Looking for a quiet restaurant in NYC below Union Square
May 9, 2019 11:59 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a dinner place that allows for quiet and reasonably extended conversation. Details follow.

A friend of mine and I meet more or less monthly for dinner in Manhattan below Union Square. Although we like all our usual places, we're getting sick of them, and also find them kinda loud a lot of the time, so we'd like to try somewhere new. The places we rotate through:

Cafe Mogador on St. Marks
Forgtmenot on Division
Kanoyama on Second Avenue and 11th
Smith and Mills on North Moore
Somtom Dur on Avenue A near 6th

The only ones of those I don't like so much is Smith and Mills but we'll occasionally go there if it's his birthday or something because he likes it a lot. He's a pretty big cocktail drinker, so we like to choose places that have at least decent food and a really good cocktail menu. As I noted above, we'd prefer somewhere where it's not super noisy (another reason I don't like Smith and Mills -- it get can deafening) and where they won't shoo us away if we want to linger a little bit and let them keep filling our water glasses (we're also happy to keep buying cocktails for that purpose).

Alternatively, we're fine if they shoo us away if there's a really good non-dive bar nearby. (Actually, that's why we go to Somtum Dur; they tend to shoo us away but Amor y Amargo is right up the street.) Thanks!
posted by holborne to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I like Malatesta on Washington St--quiet traditional Italian spot. Not a big cocktail spot, but you could head to Employees Only or Chumley's after.

I've also had luck at Pearl Oyster Bar on Cornelia. And you could have a drink after at Blue Ribbon on Downing.
posted by greta simone at 1:22 PM on May 9, 2019

Very excited to see the replies to this thread! A few off the top of my head...

Spain on 13th btw 6/7
Fukurou on MacDougal / Bleecker
Anyway Cafe on 2nd / 2nd
posted by mustardayonnaise at 1:26 PM on May 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Amor y Amargo is so good! I hear Ravi DeRossi has just opened a new place called Honeybee's right nearby, which might interest you. I guess this is not 100% responsive but two cocktail places I have really enjoyed recently are Reception on the LES and Abraco (coffee shop, recently started serving cocktails and small plates at night). I have had dinner at both and they're really tasty but don't have a ton of options. Also, have you ever tried Cha An? It's a very chill teahouse pretty near a bunch of bars, including Angel's Share.
posted by ferret branca at 1:46 PM on May 9, 2019

Also a big fan of Amor y Amargo!

There's an app called SoundPrint developed by a guy with hearing loss that recently began compiling lists of quiet restaurants and bars. Here's their initial list for NYC -- I can't vouch for any of the downtown spots on the list.

Places I think are reasonably quiet:
Holy Ground (has a good cocktail list) - 112 Reade St
The Little Owl - corner of Bedford & Grove
Buvette - Grove between Bedford & Bleecker
Joseph Leonard - Grove & Waverly Pl
Amelie (a wine bar, but they have food) - W 8th St between 5th Ave & Macdougal
posted by theory at 2:10 PM on May 9, 2019 [7 favorites]

I'm fond of Little Owl but that tin ceiling often means some noisiness.

I've not actually been to Via Carota on Grove St. but everyone seems to love it. Not a super ambitious cocktail menu, though, unless you really like Negronis.

Another option would be Hearth on E. 12th. Small but solid cocktail menu.
posted by praemunire at 2:29 PM on May 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Via Carota is one of my favorite places, but I'd say it's pretty noisy - and it's always packed.

This previous Ask about quiet bars that serve food might have some viable options. One of my suggestions was Dear Irving, which is great for cocktails but has a limited food selection.
posted by theory at 3:32 PM on May 9, 2019

(Thanks, I was going on reviews that said things like "noise level: civilized." Personal experience trumps!)
posted by praemunire at 3:41 PM on May 9, 2019

Its more bar than anything else, but i like the menu - http://www.reservoirbar.com
posted by blaneyphoto at 6:00 PM on May 9, 2019

Japonica might fit your requirements.
posted by Citrus at 7:23 PM on May 9, 2019

Response by poster: These are right on point, thanks! In fact, we’ve actually been to Little Owl a couple of times, so these suggestions are exactly what I was looking for.
posted by holborne at 8:45 PM on May 9, 2019

The Dutch
lots of seating options there, and every single thing on the menu is superb.
Incidentally, they do a killer Thanksgiving service which I also very highly recommend!
posted by eusebis_w_adorno at 10:06 PM on May 9, 2019

North Square on Washington Square Park is very quiet.
posted by Morpeth at 2:15 AM on May 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Rockmeisha in the West Village
posted by kokaku at 4:20 AM on May 10, 2019

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