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Old School Italian

I want to buy dinner for my west-coast based in-laws during their upcoming trip to Manhattan. They like old school Italian with excellent quality food and nice decor, and where the waiters wear suits or tuxedoes and look like they've worked there for 50 years. Anywhere in Manhattan is OK although Midtown/Times Square area would be most convenient. $ not an issue. Any recommendations will be sincerely appreciated!

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  1. Well, I may be wrong, but I can only think of one upscale "excellent" Italian restaurant in NYC that serves "old school" Italian (I think you mean what we often refer to as "red sauce" Italian, right?). That's RAO's. There are probably people who are still trying to get a table from the time that they first opened 100 years ago .... I have never eaten there, but I bet there are some people on these boards who can give you pointers on how to get in... For the most part, I believe that "style" of restaurant has fallen somewhat out of favor in NY. Not to worry, though, you'll get very good food at the following restos, which are not exactly on the mark, but all come close to your specifications in some way or another, assuming $ really is not a factor:
    FELIDIA, Midtown East, formal decor, excellent food that is more modern.
    http://felidia.lidiasitaly.com/index2... ;
    DEL POSTO, Chelsea West, truly grand decor, excellent food that is a mix of tradition and invention.
    http://www.delposto.com/home.htm ;
    MINETTA TAVERN, Greenwich Village, "old school vibe", though not too formal, plenty of waiters who look like they've had a long career there, food that is not on par with the two above, but fairly traditional
    (no website);
    IL MULINO, Greenwich Village, a downtown Italian institution, serving very good food (ask the waiter for whatever you wish, the mnu is flexible/optional), one of those places where the service is formal but can be gruff, plus, they'll bring over a whole bunch of antipasti to share before an of your ordered food arrives... prepare to be stuffed! I amnot sure what it means that they are now a chain- maybe someone elsed on here can tell us if they have gone downhill recently.
    Buon Appetito!

    2 Replies
    1. re: vvvindaloo

      How about Filli Ponte, downtown? I haven't eaten there, but it was an old school red sauce italian that my father used to enjoy, and he's pretty particular.

      1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

        Oh yeah! The angry lobster- always a pleaser. Good call.

    2. Try Grifone, which is Midtown East. It is not red sauce, although you can get a mean veal parm there, but meets all your other criteria - tuxes, nice (old-fashioned) atmosphere, loads of specials that get recited at the table, good food.

      1. i would add scalinatella to the list of good recommendations already here (assuming by old-school you mean italian-american cuisine). there was just a thread on it recently.

        1. Perfect! These are great. Many thanks.

          1. If you'll travel to the boroughs, in brooklyn you can find excellent old school italian food with waiters in tuxes and some fantastic meatballs, steak pizziolla, veal parmiggiano, etc. at places like Gargiulo's, Bamonte's, and Fiorentino's. i had an excellent meal at fiorentino's recently with my wife and daughter, we went early and were treated to a very beautiful old school italian meal, complete with all the right characters at tables around us and the wait staff- classic and super old school. everyone was very sweet to the kid and my chicken parmiggiano was absolutely perfect. enjoy - frankbooth

            1. What about Patsy's on 55th St?

              1. Il Mulino is insanely good and authentic - decor is nothing special but thats not what your looking at in there - its also very pricey
                Da Silvano - http://www.dasilvano.com/
                Pasty's too

                1. Il Giglio is exactly what you want. Shrimp fra diavolo, ceasar salad, etc. Excellent wines. Waiters as you described. In Tribeca, but worth the cab ride.

                  1. Patsy's on 55th is exactly what you're looking for...Frank Sinatra was a regular back in the day.

                    1. The best old-school italian hands down is Villa Berulia on east 34th street. It has been owned by the same brother-sister team (Johnny & Maria) for almost 28 years. All the waiters wear tuxedos, and the decor is quaint and inviting, with arches, just like in Italy. They have a great menu, and their house specialty is the King Size Veal Chop, which may be the best in the city. ENJOY!

                      1. pietros
                        232 e 43rd st [btwn 2nd & 3rd Ave]

                        1. Erminia on 83rd between 2nd and 3rd could work. Definitely the right decor and a lot of great old school stuff on the menu (fantastic veal, pastas).

                          1. Il Mulino if you can score a reservation...exactly the atmosphere, the tux's, and great food. The old school staff definetely gets on better with the older set, so your in laws would probably love it. The staff tends to find younger couples pushy, if you as much as ask for a lemon with your water...but again the food is so good, you can laugh at the bit fo attitude and still enjoy this place.