Visiting Hound: Lupa, Otto, or Max??
Visiting for the weekend. I was going to try for a last minute reservation at Lupa or Otto. A friend mentioned that Max in the East Village is another good spot.
Any opinions on which is the best place for 4 adults to enjoy themselves and eat great food on a Friday night?
Thanks in advance!
I'll be sure to report back our findings!
Max is TERRIFIC... cheap, great vibe but a little noisy. Try to eat in the courtyard out back so you can hear each other. Definitely get the Rigatoni alla Siciliana (eggplant, mozarella, yum!) or the gnocci or the lasagna (very popular but it has nutmeg in it and that can put some people off) . The sauteed Broccoli Rabe side dish is all lovely and bitter. Nice wines... and the tiramisu is a solid finish. I have not done Lupa yet but I find that Otto disappoints. Otto is very sceney and loud with mediocre flavors on the plate. Wonderful gelato though.
Between Max and Otto, I whole-heartedly vote Max.
Max is different kind of place than Otto and Lupa. All three are very delicious, so you won't go wrong there. Max is a much more laidback, loud, lively kind of place as opposed to otto and lupa which, yes, are crowded, but the atmosphere is different. Max is always incredibly super busy, and it can be an uncomfortable area to wait in around the bar because it's so full. But it is great food and very cheap! Just be prepared to wait on the weekends. It's fast paced and fun.
Rather then tell which one is better I'm going to tell you that you are talking about three different restaurants, with totally different atmospheres and menus. If you want pizza and antipasti in a hip, semi-upscale setting, then you'll want to go to Otto. If you want the Roman Mario Batali meal in a real homey neighborhood setting, then you'll want Lupa. If you want a good standard Italian meal (won't be some sort of revelation), in a truly laid back place (unlike Lupa, which is only laid back in comparison to Mario's other restaurants), for a really really great price, you'll want Max.
None of them are a bad meal... it just depends on what you're looking for, what your expecations are, and what kind of taste you have in Italian restaurants.
The truth is you'll probably get into Max alot easier then Otto, and Lupa may be impossible this late in the game...