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City Island recommendations?

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annulla May 14, 2007 08:22 PM

Any recommendations for favorite places or dishes on City Island?

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  1. bobjbkln RE: annulla May 14, 2007 08:30 PM

    The quality of the food on City Island is like Manhattan's Little Italy. All of it is overpriced and none of it is very good. But if you are into downscale (but not cheap) fried stuff, try Johnny's Reef Restaurant at the very far end of CI. This place is fun and the food, while very unsophisticated (and artery clogging) can be quite tasty.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bobjbkln
      funkjester RE: bobjbkln Jun 4, 2007 05:37 PM

      Haven't been out to City Island in years and years, but we used to go out often with my parents and grandparents (my father is Italian from the Bronx), and we ALWAYS used to eat at Arthur's, which was awesome, at least back then.

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      annulla RE: annulla May 18, 2007 01:33 PM

      Does anyone have any other thoughts on City Island eateries?

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        barry0112 RE: annulla May 19, 2007 11:36 AM

        We CI residents don't eat at the waterfront restaurants that line the avenue. Instead we like Artie's, on you left as you drive down CI Ave, for good fish and steak at reasonabloe prices. And The Black Whale, on the right, with a lovely garden, excellent American food and friendly service.

        5 Replies
        1. re: barry0112
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          gpcohen RE: barry0112 May 19, 2007 02:44 PM

          Any opinions on Carribean Island?

          1. re: gpcohen
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            barry0112 RE: gpcohen May 22, 2007 02:40 PM

            We haven't tried it, always looks empty.

            1. re: barry0112
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              annulla RE: barry0112 May 23, 2007 08:33 PM

              It had a big write up in the Times last weekend.

            2. re: gpcohen
              billyparsons RE: gpcohen Jul 26, 2007 07:53 AM

              Finally went out of business!

            3. re: barry0112
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              peasoup RE: barry0112 May 25, 2007 06:52 AM

              Barry0112 - many years ago, I remember the Black Whale as a place that served only desserts.......is my memory faulty, or did they morph into a full service restaurant?

              There also used to be a place on the opposite side of the street that served only fondue - it was a great place to take a date........still there?

            4. Brian S RE: annulla May 22, 2007 04:21 PM

              Years ago I read about a bar (with some food) where clam diggers go. I cant remember the name and spent a lot of time vainly searching for it. It is on the water right near the west (Bronx) end of the island, it's basically a wood-paneled shack and offers boats for rent. They have a deer's head hanging on the wall and tell newcomers to go around the back of the building to see the rest of the deer sticking out.

              But now, thanks to Google, I found it within a half hour:
              Boat Livery (663 City Island Ave at Sutherland St; 718-885-1843)

              1 Reply
              1. re: Brian S
                prunefeet RE: Brian S Jul 29, 2007 03:54 PM

                Brian, I went to this place a few years, it's actually a bait shop with a bar set up in it, and by bar, I mean they have a cooler with beer in it...holy cow did we have a good time in this place!! The locals took us under their wing and got us way too drunk. THankfully no food served though...strong smell of blood worms or some such bait...this is not for everyone, but I absolutely adored it. And by the way, the locals I met told us that Arties was the only place worth going to...as per Barry1120...

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                FOOD IS LIFE RE: annulla Jun 17, 2007 08:18 PM

                Stay away from the Black Whale. The restaurant is understaffed, and the service is poor. The food is also mediocre.

                9 Replies
                1. re: FOOD IS LIFE
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                  bronx foodie RE: FOOD IS LIFE Jun 21, 2007 09:01 AM

                  Give this place a second chance!! We've had nothing but nice experiences at the Black Whale..

                  1. re: FOOD IS LIFE
                    billyparsons RE: FOOD IS LIFE Jul 26, 2007 07:54 AM

                    Best Sunday Brunch. Give them another chance!

                    1. re: billyparsons
                      yumyumyogi RE: billyparsons Jul 31, 2007 09:22 AM

                      I've yet to find outstanding food on City Island. Most restaurants seem to carry the standard overly fried seafood fare served in supersize.

                      The Black Whale has decent food that's sea-focused, but lighter and treated with a bit more care. It's a nice, quiet oasis away from the summer crowds that plague most of the island during the summer months. I agree that it's always understaffed but hey, isn't the point of going to CI to relax? The garden they have out back is quite nice, too. The highlight was discovering years back that they carried Lideman's raspberry beer.

                      I also like the CI Diner and the CI pub for low-key, landlubber food.

                      I've been to the Lobster box a few times. I found the prices to be inflated, the portions too large and the food mediocre at best. But the space is really nice with rooms overlooking the sound (beyond the parking lot).

                      And stay away from the Crab Shanty! Now that's a very scary place.

                      All in all, when visiting CI your best bet might be to pack a picnic.

                      1. re: yumyumyogi
                        billyparsons RE: yumyumyogi Aug 2, 2007 04:40 AM

                        I know every restaurant on City Island. If you don’t mind spending a few bucks, Le Refuge Inn is great! If you don’t mind the “cafeteria” look, go all the way to the end of the Island and make a left; Johnnies Reef. Order the steamed snapper for $8, and a glass of white wine for $2.75 (tax incl). They’ll serve it to you scampi, lemon or with a touch of tomato. Healthy & delicious every time. It’s one of my little secrets as everyone thinks the place is only famous for fried food. And for you Pina Colada lovers, where else can you get a 12 oz pina colada with 2 oz of Hennessy for $6? Their alcohol prices are actually very funny and they’re 100% legit with the bottles (no marrying or substituting).

                        Portofino is still pretty good. I went to JP’s once and had a chicken parmigiana sandwich that left me dehydrated for three days (I should have asked for salt on the side and used it to rid the driveway of snow this winter). Wow that place is bad, really bad. Lobster Box lost it’s touch. Sammy’s Shrimp Box & Fish Box are probably just a touch below JP’s. They could care less about taste and quality, just quantity. And by the way, Sammy’s re-serves the olive and vegetable medley again and again. How they still get away with it, I have no idea.

                        As for Crab Shanty, I can’t understand how they get the weekend crowds they do. It’s all overpriced artery clogging fried food. Arties is borderline decent. The owner of Arties also owns Mighty Joe Young in Scarsdale.

                        It’s fun sometimes to go here:
                        http://167.153.150.32/RI/web/index.do...

                        and check out the health inspection reports. Seafood City was almost shut down once for actually taking uneaten food off of tables and reserving it. Couldn’t they wait for the health inspector to leave before pulling a stunt like that?

                        And the next time anyone is on the Island, go to the Villamena Pizzeria and just pick up a pepperoni pinwheel. They’re a buck a piece and delicious. But if it’s Pizza you’re after, your better off going to the City Island Deli. Their pizza is actually better then the pizzeria’s stuff. The owner of the Deli, Augie (great guy), also owns “Fella’s”, the bar next door. So as you wait for your slice, you can grab a cold one next door.

                        Resist the urge for ice cream at Lickity Split. It’s next to the park and has failed its health inspections more times than I can count. I won’t post the reasons here because they’re generally nice people but that doesn’t excuse rat droppings from ending up in ice cream cones. Darn-it, that slipped, sorry.

                        1. re: billyparsons
                          prunefeet RE: billyparsons Aug 2, 2007 10:49 AM

                          Thanks for all the info, esp the insight about Johnny's Reef...

                          1. re: prunefeet
                            billyparsons RE: prunefeet Aug 11, 2007 06:31 AM

                            Hey Prune...

                            Here's a picture of the inside of Johnnies. So you know what to expect.

                             
                            1. re: billyparsons
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                              lorilaw RE: billyparsons Aug 11, 2007 06:42 AM

                              I just want to put my two cents in....I went to Johnny's a few weeks ago after searching posts on this site and I thought it was disgusting. I feel bad for dissing a restaurant. I love hole in the walls, street food, etc soI thought this would be good. I thought it was greasy, had no flavor and just plain gross. I was really disappointed becasue I had really fond memories of meals on City Island as a small child. Maybe the aforementioned steamed snapper is good but I do not recommend the fried lobster or shrimp and the atmosphere is beyond gross...it is dirty and noisy.

                              1. re: lorilaw
                                billyparsons RE: lorilaw Aug 11, 2007 07:18 AM

                                Lori...

                                I'm glad I posted that pic. I think the pic says it all. I don't eat fried food so I can't comment on that. All I do there is eat the steamed snapper, sole or lobster tails. Sometimes, a dozen raw clams for $10 hits the spot.

                                Also, you can't go on a nice sunny Sunday afternoon. The people that patronize Johnnies are not locals. I can't really get further into that but I do think, judging from your post, that you know "exactly" what I mean.

                              2. re: billyparsons
                                prunefeet RE: billyparsons Aug 20, 2007 04:24 PM

                                Thanks Billy, I actually have taken a look before. I'm not expecting anything good really. But friends have had fun there, and as I have already spent time with locals, I don't feel bad about checking it out, whether or not there are undesirables present or not. Perhaps I am one too!

                    2. SweetPea914 RE: annulla Aug 11, 2007 07:51 AM

                      After living in the Ny metro area for 35 years we finally decided to check out City Island.
                      We went to Sammy's last weekend. I was a little confused because we parked not realizing there were like 4 Sammy's restaurants. We ended up eating at the Shrimp Box. It was about what I had expected. The food was very average.

                      The pros...My Dad sailed from Norwalk with my husband and Aunt, My mom, Grandmother and I drove over to meet them. So we went for the company, and service was not rushed at all, which was nice. I think we spent about 3 hours having dinner.
                      Also I liked the wine list, They even had a favorite of mine, that isn't very common. A Jadot that retails for about $26 I think it was $44 at the resto, in my opinion, not a bad mark up.

                      They give every table a loaf of bread with cheese and a relish tray when you first sit down. The cheese was a low quality gouda I think? I thought this was pretty good and at least more original than bread and butter or olive oil. Also salad comes with your meal.

                      The Portions were HUGE. I had an appetizer of 4 clams, my mother and I shared an entree of King Crab and Fried Shrimp. And I ended up bringing home 2 of the shrimp and 3 crab legs because it was just too much food, even when sharing.
                      It was OK, but to quote my mother "I've had better crab at Red Lobster" Enough said!
                      Also, the sides were pretty gross, the mashed potatoes were gluey watery at the same time and the rice was dry.

                      I really hate the trend I seem to experience lately of really large portions of mediocre food. I would much rather have had half as much food, but at a better quality.
                      However, It seems you don't go to CI for the food as much as you do for the experience. I felt like I was no where near the Bronx!

                      I think next time I would try Le Refuge which I have heard many good things about.

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