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Great Italian restaurant similar to Crispo in food, atmosphere, price??

Hey all,

Taking the parents to the city in a few weeks and was looking for some great Italian in the style of Crispo. We went there last year and they loved it. My mother is more of a "safe order" and particularly loves pasta dishes, while my father and I are most adventurous eaters and will try almost anything. Therefore, any pastas that include duck, lamb, tripe, etc she will not eat. She loves pizza, pasta, chicken, shrimp, and will occasionally delve into fish that she does not deem "too" foreign. Crispo had a very large and extensive menu with lots of specials so it was great since it had a nice variation for all of us to choose from.

To give you an idea of what I am looking for I am considering Lupa, Otto, Giorgio's of Gramercy, Max (may be a bit too casual, want to try something a little better), and Maialino (obviously the most high end and priciest). After looking at the menus I think these would be pretty good. Although, for batali restaurants I must say Lupa and Otto have some really basic pasta dishes. And the same goes for Maialino on the pasta front. For entrees, it seems like a lot of them may be outside of my mother's comfort realm with the exception of the chicken. So she would probably have to choose from either a pasta or the chicken. Do they serve the eggplant in the trattoria? Anyway, my father and I would go for the main even - Suckling pig.

Basically, just want a really great meal, nice atmosphere, great experience. In the medium price range preferably. Any other recommendations??

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      1. re: daffyduck

        Most of those are way more expensive than Crispo.

      2. I've also heard great things about Locanda Verde and Al Di La

        1. Really good parent Italian place = Sfoglia on Upper East Side. I'm not one to go out of my way to go that far north, but i thought their pasta dishes were fantastic. The rest of the menu (with the exception of the bread which was amazing), not on the same level as the pasta...My mom loves it and talks about it in the same breath as some of her other favs, standard mom joints like Crispo and Five Points.

          www.immaculateinfatuation.com

          1. As a Crispo fan who also likes many other Italian places, I am pretty confident saying that the most similar in all aspects are Locanda Verde and Lupa. Convivio and Scarpetta are wonderful but much more expensive. You will need to reserve LV at least 2 weeks in advance, and if it's a weekend more like 4 weeks. For Lupa you may already be too late to reserve, but they hold most of their tables for walk-ins, though you will have a wait. Da Andrea is also a nice choice, and even less expensive than Crispo. I find the food a bit less exciting, but always reliably good, and a lively atmosphere with great service.

            3 Replies
            1. re: rrems

              Thanks for recommendations. I forgot completely about Locanda Verde and have wanted to try that. Peasant is also a very good recommendation, although their menu is rather limited. Anyone been lately? Seems like the menu on their website hasn't changed in forever. Do they offer specials?

              1. re: steakrules85

                I would suggest looking into Sandro's, on the UES - I've had several fabulous meals there recently.

              2. re: rrems

                I just want to add to my post that I would NOT recommend Otto, a mediocre pizza and pasta joint with pretentions. If you want to try a Batali place, stick with Lupa.

              3. My Italian Mom loves Peasant, especially their gnocchi.

                1. My parents didn't enjoy Otto b/c it was too loud. Giorgio's I wouldn't necessarily consider very Italian. I've taken my parents to Peasant, and they love it (and ask to go back even though they very infrequently come here).