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Via Emilia or similar

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My mom has never met my boyfriend's mom, so I am taking them out to eat together as a Christmas present. I need a place in the Chelsea/Flatiron area that I can afford on a student budget with good food, plentiful wine, and not so much noise that we can't hear eachother. Also, our moms' tastes in food are on the more conventional side.

A few people have recommended Via Emilia, but I see that they don't take reservations. How long would the wait be on a Monday or Wednesday around 7 or 8, and does it meet my aforementioned criteria? Any input would be appreciated. Likewise, I would be happy to hear about any alternative options.

Thanks in advance. This is a somewhat nervewracking experience, so I am happy for any help we can get.

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  1. If you go to VE around 7, you should be OK. If you want the security of reservations in the same area, you might consider Giorgio's of Gramercy or Craftbar. They're both pricier but have good, comfortable food in classy surroundings. For Italian on the cheaper side, consider Le Zie or Crispo.

    1. Le Zie would be a great choice. It is actually my go-to restaurant when my parents visit. The food is very good and not too pricy, and there is some outdoor seating if the wonderful weather holds.

      1. There shouldn't be a wait at 7 on a Monday or Wednesday at Via Emilia. It would definitely fit your criteria. Reasonably priced with very good homemade pastas, especially the lasagna. Remember, it is cash only as well.

        Another place would be Cacio e Pepe or their more casual sister restaurant Cacio e Vino. They are both on Second Ave, Cacio e Pepe around 11th street and Cacio e Vino on 4th.

        1. I agree with Le Zie, great food at a reasonable rate and you will be able to hear each other speak. Via Emilia is good but I like the certainty of a reservation and the ability to use a credit card. Giorgios is also a great rec and meets your criteria.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bobby06877

            Thanks, everyone, for all your help. I am planning on going to Via Emilia, but we will go to Le Zie if there's a wait.

            I'll let you know how it goes!

          2. I just went to Via Emilia on Friday night--around 9:30 p.m., no reservation, party of five, seated right away. I would definitely recommend it--tasty, affordable, contemporary but warm atmosphere. I managed to order what turned out to be the best dish of the table: Caramelle di Castelvetro (pasta stuffed with pork, ricotta, spinach and mixed with prosciutto and arugula)--wonderfully balanced, rich without being heavy. $16.50. Pork chops were second favorite of the table. Enough options (lasagna, penne) to satisfy more traditional tastes.