Looking for "really good" and authentic Italian dining in NO....any suggestions?
It really depends on what you mean by authentic - Italian food in NOLA is kindof its own fusion cuisine. But I think Mosca's is the best option. It's a little inconvenient but delicious (the best plain baked chicken I've ever had, actually).
I don't think you will find "authentic" Italian in New Orleans anymore than you will find authentic Chinese. Every restaurant here is influenced by local ingredients, tastes, etc. But the nearest thing, in my opinion, is Andrea's in Metairie. It advertises itself to be authentic northern Italian cuisine, but it really isn't. Having lived in Milan for a couple of years, I can vouch for that. Nevertheless, it can be very good. The frutti di mare antipasto is always excellent, as is the cioppino. I don't much care for the other fish dishes - much too rich and swimming in sauces. And yes, Mosca's chicken a la grande is superior. But the canneloni is authentic and the crabmeat risotto is divine. The veal dishes can also be wonderful if you ask for a lighter than usual version. Chef Andrea Apuzzo is sensitive to waistlines and food restrictions if you let him know about it. I once requested a vitello tonnato (one of my favorite summer meals) and he served up a really classic version that was as light as a feather. And yes, you can have the insalata after the entree - in the Italian manner! Good wine list and dessert menu also. One thing definitely not authentic - the prices. This is a very upscale restaurant and entrees run at about the same as any "big name" New Orleans restaurant. There's a lovely little piano bar and most tables are very comfortable and reasonably quiet. It' a place for special occasions rather than quotidian dining.
Civello on Magazine is good, but I agree with Adrienne, that you have to temper your idea of authentic Italian in New Orleans.