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Looking for Cozy Italian for Bday Celebration

My son (age 20) wants to take his girlfriend out for her birthday in Manhattan for either lunch or dinner . She lives in Rhode Island and is not that adventurous when it comes to food. However, she loves Italian food, especially homemade pasta (tortellini, gnocchi,) . Can anyone recommend someplace with a nice atmosphere and good food that won't break the bank. A nice summer prix fix would be ideal.

Thank you,

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  1. Spigolo on 81/2nd -u need a reservation!!!!!!!!!! way ahead of time but not for outdoor seating. They have the best pillowy gnochi!! and i hate gnochi but love theirs!! Also have homemade specials and pasta

    2 Replies
    1. re: UES Mayor

      Thanks. sounds pefect. How are the prices?

      1. re: scanmike

        very reasonable for the quality of the food ($22-ish for entree)...check out the menu at menupages.com. It is my favorite restaurant in the city. Again, you do need to book well in advance.

    2. Il Bagatto has a fun/romantic atmosphere, not expensive, and very good, solid food.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Jel212

        Checked out the website and the menu looks good and in the right price range.


        1. re: scanmike

          Yay! Let me know. When I was there I had parpardelle in venison ragout, and it was awesome. I think my boyf had pasta in a spicy red sauce - he adored it.

          1. re: Jel212

            Il Bagato is closed for renovations for the next month.

        2. La Fenice at 68th & Broadway should fit the bill nicely.
          Ourdoor dining too.

          1 Reply
          1. re: idia

            I have only heard terrible things about this place from friends.

          2. Malatesta! Downtown, great homemade pastas (most around $10), pretty room, with outdoor seats that look on the water.

            1. Malatesta is a great italian spot in the west village on Christopher St... wide open windows and outdoor seating make is great for summer, too. Food has always been delicious. A reservation is probably a good idea.

              Piadina is also in the village, I think on 10th between 5th and 6th aves. It's a smaller, cozier place with a smaller selection of a few pastas, piadinas, a few appetizers and usually a fish special. I think they only take reservations for groups of 4+.

              Both are very reasonably priced and I remember liking dessert very much at both.

              1. Tantti Bacci on 7th ave and Charles St. They have two entrances. One outdoor on 7th Ave, another on Charles St. Very small and homey, but very cute.

                1 Reply
                1. re: MRG

                  I found the food to be pretty mediocre the one time I was there, though the setting is very nice.

                    1. re: elizabeththinks

                      Yeah it's across the street from Alta :)

                  1. There'a a great, off the beaten path place called Grotto on the Lower East Side. Not in Zagat but really tasty. There's also a lovely outdoor garden. Prices are very reasonable. It's on Forsythe St.

                    1. you have to go to puttanesca...seriously, the best meal of my life...it's at 859 9th


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jenni6385

                        Really? I live just down the block and have been a few times, but it's nothing more than a standard neighborhood italian imho. Roberto Passon a little ways down 9th ave is better, not to mention a million other italian places in other parts of town.

                      2. I really like Lupa - if I recall their pasta's and appetizers are quite reasonable and fall solidly in the comfort italian food category

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: pslopian


                          My husband and I ate at Lupa once for New Years eve. Wasnt that impressed. Food was so salty. Maybe it was a bad night to try it.

                        2. Paprika!!! It's a great little place on St. Mark's. Subways are nearby - food is excellent and not expensive!! Check it out.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: SoccerSam

                            Paprika's menu looks great. Thanks for the recommendation.

                          2. One other suggestion.............Uva on the Upper East Side. Great covered outdoor area towards the back, excellent dishes. GREAT for a date/celebration!

                            1. Via Emilia is yet another lovely pasta place. It is on 20th by broadway. I haven't been to the new location, but the homemade pasta is great. Cash only.

                              I think Paprika has a good early-bird prefix. I like them, and Il baggatto as well.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: maxine

                                Will check it out. Sounds good. Il Baggatto is closed that week unfortunately. Malatesta sounds good also. Doesn't take reservations though, but I am sure that will be okay.

                              2. i did a quick scan and i don't think anyone mentioned Crispo yet.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: harrison

                                  what about Perbacco on E 4th in the East Village?
                                  Cozy, with homemade pastas