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Staying in Little Italy for business. Places to eat, some Italian, but what else?

jardin32 Oct 3, 2010 12:01 PM

My husband is going to be staying in Little Italy several times over the next month for some post production work with a commercial he is working on. He claims to not really like Italian food that much (we live in St. Louis and Italian food REALLY does suck here with one exception), although I am sure there would be Italian restaurants he would end up liking there. Likes ethnic food of all kinds. He will be there on business, working a lot so there isn't time for major foodie evenings, but he is in NYC-every meal could be wonderful if he knew where to head.

Any chowhounders have some favorites they would like to pass on?

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  1. h
    hungry i RE: jardin32 Oct 3, 2010 12:49 PM

    Nyonya is malaysian restaurant next to Ferrerra's on Grand. English speaking waiters are most helpful. WD-50 is also nearby, but be sure you have time for tasting menu and can afford the price.

    50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

    199 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

    2 Replies
    1. re: hungry i
      Upperwestsider RE: hungry i Oct 3, 2010 02:33 PM

      V good choices, both actually within walking dist. Little Italy is infamous for it's tourist traps, but I would add: Il Cortile, Pellegrino's & Angelo's (all Italian; good honest food--some feel the last interior is bit "tacky"); Lombardi's (pizza), and La Esquina (Mexican--three distinct parts--the 24 hour taco stand, sit-down cafe, and subterraneann grotto. Check the menus on menupages.com to see it they fit your bill, and please let us know what you decide and how it all works out.

      La Esquina
      106 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

      Il Cortile
      125 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013

      138 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013

      1. re: hungry i
        kathryn RE: hungry i Oct 3, 2010 04:25 PM

        WD-50 is on the Lower East Side and more of a 15-20 minute walk from Little Italy.

        50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

      2. l
        Littleman RE: jardin32 Oct 3, 2010 02:25 PM

        Il Cortile is a nice Italian Restaurant on Mulberry. The skylit garden room is inviting and the food is excellent.

        Il Cortile @ 125 Mulberry St # A, New York, NY 212 - 226 - 6060.

        Il Cortile
        125 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013

        1. s
          small h RE: jardin32 Oct 3, 2010 03:50 PM

          South China Garden is a few minutes walk, at 22 Elizabeth St. just below Canal. It's a very good Cantonese restaurant - you can search for beaucoup info about it on Chowhound (it used to be called Cantoon Garden).

          Peasant is also pretty close and has good Italian food. I can't say how it compares to the restaurants in the heart of Little Italy, because I haven't eaten in any of them. I find the guys standing outside trying to lure you in very off-putting.


          2 Replies
          1. re: small h
            kathryn RE: small h Oct 3, 2010 04:02 PM

            Peasant is much better than the 3-4 restaurants I've tried in Little Italy.

            1. re: kathryn
              small h RE: kathryn Oct 4, 2010 07:53 AM

              I suspected as much. It's good to have you (and others) around to save me (and others) from expensive culinary mishaps!

          2. f
            fourunder RE: jardin32 Oct 3, 2010 04:04 PM

            If your husband does not like Italian, but enjoys Asian food, particularly Chinese, tell him all he as to do is cross Canal Street and window shop for a nice place. I would recommend any of the following for an inexpensive meal:

            N.Y. Noodletown
            Big Wong
            Hsin Wong
            Hon Kong Station......http://www.hongkongstation.us/welcome...
            Won Ton Garden
            Amazing 66

            Soup Dumplings at Shanghai Cafe on Mott

            Cheap Eats Dumplings at:

            Prosperity Dumpling
            Tasty Dumpling
            Fried Dumpling

            Amazing 66
            66 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

            Big Wong
            67 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

            Hsin Wong
            72 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

            1 Reply
            1. re: fourunder
              Fay RE: fourunder Oct 3, 2010 04:28 PM

              I would recommend Balaboosta, on Mulberry, just above Spring -- a few blocks up from what I suppose is "core" Little Italy. It is nominally Israeli-- but I would characterize the cuisine as basically upscale mediterranean, with excellent tapas-type appetizers, pastas, fish etc. I ate there the other day with a group of friends and everything (food, service, ambience) was superb. The "chicken under a brick" was especially delicious

            2. k
              kathryn RE: jardin32 Oct 3, 2010 04:23 PM

              It's not actually bad to have Little Italy as your home base. If he gets out of Little Italy and walks to the LES (just go a few blocks east towards Bowery), Nolita, Soho (just a few blocks west and you'll hit Lafayette), or Chinatown (go south towards Canal), there's a LOT of great places in any of those 4 neighborhoods that surround Little Italy.

              Despana - a Spanish foods store with great sandwiches in back, would be good for lunches, not so much dinners
              Peasant - as mentioned above, they have a great wood burning oven, try the pizza, roasted meats, octopus in "purgatory," bocconcini
              Balthazar - as a solo diner, I'd tried to pop in and have some food at the bar, their raw bar is excellent if you like oysters and that sort of stuff
              Public - eclectic with some British influences, they also have a cool hidden wine bar behind the hostess stand called the Monday Room with more obscure wines and small bites, but it can get pricey
              Lombardi's and L'asso for pizza -- whole pies only for both, I think. Not the best pizza in town but worth it to have in your back pocket.
              DBGB - on Houston and Bowery - Daniel Boulud's beer, sausage, burger restaurant, great charcuterie, it's a bit further of a walk
              Pulino's - nominally a pizza place but I enjoyed the roasted dishes and appetizers much more, catacorner from DBGB
              Red Egg - for dim sum, ordered off the menu (no carts) but one of the better Manhattan Chinatown options
              Freemans - popular, tucked inside an alleyway, good drinks and American food

              In Chinatown, there's also Cantonese roast meat specialists like Big Wong and Great NY Noodletown. Noodletown is also open until 3am, which should be helpful.

              408 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

              Big Wong
              67 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

              The Monday Room
              210 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

              Red Egg
              202 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013

              299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

              282 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

              1. p
                Pan RE: jardin32 Oct 4, 2010 01:12 AM

                Chou Chow (not sure what the exact current spelling is), is a good Chou Zhou/Teochew place on Mott between Hester and Canal. The new branch of Bo Ky, on Grand St., is another. Also on Grand St. is Banh Mi Saigon. I haven't been to the new location, but it's definitely worth it for your husband to check out. He can also get some good Israeli food at Hoomoos Asli, right by the junction of Kenmare and Centre (I haven't been to Balaboosta, so I can't comment), and good French pastries at Ceci Cela.

                I don't recommend Lombardi's or L'Asso, and would recommend for him to walk another couple of blocks to Arturo's.

                106 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

                Banh Mi Saigon
                198 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

                Hoomoos Asli
                100 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

                3 Replies
                1. re: Pan
                  scoopG RE: Pan Oct 4, 2010 04:15 AM

                  Chiu Chow I think is the current spelling - anyway they are at 111 Mott Street.

                  1. re: Pan
                    kathryn RE: Pan Oct 4, 2010 07:50 AM

                    I like Arturo's a lot too (was just there a few days ago) but I thought it might be a bit further of a walk from Little Italy. It's also whole pies only, right?

                    1. re: kathryn
                      Pan RE: kathryn Oct 4, 2010 06:52 PM

                      That's right. Whole pies only. But that's also true at Lombardi's; not sure about L'Asso.

                  2. j
                    jardin32 RE: jardin32 Oct 4, 2010 06:26 AM

                    Thanks all! This should keep him fed well while he is there. I am jealous that I can't make it!

                    Didn't think to ask before-breakfast?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: jardin32
                      kathryn RE: jardin32 Oct 4, 2010 08:14 AM

                      For a light pastry breakfast, I'd walk to Soho/Nolita, where there are a TON of options.

                      For pastries, you can go to Caffe Falai, Ceci-Cela, Balthazar Bakery (next door to the sit down restaurant), Oro Bakery, or Birdbath. Ceci-Cela has good croissants. At Balthazar I like their fruit foccacia, chocolate loaf, sticky buns, and whatever tarts they may have seasonally. At Oro, don't miss our on their madeleines. At Birdbath, they sell City Bakery's famous pretzel croissant and a variety of muffins and scones (the "baker's" leftovers muffin is tasty).

                      If you require coffee as well, I think Ground Support & City Girl Cafe have pastries as well. I really like Ground Support's space, staff, and iced coffee. Their hot coffee is good as well.

                      The pastry counter at Dean and Deluca will have a lot of options from different purveyors around town (One Girl cookies and Two Little Red Hens stick out in my mind, as well as Donut Plan donuts) but it's a bit hectic in there. And there's also Grandaisy bakery (which is run by the ex-partner of the guy who does Co. and Sullivant Street Bakery). I always end up getting one of the room temperature Roman pizzas (like rosemary potato) or the pizza bianca though, as they have more of a breads/savory items focus.

                      Two Little Red Hens
                      1652 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

                      55 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

                      City Bakery
                      3 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

                      Caffe Falai
                      265 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

                      Oro Bakery and Bar
                      375 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

                      Ground Support
                      399 W Broadway, New York, NY 10012

                      1. re: kathryn
                        jardin32 RE: kathryn Oct 4, 2010 08:55 AM

                        Thanks so much for this. He is going to be in and out of Manhattan several times over the next 6 weeks. This is really helpful!

                        1. re: jardin32
                          kathryn RE: jardin32 Oct 4, 2010 08:57 AM

                          Forgot to mention that a block north of DBGB is a new restaurant, Peels, run by the same people who do Freemans. They serve breakfast daily and brunch/lunch daily (until late in the afternoon), and also have a takeout counter. They have an interesting "build a biscuit" sandwich option on the menu that might be good for a hearty breakfast.


                          Balthazar also serves sit down breakfast, too, BTW.

                          299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

                    2. MVNYC RE: jardin32 Oct 4, 2010 08:46 AM

                      If he likes Bahn Mi, http://www.vietnamese-sandwich.com/sa... on Broome is a good option. One sandwich is filling and very good. Cheap too and he can get things to bring back to the hotel.

                      I will second the New Bo Ky on Grand Street. This is another cheap yet delicious offering if he likes noodle soups. Again very close.

                      Most of the Asian places mentioned in this thread are good options. Noodletown all has good salt baked dishes besides the roast meats.

                      Dim Sum Go Go has tasty made to order Dim Sum all day. The duck dumplins and pea shoot dumplings are both excellent. I like how they have XO sauce as a dip on the table for the various dumplings.

                      Dim Sum Go Go
                      5 E Broadway, New York, NY 10038

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MVNYC
                        Pan RE: MVNYC Oct 4, 2010 06:59 PM

                        I definitely second both Great NY Noodletown and Dim Sum Go Go. One word of caution about Noodletown, though: I've given up on their wontons because the shrimp in them is just too old. But any of their barbecued items or dishes with Chinese chives or pea shoots, and most of their dishes over rice are good and dependable. Very soothing beef stew, too, for those who like it.

                        Also, it's worth mentioning that Dim Sum Go Go's dim sum items become more expensive after, I believe it's 4:00. However, some of the dishes from their "regular" menu are also worthy. I recently got Scallops with Lily Buds, and it was tasty, had a pleasant combination of mouth feels, and was truly worth the expense (I think the $18.95 that's showing on menupages.com is accurate).

                      2. j
                        jardin32 RE: jardin32 Oct 5, 2010 07:25 AM

                        Thanks all for the recommendations. He is arriving today. I will report back on how it goes!

                        1. c
                          canemh RE: jardin32 Oct 5, 2010 08:02 AM

                          the one exception for great italian food in st louis has to be that place thats in that little strip mall. i went there when visiting friends in st louis and it was top 5 all time best italian meals i have ever had

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