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Convivio vs. Alto

Coming to Manhattan was looking to have dinner at a nice italian restaurant. Trying to keep it around 80 dollars per person for food only. I was looking at Convivio, which has a 4 course pre fixe at around 57 dollars, and Alto, which has a 4 course pre fixe for around 84 dollars. Ambiance is not as important as food so is Alto worth paying close to 30 dollars more. If their are any other suggestions I will also take those but I am coming in less than two weeks so reservations may be tought to get. Thanks

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  1. Actually, they are pretty easy to reserve on short notice. I like Convivio so much that I have only been to Alto once, as I can't see spending so much more, and I prefer the Southern Italian emphasis at Convivio.

    4 Replies
    1. re: rrems

      I actually already have reservations at both so that is not an issue. I was noting the time constraint in case someone was going to recomend a place like babbo.

      1. re: dagrassroots

        We had dinner at Alto last week. We did not do the prix fixe; instead, we shared a starter and a pasta, then each had a main and a dessert. Although we didn't do it necessarily to save money, it did turn out to be about $40 less than it would have been if we had both done the prix fixe. And we certainly did not go away hungry.

        The food was excellent. As has been mentioned, it is a different style and more refined;than at Convivio which, btw, we also like.

        You can see photos of our meal at Alto here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

      2. re: rrems

        I agree with Rrems. BTW: The prix fixe at Convivio is now $62. Two of us had a wonderful, light a la carte meal last Saturday for $110 including tax (with only one wine by the glass, but with one app, and two (large) pasta courses plus dessert and espresso) The octopus appetizer is just out of this world. Talk about an explosion of flavors!

        1. re: erica

          I had one of the best meals in NYC at Convivio just last month. the prix fixe, which was only $59, was a superb deal. The gnochetti with uni and crab as well as the chicken liver crostini are some of my new favorite restaurant dishes. Never been to Alto, but you certainly can't go wrong with Convivio.

      3. Alto is definitely more refined. I would say the food is on a higher level.

        1. Hahahaha. I was also deciding between the two and saw your entry from 'the Google' haha. Then I read the Brunz (Frank Bruni). Check it out my friend, because it kinda decided for me. Going on the 10th; if it sucks major ass, then I may keep you posted that night.

          People around here BTW, may frown (or throw monkey feces) upon mention of this NYT food critic's name, but hey, the guy knows more than most. And he ain't skinny hahaha

          1. I just had lunch at Alto and it was delicious. The portions were more than enough and I enjoyed every bit of it. Atmosphere was nice and service was good. Though, I just can't get over Convivio. I still like it better. Convivio is a bit more casual feeling. And I would go back for the food any time. In the end, I think I would pick Convivio.

            1. I like both, but Alto is a more upscale experience than Convivio. I would pick based on what you like more -- pasta or main courses. I enjoyed the pastas more at Convivio but enjoyed the mains more at Alto. I felt that the mains at Convivio were overshadowed by their fabulous pastas.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Miss Needle

                That's a good point. At Convivio I actually substituted a second pasta for my entree in the prix fixe.

              2. The Foie Gras at Alto is second only to Keller's at The French Laundry and that insane cotton candy version that Gras is doing at L2O, on my personal list of ~75 different preps.

                1. I'm probably the last to hear this, but I just read that Michael White might be leaving Alto and Convivio (but will remain with Marea and Osteria Morini).

                  http://ny.eater.com/archives/2010/11/...

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                  Convivio
                  45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

                  Marea
                  240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                  Osteria Morini
                  218 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: fm1963

                    I will be very depressed if things go downhill at Convivio..we had pretty bad service last time and were told that there was a new manager. But this was more than a month ago...I did not care much as the food is so great and it is in my area..

                  2. Looks like Michael White will be taking Alto's chef de cuisine, Gordon Finn, and Convivio's chef de cuisine, Matt Adler, along with him. I wonder who their replacements will be. The pastry chef Heather Bertinetti will remain at Alto and Convivio.

                    http://ny.eater.com/archives/2011/01/...

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                    Convivio
                    45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: fm1963

                      Chris Cannon has named the new chefs de cuisine: Giuliano Matarese at Convivio, and Terrence Gallivan at Alto. New menus will be offered next month, according to Eater.

                      The previous chefs de cuisine left with Michael White.

                      http://ny.eater.com/archives/2011/02/...

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                      Convivio
                      45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

                      1. re: fm1963

                        I had dinner at Convivio about a week ago and the food was as good as ever, which is to say great! I haven't been to Alto so I can't compare, but Convivio is a favorite of mine. If budget is a concern, I honestly don't see how you can go wrong.

                        1. re: City Kid

                          That's good to know. I've always had very good meals at Convivio as well. I haven't been back since the changes in chefs, but am curious about the upcoming menu changes.

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                          Convivio
                          45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

                      2. Oh no... "Chris Cannon Shutters Convivio, Perhaps Alto"

                        http://ny.eater.com/archives/2011/03/...

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                        Convivio
                        45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: fm1963

                          yikes... well, another of our favorite restaurants gone.

                            1. re: fm1963

                              Our good wishes to Chris and his staff. Two wonderful restaurants have closed. Alto we saved for the special celebrations, live birthdays. I will always remember the ravioli with the ricota and tomatoe; only one piece so big that a side salad and glass of wine was enough for a meal. Convivio as well as the predecessor il Tempo was a place we dined at on a regular basis, some times once a week. I can't remember how many firends we introduced to Convivio. As we all know, the world changes on a daily basis which is especially so in the restaurant business. We have our memories of fine times and meals; the staff always treated us like family; it was always great to return for a meal which usually was great. Best of luck to Chris and his staff as they find their way to new and better opportunities. Thanks for the memories.

                              -----
                              Convivio
                              45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

                              1. re: martyl9

                                FYI, much of the Convivio staff has gone with Michael White to Osteria Morini.

                                -----
                                Convivio
                                45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

                                Osteria Morini
                                218 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                                1. re: martyl9

                                  "Convivio as well as its predecessor il Tempo...."

                                  Just to be accurate, it was L'Impero.

                                  http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                2. re: fm1963

                                  Wow. Terrible news. I've had great meals at both. RIP.

                                  1. re: Riverman500

                                    I hope Cannon resurfaces eventually.

                                    “Unforeseen Business Circumstances” Blamed for Alto and Convivio’s Closings
                                    http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...

                                    Lawyers Suing Alto Swear The Shutter Isn't Their Fault
                                    http://ny.eater.com/archives/2011/03/...

                            2. Meh. While I've never been to Alto, my experience at Convivio was so underwhelming, I have a sneaking suspicion the New York dining scene will recover quickly.

                              -----
                              Convivio
                              45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: linguafood

                                Same here. Was unimpressed by Convivio. I did enjoy Alto though.