where to eat pre theater
I like dbBistro, but I am not a fan of Becco. As I've said often on this board, the ayce pastas are mediocre, so many tables are jammed into each room that seating is sardine-tight, and the noise level is insanely high. In the early days, before Lidia Bastianich became famous, these problems didn't exist. But Becco has become the victim of its own succes. There are many far better options for Italian in the Theater District. Best to avoid Becco.
Not far from the theater (51st & 10th Ave.) is a restaurant I have been to twice and liked very much: a relatively new, extremely reasonable family-run Italian place. The pastas are homemade and the pappardelle with sausage, peas, and spicy tomato sauce was just wonderful. Not everything was a home-run but enough was to keep me going back. It's a bit off the beaten track for pre-theater, but very convenient. The well-intentioned service had a few kinks while we were there but the place is warm, inviting, and the food tasty -- everything I love about Italian restaurants in Italy, in fact. No surprise that the chef/proprietor owned a similar place in the Lombardy region.
Here's a link if you're interested:
It's not exactly in the neighborhood of the theater but the pre-theater restaurant I usually go to is called Osteria Al Doge (142 W. 44th St. between 6th and 7th Ave). The food is good (i.e. homemade pastas in veal ragu with wild mushrooms, fresh calamari salad) and they know that many of their clientele are theater-goers so they get your order and food out as quickly as possible. Just let your server know you are catching a show.
You don't indicate any cuisine preferences, whether you want casual or fancy, or what your budget for food is. That said...
Trattoria Trecolori, on 47th St., b/t B'way & 8th Av., is a favorite of mine and many other Hounds. Delicious homestyle Italian fare. Friendly, efficient service. Large space with attractive decor and comfortably-spaced tables. .
Benoit, on 55th St., b/t 5th & 6th Avs., is Alain Ducasse's new French bistro. We had an excellent dinner there a few months ago. Service was fine. The interior decor is pleasant, and the vibe is lively.
Enjoy the show (It's terrific!) and Bon Appetit!