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Real Italian in Lower Westchester

My wife and I just moved up from manhattan and have been very frustrated that with all the Italians living in lower westchester, we can't find a decent authentic Italian spot. We've found only overpriced, low-grade red sauce places. Any thoughts?

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  1. dbunis, welcome to the burbs...was wondering, what were some of your favorite 'authentic Italian spots' in the city while residents there?

    7 Replies
    1. re: gutreactions

      Celeste is a neighborhood place a block from our old place. The owner is from Rome and has restaurant there as well. The food is excellent regional romana. He goes back and forth from NYC to Rome every couple weeks. He always returns with a couple suitcases of outstanding cheese. You can get a plate with 15 cheeses each one paired with a compote, honey, jam etc.

      1. re: dbunis

        Dante's (Italian Deli) on Central Avenue, White Plains for Take out.

        1. re: dbunis

          Fuggehdaboudit in Westchester. Unless you want to pay through the nose and endure stuffy service to boot.

          What you describe does not exist in red sauce (gravy) places. It might in the fancier Northern Italian places, but again, you have to suffer the consequences.

          Welcome to the area. We're sorely lacking in outstanding, amazing red sauce places.

          1. re: dolores

            "outstanding, amazing red sauce places." ???????? This is an oxymoron. While I love the genre, even the best of them are never "outstanding" or "amazing", just like Pinot Grigio is never a transcendent wine experience. jus my 2 pennies.

          2. re: dbunis

            where is Celeste? Does he ever bring back cheese with truffles? I was just asking about this exact topic for Fairfield County. I want a good bowl of pasta and meatballs like I grew up with in Harrison.

            1. re: nbermas

              Celeste is on 84th and Amsterdam. I've never had cheese with truffles there but I've never had as good a cheese plate at even the poshest places.

              1. re: dbunis

                That is how I tried truffles and it is the only way I have tried them and it is like heaven and very earthy. We have a fabulous cheese shop here in Darien and they get these two types that I love. I try not to eat cheese too much but if you ever get a chance to try it do. Thanks

        2. LaMandas on Rte 119 is good. Excellent pizza (no slices) and standard dishes. It's been around for decades - pretty authentic.

          1. Here is a thread that's been started on red sauce places...... http://www.chowhound.com/topics/468204

            1. Nessa in Port Chester is one place I think you might want to consider trying. There has been many threads about it, here is one;

              3 Replies
              1. re: Jim P

                Thanks for the info on Nessa. Sounds perfect. We'll definitely check it out!!

                1. re: dbunis

                  Please don't forget to try Dante's, there is nothing else with its quality in this part of Westchester.

                  1. re: chowdom

                    I agree 100% although I would never describe Dante's as just a "red sauce" place. It is authentic southern italian more so than standard red sauce.

              2. Try Pinocchio's in Eastchester. Owner, Tarchese, is the real thing. Please report back. I'm not saying this is the perfect answer but I long for the same thing you do and somehow Pinocchio's satisfies me.

                1. chowhounders, let us stop pussyfooting around this issue of: 'can't seem to find a decent authentic Italian spot in lower Westchester'. We have quite a few actually, but for different reasons. dbunis seems to believe it is about a man from Rome who brings cheeses back from his trips there (some believe they are not all legal, by the way), and forces patrons to wait and squeeze into a miniscule loud dining room...but nevertheless...I believe we need further explanation from dbunis about what he considers authentic Italian. Is it the town the owner comes from, the region, the way the food is presented or prepared...What?...Help make us feel less self conscious about answering the query...please! After all these culinary years, we know there is not just one Italian cuisine!

                  1. I agree with gutreactions. What type of Italian are you looking for?

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: JMF

                      GR, 'pussyfooting'? Not I. I don't 'pussyfoot', and I've long posted that I'm underwhelmed by the red sauce places in Westchester and even more disappointed in the northern Italian places.

                      zswp, I forgot about Pinocchio's, shame on me, since I think Tarcisio is one of the best restaurant hosts in New York. Sadly, the restaurant without him there (I've been there) is not the same, but he makes the restaurant, so yes, I agree with you.

                      But GR, as to your 'we have quite a few'? Quite a few decent red sauce places perhaps, but when I look to dine out and want Italian, I don't care what region the food being put in front is from, I just want good Italian.

                      And, after 20 years, I still haven't found outstanding red sauce or more than a few northern Italian places that aren't insufferable.

                      1. re: dolores

                        GR, I guess I'd like not to be able to taste the Sysco in some of these places around here (Ciao's, Mama Assunta, Angelina, Roberto's, Valentino's, Gina Marie's etc.). These places feel like the crappy but successful restaurant in the movie "Big Night" i.e. really poorly executed Italian American.

                        Believe me, I LOVE great Italian American as well as really specific regional Italian but I'm just saying we haven't found either of these well executed in this area.

                        1. re: dbunis

                          dbunis, thanks for your response...It's nothing personal, and the places you mention all have issues for sure...

                          1. re: dbunis

                            What is Sysco? I agree that I don't like Robertos or Gina Maries. Have not been to the others.

                            We recently went to Luciano's on Central Avenue in Yonkers and I was pleasantly surprised. The Gnocci was delicious. My dad had a special that was awesome. The salad was great. Not so crazy about the eggplant parm. We went because my mom found a coupon in the Yankee Clipper. Worth trying out.

                            For everyday italian we go to Joe's Fleetwood on Broad. When Gina Maries was here I thought that Joe's was better. The owner does not do a cheese plate though as far as I know if that is what you are looking for.

                      2. dbunis, you may want to try the new Casa Brusco in Eastchester. They just opened last week...at first glance they seem to be trying to be 'authentic' northern Italian style...tasted the Polipo Grigliato and it was quite good. www.casabrusco.com

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: gutreactions

                          No menu at their website? GR, what are their prices like?

                          1. re: dolores

                            delores, I have another post on this board which describes my first encounter there...however, the prices are moderate, which is to say: appetizers from $10., pastas from $14., main courses from $22, pizzas from $13....limited starting menu...handsome place...

                            1. re: gutreactions

                              Those are reasonable prices, thank you for sharing.

                        2. Well, we love Fontanellas in Pelham. Not cheap, really, really good. The service is wonderful, the food is special. The daily specials are superb. We have been going here for years.
                          The problems is that I've noticed is that "some" hounds want everything for nothing. I find a lot of posts contain the word CHEAP. It cost MONEY to have great food & service in a nice location.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Flatrater

                            We had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner at Pinocchio. A bit crowded and noisy, the service...as always, Salvatore is excellent...was wonderful and the food was outstanding. We had numerous appetizers, salads, entree and my hazelnut gelato was very good.

                            Tarcisio was very busy, but made time at the end of the evening to talk with us all. A warm, professional man, he makes the place special to us.

                            Thank you to the staff at Pinocchio in Eastchester, we'll be back in 2008.

                            Oh, and the parking is free.

                            1. re: dolores

                              Dolores, Did my post above spark that visit? ZSWP

                          2. Tre Angelina 478 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains. 686-0617, excellent

                            1. i've been to piave on centrale ave in hartsdale twice and have had great experiences both times. i really enjoy their pasta dishes and they have a wonderful and extensive antipasti selection....

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: tirinstar

                                This is what I'm talking about. THANK YOU. We will check it out very soon.

                              2. Hi- Just 5-10 min from Yonkers/Bronxv'l is Frankie & Johnnie's Pine Restaurant (no connection to other F & J's in area). This one is in the Bronx, at 1913 Bronxdale Av., tel. is 718.792.5956. Been going with family for abt 15 years, huge portions, salad incl. great wait staff. Very crowded on wknds., but well worth the wait (use the free valet parking, if no close spots-good neighborhood, nr Morris Park). No reservations, but goes fast when busy. Consistently delicious! Tell me what you think after you go.

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: nytimesa00

                                  mostof the posts above all talk of italian/american food, which is very different from food one gets while in italy...no comparison

                                  1. re: intrepid

                                    Exactly. Are there places like 'dbunis' was describing in Westchester?

                                    1. re: dolores

                                      if you eat at someones home yes lololol otherwise the cuisine has been somewhat hijacked here in usa

                                      1. re: intrepid

                                        Has anyone been to Babbone's restaurant in Bronxville on New Rochelle road....??? i've heard some good things about it and was thinking about taking my bf there, he lives in jersey...i was wondering if its a good idea..

                                        1. re: bondejul1

                                          I was at Babbone about a year and a half ago. It was fine. Nothing so fabulous, nothing so terrible. Has anyone told you about Spadaro in New Rochelle? This is an older board, otherwise I am certain someone would have mentioned it. Just search for it on this board and you'll get plenty of info. You have those who passionately love it (I am in that group) and others who were put off by the problems they have had running the front of the restaurant. THe food is absolutely the closest I've had to the kind of little Italian trattoria you would find in Rome. If you want regular American style Italian restaurant food, go to Babbone. Otherwise, try Spadaro. In either case, you won't be disappointed...

                                          1. re: bondejul1

                                            Spadaros is hit or miss....very crowded...long wait with nowhere to stand.
                                            La Bocca in White Plains on Church Steet - authenic - owner born in Calabria. good service, friendly, very good food

                                            1. re: kaaaassss

                                              Outside of Graziella's, I won't go to WP for Italian.

                                              Outside of WP, I still can't come up with a 'this is it, this is the place' Italian restaurant, Americanized or otherwise.

                                              I have the list, I have been to most of them, and what did I choose for a dinner tonight? Spadafino's in Hawthorne.

                                              I give up on Italian in Westchester.

                                              1. re: dolores

                                                Another one bites the dust. The food was okay, and there was a band -- too loud for conversation, acoustics are not good -- BUT on the table was a sign, whose warning was NOT noted on their website, of a $25. minimum a person.

                                                It was not my dinner alone, or I would have walked out.

                                                Shame on you, Spadafino's. Buh bye.

                                                1. re: dolores

                                                  I've never been to Spadafino's, but I can't remember the last time I spent under $25/person to have a decent, sit-down restaurant dinner. What is the average price of their entrees that you found this rule so unreasonable you wouldn't return?

                                                  1. re: Shawn

                                                    Shawn, it has been a loooooong time since I spent less than $25. on a dinner. The average in this area is $50. a person.

                                                    It's the fact that I was being 'made' to spend $25. by the restaurant (I know, I could have walked out and would have done so except that it was not just my dinner) that is a deal breaker for me.

                                  2. I really like Pas-tina's in Hartsdale. Is it wholly authentic? I think not, but it's so much better than the average schlock red-sauce places. I try to avoid them too. Pas-tina's pasta dishes seem to me like home-cooking, finished in the pan with whatever vegetables, seafood, meat, etc., with a little moisture from some chopped tomatoes, or cream or oil ... And portions are very generous! Salads are lovely too - tossed well with just enough dressing. I do have to confess, I've never had a meat entree there, just because I love pasta so much! The only downside I've found is that the room is a bit loud.

                                    I'm very excited to try the new place in Port Chester, owned by Joe Bastianich, when it opens!

                                    Anyone have any thoughts on Antipasti or Mulino's? I've had - well, antipasti - at Antipasti, but not dinner. Everything I tried was very good, and the menu seems legit - not a red-sauce place. Mulino's I only know by reputation. What do you think?

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: misspastina

                                      I just went to Antipasti last night. Had a very good chilled pomodoro crab soup. Thought it could have used an extra pinch of salt but was still quite good. Entree I had was a charred pork loin with mashed potatoes, bacon, lentils and cabbage. It was very good. The menu was so large that I was having trouble deciding. Though it was delicious, I think I ended up with a meal that is more appropriate for the cooler autumn months...though that's no one's fault but my own for ordering it. Portions were very large. My complaint has to be that the runners never seemed to know who ordered what. They either took a guess and put a plate in front of the wrong diner or they auctioned off the plate calling out what they held and hoped one of us would acknowledge it as our order. That's always irritating to me when I'm anywhere other than a burger and fries joint. But, certainly not red sauce Italian and certainly worth checking out for yourself. I'll be going back.

                                    2. I'm not sure I'm reading your post correctly. Aren't you NOT looking for red sauce places?
                                      There's a great place in Harrison -- Trattoria Vivolo (owner is son of the owner of another Italian in Larchmont). The food is well prepared and varied. I've heard that Lusardi's is good but have not tried. I also enjoyed Enzo's in Harrison but it was very expensive.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: eatermom

                                        Spadaro's -- good as it ever was. Had a wonderful meal, with wonderful service -- thank you Rina and Rosa -- and free parking to boot.

                                        People were lined up at 9:00pm, who knew, New Rochelle is becoming NYC.

                                        Oh, and they have their liquor license now, and have little known wines by the glass and bottle.

                                        Kudos to Spadaro for still being THE best Italian in Westchester. Don't waste your time with the others.

                                        1. re: dolores

                                          How are their wine prices? Thanks!

                                          1. re: Marge

                                            Not sure about the bottles, Marge, but the wine by the glass was $10., and was a good pour.

                                            1. re: Marge

                                              I agree that Spadaro's is a great restuarant. You need patience while waiting though.. I would not go as far as to say New Rochelle is becoming NYC..

                                              1. re: kaaaassss

                                                Ha....nor would I, kaaassss. That was tongue in cheek, but when I was there a 150 years ago, they rolled up the sidewalks at 9:00.

                                                I'm going back next week to Spadaros with the 'no food with faces' friend -- I love that place!

                                                1. re: dolores

                                                  Good - you had me worried for a minute....

                                            2. re: dolores

                                              Glad to hear that Spadaro is still so good. I can't wait to go back there this fall and it's nice to know they have their liquor license.