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May 8, 2007 12:29 PM

Looking for Incredible Italian Food

I am coming to Manhattan the first weekend in June to celebrate my husbands birthday. We usually eat at Esca which we love but this time I will be bringing our 15 year old daughter and I am not quite sure Esca will have something for her. Can you please suggest a wonderful Italian restaurant that would be special for a birthday. Babbo might be too out there for our daughter. We are foodies and we come to Manhattan just to eat twice a year. Can you point me in the right direction. Thanks so much!

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    1. crispo on 14th btwn 7th and 8th. best carbonara in the city! lots of choices, nice atmosphere!

      1 Reply
      1. re: ceeceee

        I think Crispo has just the right tone for a 15 year old. Reserve in the back garden, it's great. She will likely love the zeppoli--fried doughnuts with chocolate for dipping. And get the bone marrow--those Fred Flintstone bones always draw me back to Crispo.

      2. Il Cortile. The pasta is superb (especially the Marinara and Oil+Garlic, both of which are kid friendly). The Little Italy setting is fun. And you can walk to a cafe for dessert.

        3 Replies
        1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

          Il Pallazo (Little Italy) or Erminia (UES)

          1. re: tommyk7

            Il Cortile beats Il Palazzo. I've eaten them side by side.

            1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

              Il Cortile is one of the few places in Italy you can eat Italian.

        2. Just spent 4 days eating our way around Manhattan (from San Francisco). Had a great dinner at Felidia on E. 58th. Pastas are unbelievable as are the desserts. (This was our 4th visit there in 3 years and have always been satisfied.)

          10 Replies
            1. re: steve h.

              Felidia is an excellent choice if you are going to be in that neighborhood.

              PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE avoid Il Mulino AT ALL COSTS. I cannot emphasize how overrated and ultimately unpleasant that place is for a real foodie. This is a visceral issue on chowhounds, so I expect others to disagree, but trust me. If you want to eat downtown you can get Northern Italian that is just as good or better at Da Umberto on 17th and 6th without the crowds, wait, obnoxious attitude or overblown check.

              1. re: Gordognyc

                DaUmberto was not good. It was average and very expensive ....avoid it..
                Felidia, was awful and also too expensive.
                You'd be better off at Becco. Or even in Little Italy. I still like Angelo's better than any of the above places.

                1. re: lutece

                  i love scalinatella. on 3rd and 61st street. cozy atmosphere, great service and excellent food.

                  also to second what someone else said, just recently had a great meal at il crispo.

                  1. re: kalyse

                    Thanks so much for being kind enough to let me know your thoughts and suggestions. I too love Scalinatella. I have eaten there and Il Postino before and enjoyed it. It's so hard to choose because as you know you do have some of the worlds finest cuisine. Your so Lucky!! You also live in the world's best city and I cannot wait to come. Thanks again,

                  2. re: lutece

                    I've had lunch at Becco several times and enjoyed it always enough to go back. On my most recent visit, a mom and her young daughter sitting at the next table asked a server whether Lidia was there and could they meet her. They were taken to the kitchen. They came back to the table and then Lidia came out and sat with them for quite a while. Signed their cookbook and Lidia admired the girl's doll and asked questions about it. Lidia then conversed with the rest of the patrons individually. My Mom was starstruck.

                    The food may not be "incredible," but the price is right and I value that welcoming feeling. It adds to the dining experience.

                  3. re: Gordognyc

                    agreed!!!!! i waited for an hour and a half at il mulino (no joke) for a "joint" that is mediocre and caters to regulars only....
                    incidentally, i have put elios on the ues in the same realm....

                    1. re: Gordognyc

                      I think for a while Il Mulino was superb, even given all the nonsense in terms of reservations and overpricing and arrogance. It was an operatic experience in which, from the tons of free meal openers, to everything else, every aspect of the food was great. But then I think they got greedy, franchised, and began taking their success for granted. The last time my wife and I were there it was absolutely mediocre, and I won't pay those prices, or go through the reservations crazyness, for mediocre.

                  4. re: norcallarry

                    I'd also recommend Felidia, and be sure to let them (Lidia) know you are bringing your teenager. She'll pay special attention.

                    1. re: norcallarry

                      At our last visit to Felidia we were underwhlemed and it's overpriced. Only plus was we were there for white truffle season and discovered an amazing smoked beer.

                    2. I doubt that babbo would be too out there, There seems to be something for everyone.