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Apr 22, 2008 10:48 AM

legit Italian - not crazy $

We're Italy-bound. Where's good to eat that has really great Italian food & wine that won't break the bank? (The trip's already going to do that.) =)

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  1. How resilient is your bank?

    1. Cantina Toscana, 1st Ave. just below 61st St., across the Ave from Bed, Bath & Beyond. The food is great, and it is run by italians, who are not trying to turn the tabels over quickly. One of my favorites. Order the gnudi for an appetizer.

      1. Cacio e Pepe is very good.Food is good but what stands out the most is the warmth of the place and the friendly service.I've eaten there 3 times and loved it every time.Would say the food is good,not great.But very authentic and half-way through our first meal there we felt like regulars.It's on 2nd Ave,between 11th and 12th.

        1. Le Zie, 7th Avenue and 20th St.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Blumie

            How is Le Zie? I saw mixed reviews..

            1. re: nycgirl08

              Pretty solid. Not worth going out of your way for but good if you're in the area, especially at the price point. I think I'd stick to pastas when ordering.

              1. re: nycgirl08

                I don't recall mixed review on this board. That said I agree with Lucia that it's a great neighborhood place, with solid food at reasonable prices, but I wouldn't traverse Manhattan to get there. I do, however, disagree about sticking with the pasta. Although I usually order their spaghetti and meatballs -- which are fabulous -- they do a fine job with meats and fish too.

            2. I would suggest Otto. 5th Ave at 8th Street. This is the "cheap" Mario Batali place. I am not crazy about the pizzas, but the pastas, vegetables, sides, etc. are very good.

              4 Replies
              1. re: 10yrresident

                I totally agree with the Otto suggestion. Pastas and apps and of course the wines are all top notch. I know this place gets mixed reviews here, but we've always had a great time here and love the atmosphere and Dennis (the bartender) is great. In fact, having been to Babbo as well as Otto, every bartender I've had the pleasure of waiting on me, has been outstanding. Knowledgable and personable.

                1. re: 10yrresident

                  i was really put off by the atmosphere. i am not from NY but i went there on a saturday night when visiting my sister, and the loud music made conversation IMPOSSIBLE. I am not a granny either - 30 years old! I don't know if it is always like that. I preferred Lupa much more to that.
                  Someone told me they crank up the music so people will drink more - not talk. I will post something on general Chowhounding right now!

                  1. re: Pappardelle

                    otto's food is pretty horrid. the pastas are not homemade...its like an assembly line in there. i felt like i was eating at an italian ikea.

                    da andrea on hudson is the best least expensive italian ive found.

                    1. re: sam1

                      I forgot about da andrea--it is delicious, i definitely second the recommendation