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Next best Italian after Babbo...

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I have friends coming to NY who, like myself, have no interest in guanciale, lamb's tongue, pig's feet, tripe or other organ meats. I told them the branzino is great, but they want someplace with a wider field of non-organ foods! I suggested Lupa, but have to admit their menu is awfully rich.I found one thing I could eat there. None of us are big beef or pork fans. I wouldn't go to Esca on a bet, given reports I've heard and read here. So...where does one go for amazing non-Mario Italian? It's for a birthday, so my normal hole-in-the-wall joints won't do. I guess I'm seeking lighter fare...

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  1. For northern Italian I like both Crispo (in the West Village) and I Coppi (in the east). I also like Abbocatto in the theater district for their raw seafood appitiser. But I do like Esca (I havn't read those negative reports).

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    1. re: maxine

      I had a great meal at I Coppi and the back garden is a very unique spot. That may be a great call, since ambiance matters. They have a great earthen oven and some of the starters we had were from it and were very good.

    2. My favorite upscale northern Italian is Da Umberto on 17th and 6th.

      1. Aurora in Brooklyn!!!

        1. I would strongly second Crispo, great food and a fun vibe. Their pastas are amazing. Don't miss their carbonnara and zeppole for dessert.

          1. What about Al di La, in Brookyn? Pretty special if you ask me.

            For Italian American, nothing beats Manducati on Jackson Avenue. Er, if you ask me.

            - Sean