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Falai, Barbone, Lil Frankies or Frankies Spuntino for tonight?

I am going to dinner with my parents and want to take them to a delicious meal. Cost isn't so much an issue between all of the choices but I just want to make sure it is a slam dunk in terms of good food.

Any suggestions as to which one I should pick?

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  1. Falai all the way. Hands down the best place on your list.

    Lil' Frankies has gone seriously downhill in the past few years. It was great when it first opened, but I don't think it can handle the volume it gets these days (as evidenced by my cold uncooked pizza that I got not one, but two times - and I never go there/order from there anymore).

    Frankies Spuntino on Clinton St. doesn't hold a candle to the original on Court St. in Carroll Gardens, which is divine, so if you're ok going to Brooklyn, I would recommend it just below Falai.

    Barbone on Ave B is also not so good - there are many better Italian options on Ave B and its vicinity - Max, In Vino, Perbacco.

    1. Barbone, hands down. I seriously eat there about once a week (I do happen to live about a block away). I had the tasting menu last time I was there, which was phenomenal. Everything is good value too, the pastas are in the $10-15 range and entrees $15-20.

      My favorite dishes are the beet salad, asparagus fries, the carbonara, linguine with clams and the mascarpone cheesecake. But everything I've tried has been delicious... my boyfriend is partial to the Short Ribs.

      This is NOT a red-sauce italian restaurant. If you want that, I would suggest Il Bagatto, which IMHO surpasses Max, Frank and Lil Frankies.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tatiana_nyc

        i wouldn't say frank is red-sauce italian.

      2. Oh, forgot to mention there is a large back patio at Barbone, too. Great atmosphere, kind of feels like you're eating in someone's well-appointed back yard.

        2 Replies
        1. re: tatiana_nyc

          Absolutely not Barbone. The food is bland, the service is atrocious. Falai or Max would be a better choice.

          1. re: princeofpork

            I find the service at Max to be pretty irritating, actually. The waiters and waitresses are kind of well-meaning but inattentive and the bus-people end up doing all the work in there. I also don't think the food is as good as it used to be--gummy lasagna, too oily pastas.
            Out of the restaurants on your list, I often go to Frankie's Spuntino and it's enjoyable--good food and wine list, cozy atmosphere, nice service.

        2. Falai is in another category altogether--much more creative, better quality, and higher prices. Barbone has a beautiful garden, but the food is okay. (i.e., I go there, but I'd never go in winter, for example, as the garden is mostly the draw.)

          3 Replies
          1. re: scrittrice

            scrittrice, we had dinner at Falai on Friday night. It was one of our best meals this year. I'm surprised there is not more about Falai on this Board. We thought it was better than Degustation. Agree with your thoughts on Barbone, it's more of an everyday place.

            1. re: financialdistrictresident

              So glad you liked it! It's one of my favorites, but I see complaints about it pretty often on this board. Maybe it's uneven and we've always been lucky and hit a good night? Expensive, but worth it. I'm a fan of the cafe on Lafayette and the panetteria across the street, too.

              1. re: scrittrice

                Consistency is critical and difficult to achieve when humans and food are involved. Their wine list could be better. The challenge is where to eat next?

          2. 1st time at Barbone Sat Oct 27. The linguine with clams, which we both had, is a killer version w/pancetta. My domestic partner had the fennel and radicchio salad which she enjoyed very much. I ordered the pan roasted cod which I found to be right on. The wine list is enormous and Italian. Alberto knows his wines and can choose well for you.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Marco

              We also had a good experience at Barbone. Service got a little relaxed towards the end, they disappeared. Pastas are the way to go. We didn't have dessert. We thought it was a good value. When deciding between two wines our server suggested the less expensive wine and it was very good.

              Given the comments, maybe we should try Falai.