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Jan 26, 2003 04:16 PM


  • w

Have been considering going Rao's during the early portion of the week for dinner with my brother and need advice, opinions, feedback. 1. Is the food really deserving of the price? Been to Max uptown and others. As an economist, I consistently question how expensive can pasta, polenta, and "home style" Southern Italian cusine can be. 2. What is the best day or time? Clearly it's almost impossible to book a table for dinner is there a preferable day? 3. Is lunch an option?

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  1. See the NY Times' Magazine Food article today--it is not "almost impossible", I would say it IS impossible. The author, an editor who contracted with the co-owner to publish the Rao's Cookbook, reports that he can't get a table!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: JanetG

      Speaking of Rao's cookbook, I just had to add that if you haven't checked it out, you really are missing something. It's one of my favorites - though I've been about 2 years without it after my cousin repossesed it from me. It is one of those rare bread of cookbooks where you can actually follow the instructions with good results. The recipes are simple to make, don't require hard to find ingredients, and yield beautiful dishes. It's probably almost as good as going to Rao's yourself, a pleasure I will never know as my one tiny connection to the place was lost in an unengagement....

    2. You will NEVER get in to Rao's unless you know someone..even a call a year in advance will get you nowhere.

      1. FYI - Rao's is only open for dinner. It is very small & they only do two seatings. You most likely will not be able to get in. Sorry!!

        5 Replies
        1. re: Patrice

          There is only one seating each evening. Their philosophy is if someone has a reservation the table is theirs for the evening. Unlike others who do not have good things to say about the food, the one time I ate there the food was great. It is "simple" food, but we loved it!!! If opportunity struck we would go back again and again.

          1. re: Edward Aretz
            Craig Greiner

            According to the Times article, they were forced to start a two seating policy to accomodate demand.

            1. re: Craig Greiner

              They do two seatings per evening & I got that right from Frankie NO.

              1. re: Patrice

                what the time's reviewed rao's recently?

                1. re: jimmy z

                  No, but some info and recipes can be found half way down the page linked below -


        2. From my humble point of view - DON'T EVEN BOTHER!! It is very small, very smoky (cigars at the bar) - there is no menu, the waiter just rattles off a list of what is available that night - typical fare, and not that great. They do not take anything other than cash, and as there is no menu, you have no idea what to expect when the bill comes. Yes, you do have to "know someone" to get it, which is the hook for the place. It just didn't work for me, and I would not go back (and yes, I can get res. if I wanted to!!)

          4 Replies
          1. re: gini

            gini, since you are the only one I know who can get into Rao's, how about a date. My treat.
            Can I bring a friend oh and my wife?

            1. re: Shoeman

              After everything horrid that I said? Brave man. Now, how cute is my date?? Everything is negotiable!

              1. re: Gini

                Rao's is on my non-chowhound list of places I'd like to eat even though I know I could do better. First of all, I'm pretty superfical in some ways. Like I was kinda impressed that you could get in, now I would like to be "one of those people." I've always wanted to play at Augusta for the same reason. Secondly, I like lemon chicken which I think they do well.
                I've been told that I have sort of a Steve Guttenberg/Richard Gere/Gelman (from Regis & Kelly) thing going on? Any interest? Free Meal

              2. re: Shoeman

                e-mail me at, and I will see what I can do.

            2. I was there last Tuesday it's almost impossible to get in...depends on how much you want to spend