Tall Order for Italian Suggestions... Beware.
I have a tall order to ask. I am from Pasadena, CA and I am meeting my mother, 2 aunts, sister and cousin (all women) into the city for dinner in late April. The food choice is mine to make as I am the family foodie. My aunts and mother are not fans of "trendy, chic" restaurants but by no means are they fans of The Cheesecake Factory either. They want to go to a great Italian place, but someplace like Babbo would be over the top for them. I have been to Becco, which was ok, but not worth a repeat trip in my opinion. Personally, I would love to take them to Il Buco, but again, they would most likely find it over the top. My hope is that it is a semi entertaining place-- not too quiet but too loud as this would drive my mom crazy. Thankfully, they are all drinkers, so a wine/drink list is important.
Your help is most appreciated. Thank you.
I second Po for food, but it can be cramped seating for a large party and it can get pretty loud. They also don't take reservations, so if you need certainty, this isn't the place to go.
Spiga in the UWS is a very nice, low-key spot with a very good wine list and pretty good food. (On the dessert-scape, the lemon mascarpone mousse is particularly nice.) Portions are quite reasonable in my book, but some would find them small. It isn't the kind of hearty, eat-until-your-buttons-pop kind of Italian restaurant.
If it's warm enough in late April, the folks at the restaurant will throw open the huge, bay windows out front and let in the fresh, NYC evening air. (And that isn't entirely an oxymoron, either. ;)
There's a place on 79th with good, homemade pastas, but I can't remember the name right now. I'll check back with you when I do.
Borgo Antico (13th St near University Place) just might be the answer...not trendy, not loud, but still in fun downtown neighborhood...reasonably priced but still definitely somewhere that a couple of aunts would consider "a very nice meal"...and, they have game specials to satisfy the foodie in the group...
my guess is that Lupa might too loud for your dinner (i went there yesterday w/ my gf and her parents and we were hollering to hear each other)...
If you want to go more upscale, there is Il Giglio, which is more old-school fancy than trendy (though you might see an occassional celebrity, NY Giant, etc there) but it would probably fall into the over-the-top category...(but the free antipasti might compensate in their minds)...
Ok, I keep posting this but it's perfect for you. Arte Cafe on 73rd near Columbus Ave.
It's elegant, simple, unpretentious but with very good Italian food. Brick oven. Great pastas, wonderful soups. Many many ladies like this place (including me). I go for the great lunch price ($9.50) but it's pretty at night also.
there are many many more special places than arte cafe in my view.. if you area visitor a nighborhood place like arte can be surpassed many times over. i say
any of these (my faves on the list are po, crispo,bellavitae and da andrea)
perbacco(many on this site have favorable views, i have never been. small plates)
have fun in ny!