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Keste or Motorino for special dinner (Grom for Gelato)

My wife is Italian (from Florence) and has not been home in about 2 years. While we are scheduled to go back this summer, She's been homesick for pizza and gelato. Our anniversary is coming up later this month and I want to try at least to satisfy her cravings till summer. I was thinking that either of these two would be at least close enough. What's you opinion? Any other suggestions for Gelato ? or even pizza?

Don't suggest Labrotorio d' Gelato - Would never ever return , sure he let my wife try one flavor. After filling the cup, he precisely removed the equivalent of the taste he had given her.

Even though it's our anniversary, athmosphere isn't important it's all about the chow.

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  1. I prefer L'Arte over Grom for gelato. They are close enough that you can do a comparison.

    Keste is more convient to both gelato places, but Motorino's pizza has the edge in my book. If you like a softer more Naples-style crust, ask Motorino to make it less well done. My Italian friends like Keste better though.

    No. 28 on Carmine is also good for pizza and usually less crowded than Keste or Motorino, but not quite up to their level.

    1. I never tried Keste. But I liked motorino, especially their brussel sprout pizza.
      I tried a couple of gelato places (Grom, L'Arte, Lab, etc) and my favorite place in manhattan is Bruno's Bakery. I highly recommend it, especially if you're in the west village. My favorite flavor there was the Cannolo. I also think it's a nice place to sit down and have coffee and desserts after your pizza, especially since it is your anniversary. I know you don't care much about atmosphere, but this is also one of my favorite places to bring a date.

      2 Replies
      1. re: daffyduck

        I used to go to Bruno all the time when they had a branch on Bleecker and thought the gelato was really good (that was before L'Arte and Grom arrived). The fact that you could sit down and have coffee and other desserts was a big plus. Somehow I don't think to walk a few blocks over to La Guardia Place to go to Bruno these days. But I think that is an excellent suggestion for a nice place to top off a dinner.

        I really love Otto's gelato as well. Would be great if they opened a dedicated gelato spot.

        1. re: daffyduck

          Hmmm...My girlfriend and I thought their gelato was merely good and by no means great when we had some last summer. Different strokes for different folks, etc.

        2. The pizza at Keste is better than Motorino or 28 Carmine. And it's a sweet place with sweet service.

          Grom is okay, nothing to write home about. Go to Otto on 8th St/5th /Ave for dessert - best gelato in NYC by far. And a very good selection of amari.

          1. I love Keste! I've never been to Motorino, though, so can't comment on that. Keste is literally a minute from Grom though, so that's a plus. I lived in Italy for five months and I think Keste is as good as, or better than, most of the pizza I had in Florence or Rome. As for Grom, I was obsessed with it when I was in Florence and went a few times a week. I'm in grad school now, though, and just don't have the money to pay 6-8 bucks for gelato, even though if it's half as good as it was in Florence, it would be worth it.

            Speaking of Florence, are there any places in town that have Tuscany-style bread (i.e., no salt)? I LOVED that about Florence and just can't seem to find any place outside of there that has that kind of bread (we Americans enjoy our sodium, I suppose!).

            15 Replies
            1. re: Jess321

              Hey Jess321
              Speaking of Florence, going this summer. Know this is the NYC board but any quick recommendations for when we go?

              1. re: breezey

                Acqua al Due-get the blueberry steak!!! They also have some version of a tasting menu with multiple salads, pastas, and desserts, all of which are incredible. Can't really remember where it was but it was NEAR a street called Aqua something, they have a website though. Also, there's a great (and cheap!) sandwich shop near Piazza Olympia (I think? It's been a few years..), its called Gusto Panini and it is AWESOME!

                1. re: Jess321

                  Otto is a 5 minute walk from Keste. And it's worth it.

                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                    keste and motorino blow otto out of the water...

                    1. re: smokeandapancake

                      im pretty sure gutsofsteel was suggesting otto just for gelato\dessert, not for pizza.

                      1. re: smokeandapancake

                        I know you are recommending it for gelato. I've heard Otto's pizza is overrated from many of the board. Is this true?

                        1. re: steakrules85

                          I found it to be so not worth the calories or wait or price, at least compared to any of the other pizza places I've eaten at in the city. But it's a different style than the others that I normally go to, anyway. It's more of a thin crust, but something about it just tasted off, like it was sour or something. It's definitely a fun atmosphere and I did enjoy the tapas-style veggie things I had. I recall an eggplant dish and some brussel sprouts that were good. But I wouldn't go there if you were looking for great pizza, especially with so many great places (like Keste or Arturo's) so close by!

                          1. re: steakrules85

                            It's grilled and while not the best in town, it can be good if you order carefully (the menu is pretty uneven). I like the lardo. But the style is quite different from other places.

                            1. re: kathryn

                              Hmmm when I think grilled I think flatbread and that does not really sit well with me. I am a big Batali fan and have wanted to try it. Their menu looks intriguing, especially with antipasti and pastas and well of course the gelato.

                              I am thinking the best plan of action may be to go to Keste and then come to Otto for gelato. I am guessing they have no problem with people just popping in for dessert and skipping dinner??

                              1. re: steakrules85

                                You can order gelato at the bar area.

                                1. re: steakrules85

                                  they also have to go cups if u want to stop by and just get gelato to go. they only have one size though 3 scoops for 7.50 plus tax.
                                  i was in the same situation a little while back and wanted to try otto mainly for their gelato. i decided to stop in one day for appetizers\salami, pasta, and desserts. The most memorable thing to me were the veggies (especially brussel sprouts) and I am a dessert guy. So I think u should try Otto one of these days. But if you are set on pizza then you probably shouldn't do Otto.
                                  btw i don't know if this will help but the gelatos I've tried were vanilla, cream cheese, creme fraiche, guiness stout, olive oil, caramel, and whatever is in the black and white which I believe is milk chocolate.
                                  my favorite 3 i believe were cream cheese, milk chocolate, and vanilla in that order. I thought the desserts that I tried with the best flavors was the brioche pudding but they give u such a pussy scoop of vanilla. Some of the flavors from the brioche pudding is a bit strong and there's not enough gelato to smooth it out. So if you do order gelato at the bar and have someone with you or have the stomach for it I think you should also get the brioche pudding. If not the black and white is also delicious and I think there are two gelato flavors in there. I'm not sure though if you can get desserts to go.

                              2. re: steakrules85

                                Yeah, I didn't care for Otto's pizza. Their copetta however is fantastic!

                          2. re: Jess321

                            The rest of Italy enjoys there sodium too. I haven't seen any Tuscan style bread in NY though there might be some

                          3. Keste and Motorino are both really good but for my money I prefer Motorino. The dough at Motorino has a magic to it that Keste doesn't quite match, and Motorino gets more char which I prefer.

                            But as other's have pointed out, you're in much better shape for Gelato at Keste. That said, I think the $7 Grom charges for a modest serving is unconscionable. If their gelato was superb I'd be willing to splurge on it once in a while, but it's not so I don't give them my business. I like L'Arte, especially the pistachio. If you're up for a longer walk the Otto suggestion is a great one. That's gelato I'd pay a high price for.

                            Also, both Keste and Motorino serve Menabrea lager. Good way to wash down your pizza.

                            So in sum, the best overall eating is Motorino and Otto. But Keste and L'Arte are a convenient pairing that are both really good.