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Nov 6, 2006 05:07 PM

Best Italian in Hell's Kitchen?

Hello, I was wondering if anyone has an opinion on the best Italian in Hell's Kitchen? I assume Esca is up there, and am wondering what folks think of viceversa, the various Roberto Passon restaurants, and any others? Thanks!

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  1. I know of only one Roberto Passon restaurant, which is on the corner of 9th Av. & 50th St. Although I think the food is very good there, I can't honestly say it's "the best" in that area because there are a boatload of Italians in Hell's Kitchen, and I haven't been to all of them.

    2 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      I've been to a few -- Roberto Passon is excellent and my standby suggestion, too.

      1. re: RGR

        We were unable to get a booking at Roberto Passon's post-matinee today and ended up eating at Scarlatto, on 47th off 8th. Apparently this is a sister restaurant to Roberto Passon, and shares a similar menu, wine list, and pricing. Also as at Roberto Passon's, the food was very good for extremely reasonable prices. Appetizers of octopus with chick peas and calamari/zucchini that was tempura-like in the greaselss light frying, rigatoni in a creamy, smoky version of carbonara, and a herb & parmesan risotto topped with a split quail were all excellent. Service was fine, if a bit pressed in the pre-theatre rush, and we were seated in a narrow loft-like space on the second floor which was actually quite pleasant and did not suffer from the noise and bustle of the main dining area (I'd recommend requesting this seating area for parties of 4 or fewer).

        This is another good option for the theatre district, and will go on our list.

      2. There are many, and many are bad. I live in the area, and here's the one that I'd go back to: Becco. Search for it--there is a recent thread about it. Not the best in the world, but reasonable and reliable.

        NB: I haven't eaten at Esca.

        1. I'd like to put a vote in for Maria Pia, a very small, very good Italian place on 51st between 8th and 9th. Great and friendly service, fresh ingredients, and an outstanding selection of fresh pastas which is a big plus for me.

          Everything was perfectly al dente, the buffalo mozzarella was extremely fresh and perfectly textured. Also highly recommend the warm chocolate tort with hazelnut gelato as a dessert.

          1. Also re: MP, it's almost criminally underpriced. You'll pay $13 for an entree that most places would serve for $17-20.

            1. I believe Passon was involved with Puttanesca too. I love his eponymous restaurant. I was underwhelmed by Maria Pia--I don't think it's in the same league as Passon.


              1 Reply
              1. re: Peter Cherches

                I'm pretty sure Passon was at Le Zie previously. I think the other owners of the new place are the Puttanesca people...