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NY Hound narrowing down the Italians

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  • Rafie Aug 1, 2006 01:00 PM
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Hi Hounds!

A NY hound here, posting for the first time on the Philly boards! My California-based family and I are coming in to the city to celebrate my sister's ceremonial start to med school...and now I'm in charge of Friday night dinner!

I've done the proper 'hound thing: scoured the boards, gotten my baptism in Philly's BYOB scene (I *think* this board likes Matyson and Marigold Kitchen), and gotten my Reading Market stops marked down (one roast pork sandwich with greens, pepers, and sharp prov, yessir!)

I'd like to do an Italian dinner for the fam Friday night though, and I've got too many recommendations to know what to do with. Can you help me pick? Criterion: The fam loves pasta, prefers Batali-esque Italian to old-school Italian-American, and would like something reasonably priced ($25 or under for entrees, no Vetri).

I've got on my list:

L'Angolo
Tre Scalini
Radicchio
Branzino
Melograno
Cafe Casta Diva
La Locanda del GitoneHi hounds!

Thanks for helping me narrow it down! Will report back as to how it tastes compared to NY's Italian offerings.

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  1. Just went to Melograno again on Sunday, note that they don't take reservations but we were a party of 6 and got seated pretty easily (I think the heat kept the crowds down).

    If they still have the orrechiette w/escargot special try some of that action.

    Oh, and entrees are under $25 for the most part. Pastas are all around $15-$18.

    1. radicchio is excellent, but they do not take reservations and it is very small (as is l'agnolo. don't even bother going to melograno on the weekend, i drove by it last night (tuesday) at 8pm and it was packed with a line)). for a group of people i would recommend ristorante mezza luna on 8th and catherine. they have a full bar, but you can bring your own wine anyway and i don't think they charge a corking fee.

      http://philadelphia.citysearch.com/pr...

      it is a personal favorite of mine and you can almost always get reservations for a big group on the weekend.

      dishes i love...vitello alla champagne, veal with champage and artichokes; agnoletti; gnocci; their specials are always excellent, and their appetizers are divine, especially their calamari alla griglia. not enough people know about this place, but you will not be disappointed (and is more batali than not, ie, no red gravy)....

      1. Rafie,
        Fellow NYer here, instead of Reading market terminal, try Sarcone's Deli for a sandwich - out of this world! Go early (11 amish for lunch) as they close once they run out of bread and prepare to wait.

        1. You have a good list here.

          I would rule out Radicchio and Melograno - both very good - because they don't take reservations.

          Casta Diva has had mixed reviews lately - I'd let that one go for now.

          We love L'Angolo, but it is definitely old school Italian.

          Locanda del G - what I've heard lately is unbearable noise level, small crowded.

          My first choice would be Branzino. Lovely atmosphere, excellent food.
          It is in center city - 17th St., north of Spruce. We have had some wonderful pasta dishes (an amazingly silky mushroom ravioli special)and their fish and meat entrees are excellent.

          We love Tre Scalini, but it is a very straightforward menu - no unusual ingredients. Their pastas are excellent, and so is their veal tenderloin and veal chop. I also love their broccoli rabe over polenta, their hot seafood appetizer (like a small bouillabase), etc.

          It is hard to understand the rave for Mezza Luna. We tried it twice, and while the owners were very pleasant, we found the food ordinary. Old Italian, a little clunky.

          All these are BYOB.

          Please report back, and enjoy!

          1 Reply
          1. re: sylviag

            it is possible that there are sentimental reasons that i love mezza luna. the owner is from the next town over from where my family is from and after palumbo's/nostalgia burned down, it became our neighborhood place (despite our 'red gravy' place still being dante and luigi's)...and he makes his own limoncelo too, even if i do prefer limoncino.

          2. mazza3, there is nothing wrong with loving a place for sentimental reasons. I think that the warmth - or lack of it - of the hosts often have a lot to do with our feelings for a place.

            Many places these days have excellent food. The restaurants we keep returning to seem to be the ones where the friendliness, good will, and desire to please of the chef/owners create a welcoming aura. And there are other places, also with excellent food, where the atmosphere is colder and more sterile - and we don't dash back.

            So what you feel toward Mezza Luna should certainly be factored in. Enjoy!

            1. Many thanks to all!The report will have to wait a few weeks.
              I ended up in a cast (broken plate practically severed an important tendon on my foot), so I sat in the hospital while my family congregated in Philly for the ceremony.

              I very much appreciate the warm response though, and will report back for sure when I grab my delayed Philly meal in a few weeks. Until then, any Philly/NY'ers needing chowhound pointers on NY, I'm more than happy to help! Cheers...