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Best Italian restaurant in NYC

Hi all,
it is my very first post and I think it will be controversial...sort of opening a can of warms...
I am searching for the best italian restaurant in NYC.
By best I am refering to
1. Clean
2. Truly Italian (what is with spaghetti and meatballs?? The do not do that in Italy!)
3. Great service and ambience
4. Cost is average or above, but a couple will not pay more than $200 (wine inclusive)
Thanks

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  1. I don't know if it's controversial, but it's a bit like asking for the best French restaurant in the city, and then saying entrees less than $30.

    What you are really asking for is best medium-priced Italian, which is a lot different than best Italian.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Wilfrid

      Absolutely right, Wilfrid.
      And "the" definitely have spaghetti and meatballs in Italy. They call it maccheroni alla chitarra con polpettine.

      That having been said, I'd guess something like Cacio e Pepe might be what the OP is looking for.

      1. re: Wilfrid

        I don't agree that $200 is modest. The only issue is wine - and if consumption and selection is in control, $200 is reasonable expectation.

        1. re: Wilfrid

          First criteria "clean" really put me off, this is about food, not hotels!
          That said I like Il Molino - it is very clean but also very expensive.

          -----
          Il Mulino
          86 W 3rd St, New York, NY 10012

          1. re: bronwen

            Il Mulino is a shameless tourist rip off.
            Decent food, but absolutely insane prices.
            Nobody gets out of there for $200 for 2.
            No way.
            For the kind of splurge that Il Mulino inflicts you'd be better off (by far) at someplace like Marea.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. Welcome to the site! I think that for that price you can eat at some of the most expensive places, such aa Babbo, if you order right. But I think what you want is the best small pleasant place with food and atmosphere evocative of Italy. Le Zie comes to mind, but there are many others.

            1. I assume when you say "truly Italian", you want to eliminate places that serve Italian-American. If you are looking for some places that serve authentic Italian, there are many. I personally like Teodora in midtown. Whenever I eat there it seems like half the customers are speaking Italian. Under $200.00 with wine is possible, depending upon the quality and quantity ordered.They also own Bianca which is also very good. I would second Le Zie and add Da Andrea. Keep in mind that many of the Italian restaurants specialize in a region of Italy. These are only a few but there are so many that I am sure you will have plenty of recs.

              2 Replies
              1. re: bobby06877

                Not necessarily - look at the places the OP lists as his favorite restaurants. Mediocre / Red Sauce places.

                1. Chianti (B'klyn)
                2. Arte Cafe (UES)
                3. Marco Polo (B'klyn)
                4. Tuscan Grill (Rockfeller

                (MARCO POLO IN BROOKLYN!!)

                1. re: chow_gal

                  Arte Cafe is actually on the UWS and I was just there this past wknd - DO NOT GO! The service is horrendous, not to mention slow. They charged an extra $130 on my credit card and it took over FIVE phone calls to get it back. To top it off, the food isn't even that great. Go somewhere where they appreciate your business. Okay, I am done ranting now. :)

              2. LUPA
                170 Thompson St
                New York, NY 10012
                (212) 982-5089

                true roman style cuisine. batali hooks it up right here and I have had a meal for four with wine for under $250

                4 Replies
                1. re: yoyoma25

                  I agree!! If you want to spend some more money go to his other place, Babbo. Lupa truely does remind me of ,eals I have had in Italy.

                  Enjoy!

                  1. re: yoyoma25

                    Lupa is my vote - it is one of my favorites. The next place to visit that I haven't tried is L'Impero I have heard rave reviews of it as well.

                    1. re: yoyoma25

                      Agreed- LUPA for sure. Never let's you down.