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Italian near the Theatre District

Looking for a good, not too expensive, not touristy Italian restaurant relatively near the Theatre District for birthday dinner for two. Thanks for any suggestions.

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  1. Il Punto is on the outskirts of the Theater District, on the corner of 9th Av. & 38th St. Delicious food and very nice ambiance.


    1. Nanni. A little further East
      46th btwn lex and third

      1 Reply
      1. Il Punto (fka Osteria Gelsi), Carbone (38th street btw. 8th and 9th) and Roberto Passon (50th and 9th).

        1. Puttanesca on 9th Ave, Boca di Bacco on 9th Ave, Osteria al Doge on 46th btwn 6th and Broadway

            1. re: scattoni

              Becco can get very touristy but the all you can eat pasta is a good deal even though there is better pasta to be found elsewhere.

              1. re: stephaniec25

                I don't care if Becco is a tourist trap. I like seeing Lidia there. The veal chop is excellent. One out of the 3 pastas they walk around with is usually good. I recommend Becco, Call me a tourist , who cares. Is Felidia a tourist trap? I think the whole city is a tourist trap. Every restaurant we recommend here is where the tourists go.

                1. re: foodwhisperer

                  I think the expression "tourist trap" indicates a belief that it's a bad value. Tourists go to Katz's all the time, and it's a great, classic New York place, one of the few classic Jewish delicatessens left. So it's a place that's on the tourbus trail or whatever, but not a tourist trap (of course, a few hounds differ).

                  1. re: Pan

                    my definition of a tourist trap , is a place that is in all the tourist guides , is a ripoff, and the food is not good. So, I don't think Becco is a tourist trap, but I do think a place like Mama Leone;s sure was. I think Carmine's is too. Katz's is not, by my definition. Magnolia Bakery definitely is.

                    1. re: foodwhisperer

                      Based on one trip to Becco, I thought it was, but I guess it's possible I got them on an off day. Agreed on the others.

                      1. re: Pan

                        No, Pan, you did not get it on an "off" day. What you got is what it is now -- the proberbial far cry from what it was when it first opened and before Lidia became a star on the tee vee.


                        1. re: RGR

                          I didn't think so, either. I was just being polite. :-)

              2. re: scattoni

                Re: Becco. Two words: Tourist Trap!

                1. re: scattoni

                  We went to Becco once pre theater with a couple who always go there before a show. For the life of me I can't understand why they don't try other Manhattan restaurants. We were "along for the ride".
                  Becco was good, not great. We had a reservation but still waited 20 minutes. We rushed thru dinner to make the show.
                  So many better places.

                  1. Roberto Passon, Trattoria Trecolori, Vice Versa

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Striver

                      I'm always amazed at the negative comments about Becco. Though it's often very crowded, the service is efficient, the pastas are well prepared (always al dente and often creative), there's a robust wine list for $25 per bottle, and you never leave hungry. Indeed, it remains the major bargain on West 46th Street. While many tourists frequent this place, so do many of my NYC foodie friends and colleagues who know and understand value.

                      1. re: Will4Food

                        Well, I'm not sure why you're responding to me, since I didn't say anything about Becco in this thread.

                        However, since you mention it, I went once and was singularly unimpressed. It was very crowded and noisy and I found the pastas mediocre. I don't mind tourists in the least - they're NYCs life blood, and I enthusiastically welcome them - but with the other choices available in the area, I don't see any reason to recommend Becco to either natives or tourists. YMMV, of course.

                        1. re: Will4Food

                          My view of Becco is that it has become a victim of its popularity. When it first opened years ago, Lidia was not yet a household name, and the restaurant was just another "local" Theater District spot on Restaurant Row. The pastas were very good, i.e., an excellent value for the price, tables were nicely-spaced, and the noise level was comfortable. When Lidia became famous via her t.v. show and books, the restaurant's popularity soared and tourists streamed in. To accommodate the crowds (and make more money), they decided to jam as many tables into each room as could possibly fit so that one is sitting practically in some stranger's lap. This also affected the noise level, which, as I've noted, is egregiously high. Finally, based on our last visit two years ago, I found that the quality of the pastas had fallen considerably to where they were barely mediocre. I think the major factor there is that both Lidia and her son Joe are so involved in their other ventures that there's no way they can pay the same hands-on attention to Becco now that they did when they first opened it. Imo, it's become just a cash cow. For me, there's no value in a so-called "bargain" when the food being served is mediocre and the atmospherics are severely uncomfortable.

                          I suggest you go to Tocqeville for lunch and have the $24 3-course prix fixe + the $15 wine pairings. Superb cuisine and good wines served by a professional staff in a spacious room with understated elegant surroundings and a civilized noise level. *That* is my idea of a major bargain!

                      2. Trattoria d'el Arte on 7th across from Carnegie Hall. We like to sit at the Antipasta bar, but there's also a cute wine room.

                        1. Reviving this old thread. I'm also looking for a good, authentic, and cheap Italiano place in midtown. I'm really interested in something that will serve me a good plate of spaghetti and meatballs and not a fancy place. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

                          1. Esca. It's not cheap, but it's very, very good. A Bastianich restaurant.

                            402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: mahler5

                              Thanks. I'm looking for a cheap red tablecloth kinda place with good pasta and red sauce. Nothing fancy. I'm willing to walk a few blocks out of the theater district.

                              1. re: mummer43

                                bump... Anyone have any ideas for a red tablecloth-type place near the Theater District?

                                1. re: prima

                                  How about Bricco? My girlfriend's parents brought us there once and I thought it was quite decent.

                                  1. re: peter j

                                    Thanks, peter j. I noticed Bricco on Opentable, but hadn't read anything about it on CH. http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...

                                    1. re: prima

                                      I've only been there once but thought that the baked eggplant appetizer and rigatoni with mushrooms and artichokes were very pleasing. The fresh grape pie was delightful too. My girlfriend, who usually prefers a somewhat more contemporary vibe like Lincoln or Marea, liked Bricco's food as well though I can't remember what she had.