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Moving from Italy to NYC: Best places to eat/drink to keep Italian lifestyle alive.

Hi All,

I'm new to the board, so I do apologize if I'm doing something, or posting somewhere I shouldn't be. That being said, I was born and raised in New Jersey (that strange place across the river), but have been living in Italy (In the north: Trieste and Alba) for a little while now.

I'll be moving back to New York City in March (well kinda, I'll be in Hoboken, New Jersey), and I know I'm going to miss many many aspects of the Italian culinary lifestyle. But I also know that if there's anywhere I can go to keep that spirit alive, its New York.

I'm a short path ride away from the lower, west end of manhattan (in particular the West Village) and I want to find less than expensive places in this area to go to to eat and drink that keep an Italian feel to it.

This means:

1. Small (small being quite vague) restaurants with simple, traditional menus. Adding some New York flair to things obviously won't offend me, its just that in general, I like it when menus have a rustic, old world feel to them, and the restaurant doesn't have a super trendy feel to it. I loved loved Lupa before I left, but am dying to try some new places. The places also don't have to be strictly Italian, I really really enjoyed the Spotted Pig the last time I was in Manhattan.

2. Wine bars. Places to hop in to grab a glass of Italian and and some snacks either after work or late night. My heart is deeply devoted to Italian wine, and places that focus on such will interest me the most. Again, I tend to steer away from trendy, and more towards rustic and old world feeling. I loved 'ino and 'inoteca, but again, am hoping to try somewhere new.

3. Coffee. Living in Trieste, the coffee capital of Northern Italy (home of Illy) has really spoiled me. Even in other Northern Italian cities, I have a hard time enjoying the espresso anywhere else I go. Anyone know of any good places to sit and linger over a good cup of coffee?

4. Pastries. Another side effect of living in Trieste. The Austrian influence lingers here in many ways, including the amazing pastry shops. What are your favorite places to go in New York satisfy your cravings?

Again, I'm looking for places more on the lower west side, as that is what I'll have the most access too. Sorry if this is a lot, but though there are many wonderful places to go in Trieste and the Alba area, they are both small towns. I grew up in the NYC area, and would like to think I know New York rather well, but I feel like I'm going to be so so lost when I get back home.

Any help is greatly appreciated!



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  1. Hi, I'm not from NYC but I do visit about twice a year and here's what I found. In Chelsea, there's Crispo that is really good and looks a little like a Paris bistro. Unassuming well executed italian for a good price. In the West Village, there's Ino that empasizes on wine with good sandwiches and in the LES there's Inoteca which, you guessed it, is it's sister restaurant. Never been to Ino but love Inoteca. Prices are fair, wine selection great and food great for the price. For instance, Two big salads, two rather large mains and two wine glasses set us back $60 last weekend. In the Village, don't miss Murray's cheese shop on Bleecker where you can find great fresh pastas, good cheese selection and the fresh mozzarella and smoked mozzarella from Joe's Dairy. By the way, Joe is located just a few minutes away from Murray's so you could just drop by there to buy fresh still warm mozzarella.

    1. The first 2 places that popped into my head while reading your post was Perbacco and Abraco.
      Perbacco is a great little no reservations Italian that has wonderful, reasonably priced food and wine. the owners are Italian as are the staff behind the bar. They are all very friendly and always bring you lots of different wines to try and great suggestions for the food. It is located on East 4th street between A and B. worth the trek over to the East Village.
      Abraco is a small hole in the wall place where they serve amazing coffee and great little bites and wonderful pastries. standing room only so it will be better in the warmer weather when you can grab your food and walk to Tompkins Square park.
      Also Italian owned and very helpful owner.
      located on East 7th street just west of 1st Avenue
      There is also a great Italian wine bar right near Perbacco called - IN VINO. also on 4th street between A and B. great wine and little plates to snack on. great for the winter as the decor is cave like in a way.

      1. Piadina - W10th between 5th & 6th. The waiters can help you keep your Italian sharp and the food is simple and delicious.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bosun

          I know they're owned by the same people, but I prefer Malatesta. No reason. Maybe I like the ambience better.

        2. If you liked Lupa, I think you will be very happy with Crispo. You may also like Da Andrea. It's not as good as Crispo, but nonetheless very good, less expensive, owned by Italians, and I think it has the sort of atmosphere you are looking for.

          4 Replies
          1. re: rrems

            Otto and Crispo have good food and Otto has fantastic wine selection. It's probably close to the selection at Lupa (same owner). If you like a Batali place for wine and food that's a bit more upscale, go to Babbo. For insane pasta dishes, I would go to Becco. This is in the theatre district, so I would seriously recommened staying out of it right before the shows. They have what it called the Symphony of Pasta. It's a great way to eat your self into a food coma. Plus every bottle of wine they have is $25.

            For a straight up wine bar I would go to Bar Veloce. They have 2 locations one on 2nd and one 7th Ave. 'ino also has great wine and their Nutella panino is to die for.

            For coffee, try 71 Irving. Cute place with great little baked goods to snack on.


              1. re: idia

                Coming from Alba, will you be looking for Piemontese food? The only ones that come to mind are Barbetta and Aurora Soho. Two very different restaurants.

                Very authentic, but of Tuscan descent, is Pepolino.
                Pepolino is tied with Lupa for my favorite Italian restaurants in NYC.
                I live in SoHo but travel to Italy often.
                Piadina and Perbacco are also good recommendations.
                For coffee, there's really only one great one: Taralucci e vino, but several others will do.

                Si può credere ai miei consigli.

                1. re: il Trifulau

                  Yes, Piemontese cuisine is something I would be interested in (or restaurants with the cuisine of Friuli, if any such places exist), though I am a lover of good Italian cooking, no matter where it comes from.

                  Thank you all so much for your suggestions. Can't wait to get started on them all!

          2. inoteca on Rivington in the Lower East Side has a deep Italian wine list by the glass and by the bottle. We recently had a very good 1985 Borgono Barolo for almost the cost of the wine when purchased at retail stores.

            inoteca also has a good variety of well-prepared tapas-style dishes that makes us return often,

            1. Malatesta...a Chowhound fav, surprised it wasn't mentioned yet in the thread as it's very close to the Path train and fits all your criteria...

              Cacio e Vino (Sicilian specialties in the East Village, small, rustic, affordable)

              1. I know you are seeking places on the lower west side and I did mention Crispo, a real winner.
                But if you should ever venture to the upper east side near the Metropolitan Museum, there is a small Italian restaurant called Giovanni Venti Cinque that reminds one that they just stepped out of Verona.

                1 Reply
                1. re: idia

                  Perbacco's been mentioned but that was my first thought. Bisco Latte on 10th and 46th serves dozens of kinds of Biscotti and Illy Coffee.

                2. you should search the NJ site, Hoboken still has a few places that fit the bill.

                  1. Not in the west village but Acqua near South Street Seaport has good Italian with a cozy rustic vibe. www.acquarestaurantnyc.com

                    Also not in WV, but alot of folks like Peasant. www.peasantnyc.com

                    1. Okay, two suggestions that go with the spirit, though not the letter, of what you asked.

                      1) How would you like to eat dinner at a social club where everyone but you is from the Trieste region? Well you can, in Astoria, and you can get details on the Outer Boroughs board.

                      2) The area with the most European feel to it is not Italian and not in the West Village but it is convenient to Hoboken. It's the Ironbound in Newark and though the feel is a lot less European than it was 10 years ago, it's still worth a trip. www.chowhound.com/topics/255972

                      1. I live in Chelsea, and my favorite place for wine and panini's is "Bar Veloce". And you can just take the path train to 23rd street near 7th avenue to get there. Also, there is a sort of new place called "Maremma" in West Village that has the best Pomodoro soup. The staples for good italian are "Bar Pitti" and "Da Silvano". Another recommendation is the new "Morandi" also in the west village. All of these places have great pasta (small portions) and excellent wine selections

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: jennifer56

                          I'm not sure that Da Silvano is a "staple" for anything except people watching.

                          Bar Pitti is very good.

                          Morandi is a cool place to hang out, but I don't go there looking for authentic Italian anything.

                          I'd like to try Maremma, but haven't gotten there yet.

                          Jennifer56 seems like she's into the night-life places...lol

                          ...nothing wrong with that.

                          1. re: il Trifulau

                            Agreed - here's a review of my first (and hopefully last) visit to Da Silvano:


                        2. Bianca meets your criteria and has very good food primarily from the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy. Small, cozy, great wine selections and terrific food. It is also close geographically to where you want to be.

                          1. Coffee... my vote is for Caffe Dante on MacDougal just below Bleecker. Some on these boards may disagree, but my cohorts and I find that the espresso and cappucino there is quite good. Nice to linger outside in the warmer months. They also serve little panini listed on the menu under "sandwiches" which are nothing like the overstuffed pitas that are served elsewhere in NY. A slice or 2 of salami or mortadella with a bit of cheese, artichoke hearts on the side. There are a few coffee threads on the Manhattan board... take a look if you haven't alredy for some good recs.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: iluvcookies

                              Two more thoughts for your list.
                              dell’Anima and Little Owl.

                            2. I think the East Village has a ton of great, small, rustic, traditional italian places that fit what you're looking for...

                              Perbacco was already mentioned, but also close to there is:

                              Lavagna - 5th b/w A & B

                              Supper - 2nd b/w A & B

                              Assenzio - across the st from Perbacco, also on 4th

                              and all are pretty reasonably priced as well, enjoy!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: MinhLikesFood

                                FYI, per eater.com, assenzio is closing and becoming something else (also italian, i believe).

                                1. re: egit

                                  sorry, you're right egit, it's now called Cannonau, old habits die hard. Still hearty Italian cuisine though and worth a trip.

                              2. Buon Italia in Chelsea market serves a very nice cappuccino. While you're there you can pick up some 00 flour or stracciatella, and Manhattan Fruit Exchange right across the way sells excellent and very cheap produce, spices, nuts.

                                1. bacaro- wine bar and food
                                  zibetto- besto espresso and capuccino bar in nyc
                                  dell anima- trattoria

                                  ive been to alba many times, one of my fave spots in italy

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: intrepid

                                    Not tried zibetto, but Via Quadronno and Bottega del Vino serve wonderful espresso etc. - the coffee is from Trieste.

                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                      yes i know the coffee, the food, and the owner well...coffee is ok, food is ok paolo the owner i will not comment on..hows that ?? zibetto is better

                                      1. re: intrepid

                                        I'll have to try zibetto then! (I didn't mean to question your rec by the way - your post just made me think of the coffee.)

                                  2. I'm thinking Maremma... the Tuscan Cowboy place of the Tuscan Cowboy, Cesare Casella! it's on west 10th near Hudson and the food is real.

                                    Illy is everywhere in New York, so you should have no trouble finding good coffee...

                                    Italian pastry in New York? two words pop into brain... Bruno and Veniero. but nothing will ever match Modern Pastry in Boston!

                                    ooooh! how could I forget the wonderful Assenzio? Sardinian and great game in the East Village?

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                      I was at Modern Pastry last night and thought it was just OK. Had the cannoli (pretty good), chocolate cookie (bad), anise biscotti (OK), and almond biscotti (OK). Wasn't floored at all, and the guy at the register didn't know how to void the transaction so I ended up paying for a capp instead of the Americano I actually drank.

                                    2. Otto!

                                      Also: Peasant and Nero

                                      1. Just went to Peasant in Nolita. I think that will satisfy what you're looking for. nice atmosphere and good italian - I would have to say leaning more northern and emilia romana which is probably waht you're looking for. am told they ahve really good polenta (didn't get it this time)