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Village Italian Friday night for a group

  • c

We have about 7 or 8 old college friends celebrating a birthday on Friday night -- the birthday boy likes Italian. Where should we go? We're relatively poor, but willing to be somewhat celebratory.

Caitlin

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  1. try La Mela. on mulberry/little italy. family style, big time!! great for groups.

    8 Replies
    1. re: stephen kaye

      Proceed with extreme caution at La Mela, particularly if you are budgetarily challenged. Dishes are brought out family style at the suggestion of a straight from central casting Italian waiter, whose script does not include prices. Tons of decent (but far from great) apps will descend upon your table, followed by pasta dishes, each attempt to deviate the waiter from his program will be overridden by "you must try a little, just a little, its wonderful", should you bring up the issue of price, he will become wonderfully vague, but should you (as we did once) attempt to interrupt his performance after the pastas by declining the meat courses, he will suspect you of stinginess and become downright hostile. All in all, this is a lot of fuss for food that is singularly unremarkable.

      1. re: Elaine

        you could try to get the Big table at Frank ...that would be perfect (I think) for your group .....or Il Bagetto

        1. re: Cpalms

          Frank is not cheap, they'll be waiting for an hour, and I don't understand what the fuss about that restaurant is all about. The other place you're talking about is Il Bagatto, not Il Bagetto, and I believe they allow smoking.

          1. re: Michael L.

            Oh,pardon my spelling ....the wait will be an hour but worth it....the bar is relatively festive and have tasty snacks and the food is very good .... if you want something good your going to have to spend a little ....what's an alternative w/ better cheaper food?

            1. re: Cpalms
              j
              Jason Weinzimer

              I have had an excellent time at this E. Village place both alone with my wife, and at 3-4 different birthday parties. The pastas are mostly good, the pizzas excellent, and everything is reasonably priced. They have great large tables for groups, the service is always very accomodating, good cheap wine, and a bar in front as well as a lounge downstairs. All in all, a great neighborhood place that I'm surprised isn't jammed up like Il Bagatto.

              1. re: Cpalms
                j
                Jason Weinzimer

                I have had an excellent time at this E. Village place both alone with my wife, and at 3-4 different birthday parties. The pastas are mostly good, the pizzas excellent, and everything is reasonably priced. They have great large tables for groups, the service is always very accomodating, good cheap wine, and a bar in front as well as a lounge downstairs. All in all, a great neighborhood place that I'm surprised isn't jammed up like Il Bagatto.

                1. re: Cpalms

                  "Oh,pardon my spelling"

                  I'm not mad at you about spelling, just making sure that someone who wants to can find the restaurant in the phonebook. :-)

                  And, to clarify, I have had 2 meals at Frank's: One good, shortly after it opened, and one mediocre. I guess it's been a while, but waiting an hour is NOT worth it to me, with all the other choices in the neighborhood. And the place is not cheap.

              2. re: Cpalms

                While the food at Franks was good, the wine prices were way out of proportion to the menu. It was hard to find anything under $30 even though this is primarily a pasta joint.

                Try Lavagna on Avenue B, good food with a downtown ambience.

          2. Try Malatesta on Christopher and Washington, but definitely make a reservation. I recommend any of the homemade pastas or the giant, thin-pounded chicken cutlet. Prices are extremely reasonable--you can get away with $20 per person easily, app, entree, and dessert. The wine list also has some decent, reasonably priced selections. Have fun!

            1. Monte's on MacDougal south of Bleecker is a decent place, family run, very friendly, food is very reasonable. You won't get hurried out of there either.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Maven

                Not so fast, Maven.
                A group of us used to go to Montes near closing time on sat nights and we got the bums rush there. One time our waiter told us there were no specials to describe while at the next table another waiter was patiently describing the specials. Our waiter was obviously in a hurry to get out of there.
                We were going to complain to the manager/owner who is usually very friendly but we couldn't since he was pretty drunk which is ANOTHER reason not to go there late (owner/mgr usually drinks the whole evening and is feeling little pain at nights end).
                Food is decent, prices moderate but service needs an upgrade.

              2. East Post on 2nd Ave., Tanti Baci on E.6th, or Paprika on St.Mark's Place would probably suit your needs. I've had good to great meals at all three, and the staff have been extremely accommodating. But reserve now!

                1. I'm going to get lambasted for this suggestions by many chowhounders because the food here is CERTAINLY not the reason to go.
                  However, if you're poor and festive, I would recommend Puglia's in Little Italy. My friends brought me there for my last birthday -- real red sauce italian, not bad but not great...But LARGE carafes of wine...A cheesy singer with a piano...and LOTS of festive people...
                  This ain't classy, but it IS fun...