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Old-School, Italian Red Sauce Restaurant

I tried searching, but I couldn't really find anything, although I'm sure this question has been asked a thousand times.

I'm going out with friends for Christmas Eve, and nothing says Christmas Eve to me more than good, old-school Italian. Growing up, we used to go to Ralph's in South Philly every year, but now I'm in New York, and I don't know where to go.

I've heard about John's of 12th Street, but I can't tell whether it's any good, or if it's just over-hyped. Also, I think going to Arthur Ave in the Bronx is just too far out of the way for me. Can anyone vouch for John's, or can you give a good recommendation?

As for price, I'd like to keep it about the prices of John's, but we could probably go a little higher.

Thanks, everyone.

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    1. John's can be a bit polarizing here. I'm a fan, but it's probably more for the years of memories than the cuisine. The food is nothing special, but the basics are good. If they have the slow cooked ragu as a special, get it!

      1. il mulino on w 3rd bet sullivan and thompson is about as old school red sauce italian as you can get. haven't been in a while, but when i left the place last time i didn't feel like eating for a couple of days i was so full. arturo's on houston and thompson is another good one. less pricy than il mulino and has live jazz sometimes. their pizza is also pretty good.

        1 Reply
        1. re: artfuldestruct

          Il Mulino is alot more expensive than John's, especially if you get any of the specials. John's is good but not great. Comforting.

        2. I tried John's recently and enjoyed it. It's not going to blow you away, but it's not going to be dissapointing

          1. Vincent's on Mott street. It's VERY old school. I *think* it's still around. Great pasta dishes and the BEST shrimp and calamari around, and 2 great sauces (sweet and spicy). Everyone I've ever brought there raves about it. Prices are decent.