Where to eat in Little Italy
I'm coming in from Chicago, bringing my 18 year old daughter and her friend on their first trip to nyc. We'll be staying in the financial district, and would love some recommendations for dinner, Italian (moderate) that would be a fun place for two 18 y/o's, in Little Italy.
I dont know specific places in Little Italy, but I do know most places have guys outside handing you a menu and offer complimentary drinks or food to come in and eat. I have tried a few places and have not been dissapointed yet. I cant wait to go back in December to visit NYC again and get some good old Italian food. Have fun.
I think most folks on this board would agree with me that most Little Italy restaurants are pretty much tourist (and suburbanite) traps, and that much better Italian food is available elsewhere in Manhattan. It's a fun area to walk around in, but the best food in the area is really Chinese or Vietnamese.
As you'll soon learn, most people think Italian food is mediocre in Little Italy. And it is. However, there is something to be said for going there if that's where you really want to go. If that's the case, the only place worth going to, in my humble opinion, is called Benito II - 163 Mulberry St.
Even better options, though, would be the following (mostly in Greenwich Village):
Il Corallo Trattoria
Cacio e Pepe
Searches on this board will of course turn up many more.
I've had all of one meal in Little Italy (la mela, wasn't bad) but if you really wanted italian food and don't mind a short walk, why not go to Bianca (on bleecker west of bowery) just a little north? you can walk through ctown and little italy, soak up the atmosphere and buy some pastries, and then have a simple, great meal in a small intimate space. Bianca's tiramisu is pretty delicious too!
Big second for Bianca, and xiqua is quite right, you can walk a few blocks in Little Italy and the 18yos can enjoy the 'cool' of a walk throug NoLiTa (north of little italy) to get to Bianca.