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May 13, 2009 03:28 PM

Italian dining challenge:

So we are 3 people,- one who's quintessential Italian is Tony's DiNapoli and Carmines, one vegan just turning to vegetarian (so cheese is o.k.) but no meat of any kind, and myself who loves Scarpetta and Babbo (and have been to both Tony's and Carmines ONCE and hope never to go back). Nothing too formal, 30's-50's east or west preferred. Where can we go so everyone is happy? HELP.

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  1. I'm a vegetarian and I really like Trattoria Trecolori. I've taken a couple of different groups there -- some fish eaters, some (big time) meat eaters, some picky eaters. All have enjoyed it. For your veg friend, I've had several of their ravioli dishes (usually specials) and they are really wonderful. The downstairs is quite bustling (esp. pretheatre) but the upstairs is quieter and the tables have more spacing between them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LNG212

      Adding a place:

      Trattoria Trecolori
      254 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

    2. imo all the good italian is south of 17th street if you're not on an expense account. 30s-50s will be tough. sounds like the carmines guy would like serafinas. hard to call not knowing your budget. if youre on a budget though, angelos for pizza and pasta is quite good. theyre penne vodka is excellent and the pizza is very fresh (and a great option for a veg). the menu in general though is simple and affordable (they offer a family style pasta portion as well if you like that). they get a plus for execution. simple modest decor though- dont expect babbo. i think its on 58th and 5th/6th. if you want babbo quality and arent on a budget, san pietro does some really nice things (theyll even shave you fresh truffles)- even then, its not as good as babbo. my sleeper in the area is the tacky named 'pasta lovers' on 49th btw 6th/7th. really nice and hearty meat tortellini bolognese and great fried zucchini. youll have to live past the name of the place though. affordable.

      2 Replies
      1. re: conordog

        Is I Trulli an option? I've always found the food to be good, atmosphere and service, too. Nice little garden out back in warmer weather.

        1. re: conordog

          Thanks so much for the suggestions, budget is not a factor.

        2. While I like Trecolori and I Trulli, my pick would be Convivio, which I think is a cut above those two.

          4 Replies
          1. re: RGR

            I heartily second Convivio, my favorite Italiian restaurant .

            1. re: rrems

              I just wonder if the menu there is too intimidating for the Parmigiana / Scallopine Italian eater. If they have to ask what it means they think they won't like it.

              1. re: misnatalie

                It's a shame, but you are probably right. Have you looked at the menu? If it won't work, another recommendation would be Crispo, as another poster suggests. It's not on the level of Convivio, but everything is delicious, and the menu is extensive, with the familiar dishes along with more adventurous ones. They also show the menu on their website, though it may not be completely up to date or include the list of specials.

                1. re: rrems

                  I really like Crispo but it is too far down town.

          2. Try Lydia's Becco ,,,,, its in between what you mention ,,, the pastas are pretty good and the veal chop is very good,,and they give you all the pasta you want

            3 Replies
            1. re: foodwhisperer

              go for Insieme....old school/new school menu, all palates satisfied

              1. re: drumwine

                Looks perfect, that's for the suggestion.

              2. re: foodwhisperer

                I would not recommend Becco. The ayce pastas are mediocre; they've jammed in as many table as possible in each dining room, making seating sardine-tight; and the noise level is deafening.

              3. I agree with most of the suggestions here, Convivio, and iTrulli most of all.

                I'm not sure Becco is the place I'd choose, it's quite tight, and if you go a the wrong time you'll be wedged in with the pre-theater crowd.

                This may cause some gasps, but I've become a frequent visitor of Salute on 39th and Madison. They changed owners about 18 months ago, and have a menu that highlights home-made fresh pastas. It's no Babbo or Scarpetta, but it's head and shoulders above Carmines and Tony's. I just double-checked the menu, and there are plenty of options for the vegetarians, and meat-lovers alike.

                If you're looking for something slightly off the beaten path, I'd definitely recommend Salute (especially the pasta).