and has an eclectic American menu that will satisfy the palates of even the most discerning diners. The entire space can be rented for a full ($6,000) or partial ($3,500) evening—that includes food, alcohol, gratuity, and tax. Your guests will feast upon such delights as braised rabbit legs, and the appropriately named Italian Wedding Soup.
Domenico (R) (B)
240 Central Park South, nr. Seventh Ave.
This Italian restaurant offers two private rooms (the larger holds up to 40, the smaller up to 30). Dinner, which starts at $100, can be a tasting menu with wine pairings or a regular three-course affair. Try the soft egg-yolk-filled ravioli with white-truffle butter and the sea-bass fillet poached in tomato-zucchini-herb broth.