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Help my dad love the West Village as much as I do

My boyfriend and I recently moved down to the far west village, a few blocks south of Meatpacking. My dad came to visit for the first time the other night and it was a complete disaster. He used to buy meat in the area for his Queens restaurant (a casual Irish pub) and has the impression that it's very seedy, dirty and unsafe. He couldn't find parking so we ended up finding a spot a ways down 7th Ave, and in a fluster I chose Centro Vinoteca which was far too noisy and modern for his taste. Between the vicinity to the Meatpacking District, the parking and the restaurant he was cranky and disappointed and I really want him to love it as much as my boyfriend and I do.

So where can I take him to make this right? His favorite restaurant in our old location on the upper east side was Da Filippo, and his overall favorite restaurant in the city is the Parkside in Corona. So I'm looking for a place that's traditional Italian, comfortable with some space between tables and relatively quiet. Good sized portions, solid service and overall value would be a huge plus. I'd greatly appreciate any suggestions...

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  1. market table.
    Or as another option, i'm from queens and i think that he might appreciate the nice folks at da andrea on hudson.
    personally hate centro vinoteca, the service is terrible and not worth it.

    1. I personally think August is a good "parents-speed" restaurant - modern and high-quality cuisine, but not pretentious or as much of the "party" atmosphere as some other places. Seating can be a little tight, depending how much that bothers him.

      I also like AOC Bleecker for a casual spot, and the outdoor area is great for summer. A bit more spacious in there, too.

      Little Owl (if you can get a reservation) would seem to also be a good pick, again, so long as slightly cramped quarters aren't an issue.

      3 Replies
      1. re: jonasblank

        It's a been about a year since I've been to AOC on Bleecker, and we went a number of times before deciding that we really thought the food was pretty mediocre. I agree that the outside area is lovely on a not too hot summer night. The last time we went, the music inside was deafening though - at lunch, too!

        I was going to suggest Wallse, but (a) it's not Italian food and (b) it can also be a bit noisy.

        1. re: MMRuth

          I agree about AOC. We decided it was mediocre after one try.

        2. re: jonasblank

          Based on a number of recs on this board I took a friend to August last week for her birthday and the food was horrible. Had a fresh pea soup, which was wildly oversalted, along with lamb shoulder, which turned out to be chopped up and then DEEP FRIED IN OIL before being finished in the oven, thus accounting for its weirdly off flavor and disgustingly greasy texture. I tried (as did my friend), but simply couldn't eat it. My friend's fish was OK; nothing special but edible.

        3. maybe employees only
          or is that too far south?

          1. Try Toscana on Carmine. It is a different model from your usual W. Village loud clip joint. They sometimes feature rabbit or game hen. The last time I went, they had baby chickin, or poussin (spelling?). They do a good Bistecca Fiorentina and the antipasti are voluminous. One starter we always have is sliced beef in green sauce. They also do half portions on pastas, so you can then go on to a main course. I have friends from out of town for whom I call ahead and make sure they have the rabbit, which is very authentic Tuscan and served w/ polenta. It's between Bedford & 7th Ave.

            2 Replies
            1. re: sing me a bar

              I think Toscana would be a great place for an old New Yorker. The owner is a gregarious Florentine who invites you to be a guest at his table, not merely another cover towards paying the rent. Malatesta (which is closer to you) is also another Italian place with quality food and good ambience. The immediate area is far west village and attractive, if not a bit boring, but if you go eastward a couple blocks, the area does get a little seedy.

              If your guest enjoys Irish pubs, Mr. Dennehy's might be another option.

              1. re: JungMann

                I agree about Franco. More and more, I go where I feel welcomed and familiar. Even when a private party takes up a huge table, you don't feel cramped or worried by others hearing your conversation (I'm very UN-PC!). Everyone I've taken there wants to go back. Sometimes the fish dishes are a bit bland. I wish he'd do a branzino instead of the pistachio-encrusted salmon (which used to be my regular order), but the elbow room and ambiance are worth the fact that it isn't a trendy destination. On weeknights it can be so quiet that you worry he isn't doing more business, but it is much fuller these days than it was, so I guess it's getting discovered.

            2. my dad loves blue ribbon bakery, perilla, da andrea.

              1. Thanks for these! I was actually considering Da Andrea, it looked like a good fit but wasn't sure how tiny/cramped it would be. It's definitely closest to my apartment though; employees only might also be good; as unhip as my dad is, he still likes a somewhat clubby feeling (ala Elaine's). I'll check out the others too and add them to the list so I'm prepared next time. That is, if I can ever get him down here again.. it might be long trips back up to the upper east side from now on, sigh.

                On Centro, the first time I went, I agree the service wasn't good. The other night we had a wonderful waitress though, which really saved things in a sense (my dad is convinced there's no good help left in the city, so he's always happy when he gets a good one who he can chat with).

                8 Replies
                1. re: feedcari

                  I think most of these recommendations are pretty far off base, for what you have described. Da Andrea is the one that I think would fit your needs very well, though it is kind of on the low end. The food is very good, but it's a very casual neighborhood kind of place. Unfortunately the more upscale Italian places are not very traditional.

                  1. re: feedcari

                    da andrea has excellent service, amazing prices, and the best italian for the money in my opinion. ive had big family gatherings, dinner with my parents, everything...everyone everytime loves it.

                    1. re: sam1

                      I was thinking Da Andrea as well. Malatesta is another good suggestion.

                      Or if you want to go old school a bit further south, there's always F. Illi Ponte.

                      1. re: sam1

                        D' Andrea - Eat there with my family over Labor Day weekend. Dinner for 4 with 1/2 carafe house wine + tip < $120. Mussels appetizer & pastas were awesome. Pastas are dinner portions. Good value, nice atmosphere; outdoor seating pleasant staff.

                      2. re: feedcari

                        After reading your post, I immediately thought of Volare on West 4th Street just east of 6th Avenue. From the outside, it doesn't look like much. But this is definitely old world Italian in the Village. The Osso Buco is great and it is the type of Italian that brings you sambuca at the end of your meal. And the service is very friendly.

                        1. re: nycfoodlovingmom

                          Gosh - I lived for a couple of years almost next door to Volare and was always curious about it! Thanks for you post about it.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            The one caveat that I would say about Volare is that it is so "old world" that when my sister and I went by one night for drinks without "male escorts", we were treated as if we were "professionals." I suppose for some that would be a reason not to go ever, but for some reason, it seems so a part of what they are that I don't mind it.

                            1. re: nycfoodlovingmom

                              I can completely understand that - if I go, I'll be sure to report back!

                      3. my suggestion would be piccolo angolo on hudson. only issue is tables are close and can be loud given crowds. we always go early friends/family always very happy. The food is excellent/ great value in the heart of the west village.

                        1. You might also try Scarpetta, if you're set on Italian. It's on W 14th near 9th and recently opened with Scott Conant as chef. Ate there the other night and it was delicious; apps are too pricey but main courses are very yummy. If you're open to other kinds of food we like Snack on Bedford and Morton, where the food is greek and we've taken lots of out-of-town guests. Market Table is so good if you can get in. Good luck!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: west village foodie

                            Just a note that it's Snack Taverna on Bedford and Morton. Snack is in Soho. Agree that Snack Taverna is a good place.

                            1. re: Lucia

                              As someone who lives and eats in the WV, I would agree with those that suggest da Andrea and Malatesta. You mentioned that you want your dad to 'love the neighborhood' as much as you and your b/f do. These two places in my opinion are very WV. Good solid food, iniviting and comfortable setting and overall good experience. I'm not talking Michelin star but places you will go back to again & again.

                          2. I don't know any Italian places in your neck of the woods, but I can recommend a Greek (Gus' Place) and a Spanish (El Charro) in the west village that are "traditional" in character with great food and great qpr. Don't know if that helps or not.

                            My favorite qpr Italian is Assenzio on EAST 4th Street East of Avenue A. Sardinian with great pasta, ambiance, service and game in season.

                            1. I'd suggest Arte Pasta on Greenwich Avenue or Bar Pitti on 6th Ave. near Bleecker, which is fabulous (cash only) or La Marinella on Carmine.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: tsiblis

                                i second bar pitti. what about po? it is quiet, classic and delicous.

                                1. re: mch

                                  I love Po, but it can be quite noisy.