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Italian: I've narrowed it down to Five...

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Hello,

This is my first post on Chow Hound, but I've used this site as a guide for years! After much browsing through the different boards, I have narrowed down my list for an Italian dinner to five restaurants.

Background: Annual Mother/Daughter trip to NYC, we're from Miami area, both foodies, looking for excellent Italian food with beautiful atmosphere. We will be in the city for 4 nights (mon - fri) and are centering our trip around dining.

We are looking for after theater dinner around 10pm or so and any price is acceptable.

In no particular order:

Marea
Convivio
Alto
Hearth
Locanda Verde (could also have lunch here)

*Scarpetta is not on the list bc they recently opened one in Miami.

Thank you!

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Convivio
45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

Marea
240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

Locanda Verde
377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

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  1. Have you checked to see if the kitchen is open at 11 at these places? They are all solid choices.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chow_gal

      I forgot to do this! Unfortunately, only Marea was open that late. Because of this, I changed the night and the reservation time to 10pm and later. Now all are available. Thanks! :)

      -----
      Marea
      240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

    2. just ate at marea last week. fantastic. seriosuly fantastic

      5 Replies
      1. re: thew

        Going tonight, what did you get?

        1. re: MVNYC

          the fusili with wine braised octopus and bone marrow is a must, as is the sea urchin and lardo app - although the app is small for the money, it is amazing.
          i'll cut and paste everything i had - but there were 2 of us, we had 2 apps, split the pasta and a scallop dish, and then 2 desserts. they were also willing to split wines to half glasses which was nice for pairing purposes (only done because of the several martinis we had elsewhere before dinner)

          RICCI sea urchin, lardo, sea salt
          PIEDINI pressed pork trotters, scungilli, potato puree, salsa verde

          CAPESANTE roasted sea scallops, favas, pancetta, spring garlic, candied orange, brown butter sugo

          FUSILLI red wine braised octopus, bone marrow

          TORTA DI FORMAGGIO
          coconut cheesecake, coconut foam passion fruit sherbet

          PISTACHIO
          sicilian pistachio cake, valrhona chocolate crema candied kumquats, pistachio gelato

          the portions were probably small for the price, but i did not leave unsatisfied in any way. the desserts were good, but i don't think as good as the savory dishes.

          service was great, the waiter was helpful, friendly, spot on with suggestions and attitude, w/out ever being snooty or any pressure of any sort.

          i could eat that damned fusilli by the cartload.

          1. re: thew

            Now you know you'll need your own order of the fusilli! I'd be loathe to share it.

            The affogato was the standout dessert for me.

            1. re: thew

              Thanls for the post. Looks really good. I'll be making a reservation,

              1. re: thew

                Left just before you posted for a pre dinner drink but ended up really liking Marea. Went with a few other people and did the four course meal. Everything was good but I would say the mains were not the highlight. If you go I would get appetizers, crudo and pasta ala carte. Probably throw up a review tomorrow but the astice, fusilli and tortelli were the big hits. Very good oysters as well.

                -----
                Marea
                240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

          2. Marea is certainly at the top of that list, I'd say - but they can get VERY expensive. If you do a full Italian meal - antipasti, pasta, entree, dessert - it could be quite a splurge.

            Although they do have Italian leanings, I tend to think of Hearth as more of a "Seasonal New American" place. Very good, even great, don't get me wrong - and a spectacular wine list, as well. But not really a "High Italian" place. I'd compare it more to Gramercy Tavern, honestly, than I would to the other four you have listed.

            Other places I'd consider:
            Del Posto
            Babbo (of course)
            Falai (Florentine with a bit of whimsy - the influence of his neighbor, Wylie Dufresne, shows)
            Peasant (super rustic, hearty)

            Not to confuse matters by throwing more possibilities out there, but you've gone very Michael-White-Heavy (all three of his restaurants!) so I thought I'd let Batali and a couple of our other greats have a little love...

            -----
            Gramercy Tavern
            42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

            Babbo
            110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

            Del Posto
            85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

            Falai
            68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

            Marea
            240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

            4 Replies
            1. re: sgordon

              Marea has a 4 course Prix Fixe that's just that for $89 a head. Not cheap, for sure, but at least you know what you're getting into.

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              Marea
              240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

              1. re: sgordon

                Look at Hearth's menu. It is largely Italian.

                1. re: gutsofsteel

                  I've been to Hearth a number of times. The food on my plate I'd define as "Seasonal New American" with Italian influence. In fact, that's the way it's described on their website, essentially: "rooted in the modern traditions of the American kitchen with influences from our Italian heritage."

                2. re: sgordon

                  sgordon - Thank you for the suggestions. I have never been to one of Michael White's restaurants and after hearing all the rave reviews, I really wanted to try one. Thus the three...
                  I have been to Babbo and had a wonderful meal there. Del Posto is ruled out because my mother had a bad experience there (service related, I heard the food was excellent) I will certainly look into Peasant and Falai. I love hearing about new restaurants to try!

                  -----
                  Babbo
                  110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                  Del Posto
                  85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                  Falai
                  68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                3. i think locanda verde is watered down italian for white people...very bland to me. nice space though. good pastries and baked goods.

                  never been to marea but only heard good things.

                  my love affair with convivio is over. its good but not great. pastas are homemade and yummy but nothing as good as the pasta ive had at dell'anima to be honest. the service is too formal and awkward.

                  hearth is heavy...good food, nice spot...but heavy. only go if you want to be stuffed.

                  id do marea.

                  1. I would skip convivio and hearth. I had so so meals at both places and was underwelmed

                    1. I think Locanda Verde is good, but overrated. It is also noisy and rushed. Not the most pleasant dining experience. Haven't been to Hearth. I've been to Alto and Marea once each, but Convivio countless times. If budget is irrelevant I would probably go with Marea, but I really think the food at Convivio is just as good and it is much less expensive, and I like the mix of meat and fish as opposed to the seafood focus at Marea.

                      1. Definitely skip Convivio. If you do a search, you'll see many negative reviews of that place (and with good reason imho.) I hate to make your list longer, but Maialino would be my first choice these days and they're open pretty late.

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

                        Maialino
                        2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: clembeauchamp

                          If you do a search, you'll also see many very positive reviews of Convivio (and with good reason IMO). You are entitled to your opinion, but there is a reason Convivio is popular, and it is not that people are idiots.

                          1. re: rrems

                            I am also a big fan of Convivio. Among my favorites for great food and beautiful, comfortable surroundings, attentive service. It is also a terrific value compared to similar Italians.

                          2. re: clembeauchamp

                            I completely agree. Skip Convivio and go to Maialino.

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

                            Maialino
                            2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

                          3. I'm loving L'artusi.

                            1. I had a great time when I went to Alto for the first time, but we returned recently and had a terrible meal (more about service than food.) Not the kind of service I expected at a restaurant of that caliber. So I can no longer recommend Alto.

                              I haven't dined at many Italian restaurants because my husband isn't a fan, but I've heard so many good reviews about Marea and its fusili with octopus and bone marrow that I'm tempted to go there JUST for that dish! Another Michael White restaurant (as is Alto) but I'm not willing to write them off as a whole.

                              -----
                              Marea
                              240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                              1. Thank you to everyone for all the great suggestions! I made our reservation for Marea and cannot wait to try the fusilli with red wine braised octopus & bone marrow. Yum! I think I'll try Locanda Verde for lunch or breakfast since I have heard so many good reviews of it. (I know there are bad ones too, but I'll let you know what I think.) Thanks again!

                                -----
                                Marea
                                240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                                Locanda Verde
                                377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

                                1. Marea or Maialino. Can't go wrong with either. Very different atmospheres and focuses (seafood vs. rustic Italian) but both are excellent.

                                  -----
                                  Marea
                                  240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                                  Maialino
                                  2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010