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

k
kimmydix Jun 24, 2010 07:34 AM

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!

-----
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

  1. m
    mla19 Jun 26, 2010 06:30 AM

    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

    1. k
      kimmydix Jun 26, 2010 06:25 AM

      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. u
        uwsister Jun 25, 2010 01:04 PM

        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. c
          chow_gal Jun 25, 2010 05:59 AM

          I'm loving L'artusi.

          1. c
            clembeauchamp Jun 24, 2010 07:52 PM

            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
              r
              rrems Jun 24, 2010 07:57 PM

              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
                c
                City Kid Jun 25, 2010 09:25 AM

                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
                g
                gutsofsteel Jun 25, 2010 03:50 AM

                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. r
                rrems Jun 24, 2010 07:26 PM

                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. a
                  alex70 Jun 24, 2010 06:51 PM

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

                  1. s
                    sam1 Jun 24, 2010 04:37 PM

                    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. sgordon Jun 24, 2010 09:47 AM

                      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
                        g
                        glutton08 Jun 24, 2010 10:07 AM

                        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.

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

                        1. re: sgordon
                          g
                          gutsofsteel Jun 24, 2010 04:12 PM

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

                          1. re: gutsofsteel
                            sgordon Jun 26, 2010 05:52 AM

                            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
                            k
                            kimmydix Jun 26, 2010 06:31 AM

                            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. thew Jun 24, 2010 07:59 AM

                            just ate at marea last week. fantastic. seriosuly fantastic

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: thew
                              MVNYC Jun 24, 2010 12:15 PM

                              Going tonight, what did you get?

                              1. re: MVNYC
                                thew Jun 24, 2010 02:09 PM

                                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
                                  hcbk0702 Jun 24, 2010 02:14 PM

                                  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
                                    r
                                    RCC Jun 24, 2010 03:08 PM

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

                                    1. re: thew
                                      MVNYC Jun 24, 2010 08:28 PM

                                      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. c
                                  chow_gal Jun 24, 2010 07:46 AM

                                  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
                                    k
                                    kimmydix Jun 24, 2010 08:40 AM

                                    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

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