Restaurant guide for the money-minded NY indie

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Those attending the IFP Market & Conference might find it challenging to stay within a budget and network: Most veteran executives prefer their meals to be a bit more upscale. "For years, I have avoided any place where I might run into filmmaking aspirants. They scare me," admits ThinkFilm's head of U.S. theatrical Mark Urman. Likewise, veteran producer Ed Pressman touts the Pegu Club near his Soho offices as his favorite place to dine. But there are plenty of delicious, affordable options for visiting filmmakers -- a selected list follows below.

Angelica Kitchen
300 E. 12th St.; 212-228-2909
A favorite of documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, Angelica Kitchen is an inexpensive vegetarian restaurant that offers plenty of brown-rice dishes and an especially mouthwatering tofu with richly flavored soba noodles; diners who want to recreate their meal at a later date can even purchase an authorized cookbook. But it's the comfortable vibe that makes this East Village staple the perfect place for creative types to relax and enjoy their greens.

Blue Owl Cocktail Room
196 Second Ave.; 212-505-BLUE
This slickly designed watering hole features a $25 open bar and fancy cheese option, plus a killer list of specialty cocktails, such as its gin/lemon juice/maraschino namesake and the Pret a Baiser, which features St. Germain Elderflower liqueur. Private rooms allow patrons to plug in their iPods -- that is, assuming they're not so keen on what the regular DJs are spinning. There's even a nifty filmmaker hook: Blue Owl Flicks shoots short videos at the bar and regularly uploads them to networking Web sites.

Cafe Angelique
68 Bleecker St.; 212-475-3500
Cozy and inconspicuous, Cafe Angelique's menu features fresh-baked quiches and savory pastries called bourekas at reasonable prices, and coffee is served with small chocolates to underscore the friendly vibe. It's also a great place for indie dealmaking, according to Zoe Cassavettes, director of Magnolia Pictures' "Broken English." "I've made a lot of deals at Angelique -- for films, commercials and videos," she says.

Cafe Noir
32 Grand St.; 212-431-7910
Visitors will find live music and North African-inspired options for brunch (not to mention a number of tempting tapas plates, such as Moroccan pizza and falafel fried calamari) at Cafe Noir, an inviting eatery where the average item goes for roughly $10. Director Brooks Branch, who recently shot his feature "Multiple Sarcasms" nearby, swears by the food. "It's just around the corner from our production office," he says. "We went there at first because it was nearby and kept going back because it seemed to work perfectly."

Hi-Life Bar & Grill
477 Amsterdam Ave.; 212-787-7199
It's worth a trip to the Upper West Side to check out the film noir ambiance at the Hi-Life Bar & Grill, a hot spot serving martinis and cheap specials every night of the week, including half-price sushi and sashimi on Monday and Tuesday and $11 big-bowl pasta on Wednesday and Sunday. IFP board members cite Hi-Life as a favorite place to visit during the market for negotiations and general industry-related discussions.

Olive's Restaurant
120 Prince St.; 212-941-0111
With its location just a few blocks from the Angelika Film Center, Olive's is famous for lavish sandwiches, like its meat-packed hero and shiitake mushroom combination, all of which are less than $10. Writer-director Tom Kalin spent a lot of time at Olive's while developing his upcoming feature, "Savage Grace." "Olive's kept me and my co-editor John Lyons happy during the months of cutting," Kalin says.


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MARKET PACE: Filmmakers, financiers hook up at IFP confab
TO-DO LIST: IFP Conference highlights
MAKING THE CUT: IFP's Narrative Rough Cut Lab
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PAYBACK: Incentive system flows funds
RESERVATIONS: Eatery guide for money-minded indies
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