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Oct 8, 2010 08:01 PM

Old-School Italian

I'm planning on coming to NYC later this fall, and I'd like to find an Italian place that serves dishes like they did in the 1940s and '50s -- classic pasta dishes handed down from Grandma. I thought there might still be a place in Little Italy like this, but from these boards, it looks like Little Italy isn't what I expected.

Any suggestions from the experts?

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  1. John's of 12th St. between 1st and 2nd is one place that comes to my mind. If you want to go to Little Italy, though, Il Cortile was fine (albeit a bit more expensive than I thought it should have been) when I went there several years ago.

    John's of 12th Street
    302 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

    Il Cortile
    125 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013

    1. Two to check out: Da Umberto, an old style, Northern Italian spot with Italian classics and a solid wine list; expensive. Lusardi's, UES old world Northern I. It is said that Mauro Lusardi's mother still patrols the kitchen to make sure the results are pure. Both are on menupages, so please let us know what you decide and how it works out.

      Da Umberto
      107 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011

      1. Not really a restaurant but IMO it is the place you are looking for.

        Manganaro's Grosseria Italiana
        488 9th Ave, New York, NY 10018

          1. I havent been in several years but, in L.Italy, I always thought that Da Nico was pretty good if you watch out for the upsell. Their back outdoor area (may not be open by then) is classic back yard Italian. On Hudson and Jane is Piccolo Angelo, with some of the best spag. and meatballs (the size of a bocce ball but, luckily, much lighter) and other red sauce dishes. Not inexpensive and he also upsells, but I think this is the type of place you're looking for. Of course you can leave Manhattan and come to Bklyn, where Queen and other places still do it right. Or Park Side in Queens.

            Da Nico
            164 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013