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Aug 11, 2007 10:10 AM

Looking for an Italian spot in Westchester

Not looking for anything fany or upscale, just a really good meal. My husband and i have a night alone and I could go for yummy Italian. Any good suggestions? I prefer Central or Southern Westchester...

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  1. You and me both, Chrissyd7. If you want good, not great, here are my current favs:

    Graziella's, White Plains
    Azzurri, Thornwood
    T&J's, Portchester
    Silvio's, Thornwood
    Mamma Francesca, New Rochelle
    Totonno's, Yonkers
    Villa Nova, Pelham
    Valentino's, Yonkers
    Piero's, Portchester
    Abatino's, North White Plains
    Casa Rina, Thornwood
    Spadafino's, Hawthorne
    Scaramella's, Dobbs Ferry
    Ernesto, White Plains
    Emilio, Harrison
    Gavi, Armonk
    La Manda's, White Plains

    Stay away from:

    Gina Marie's, Tuckahoe
    Alba's, Portchester
    Lusardi, Larchmont
    Bastone's, New Rochelle
    Ciao, Eastchester
    Enzo's, Mamaroneck

    And with all of those, I still don't have a place to call 'mine' for weekly dining.

    12 Replies
    1. re: dolores

      New one I thought was ok, Belle Bella in downtown New Rochelle

      1. re: dolores

        For old school casual homey, I like Francesco's in White Plains.

        1. re: dolores

          WHat's the negative about Bastones? I used to go to the Pine Tavern in the bronx as a kid, and then found this place when it was Frankie and Johnnie's Pine North. I thought it was decent, but the Chowfolks say it's not. What's up? I'd love to go back, but not if we're going to have an awful food experience.

          1. re: elleinthecity

            I was there twice with Mr. dolores and his mother. Both times my mother-in-law's chicken came to the table nearly raw. Pink, nearly clucking, nearly pecking at the ground for seed, nearly alive raw.

            Twice. Two separate occasions.

            Would I go back a third time?


            1. re: dolores

              Wow Dolores...

              First time... hear ye, hear ye. I'm with you.

            2. re: elleinthecity

              It's always been about quanity not quality there and F&J IMHO.

            3. re: dolores

              I've had a couple of good meals at Trattoria Vivolo in Harrison. Good, but not pretentious, food and service.

              1. re: NickM

                I'm with you Nick. I've posted a few times about Vivolo but it seems to be really under the radar here. Good food, pleasant comfortable atmosphere. Not an amazing place but better than a lot.

              2. re: dolores

                try giorgios/la trattoria in new from palmer is darn good for weekly

                1. re: dolores

                  I know the owners of both Graziella's and Ernestos and would recommend both.

                  I also enjoy Amangiare in White Plains...although they have several locations.

                  1. re: dolores

                    Have you heard of Nessa restaurant in Port Chester?? I have been there several times and can't get enough of it. The food is sooooooo amazing and extremely consistant. The kitchen is run by a chef that has worked in a few of the better restautants in NYC like Bouley and Picholine but I hear that he also went and cooked in Italy for some time, Tuscany, Brady Duhane. You can truly feel his passion and soul through the food.
                    The restaurant is beautiful, made with a lot of stained wood and cool curtains hanging to seperate the bar from the dinning room, it has a feel of a NYC restaurant.
                    In the new Westchester magizine they were awarded 3 out of four stars and was a great write up but a little confusing because they had mentioned that the "pastas are good but not as stellar as the sandwhiches", that is weird because me and my freinds are addicted to every pasta on the menu.
                    Anyway, try Nessa and let me know what you think, and if anyone has been there and read the west. mag article let me know what you think????

                    1. re: jake135

                      Just ate at Nessa last night for the first time and oddly, from our selections, I'd agree with Westchester Magazine although I usually find their restaurant reviews amateurish and sycophantic: overly complimentary and more focused on what they think their readers think based on levels of popularity rather than the actual quality of the food and overall experience.

                      That said, I agree about the pasta. We had the rigatoni bolognese w/fresh ricotta and it was our least favorite thing last night. The dish was neither better nor worse than that served at the most ordinary pasta/pizza joints. The bolognese lacked depth and complexity of flavor, the ricotta didn't add anything and actually muddled the dish.Even the rigatoni itself was overcooked.

                      However, the rest of our food was wonderful. Two bruschettas - prosciutto and fig and the white bean-truffle-tomato- were excellent abut would agree with many other chowhounds who've stated they are overpriced at $3 each piece. Two of each for $3 or even $3.50 would be appropriate. The fig/bacon/gorgonzola appetizer was delicious as was our lamb panini.

                      Now the chicken under a brick - if I could only eat chicken prepared one way for the rest of my life, this would be it and the spinach and potato puree served with it were equally stellar.

                      Our dessert - rice pudding with fresh berries was a perfect blend of creaminess and texture, not too sweet and the underlying warmth made it luxuriously indulgent. Our espessos tasted a bit burnt but were drinkable.

                      Our waitress was - eh. We brought our own bottle of wine for a $25 corkage fee. After she opened it she never came back to refill our glasses. The service was a bit rushed - the courses came out much too quickly and before we'd even finished our dessert she dropped the check on the table as if the place were a diner. Not cool and really ticked my husband off. He used to work in restaurants and now is in a related business and he generally overtips at even the most casual of restaurants and especially in higher end restaurants. We noticed there was an empty two-top to our left and one to our right and quite a few people at the bar although a few tables were open here and there. My husband realized she was trying to get rid of us because they were going to make a six top out of it and they did. Host probably shouldn't have seated us there as there were other two tops available when we arrived and still available when we left (we went early). The waitress the waitress compounded that mistake and combined with her other gaffes, lost herself some money as he decided not to tip her on the corkage and left 18% instead of our usual 20.

                      We will be going back and really liked it a lot. Thought pricing was fair on some items, not so much on other. $25 for THAT chicken - no problem. $22 for the rigaton - a rip-off. $8 panini - perfect. $3 each for the aforementioned small single bruschetta - offputting.

                  2. How about A'Mangiare? Nothing too special in terms of atmosphere (especially depending on location-- Pville is terribly cramped, Elmsford is larger but annoyingly has the TV on in one section, and White Plains is crowded) but the food is consistently good-- pastas, pizzas, etc.

                    1. We do A'Mangiare in P'ville alot for take out - love the food but want some place we haven't tried. I think we'll try Spadafino's since it's 9pm already and it's only 1/2 mile from the house. Thanks for the suggestions!

                      1. I'll take exception to Lusardis. It's one of my favorite restaurants. However, it's pricey.

                        I like Piccolo Mulino in Mamaroneck. I used to like Oseteria Marietta in Mamaroneck as well, but they recently changed names and chef. I've never been to Piero's in Port Chester, but I've heard nothing but good things about it.

                        21 Replies
                        1. re: Avalondaughter

                          I don't understand the inclusion of Lusardi's on the must avoid list, either. While the food there isn't remarkable, it is reliable. Whether it's worth the price is debatable, but it's hardly a bad restaurant. On the other hand, our one meal at Graziella's was awful.

                          I like Piccolo Mulino in Mamaroneck as well. The only problem there is that the tables are smashed so close together (admittedly, the place is tiny) that you feel like you're on top of the other diners.

                          Of all the neighborhood Italians, lately we have been returning the most frequently to T & J's in Port Chester. While there's nothing earth-shattering about the food there, it is always well prepared and plentiful, the service is friendly and the prices are good. Piero's used to be our go-to place, but over the years we noticed a decline in quality, and there were too many times that we felt rushed through our meal, so we stopped going.

                          1. re: Shawn

                            It's a 'must avoid' for me. That was my opinion. YMMV.

                            I found Lusardi stuffy and pompous. The food was very good, but the service was similar to the French place in Rye whose name happily escapes me. Lusardi is not the only game in town for the type of food (expensive Northern Italian) they serve, so I won't be going back.

                            I haven't been to Piero's in awhile, but if they're now into the 'serve the entree while I have my salad fork to my mouth' mode, I am glad for the update. This is one of my major pet peeves, and again, WHY do these (especially a place like Gina Marie's or Piero's or La Manda's) red sauce Italians THINK they can get away with it?

                            1. re: dolores

                              I beg to differ regarding Piero's. The food is always excellent and I do not ever feel rushed. Peter is a fabulous host and is eager to make his customers happy at all costs. We love it there!

                              1. re: MRS

                                Okay, thanks, then I'll have to try Piero's again myself, and make up my own mind.

                                1. re: MRS

                                  I should try Piero's again, too. To be fair, we haven't gone in a few years, so maybe the rushed service issues we had have disappeared.

                                2. re: dolores

                                  Is the place in Rye La Panetierre by any chance? I once called there just to make a reservation and they were snotty. It turned out I wanted a night where the restaurant was closed for vacation for the week. The woman who answered the phone acted is if I should have known this already.

                                  I've never had bad service at Lusardis though. I can even recall one time the waiter joking with me when I asked him to wrap up my remains and I said how much I enjoyed it and he smiled and said, "Is this breakfast tomorrow?"

                                  1. re: Avalondaughter

                                    Yes, that's the French place in Rye.

                                    I may have to give Lusardi another chance.

                                    1. re: Avalondaughter

                                      I went to Lusardi's for the first time and agree more with Shawn's take. It wasn't mindblowing but still solidly above average northern Italian food, and I thought the service was good. It was one of the few places I've been to that showed flexibility regarding the menu: they volunteered the option of a 3-in-1 pasta entree if you wanted to sample an array of them, and they made a dish we requested off the menu. I thought the setting was nice: old fashioned but elegant, not stuffy. A little pricey (although not horribly so), and the desserts were a highlight (try the panna cotta).

                                      1. re: jeanki

                                        I like Lusardi's too. It's unfortunately too pricey for us to be a "regular" go-to sort of place but we have enjoyed out meals there. They will customize dishes and make things that aren't on the menu - graciously and at prices comparable to the regular menu. Service is always very good.

                                  2. re: Shawn

                                    I'd third T&J's. It's solid food and two pluses for us - it's relatively kid-friendly (i.e. no one rolls their eyes or seems put out when we show up with a kid) and it delivers. I don't know if it's worth a trip from far away, but good if you're in the vicinity.

                                    Haven't been to La Manda's in a while, but the last two times I was there, the food seemed off. Maybe overly salty? It turned us off and we haven't been back.

                                    I've only been once, but I liked Alba's.

                                    1. re: shellyesq

                                      I tried Augies yesterday, and it was...satisfactory. What they have in their favor is portion size.

                                      I think the one that goes above and beyond is Frank's on Putnam Ave. in Port Chester. It's like they took the old red sauce menu and gave it a modern twist. Dolores, I would especially love your assessment of that place, we just love their food. My only qualm with them is that they are closed on Sundays-- the day you want them the most!

                                      1. re: Dim Sum Diva

                                        Thanks for the pointer Dim Sum Diva. Are they on that corner that was so often vacated by so many restaurants, just after the liquor store and just before you go into CT?

                                        If not, where are they? I'd like to give them a try for sure.

                                        Nice to know there are two new places for me to try, Lia's and now Franks's!

                                        1. re: dolores

                                          They are at 23 Putnam Ave., PC, sort of across from that big liquor store. I don't think it's that "cursed" corner, I think they've been where they are for years. They had a fire a few years back and updated the place. But you can still go in and see Mamma sitting at the front table or serving as hostess. I am gaga for their salads, wraps, bruschetta, garlic knots and vodka sauce. Everything else is good too, pizza, entrees.

                                          1. re: Dim Sum Diva

                                            Hah, so that other 'is' a cursed corner!

                                            Thanks so much, I've written Frank's down as a 'must try out' place.

                                  3. re: Avalondaughter

                                    Went to Tavola Calda last night - formerly Osteria Marietta. Service was wonderful and gracious. Owner was charming and accommodating. Unfortunately food was less than spectacular. The hot peppers and caponata on the table were good as was the baked pizza dough wedges to eat with it. However, on the stuff we actually ordered - Pizza - half Margherita/half another version while nicely thin and crisp at edges was soggy and limp under the sauce. Sauce was bland and the insufficient amount of fresh mozzarella didn't have that "fresh taste". The toppings on the other half were also bland. Husbands ceasar salad lacked parmesan and lettuce was chopped into very small pieces like a chop salad. His Saltimbocca was good, my chicken scapariello was passable. I ordered an iced tea and they made me a "fresh one" which resulted in it being served a bit warm. I'd have preferred they tell me they didn't have any made.

                                    The prices are amazingly reasonable, servings are generous and so we may go back to try again. I so want to like this place, decor is pleasant and comfortable and it's close but it didn't live up to my modest expectations.

                                    1. re: laylag

                                      Are these the same owners as the former place?

                                      1. re: Shawn

                                        I think so. The sign there said only the name was changed but someone else posted that the chef had changed as well. We'd been once before (almost two years ago) when it was Osteria and had basically the same reaction - not great, not terrible

                                        1. re: laylag

                                          But not especially worth seeking out, right laylag?

                                          Is that the place down the alley on Mamaroneck Ave. in the middle of two stores? I can't think of where this place is.

                                          1. re: dolores

                                            It's right across the street from the train station on Halstead.

                                  4. Can anyone comment on this place in PC? ... Hostaria Mazzei


                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: Cheese Boy

                                      Cheese Boy, this used to be Tony May's Hostaria. It is not your standard red sauce place, it's more upscale. They have a brick oven and make pizzas and other dishes in there. Good pasta, salads. Pricing is more expensive than your local mom & pop Italian place.

                                      1. re: Dim Sum Diva

                                        I liked Tony May's. They had theme dinners a few times a year, where you had to sit with strangers. That was fun, and the food was outstanding.

                                        Then suddenly, poof! they were gone. Further proof that nothing good lasts in Westchester.

                                        1. re: dolores

                                          I loved Tony May's. I was very excited to eat at San Domenico last year and found the food and service was awful. I was shocked that Tony May could have a restaurant as wonderful as Hostaria and have his more upscale restaurant in the city be so crappy.

                                        2. re: Dim Sum Diva

                                          I was all excited when I saw their menu !

                                          Diva, thank you for the update.

                                        3. re: Cheese Boy

                                          Hostaria is very good, possibly my (very) Italian family's favorite.