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Jul 27, 2006 03:15 PM

Out of Towners who used to live in Italy want some good Italian food. Suggestions?

My cousin is visiting NYC. She used to live in Italy, and is craving some good Italian food. Any great places with decent prices? Anywhere? Thanks!

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  1. Via Emilia. I had an Italian boss who said it was very authentic and it's affordable.

    East Village has good affordable Italian, don't know about authenticity though: Frank and Max are both good. Also do a search of East Village Italian, you'll find a lot.

    1. Cantina Toscana, 1st Ave. just below 61st, across the street from Bed, Bath & Beyond. It serves delicious Italian food and is run by Florentines. It is not a restuarant at which one gets the feeling the owners are seeking to mkae a killing. Raher, it feels like this is what they want to do, and are trying to make a living at it. Also, it is quite common to hear more of the diners speaking Italian than English. See:, and I would note that I do not agree with the detractors. Not the cheapest place, but you could pay a lot more.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Captain

        I had an excellent meal at Cantina Toscana about 5 or 6 years ago, and I've been surprised it is so under the radar. It was very authentic & excellent.

        Assenzio is very reasonable for Sardinian & Ligurian, as is their sister restaurant Osteria del Sole. Amazing suckling pig.

        Also excellent & reasonable is Roberto Passon, run by a Venetian. Al di La in Brooklyn is one of the best Northern Italian in the city.

        I second Via Emilia for Modenese.

        1. re: Peter Cherches

          I found Assenzio very underwhelming. I do think that Col Legno, 9th St. just west of 2nd Av., cooks pretty faithful Tuscan cuisine (with the addition of decent pizza).

      2. Quentin and Peter, Has either of you been to Via Emilia since its move to 21st St.? If so, is the menu the same as at the old location, and is it still BYO?

        3 Replies
        1. re: RGR

          Not yet. I'm hoping the room is less noisy.

          1. re: RGR

            I went to the new location a few weeks ago. The new menu is bigger but they still have the same dishes from their last location. Lasagna and gnocco fritto were great as were the sauteed corn

            The decor looks nothing like the old place. Much more modern vibe and much much bigger. Pretty much the same prices. Can't comment as to the current status of BYOB since I haven't been back in the last few weeks.

          2. I also vote for Via Emilia, their gnocco fritto is quite authentic. Novita on 22nd between Park Avenue South & Lexington is also consistently good.

            1 Reply
            1. re: coco_nyc

              In addition to the gnoccho fritto, I love the calzagatti as an appetizer. Here's NY Mag's description:

              "Calzagatti, a latkelike disk of crispy polenta, is stuffed with a soffritto of kidney beans, pancetta, tomatoes, and onion, and served beside a wedge of taleggio over a layer of thin-sliced coppa. "

            2. Try Dani on Hudson and Charleston. Been there a few times resonably priced and really great food.