Sea Grill (R)
19 W. 49th St., nr. Fifth Ave.
For a private twelve-person event or semi-private party for 80 to 200, the Rockefeller Center setting and fabulous seafood menu can’t be beat. Try Spanish branzino à la plancha or chef Ed Brown’s fabulous lobster “cappuccino” and oil-poached salmon with butter-bean purée and sweet garlic chips. Prices vary seasonally but average around $150 per person.
Sel et Poivre (R)
853 Lexington Ave, nr. 64th St.
Bring 60 to 65 people to this small, cozy French bistro and you can own the place for a night (or a morning). For $3,500 and up, you can get a full bar and three courses (think roast chicken, steak-frites, and leg of lamb). Brunch features bagels, eggs Benedict, crêpes, and French toast (from $25 per person).
718 (R) (B)
35-01 Ditmars Blvd., at 35th St., Astoria
French dishes get a Spanish kick at this Astoria spot with its red, orange, and yellow color scheme that’s equally punchy. A semi-private room that’s separated by a sheer curtain fits up to 30 people for a dinner with items such as Ecuadorian-shrimp seviche and braised short ribs with roasted banana in a smoky red-wine sauce (weekend fees vary). For brunch, there’s a $22 prix fixe menu where your guests can feast on corn soup and tarte flambée.
Smith & Wollensky (R)
49th St. at Third Ave.
A home base for surf and turf, this midtown steakhouse has three upstairs dining rooms with skylights and wood floors that can accommodate groups from 20 to 160 people. A selection of lobster and various cuts of beef, dry-aged in-house for more than 28 days, starts at $110 per head.
Spice Market (R)
403 W. 13th St., at Ninth Ave. 212-675-2322
Jean-George Vongerichten’s Southeast Asian street-food hot spot offers six private alcoves for cocktails and hors d’oeuvre. Up to 30 guests can lounge on the cushy pillows strewn across the banquette couches, snacking on lobster rolls, chicken skewers, and samosas and sipping their ginger margaritas. The appetizers-and-beverage minimum starts at $50 per person. For larger parties, rent out a semi-private room and get the entire lounge just for you (prices vary).
Tavern on the Green (R)
Central Park W. at 67th St.
This city icon’s ensemble of six private rooms and seasonal tents can welcome from 25 to 600 people. They’ll handle every entertainment detail imaginable and prepare almost any kind of cuisine, from the restaurant’s own menu to an outdoor barbecue, starting at $100 per person.
Thalassa (R) (B)
179 Franklin St., nr. Greenwich St.
For Zorba the Greek does Tribeca, book Thalassa’s Wine Room or Gallery Loft. In this sleek, very downtown spot, a former Greek-foods import warehouse, 40 to 130 guests can enjoy seafood and Mediterranean delicacies like pan-seared St. Pierre artichokes and slowly roasted wild-boar chop in tea, thyme, and honey marinade ($60–$100 per person).
Tocqueville Restaurant (R)
15 E. 15th St., nr. Fifth Ave.
For an intimate gathering, this French-American favorite in Union Square is just the place. A semi-private dining room can accommodate up to eighteen guests, who will dine on a three- or four-course meal based on the regular menu, such as asparagus with truffle vinaigrette, rack of lamb with rillettes of lamb shoulder, and warm chocolate-soufflé cake (starting at $1,500). The entire restaurant is available for 48 guests starting at $6,000. For Sunday brunch, rent out the whole restaurant (from $4,000).
Trattoria Dopo Teatro (R)
125 W. 44th St., nr. Sixth Ave.
This theater-district Italian, with private rooms for 10 to 110 guests, mixes country décor and exposed brick with Italian landscape paintings. Start with a classic Caesar salad, move on to a pasta course, then an entrée such as slowly braised veal with potatoes and mushrooms, and finish with a homemade dessert, all for $35–$55.
Tribeca Grill (R) (B)
375 Greenwich St., at Franklin St.
There’s a brick-loft feel at Tribeca Grill, where three private rooms seat 40, 80, and 120. New American specialties include croissant French toast, artisanal-cheese plates, and a perfect Caesar salad. You’ll appreciate the tab, too, as brunch ranges from $39 to $49 per person and dinner from $59 to $89.
Triomphe (R) (B)
49 W. 44th St., nr. Sixth Ave.
A curved marble bar, walnut floors, velvet curtains, and a domed ceiling make this intimate room a little jewel box, which you can take over with 30 to 50 people. There is also the Petite Triomphe room for 15 to 50 people. Dinner is haute—pan-seared scallops with porcini mushrooms and foie gras (from $65 a head)—while brunch is more unusual, with items like cream-cheese-stuffed French toast ($30 for two courses plus nonalcoholic beverages).
Wallsé (R) (B)
344 W. 11th St., at Washington St.
For modern Austrian fare, try this understated West Village neighborhood spot, where you can book the whole restaurant for up to 75 people (starting at $12,000) or just the back room, which fits between 20 to 40 people (a $7,000 minimum). The chef is flexible and will prepare either a three- or five-course dinner or an evening of cocktails and hors d’oeuvre, both based on the regular menu, which includes specialities like spaetzle with braised rabbit and wild mushrooms, Wiener schnitzel, and venison goulash.
The Water Club Restaurant (R)
500 E. 30th St., at the East River
This yacht-club-themed, glass-enclosed private room holds up to 60 people and offers a prime view of the water; a larger room can accommodate 175. A buffet brunch might include a carving station with filet of beef with bordelaise sauce and smoked fish, along with the usual Danishes, omelettes, and pasta; prices vary.
Water's Edge (R)
East River at 44th Dr., Long Island City
View the Manhattan skyline from a prime seat on the deck of this barge-restaurant. For $90 to $200 per person, 20 to 350 guests can start with cocktails and hors d’oeuvre outside, then dine in either the restaurant or private-event space, both of which are glass-enclosed. Options include seared jumbo shrimp, filet mignon, and Chilean sea bass. For dessert, try the banana brûlée crisp.
West Bank Cafe(R) (B)
407 W. 42nd St., at Ninth Ave.
This bi-level restaurant has a warm, clubby feel, and offers a good selection of New American fare, such as pan-seared scallops with smashed peas and prosciutto, oven-roasted pork chop with pancetta-wrapped peaches, and the like. The restaurant holds 225 for a sit-down dinner; 250 for cocktails. The cabaret in the basement sea