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What’s a Photo-Friendly Space With ‘Basic and Plain’ Food?

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A Williamsburg resident wants a trendy place that serves “pasta with cheese”

La Sirena
The bar room of La Sirena
Nick Solares

Welcome to Ask Eater, a column from Eater New York where the site’s editors, reporters, and critics answer specific or baffling restaurant requests from readers and friends. A new question and answer will run every Thursday. Have a question for us? Submit your question in this form.


Hi Eater,

I'm looking for a place to go for my birthday with three female friends. We've been friends for a long time and love a place that isn't too crowded so that we can sit, catch up, and chat for a while. We also like unique/Instagrammable ambiances that add something to the meal. We're all really into food/culture/art so something trendy is a must. I often describe the best meal I ate as being from Blue Hill while another girl loves Sketch in London.

In terms of cuisine, we're picky-ish eaters. I skew vegetarian with a few exceptions, and our favorite foods lean towards the basic and plain (think pasta with cheese). Where should we go? Not too far from the L train (by that I mean under an hour to get home to Williamsburg). We're already eaten at most Keith McNally restaurants and don't like sushi. Also, no Pietro Nolita :)

— Eating for the ’Gram

Hi ’Gram,

That’s a lot of constrictions, but this is New York City, where even the most particular of people can be satisfied. In this case, original celebrity chef Mario Batali is your man. The chef’s Italian Chelsea restaurant La Sirena has everything you need:

— A very pretty patio and mosaic tile floor (Instagram-friendly, check);

— boundary-pushing small plates (trendy, check);

— a sprawling space (lots of seats means low-guilt lingering, check);

— plenty of vegetarian options (meat-free dining, check);

— close to the L train (easy ride home to the ‘Burg, check);

— and definitely pasta with cheese (basic and plain, check).

Granted, Eater critic Ryan Sutton called it “big, brassy, and oddly boring” in his review last summer, and the Times critic Pete Wells wrote that it “offers a little for everybody except, maybe, the person curious for fresh insights into Italian cuisine.”

But hey, with all those restrictions, you’re not really going to be on the cutting edge of dining. That said, since the reviews, the restaurant has tried to pivot to be a little more adventurous. So if your friends can handle something a little less basic and a little less plain, try instead to dine in the bar room, where things are more pumped up.

Have fun, and hashtag #eaterny for a chance to get that regram.

— Serena

La Sirena

6316 South Dixie Highway, , FL 33405 (561) 585-3128 Visit Website

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