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Nov 13, 2007 07:08 AM

Advice needed for a spot in Little Italy NYC

We are looking for some help in finding a good spot in Little Italy (NYC) for a Sunday Dinner in a couple of weeks. It will be my wife’s Birthday Dinner, and we would like a nice spot. We love Italian food, but it does not have to be an extremely fancy place. We are looking more for a really authentic Italian spot. A place you would want to go back to every time we are in the city.
Any help would be appreciated we do not get to the city that often.
Thanks …….. CT Chowman

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  1. little italy is nothing short of a tourist trap with pretty horrid choices for real italian.

    if you want something good nearby, try apizz on eldridge in the lower east side.

    for other italian options not in that area but downtown, id go with gradisca, da andrea, or crispo. gradisca and da andrea are run by people from bologna so you know the food is top notch.

    3 Replies
    1. re: sam1

      Thanks Sam, I will check those out. We do not want a tourist trap.

      1. re: CT Chowman

        I hate touristy places but really like Little Italy (maybe because I lived on Mott for years and have good memories). They're trying to get it to be more neighborhoody so I think it has a bright future. I second Native New Yorker's recommendation for Il Cortile. Try it, you'll like it!

      2. re: sam1

        I forgot Apizz (ah-beetz in Nnapulitanu.) Apizz is excellent. Not sure about for groups though.

        Yeah once again don't eat in Little Italy. It will burn a hole into your soul and be remembered forever by all who write on Chowhound. Unless you go to Il Cortile, but it's very very very expensive and still has tourists falling out the windows.

      3. Il Cortile has a special Sunday Gravy, a tomato sauce flavored with a variety of meats. Il Cortile is the best place in Little Italy and one of the best places in New York for traditional (not fancy) pasta.

        BTW, Little Italy is fun and of historical significance to New York. (The Irish, Germans, and Italians were a major influence on NYC in the early 20th Century but of the three, only Little Italy, now much smaller, remains. Little Italy supplied the labor to a then industrial, nearby SOHO.) After dinner, walk up Mulberry and have Cannoli at Caffe Palermo.

        8 Replies
          1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

            Il Cortile’s menu has me salivating at my desk. That looks like a great choice, thank you.
            Thanks NativeNewYorker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            1. re: CT Chowman

              The beauty of their pasta menu (the main reason to go) is that you choose your pasta shape and then you choose your sauce (e.g. Fettuccine is not necessarily pared with Alfredo).

              Don't be spooked by the weird waiting area...a crummy, clammy bar in the back of the place. (There are never enough chairs back there, they push drinks on you, etc.) Just sit back there and wait for your table.

              1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                Totally agree. Anytime someone want to go to Little Italy, I take them to Il Cortille. The food and service never disappoint.

              2. re: CT Chowman

                Il Cortile is one of the more expensive restaurants in Little Italy and one of the only decent ones. Suggest you go to Little Italy after dinner elsewhere (sam1 had some good suggestions) for cappucini, walk, shop at Alleva or DiPaolo.

                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                  Alleva and DiPaolo close early and in my opinion are no different (other than in their history) from a good gourmet market.

                  1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                    DiPaolo is like a small and vastly more expensive preview of a good Brooklyn salumeria/latticini.

                    1. re: JFores

                      I can't speak to that comparison, but DiPalo is one of my favorite places in Manhattan and the prices are vastly better than a lot of other Manhattan food stores. Great service too.

            2. Angellos on Mulberry is amazing. I highly recommend it. it isn't a tourist trap restaurant. instead it is a classic, delicious italian restaurant with amazing food and service. you'll want to go back and it is perfect for a special occasion.

              1. Little Italy? What's that? Oh you mean the touristy part of China Town!

                Little Italy has not existed for at least 13 years. My earliest memories of little Italy still included a couple of old Italian women.... but I was like 5.... If you're looking for a really authentic Italian spot go to Frank on the Lower East Side. If Frank is too tight and crowded (which it always seems to be) then go to Max nearby which you will definitely get into. Similar food. Frank's a notch or two better, but Max is probably good enough for what you want. I take a lot of out of towners or groups of friends to Max because it's an easy place with food that usually appeals to everyone. Good for groups.

                Il Cortile is basically on par with Max for more money. Just go to Max. It's sad that Little Italy is so incredibly gone. My family lived on the Sicilian side of Elizabeth when they first came here and attended Old St Patrick's. All gone now. Oh well, Chinese food is awesome anyway and seeing as I can get better Italian food at home or made by my own hands I don't eat Italian out anyway!

                But yeah, go to Max. Frank will be too crowded, but Max is very good for groups. I've done 3 large groups there and each went very well (one involved a group of Southerners and it was vastly better than an uptown Italian place that they took me to the next day. It blew their minds. It was cute since Max was about $70 for all of us while the other place was over $200.)

                1 Reply
                1. re: JFores

                  I dont think the OP ever mentioned a group (unless I'm having trouble reading). Frank is always very good with a cute atmosphere. On a Sunday night I think you'll be ok. Do note though that it is cash only, and in the East Village, not Lower East Side as JFores noted (2nd ave between 5th and 6th streets).