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Italian Food - Good, simple fare. Does it exist?

So I'm wondering if a good, homey Italian restaurant with a nice atmosphere exists? I'm going out to with a group. One of the guests isn't into fancy-pants Italian food and had food limitations since they only eat chicken or fish. So I'm looking for simple yet delicious rustic fare. So far I'm leaning toward Da Andrea but does anyone have suggestions? Thanks.

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  1. What exactly do you mean by "rustic?" That word might apply to half the Italian restaurants in the city. Lupa is one idea.

    1 Reply
    1. re: erica

      Thanks Erica. Rustic in my view = simple preparation. Not too trendy. Probably redundant since I already said "simple" :0).

    2. how big is the group? certain part of city?

      bianca might work for you but it is cash only and not very big. la vela on the uws sounds like it will fit your menu limitations. nothing super fancy but quaint with good food.

      3 Replies
      1. re: mch

        Looking for something downtown but it's not a necessity since we are all traveling from all parts. 5 in the party. Thanks.

        1. re: lalanyc

          Crispo is my fave! I think it's simple and delicious!

          1. re: lalanyc

            Apizz is really lovely and they have many rustic/homey dishes, including wonderful meatballs. I am sure they have enough scope to please even the meat shunner.

          1. Max, Supper, Lil Frankies, Cacio e Vino, Cacio e Pepe, Cannonau, etc. etc.

            1. Malatesta and Piadina. or Grano.

              1 Reply
              1. Spina! but it's really the pasta for me

                1. Il Vagabondo on 62 St. It has been around long enough to be traditional and not trendy. The bocce court adds atmosphere. The location is a quiet street.

                  1. I Sodi on Christopher street is Florentine, so maybe that's more big city than rustic. But they meet my "no dish has more than five or six ingredients" simplicity rule, and the food and ingredients are excellent. It's about as close to Italy as I've found in NY. It's a small place, not sure if it's ideal for a large group, but I've seen a dozen people at a table there (which is at least 1/3 of the restaurant).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: DavyTheFatBoy

                      Peasant in Soho, Bacaro (downstairs) in Chinatown, Apizz in LES, Morandi in W. Village. Barbutto is owned by chef Jonathan Waxman in W. Village, Crispo, W. Village