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Alternative to Bellavitae for wife's birthday?

It's my wife's birthday later this month and I'd like to take her somewhere in the vein of Bellavitae - delicious authentic italian food in an understated setting. We've been to Bellavitae so many times that it would be really nice to try somewhere different. Anywhere downtown would work. Any thoughts?

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  1. We've never been to Bellavitae. When you say "authentic" Italian, what exactly does that mean? In any case, how about Scarpetta? Authentic or not, the food is seriously delicious, service is excellent, and the setting is very pleasant.

    Photos from our first dinner at Scarpetta, including shots of the interior here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

    Another set from our second dinner here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

    4 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      bellavitae and scarpetta yes both have good food, but are totalally different, b-is understated, s- is overstated

      1. re: intrepid

        What exactly do you think is overstated about the ambiance at Scarpetta?

        1. re: RGR

          the noise, the people, the surrounding hood etc

          1. re: intrepid

            One of my major restaurant peeves is high noise levels, and I have never found Scarpetta to be exceptionally noisy. I'm not sure what you mean by "the people." From our two experiences there, the restaurant attracts a very mixed crowd. And unless you are eating at one of the al fresco tables (something I would never do since I don't like dining on the sidewalk), I don't see how the surrounding neighborhood is an issue.

    2. We like Bellavitae a lot. We also like I Sodi on Christopher Street.

      1. I haven't been to Bellavitae, but I just took a look at the menu and based on that I think you would like Pepolino.

        1. One of the chefs from Bellavitae opened his own restaurant, Palma, on Cornelia Street. We haven't been, but I assume it has food similar to Bellavitae.

          http://www.palmanyc.com/home.html

          2 Replies
          1. re: ttoommyy

            Eventually, our Bellavitae dinners were put to an end - it recently closed down. So with a teary eye we tried Palma for our wedding anniversary last week. I'm happy to report that the meal was a huge success. Palma is very similar to Bellavitae in its understated and relaxed setting, the staff are wonderful, and the food (which we shared) is superb. Here's what we had: The caprese and beet salads were very good. The Malfatti (a dumpling of spinach and buffalo ricotta cheese) was absolutely delicious, and the tagliata di manzo may even have been the best I have had. The pannacotta and cheese cake were also memorable. So it looks like we have a new favorite. Nonetheless, we'll miss Bellavitae.

            1. re: mr_seabass

              Thanks for the report. We've yet to try Palma, so your good words make me want to go. Sad to see that Bellavitae closed...I had not idea.

          2. You might consider Quinto Quarto a few blocks away.