HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

Discussion

scarpetta or maialino?

Which of these two restaurants would you recommend for a 5:30pm reservation before the theater (I only have one night in NYC). I know they are both not very close (30 minute walk) but I couldn't find anything that seemed interesting closer.
So which of these is better and why? Also, best dishes would be great! Or if you have a recommendation closer to the theater I would appreciate that as well. I looked into Esca but it is already booked.
Prefer Italian but open to suggestions.

Thanks so much!

-----
Esca
402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. SD26 is somewhat closer to the theater district, and I like it a little bit more than Scarpetta. I have not been to Maialino.

    -----
    SD26
    19 East 26th Street, New York, NY 10010

    9 Replies
    1. re: rrems

      There is very little good about SD26........ugly empty room, expensive menu with upselling waiters and average food...and its crosstown from the theater district....avoid

      scarpetta and mailino are pretty much a toss up in terms of food - both are very good. My guess it is a little easier getting from scarpetta to the TD but it is pretty close....I would also try again at esca...

      1. re: Cpalms

        Please don't state OPINIONS as fact. When did you eat at SD26? I have been there a number of times recently and had nothing but delicious food. The waiters have never tried to upsell me, and I have not spent more than I spend at Scarpetta. I particularly like that you can order any dish as a small or large plate, so there is more variety. Scarpetta will not even serve half orders of pasta.

        1. re: rrems

          That last and final time I was at SD26 was this summer, it was (as it always had been previously) very poor considering the price... frankly, it shocks me this place is still in business...

          The last paragraph from Sifton's NY Times review sums it up nicely...

          "Then there’s the long walk back through the bar to the street, past slightly stunned old regulars from San Domenico and gastro-tourists wondering what all the fuss was about. Emerging onto 26th Street, the overwhelming feeling a diner is left with is one of exhaustion, the sense that at SD26 we are a long, long way from the kind of restaurant Mr. May has stood for in New York City. It’s a restaurant to make anyone feel old. "

          -----
          SD26
          19 East 26th Street, New York, NY 10010

          1. re: rrems

            what are your favorite dishes at sd26? i want to try the uovo but i'm not sure what else to order.

            1. re: daffyduck

              The menu changes so what you see on the website is not completely up to date. Do try the uovo. The beef cheeks are wonderful, dover sole, sea urchin raviolini (on my last visit this was changed to a different pasta), gnocchi, chittara, cured meats (particularly mortadella), bass, lamb chops, guinea hen, squab, sweetbreads, octopus, baba, tiramisu.

          2. re: Cpalms

            Agree with Cpalms regarding Scarpetta's relative proximity to the theater district (compared with Maialino).

            Have you also checked Marea and Alto? Both are much closer and serve great Italian as well.

            -----
            Scarpetta
            355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

            Marea
            240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

            1. re: fm1963

              Thanks for the suggestions. I looked them both up and they seem to be a bit more upscale in terms of the atmosphere. For example, it says "jackets preferred" on open table.
              While I am looking for a good meal, we prefer casual elegant over super upscale.
              Of Scarpetta and Maialino.. is the atmosphere similar?
              Thanks again!

              -----
              Scarpetta
              355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

              Maialino
              2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

              1. re: jarschef

                Scarpetta and Maialino are pretty similar in terms of atmosphere. I'd say Scarpetta is slightly dressier, but you can definitely wear jeans to both.

                If you choose Scarpetta, with a 5:30 reservation you could leave shortly after 7 and still make it to the theater without too much stress. My faves are pretty much the same as Bko's below.

                -----
                Scarpetta
                355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                Maialino
                2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

                1. re: jarschef

                  I'd say that Scarpetta is a bit more hip, modern, contemporary in decor, and the crowd skews a little bit younger due to location. Maialino is no slouch in terms of decor but it feels a bit more homey and cozy to me and gets great light during the day (and the front area where they have the breads and desserts and such is pretty).

                  -----
                  Scarpetta
                  355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                  Maialino
                  2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

          3. I have not been to Maialino for dinner, but I really enjoyed Scarpetta when I went there. The bread basket is great, and the pasta dishes are some of the best in my opinion. The dish I would definitely recommend for Scarpetta is the spaghetti with tomato and basil. Although it sounds quite plain, Scott Conant makes it work and from this very standard recipe, he creates one of the best pasta dishes I have had in NYC.
            If you go to Maialino, I would recommend the Malfatti al Maialino with suckling pig ragu and arugula. Maialino specializes in suckling pig (as shown in its name), and they do a great job with pastas, so why not try both at once?

            5 Replies
              1. re: mrud

                when i look this up it says its over 4 miles to the theater or a 1:22 minute walk.
                Is this wrong?
                I am hoping to walk to the theater in 20ish minutes or less.

                1. re: jarschef

                  A Voce is in the Time Warner Center on 59th and Broadway, less than one mile away from the theater district,. I haven't been there but I believe it has a Michelin star and a couple of NY Times stars, for what it's worth...

                  -----
                  A Voce
                  41 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

                  1. re: fm1963

                    i see one address on madison and the other on columbus.. which is the closer one? thanks!
                    Also, as of now we are leaning towards Maialino.. how far would the walk be to the theater district if we end up there?

                    Thanks for all the help!

                    -----
                    Maialino
                    2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

                    1. re: jarschef

                      A Voce Madison is at 26th Street, a little farther west and north than Maialino.
                      From either place, it would be roughly a 40-45 minute walk to the Theater District, depending on which theater you're headed for. Scarpetta's on the west side, of course, but I'd guess the same walking distance. From A Voce madison and Maialino you can always hop a madison Avenue bus, but only if it's not on a weekday, to, say 43rd St and walk across from there.

                      -----
                      A Voce
                      41 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

                      Scarpetta
                      355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                      Maialino
                      2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

            1. I would say they are relatively similar, I ate at Maialino on Saturday, Scarpetta a few weeks back... Love them both and you can't go wrong

              if at Maialino - don't miss the roasted potatoes
              if at Scarpetta - don't miss the polenta

              Maialino is easy to the theater district via the R train

              -----
              Scarpetta
              355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

              Maialino
              2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

              1 Reply
              1. re: msny98

                I enjoyed my meal at mailino more than scarpetta, its also a bit cheaper...the pork ragu is fantastic

              2. i suggest going to esca. they have a few walk in tables next to the bar and also seats at the bar. at 5:30, you shouldn't have a problem getting one of those. and if it's nice out, they may still have tables outside.

                if you go, make sure to get the fettucini with tarragon and crab meat. it is hands down on my favorite dishes in the city.

                2 Replies
                1. re: jon

                  OP said Esca was full, so I don't think that will work unless a spot opens up through cancellation.

                  -----
                  Esca
                  402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

                  1. re: Bko

                    they don't take reservations for the bar seats/walk up tables. i think there are 3 or 4 tables and probably 6 or 7 bar seats.

                2. Maialino is fantastic. I've been 4 times and it's my new favorite Italian. (Lupa was the previous holder of that title) I haven't been to Scarpetta so I guess I can't give you a comparison but you'll have a great meal At Maialino. I had the spicy chicken breast there just this past Friday. It's one of my favorite dishes in New York.

                  -----
                  Scarpetta
                  355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                  Maialino
                  2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

                  1. These are two of my favorite Italian in NYC. Also echo the Marea and Alto recommendations. Convivio is another favorite.

                    I definitely would say you do not need a jacket at either Alto or Marea. Just dress nicely and the food is super at each location.

                    As for Scarpetta and Maialino they are equally fantastic and a bit more casual. Cant miss dishes at Scarpetta are the black cod and polenta. Best bread basket in the city.

                    At Maialino the maialino al forno with roasted potatoes is one of the top 5 dishes I have had this year, raviolo, fried artichokes, and lasagna are also delicious.

                    -----
                    Scarpetta
                    355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

                    Convivio
                    45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

                    Marea
                    240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                    Maialino
                    2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

                    1. I've certainly enjoyed both, but Scarpetta is the one that always keeps me coming back. As others have mentioned, the bread basket is one of the best in town, and there are several dishes that are simply to die for. That being said, you cannot go wrong with either.

                      1. Both restaurants are great. You really can't go wrong.

                        If I were you I think I'd go Maialino. Let the staff know when you arrive that you're trying to make a show and they'll make sure you get out on time. Hail a cab to the theater -- it's not that expensive and you won't have to worry about being late.

                        As mentioned, the Malfatti al Maialino is a great pasta. The suppli al telefono (risotto balls) are a great starter.

                        -----
                        Maialino
                        2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010