HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

Discussion

Need recs for good cheap italian

  • 24
  • Share

My boyfriend and I are taking both sets of parents out to dinner together for the first time this weekend. We're looking for a casual italian place that's good but reasonably priced (entrees under $20). We were considering the following...Supper, Bianca, and Malatesta. I'm open to suggestions and appreciate your advice! Gramercy, East Village, LES would be preferable, but also willing to head over to the West side for a hidden gem.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. Bar Stuzzinichi, Perbacco, Lavagna

    3 Replies
    1. re: mrnas

      Perbacco is way more expensive lately. I just dropped a mint there and was astonished. I didn't like the food as much as in the past either. Didn't I hear something about a new chef? Everything seemed to have gelatin this or that. Not nearly as homey and fresh perfection tasting.

      1. re: Up With Olives

        Does anyone know where the previous chef from Perbacco has gone?

        1. re: Up With Olives

          Thailand.

    2. Supper!

      6 Replies
      1. re: labella

        A strong second for Supper and it's brother Frank. Be aware of a possible long wait, though as I believe that neither takes reservations. Also, cash only.

        1. re: musteat

          Have you been to Frank recently? We went 3 or so months ago and had the gummiest, grossest gnocchi I've had in a restaurant and my husband's pasta was deeply bland. Perhaps it's slipped a little...

          1. re: chompchomp

            Wow, I've been going for years and have never had that experience, I'll have to go try the gnocchi and make sure things aren't slipping. Thanks for the warning.

            1. re: chompchomp

              Wow, that's really a shame. I've liked the place, but it truly isn't cheap - lunch or dinner starting around $35/person, in my experience.

              1. re: chompchomp

                Supper is much better than Frank...imo

                1. re: loveroffood

                  I've enjoyed both and found both somewhat similar, which is not surprising, since they are part of the Frank family of restaurants. Do you find the food superior at Supper, or is it mainly the room and ambiance? If it's the food, please go into more detail.

          2. E. Vill - Enoteca Barbone or Orologio
            LES - Tre

            1. Max
              Frankies
              Il Bagatto

              And since you said you'd be willing to travel west for a gem, Piccolo Angolo...food is really that good.

              1 Reply
              1. re: banjolinana

                I've been to Max a number of times, and I think it fits your price range. The interior is nice too!

              2. Don't waste a single moment at Lavagna. It was highly recommended -- but didn't deliver BIG TIME. It was simply horrendous. And expensive. Never will go back again. Not only was my pasta "special" skimpy beyond belief, but it was tasteless, pooled with olive oil and sprinkled with far too many super-salty olives and capers. I was with 6 others at the table or I would have thrown a fit and sent it back. The roasted artichoke appetizer with white bean puree was also nearly inedible. Tasteless. A better choice? Frozen TV dinner.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Kodozzz

                  That is really too bad. It used to be one of my favorite LES restaurants. What happened? Have others had this experience?

                  1. re: redbecca

                    No, that was not my experience. I was there back in October -ish. I remember having an excellent, excellent pork chop. Some kind of salad to start... which was also satisfying. The only minus of the night was the fact that there was a huge party in there. They were at the bar drinking when I was seated, then they were seated near my table. So they were a little loud. Otherwise, I thought it was a very nice meal.

                    Sad to hear that Kodozz had a bad meal.

                2. Supper is a favorite. We also really like Frankies Spuntino on Clinton St. Not sure if they'll take a reservation for a large group, they may. Order the cavatelli with faicco's sausage.

                  1. Tre on the LES is delicious and affordable. Aurora in soho is another great option, but a bit more pricey.

                    1. Supper is very good. I don't think Lavagna is that cheap, but I haven't been there in years, because there are good cheaper options. I'd recommend Cacio e Vino, on 2nd Av. between 4th and 5th Sts.

                      1. I'd stick with Malatesta!

                        www.thelunchbelle.com

                        1. Frankies 17 on Clinton is great and very affordable. Go early to make sure you get a table though -- it's itty bitty. I think its a cut above Supper & Il Bagatto -- though both of those are also fine if you can't get into Frankies 17. Perbacco is also very good, but I agree that it's pricey now. Or I should say, the individual dishes are somewhat affordable, but the portions are tiny, so to fill up you'd need to drop a lot of cash. To go even more casual, I love Lil Frankies. And they even have booth tables in the front that are large enough to fit your whole party. I often see people there entertaining the parents.

                          1. Its a bit of a trek, but I love Celeste on UWS. Cash only. Lovely food, wonderful cheeses, affordable wines... and the owner that beams lovingly over the place as faithful regulars come back for more. Its one of the only reasons I ever wander up there. Go early or you will wait in line.

                            1. I would highly recommend Sam's Place on 38th and Lex. Very reasonable prices, intimate restaurant and very nice waiters :) Have fun