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In town next week, confused and overwhelmed with selectiing 3-4 places for Italian dinners?

mick Apr 6, 2009 03:11 PM

I'm looking for some different food experiences, dont want to repeat same style. Coming in late on Sunday and was just going to eat around hotel 47th@Broadway so thought maybe Orso or Roberto Passon. Next night was thinking early dinner at either Babbo or Scapetta? After that I would like one place that does Italian comfort food well, such as Spagetti and meat balls lasagna etc, and finally see alot of post for places such as Convivio, Scuderia,Apizz,Inoteca,Sant Ambroeus,Aurora,L'Artusi,Cacio e Vino Piccolo Angolo, Bar Pitti etc. Here's where I'm confused any thoughts on narrowing things down or changing plans a bit would be appreciated. Thanks,

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  1. financialdistrictresident RE: mick Apr 6, 2009 03:22 PM

    If you are considering Babbo, you might want to make a reservation immediately or consider the "walk-in" approach . . .

    I've only been to Convivio.

    1. d
      david sprague RE: mick Apr 6, 2009 03:27 PM

      apizz is wonderful for meatballs and pastas baked in their wood-fired oven. also makes for nice atmosphere if it's a bit chilly.

      i really like insieme, which has introduced a 35 dollar prix fixe dinner (though i'd recommend splurging on the pasta tasting menu).

      personally, i like the vibe at lupa better than babbo in batali world....

      do you have boundaries you'd like to stay within, either $-wise or location-wise?

      1 Reply
      1. re: david sprague
        mick RE: david sprague Apr 6, 2009 03:30 PM

        No particular boudries $ or location wise. Just want 4 places that are differnt in their approach to Italian food and with varying atmospheres.

      2. r
        rrems RE: mick Apr 6, 2009 04:06 PM

        To have four nicely varied experiences, I would pick Scarpetta, Convivio, Lupa and Orso.

        1. LeahBaila RE: mick Apr 7, 2009 05:50 AM

          I'm a huge fan of L'Artusi and love their spaghetti & meatballs (on the cheaper side, too).
          Not too familiar w/ Italian in the theater district, though I found Cascina to be good (great Bolognese sauce and nice atmosphere).
          I love Apizz and if you can get to Babbo around 5:30-ish, you may be OK.


          1. r
            RGR RE: mick Apr 7, 2009 08:03 AM

            For upscale, I would recommend Alto, Convivio's sister restaurant. Closed Sunday.


            For excellent traditional Italian-American (meatballs & spaghetti a sometimes special, but all the other usual suspects are on the regular menu), we like Campanile. Open Mon.-Fri. only.


            1 Reply
            1. re: RGR
              dan RE: RGR Apr 8, 2009 08:15 AM

              Any insight into the reasoning behind those hours? Lamarca on 22nd & 3rd is the same way, only open M-F.

              It seems their accountant might say, "You know, many people enjoy eating out on Saturday and brunch on Sunday."

            2. x
              xigua RE: mick Apr 7, 2009 08:18 AM

              throwing out some regional options
              emilia romagna - via emilia
              sicilian - cacio e vino
              japanese italian - basta pasta, greenwich grill
              neapolitan pizza - UPN, Keste

              1. s
                samanthainthecity RE: mick Apr 7, 2009 08:32 AM

                I love Volare in the West Village for "Old World" Italian comfort food and I am a huge fan of Babbo. I would also suggest Luzzo's in the East Village which has an amzing risotto as well as great brick oven pizzas and great pasta dishes.

                1. w
                  wavey mo davey RE: mick Apr 7, 2009 09:20 AM

                  Alloro: one of the more interesting Italian restaurants in NYC at the moment. (http://www.alloronyc.com/) 307 East 77th Street

                  Falai: the other interesting Italian restaurant (http://falainyc.com/falai/) 68 Clinton Street

                  Teadora: Excellent Emila-Romagna cuisine - 141 E 57th Street

                  Spigolo: Italo-American fusion - 1561 Second Avenue

                  Crispo: Italo-American; best Carbonara in NYC (http://www.crisporestaurant.com/) 240 West 14th Street

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: wavey mo davey
                    financialdistrictresident RE: wavey mo davey Apr 7, 2009 10:53 AM

                    Second Falai. Had the pleasure of dining there twice in the past month or so . . .it remains one of my favorites. Looking forward to the new menu.

                    1. re: financialdistrictresident
                      mick RE: financialdistrictresident Apr 7, 2009 11:34 AM

                      For old world italian comfort food are Campanile, Il Cortile and Volare in the same class...food,price and atmosphere wise? and Via Emelia's menu looks good and reasonable, any thoughts. More confusion Apizz or L'artusi? Think I've already decided to hit Babbo early one evening instead of Scarpetta?

                      1. re: mick
                        RGR RE: mick Apr 7, 2009 12:29 PM

                        I like Via Emilia specifically for the homemade pastas, the lasagna being the standout. Large space with bright decor. Note that it's cash only, and they do not accept reservations.

                        One more to add to your confusion: Osteria Gelsi. on the corner of 9th Av. & 38th St., for delicious Pugliese cuisine. The timballo is not-to-be-missed.


                        1. re: mick
                          Slob RE: mick Apr 7, 2009 01:29 PM

                          I had the pasta tasting menu at Babbo a couple of years ago. It's been the only tasting menu that left me very full. I find that most other tasting menus have REALLY small portions, but Babbo left me stuffed. And it was delicious. Very rich though. It'll stick with you for quite awhile, so don't plan on eating again on the night if you opt for the pasta tasting menu.

                          We preferred our trip to Scarpetta. The seating wasn't at all cramped like it was at Babbo. The room was nicer. The food was probably a little better too. We went with the short rib risotto and the polenta appetizers and two pasta dishes for our main plates. Superb food and impeccable service. The desserts, however, were not memorable.

                          1. re: Slob
                            Pan RE: Slob Apr 7, 2009 02:25 PM

                            I didn't find Babbo cramped the one time I've been there so far, but I was on the 2nd floor. Were you on the ground floor?

                            1. re: Pan
                              Slob RE: Pan Apr 7, 2009 08:16 PM

                              Ground floor by the front window. They squeeze about 10 seats into a little nook where the waiter can barely get in and out of and you can't move your seat at all.

                          2. re: mick
                            Ms.Munchie RE: mick Apr 7, 2009 03:41 PM

                            I think Scarpetta is way better than Babbo. Food is better. Atmosphere is better. Roomier. Service is incredible. Just sayin'. : )

                            1. re: Ms.Munchie
                              mick RE: Ms.Munchie Apr 7, 2009 04:30 PM

                              What about if your sitting at the bar is Babbo or Scarpeta preferable to one another?

                              1. re: mick
                                Slob RE: mick Apr 7, 2009 08:17 PM

                                The bar at Babbo looked a lot tighter than Scarpetta, but it's been a couple years since I've been to Babbo. So my memory might be off.

                                1. re: Slob
                                  Ms.Munchie RE: Slob Apr 8, 2009 07:14 AM

                                  I agree with Slob. There's a lot of elbow room at Scarpetta AND food/service is great. Babbo is good - don't get me wrong - but I am sick of being crammed in to Batali's sardine restaurants.

                                  1. re: Ms.Munchie
                                    Rock48nj RE: Ms.Munchie Apr 8, 2009 08:30 AM

                                    The only way I have eaten at both Babbo and Scarpetta is at the bar and the Scarpetta experience is much more enjoyable in my opinion. Love them both, but at Scarpetta you have a bit more room, and I agree the service is great. I enjoy sitting down at the end near the station... great place to eat a little, converse a little, drink a little and eat some more.

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