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Recommendation for Italian in NYC?

c
Crysti Jun 27, 2006 03:44 PM

I live in Boston and am coming to New York for a week in the middle of July. We already have reservations at Dylan Prime (how is this by the way?) and I would love a recommendation for a high or mid end priced Italian restaurant. Something with an impressive wine list would be an added bonus. Please forgive my naivete as this will be my first visit to New York and I'm unsure of the best location in which to dine. We're staying at the Hudson Hotel but anywhere in Little Italy would be okay too.

Thanks a million!

  1. r
    Raisel Jun 27, 2006 04:04 PM

    There are so many wonderful Italian restaurants in NYC. I would stay away from Little Italy.

    For one, Babbo is a winner, Make a reservation now. L'Impero
    Felidia is another. Osteria del Circo.

    Enjoy your stay.

    1. sivyaleah Jun 27, 2006 04:13 PM

      Reservations for Babbo, unfortunately, must be made 1 month to the day only. So, if you're coming mid-July, most likely it won't happen. However, you can try for a walk in on the day you want to go or if you're really lucky, maybe there will be a cancellation that day.

      1. s
        smcgill Jun 27, 2006 04:22 PM

        I'm sure I won't be the only one to say this, but if you want even DECENT Italian, stay away from Little Italy.

        Have fun!

        1. d
          DonnyMac Jun 27, 2006 04:25 PM

          I second Babbo, but you will likely not be able to secure a reservation for the date you need. Give it a try though.

          I have heard excellent things about Lupa as well, though it is a bit less formal. Il Buco in the Bowery is excellent too.

          Finally, if you have not eaten at their Nantucket flagship, and can temper your need for an impressive wine list, Sfoglia on the upper east side is unbeatable. Perfect execution of rustic Italian.

          1. h
            Hott Roti Jun 27, 2006 04:29 PM

            Yes, Lupa (same owners as Babbo) is quite good and you can probably make a reservation for mid-July. For Italian tapas, you might consider Perbacco which has a more homey setting but food with flare. Both have great wine lists. Il Buco is pretty good for Italian tapas but I found them a little heavy, whereas Perbacco's tapas are lighter. Good luck!

            1. b
              bobby06877 Jun 27, 2006 06:34 PM

              Dylan Prime is a fun place to eat. They are not of the top steak places in the city, but I love their atmosphere, drinks and some interesting menu options. I would highly recommend you give their fondue appetizer a try and consider their carpetbagger steak. As far as Italian restaurants, other than a Battali establishment, I like Il Giglio for a little higher end experience and Crispo for a more mid priced option. Both have decent wine lists. Bianca on Bleeker has a very good and decently priced wine list but they do not take reservations and it is cash only. Their sister restaurant, Teodora, is closer to your hotel, takes reservations and credit cards and has a good wine list. The food is very good.

              1. thievery Jun 27, 2006 08:03 PM

                i agree with everyone else that little italy is more of a tourist destination that a fine dining spot. if you want to stick to that area, i'd recommend going a few blocks away from the center to 'Peasant'.

                i've also had numerous excellent italian meals at 'Bar Pitti' (6th ave near bleeker). It's cheaper than the Batali spots with a no-frills italian sidewalk cafe atmosphere. the only minus (or plus depending on how you look at it) is the getting a table situation and service... which seems very italian authentic as well. basically, no reservations... you make eye contact with the host/owner, he menatally notes your place in line (no written list), and then you sit around at the nearby benches until he decides to grant you a table. i think it's worth it nonetheless.

                1. g
                  gaucho25 Jun 27, 2006 08:14 PM

                  If you are looking for cheap but excellent. I highly recommend Bianca on Bleecker Street. The lasagna is amazing! And I'm not even a lasagna fan

                  1. b
                    billyboy Jun 28, 2006 06:21 AM

                    Hey Crysti,

                    A former Bostonian here and I've found a couple of great places in NYC. Try 'inoteca at 98 Rivington Street on the LES. Its a wine bar with good inexpensive wine and great dishes (especially the panini). Also Quartino at Peck Slip in Lower Manhattan (a couple of blocks from South Street Seaport) is excellent. Intimate, not expensive, simple Italian food. A small menu, but everything is great, especially the seafood each day. Oh, I almost forgot Carmines. Not the one in midtown, but at Beekman Street about a block from Quartino. An old school red sauce place with great lasagna, lobster fra diavolo, and zuppa di pesce. Enjoy!

                    1. enrevanche Jun 28, 2006 10:44 AM

                      For Italian, we're big fans of Po on Cornelia Street. It's a tiny place with a warm atmosphere and great food. Great pastas, affordable but interesting wine list, and whatever the seafood special is that night, order it.

                      Po
                      31 Cornelia St., between Bleecker and W 4th
                      New York, NY 10014
                      212-645-2189

                      1. zGustibus Jun 28, 2006 01:43 PM

                        There are obviously a ton of great Italian restaurants in NYC that are perfectly suited for any and all needs... so what really matters is what exactly you are looking for.

                        If you've eaten at every Italian restaurant under the sun, and are looking for something completely different then anything you've ever had before, Babbo is the way to go. And you can never go wrong with a Mario Batali wine list. But it's not for everyone. I know my parents love "Italian" food, but to them that means Veal Parm and Pizza- so I don't know if I would take them to Babbo.

                        If you like your Italian a little more standard and homey, but still the same quality, then Lupa might be the way to go.

                        Both of those might be difficult to get reservations at, but it's worth a try.

                        There are a ton of Neighborhood'y places that are really cheap and solid, but since you're coming from out of town- I don't know if that's what you are going to be looking for. And usually the wine lists are more about value then finding some jem. I saw someone mentioned Bianca... a really good place- but would definetely fall into this neighborhood category.

                        If you want a Dylan Prime kind of place then maybe you would enjoy Del Posto or A Voce in Midtown.

                        Let us know what area you want, how much you want to spend and what kind of place your looking for and the posts will probably be more helpful...

                        eGustibus Food Blog: http://www.egustibus.com

                        1. h
                          Hungry Mike Jun 28, 2006 04:39 PM

                          Peasant is a must for your visit, one of my favorite places in NYC. Don’t worry when you see the menu is written in Italian, the friendly staff will translate. As everyone else has said, stay away from little Italy for dinner...good luck.

                          1. r
                            rubybee Jun 28, 2006 04:51 PM

                            i don't think peasant is that great... the wine bar downstairs is a great, romantic stop post-dinner though.

                            avoid little italy like the plague.

                            i second the reccomendation for po, and lupa is great, too. i would try to call for babbo... you never know, there might be cancellations, or, if you don't mind dining at the bar, that's always a walk-in option. il buco is great, and all of the meat is hormone/antibiotic free and raised by local farmers. oh, and for panini, you MUST go to 'ino. the best, hands down.

                            1. Angelina Jun 28, 2006 04:53 PM

                              PLEASE as everyone else said..STAY AWAY FROM LITTLE ITALY!!!! Unless you enjoy chef boyardee in a can...BABBO is amazing!! My favorite, as well as his other rest. LUPA...just as amazing and not as expensive.
                              PO is very good, too. Mario Batali was the former owner.

                              Felidia is also amazing!!!! Homemade pastas in all of these restaurants. The pasta will melt in your mouth! (If you go to Little Italy the pasta is NOT homemade, it is from a box, and was probably cooked the day before and is just sitting in water, waiting to be microwaved..yuck...it is such a tourist trap!!)

                              Have fun!

                              Never been to Dylan Prime

                              1. j
                                jungirl Jun 28, 2006 05:07 PM

                                Scalinatella in midtown east is nice. Sort of that Il Mulino / Il Giglio feel. Very cozy, and celebrities often frequent there b/c it's low key.

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