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Maria Pia or Cara Mia?

k
k8t13 Jul 14, 2006 01:36 PM

We're seeing the Wedding Singer tomorrow (2:00 show)and want good, but not too expensive italian after. I heard they are sister restaurants. Is one better than the other? Thanks!!

  1. u
    ultbil Feb 28, 2007 12:54 PM

    I agree with the food recommendation for Maria Pia - the calamari app is darn good. However, this place gets kind of crowded and a bit loud before Broadway shows and may not be so romantic at those times.

    1. s
      summersun3eb Feb 28, 2007 10:42 AM

      I just wanted to post my thoughts on Maria Pia. I went to dinner with my husband around 830pm and the restaurant was about half full. I liked the ambience and the prix fixe menu is great. 21.95 for salad, entree, and dessert. Wines were reasonable at $8-$12 per glass. I found the service to be a little slow, but it gave us time to talk and enjoy the time. My husband had the goat cheese raviolo in vodka sauce and it was delicious. I would recommend this restaurant for someone looking for a nice meal, in a romantic setting, who isn't looking to spend a huge amount of money.

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        angelo73 Nov 16, 2006 11:31 AM

        Hey, my favorite is Cara Mia, I had the rabbit alla cacciatore last night with a creamy porcini polenta for $15.95 and I must say it was outstanding at any price. I love Maria Pia, simple, no-attitude real Italian Trattoria. Also Roberto Passon is an awesome Venetian. All great Hell's Kitchen Italians. Recently tried their upper westside restaurant Arte Cafe, really excellent, try the "strozzapreti with wild boar" GREAT

        1. k
          kersie Aug 15, 2006 09:33 PM

          The word on Maria Pia is that it is much better for a weekday lunch than for a pre-theater meal. I myself have only been for a pre-theater dinner and was seriously disappointed.

          Roberto Passon is quite good. La Locanda is also a favorite of mine, but only for their appetizers -- their main courses and pastas really don't do it for me (and I love the place nonetheless because the owners are super-nice and they have a few standout apps that I am happy to make a meal out of).

          1. p
            Peter Cherches Jul 14, 2006 07:20 PM

            I was at Maria Pia a couple of weeks ago for the first time. Mediocre. I haven't been to Cara Mia.

            Roberto Passon isn't much more expensive than Maria Pia and it's much better.

            http://petercherches.blogspot.com

            1. c
              Cat Pop Jul 14, 2006 03:51 PM

              I haven't been to Maria Pia, but I do have a few words about Cara Mia.

              I've been there a few times NOT during a pre-theater rush, and it has been lovely every time. Great food, service, etc. However, the last time I went was before a show with my family (who came into the city), and it was awful. I had made a reservation, which I confirmed that morning. When I got there, the woman (who was the same person i had talked to earlier that day) claimed she didn't have a reservation for us. They were able to seat us, despite the fact that the place was totally packed. The service was very, very spotty and unattentive. The salads came out in a timely fashion, but the entrees took FOREVER to come out (to the point we were worried we weren't going to make an 8pm show. We had gotten there at 6:15). From the looks of it, it seemed like everyone's entree had been held up, and then they started coming out of the kitchen like mad. ALL of our entrees were totally overcooked. My sister's eggplant was actually burnt. And we had to totally rush through the entrees to make sure we got to the show on time.

              Again, I have had many other excellent experiences there, but it seemed like the kitchen and staff were not prepared to have a full house duirng the pre-theater crowd. I would not recommend it before a show. An on off hour, yes, but not pre-theater.

              1. JoanN Jul 14, 2006 03:06 PM

                Haven't been to either in maybe six months, but last time I was the menu and prices were about the same. Maria Pia is far more comfortable, larger and less crowded, especially pre-theater.

                1 Reply
                1. re: JoanN
                  k
                  k8t13 Jul 17, 2006 09:44 PM

                  We ended up going to Maria Pia. We got there around 5:20 and it was perfect timing. About 20 minutes later, the place was packed. My husband and I weren't starving so we shared 3 apps.(crab cake, tuna carpaccio and calamari). My parents had the Striped Bass. The portions weren't huge, but everything was excellent. I would go back again.

                2. s
                  selizara Jul 14, 2006 02:29 PM

                  I cannot speak for Maria Pia, but I have been to Cara Mia a number of times and have always found it to be extremely high quality. The food is cooked well - not particularly inventive stuff, but just good, basic Italian food. They usually have nice fish specials, as well.

                  Warning: the space is extremely small and they pack in a lot of tables, especially pre-theatre.

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