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Need recs for good cheap italian

ellalilly Nov 10, 2008 09:52 AM

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. m
    mrnas Nov 10, 2008 10:04 AM

    Bar Stuzzinichi, Perbacco, Lavagna

    3 Replies
    1. re: mrnas
      Up With Olives Nov 19, 2008 08:05 AM

      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
        Up With Olives Nov 19, 2008 11:21 AM

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

        1. re: Up With Olives
          Stuffed Monkey Nov 26, 2008 03:39 AM


    2. l
      labella Nov 10, 2008 10:23 AM


      6 Replies
      1. re: labella
        musteat Nov 11, 2008 05:03 AM

        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
          chompchomp Dec 15, 2008 10:46 AM

          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
            musteat Dec 17, 2008 06:47 AM

            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
              Pan Dec 17, 2008 12:59 PM

              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
                loveroffood Dec 17, 2008 04:13 PM

                Supper is much better than Frank...imo

                1. re: loveroffood
                  Pan Dec 17, 2008 07:34 PM

                  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. h
            hillbillyfromnc Nov 10, 2008 10:49 AM

            E. Vill - Enoteca Barbone or Orologio
            LES - Tre

            1. b
              banjolinana Nov 10, 2008 12:58 PM

              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
                Saldb Nov 11, 2008 04:54 AM

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

              2. k
                Kodozzz Nov 14, 2008 01:48 PM

                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
                  redbecca Dec 14, 2008 06:13 AM

                  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
                    egit Dec 17, 2008 03:03 PM

                    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. m
                  maggiej Nov 19, 2008 09:11 AM

                  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. l
                    laurenelisa Nov 25, 2008 07:33 AM

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

                    1. p
                      Pan Nov 26, 2008 04:56 AM

                      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. LeahBaila Nov 26, 2008 11:49 AM

                        I'd stick with Malatesta!


                        1. _emilie_ Nov 26, 2008 12:10 PM

                          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. y
                            ywwan Nov 26, 2008 03:43 PM

                            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. f
                              FoodieFemme Dec 16, 2008 11:11 AM

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

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