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il mulino and rao - worth it?

  • d

planning a trip in january...we stay on the upper west side...have been trying to get a reservation at il mulino and of course the line was busy...should i keep trying? is it worth it? what about rao? should i try to get a reservation there?...what do you recommend for italian on the upper west side? we will be on w 72nd near central park...thanks dee dee

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  1. This is a big debate on this site, but I say Il Mulino is definitely not worth it. It's basically very good old-fashioned red-sauce Italian, but absolutely nothing that will make you have an epiphany. Plus, you'll have to wait a long time even with a reservation, the waiter will fleece you on any specials you order, and the whole meal will be monumentally expensive. Don't bother.

    1 Reply
    1. re: EatClerk

      I can't stand Il Mulino. The wait is ridiculous, the tables are jammed together so that you could eat off your neighbor's plate if you wanted, the prices are absurd, the specials even more so, too much garlic and most everything is made in a pretty ham-handed fashion, the waiters rush you and the wine list is atrocious. There're so many other places to eat Italian in NYC. I agree - don't bother. Go to Il Buco.

    2. Il Mulino is definitely worth it. Just ask for the prices beforehand of the specials. Those extra little ingredients have a way of escalating the check.

      Rao is next to impossible to get a reservation. Try Lupa downtown.

      1. d
        Dan Sonenberg

        Scaletta, on 77th between Columbus and CPW, used to be a fabulous and largely unheralded restaurant. Not sure if it's even still there, or if it's still as great as it used to be, but it was really lovely about 4 or 5 years ago. Maybe someone can confirm?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Dan Sonenberg
          d
          David Lerner

          Recently went to Scaletta with family, and it was indeed better than any of us expected or remembered. Not any kind of unique experience, but good solidly prepared food.

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          LES Resident

          You won't get into Rao's, but you're not missing anything. It's good solid red sauce Italian, but the only reason people want to go there is because you have to know someone who has a regular table to get in. Also because you can tell your friends that you've been. I've been and it's good but no better than any other premium Italian (and there are numerous in NYC). I wouldn't go back if I was paying and have to laugh about how much press it gets. If they opened their 1 table seating per night policy it would be just another old New York restaurant.

          1. j
            JASON BECKER

            If nothing else.........have a drink at Rao's. It is a classic NYC axperience. Take someone you enjoy being with and soak up the atmosphere. By 9:30, you can grab a table after they begin to clear. Frankly, the food is not very interesting, so I would just go for the bar. Last time I went, we had several drinks at the bar (great time) and had the opportunity to be seated at 9:30, but declined and went for dinner downtown.
            Believe me, anyone can eat there without reservation. Tables begin to open around 9:00-9:30 and the kitchen stays open for at least two more hours.

            Good Luck

            1 Reply
            1. re: JASON BECKER
              s
              Seuratthedot

              What a fantastic bit of knowledge. Is the bar crowded at Rao's when you have done this? What time would you say you need to arrive to get one of the 9-9:30 tables?