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Celeste still good?

bobby06877 Apr 18, 2008 07:43 AM

I will finally get a chance to stop in Celeste tomorrow for dinner. It has been on my "places to go" list for 4 years but I never get around to it.I know about the space issues but can anyone tell me if their food is still worth the trip? Also, does anyone know if they still have the cheese guy? Thanks!

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    harrison RE: bobby06877 Apr 18, 2008 08:05 AM

    You'll get many mixed reviews here. It's a neighborhood place for me so I still think it's great value even with the space etc. Cheese plate is still great, as is the sunchoke salad, taglietelle with shrimp, cabbage and sheep's cheese and the pizzas. Also, get the tiramisu for dessert. If you're going at prime time, prepare to wait. ANd remember it's cash only.

    2 Replies
    1. re: harrison
      bobby06877 RE: harrison Apr 18, 2008 08:31 AM

      I was going to be in that area tomorrow and thought I would stop in for an early dinner, probably around 5:30. There will be 5 of us, you think that we will be comfortable enough? I am a big fan of their downtown outpost, Bianca, which is tiny, and their larger midtown Teodora. Celeste is the only one I have not tried. Since you are in the neighborhood, you have any recs if Celeste does not work out, Italian preferred? We have been to Nonna. Thanks

      1. re: bobby06877
        cimui RE: bobby06877 Apr 18, 2008 09:48 AM

        I don't think you'll have a huge prob at 5:30, tho you are going on a Saturday. There are tables made for four and before it gets too crowded, I bet the staff would be alright with you pulling up a chair for #5.

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      cimui RE: bobby06877 Apr 18, 2008 09:46 AM

      Hi bobby, Celeste has always been solid, but not really great in the food department. The ravioli is better than average (esp. pumpkin, if that's still on the menu). Like harrison says, it's a fun, pleasant neighborhood place, just not destination dining.

      If you get sick of waiting for a table, La Vela has fresh pastas of similar caliber.

      3 Replies
      1. re: cimui
        bobby06877 RE: cimui Apr 18, 2008 10:10 AM

        cimui, it is funny that you mentioned La Vela since I was just looking at their menu. It looks pretty good. is it larger than Celeste and maybe more accomodating for a party of 5? I am used to cramped restaurants but I am bringing my father and he may not have the same feelings.

        1. re: bobby06877
          cimui RE: bobby06877 Apr 18, 2008 12:50 PM

          La Vela is bigger, space-wise, and I don't think it gets nearly as crowded, though I don't have a lot of experience eating at the restaurant, itself. Mostly, I order delivery.

          You should also be aware that food is slightly heavier than what you'd find at Celeste, and that meat entrees are significantly less impressive than the pasta dishes -- specifically the fresh pasta dishes. If you're okay with that, do go and try the fresh mushroom / walnut ravioli in cream sauce and the chocolate mousse. Both are great.

          1. re: cimui
            AlwaysUpperWest RE: cimui Apr 18, 2008 12:55 PM

            La Vela is one of the great unheralded restaurants on the UWS. Very friendly owner and staff. Love Celeste, but on a Saturday you might be pushing it with 5 at 5:30.

      2. LNG212 RE: bobby06877 Apr 18, 2008 10:37 AM

        I still like Celeste as a neighborhood place. The other place with very good food that we like is Gennaro. But they too have quite tight seating and do not take reservations.

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          mch RE: bobby06877 Apr 18, 2008 12:04 PM

          la vela is a great place. simple solid tasty food. nothing to wow you but always a good meal. i love the clams appetizer. you can make it a meal with some bread, yum. if you like nonna i believe they just opened a spot on uws called campo. check it out.

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            harrison RE: bobby06877 Apr 18, 2008 01:38 PM

            you may have slight wait at that time, but not unbearable.

            I'm not a huge la vela fan, but would opt for genarro or spiga

            1 Reply
            1. re: harrison
              cimui RE: harrison Apr 18, 2008 03:58 PM

              I love Spiga and was going to recommend it. But it's a bit pricier than La Vela and Celeste, both.

              If you go to Spiga, don't have the fish. Everything else is good to great.

            2. j
              JMJD RE: bobby06877 Apr 18, 2008 07:21 PM

              Live in the neighborhood...I would say that Celeste is the same as always, though the food varies from time to time, I think, depending on who is working that night. (I also would recommend avoiding it if you don't see "the cheese guy" -- the place runs better when he is there.) We like the bread salad with tuna as a starter, and the pasta with sheep's cheese and cabbage....one recommendation is to avoid the pasta special if it's "tagliatelle with X, Y and Z." It's never as good as it sounds and I always am disappointed when I order it.

              5:30 is usually the hour when people with kids show up...it never seems that crowded before dark so I think you will be fine.

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