Good italian in the village?
I have a friend coming to visit from D.C. this weekend and he really wants to eat in the village (east, west or central) at a good, but reasonable priced italian restaurant. I was going to make reservations at La Focaccia, but wanted to know if anyone has other ideas? Keep in mind that it's Thursday and I have to get a reservation for Saturday night.
I'm new to the area from SF so I'm also looking for great places I can keep going back to.
Lots of great choices in the Village.
In the West Village I really like La Cantina--Jane St. and 8th ave--for low key mid-priced Italian. It is also a stone's throw from the Meatpacking District if you want to do the bar scene there afterwards.
Maurizio Trattoria on 13th between 5th and 6th is a great local Italian.
If you want to go somewhere with more "energy" or "scene" I would try Mario Batali's Otto. I don't know if they take reservations for two but you can drink wine and graze on appetizers while you wait.
The list above is pretty good too with the exception of Il Cantinori, which is very good but also very formal and expensive.
Malatesta, in the West Village, is rather pleasant - I went there on my last trip to New York. It's not too expensive (which is good, as it's cash only), and has a rather pleasant, small menu that has seafood, pasta, and meat dishes. When I went, friends and I split the fried calamari, a shaved artichoke salad, a couple of other appetizers, and whatever the steak was. Service can sometimes be slow and/or forgetful, but it sort of adds to the charm of the place if you're not in a rush. For dessert, skip the profiteroles and get the panna cotta. Unfortunately, I don't think you can make reservations for just two people.
Lupa is another idea, although I'm not sure you can get reservations this late. But you can always go early and sit at the bar - I had one of my best meals ever doing so early last year.