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Where to eat in Little Italy?

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gateway girl Nov 11, 2010 09:33 PM

Coming to NYC at the last minute. Where should we eat in Little Italy where we might possible get in at a reasonable hour?

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  1. erica RE: gateway girl Nov 12, 2010 02:22 AM

    What do you mean by a "reasonable hour?" When I walked down Mulberry Street two weeks ago, around 6:30, the restaurants were almost all empty and there were touts outside many of them.

    1. l
      luckiestduck RE: gateway girl Nov 12, 2010 05:15 AM

      Honestly, don't waste your time or money in Little Italy. There are no good places to eat and it really is just a tourist trap. If you want good Italian food for a reasonable price that is downtown, try Frankie Sputino on Clinton Street. That's near Little Italy, but infinitely better food.

      2 Replies
      1. re: luckiestduck
        b
        bronwen RE: luckiestduck Nov 12, 2010 09:43 AM

        I do think that Il Cortile is pretty good and if no one goes to Little Italy it won't survive so I'm in favor of an occasional meal there. You can't do Babbo every day!

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

        Il Cortile
        125 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013

        1. re: bronwen
          Motosport RE: bronwen Nov 15, 2010 10:38 AM

          Il Cortile is excellent. I.M.H.O.
          We've eaten at quite a few Little Italy restaurants and have never had a bad meal. They are decent and friendly but not up high on the gourmet level.

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          Il Cortile
          125 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013

      2. s
        selenster RE: gateway girl Nov 12, 2010 05:54 AM

        torrisi, perhaps? i believe they open at 5:30pm for dinner. i haven't been there but it seems that it's been EXTREMELY well reviewed and i've heard so many grand things about the food from friends who've gone.

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        Torrisi Italian Specialties
        250 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

        2 Replies
        1. re: selenster
          g
          gutsofsteel RE: selenster Nov 12, 2010 06:34 AM

          There is always a big wait there at any normal dinner hour.

          Otto might work for you - waits are usually not bad because it's big.

          1. re: selenster
            Wilfrid RE: selenster Nov 12, 2010 08:15 AM

            Torrisi would be a strange choice. It's by far the hardest restaurant to get into in the neighborhood, it has no Little Italy history to it (it's quite new) and it proudly doesn't use Italian ingredients.

            The second reply was right. By all means look around Little Italy, stop for a capuccino, and then go and eat somewhere else. The best Italian restaurants, even old school red sauce style, are elsewhere.

          2. Chandavkl RE: gateway girl Nov 12, 2010 09:10 AM

            The only places worth eating at in Little Italy are Chinese.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Chandavkl
              a
              alanf RE: Chandavkl Nov 12, 2010 02:11 PM

              Agreed. Note that many of those Chinese restaurants are entirely worth the trip.

              1. re: Chandavkl
                southernitalian RE: Chandavkl Nov 15, 2010 10:35 AM

                +2. Pho Bang, 157 Mott Street.

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                Pho Bang
                157 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

              2. t
                TooLooseLaTrek RE: gateway girl Nov 12, 2010 11:28 AM

                I like Il Cortile, Angelos and Da Nico. Of the three I think Il Cortile has the nicest interior.

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                Angelo of Mulberry Street
                146 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013

                Da Nico
                164 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013

                Il Cortile
                125 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013

                1 Reply
                1. re: TooLooseLaTrek
                  r
                  rothsteg RE: TooLooseLaTrek Nov 12, 2010 12:15 PM

                  I'm in general agreement with previous posters. Overall, Little Italy isn't home to many high quality Italian restaurants, but having said that, Il Cortile is pretty good and quite attractive.

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                  Il Cortile
                  125 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013

                2. f
                  food RE: gateway girl Nov 12, 2010 01:55 PM

                  There are no GREAT restaurants down there. You might want to try La mela, hugh portions. Or Umberto's

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                  La Mela
                  167 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: food
                    f
                    fearfatnot RE: food Nov 12, 2010 07:11 PM

                    Umbertos closed not long ago

                    1. re: food
                      princeofpork RE: food Nov 14, 2010 08:58 AM

                      La Mela scared me last time I was there. The atmosphere and food quality were abysmal.

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                      La Mela
                      167 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013

                    2. Duppie RE: gateway girl Nov 12, 2010 02:23 PM

                      Unless you wish Chinese,Vietnamese of even touristy Malaysian food ,Little Italy hold little promise. Stroll through Eataly in Chelsea,or Babbo, or Sodi and Po in the village. But Little Italy is now a glaring tourist trap.

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                      Po
                      31 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014

                      Babbo
                      110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                      I Sodi
                      105 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014

                      Eataly
                      200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                      22 Replies
                      1. re: Duppie
                        g
                        Glinda RE: Duppie Nov 15, 2010 10:42 AM

                        I'd like to point out that Eataly is a glaring tourist trap. In fact it was designed as one: a Disneyland/Las Vegas for food.

                        For any authentic "Old New York" Italian restaurant feel, the outer boroughs are the only place to find that: Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, and Queens. That said, I don't go to any "Old New York" Italian restaurants since my husband can outcook them all.

                        -----
                        Eataly
                        200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                        1. re: Glinda
                          Duppie RE: Glinda Nov 15, 2010 11:07 AM

                          I have to agree that Eataly taken as a whole very well might be a Tourist trap but after 3 meals there in Pesce and Manzo,I have no qualms in recommending the restaurants there over anything in Little Italy. Perhaps you and your husband should try it,you may be pleasantly surprised.

                          -----
                          Eataly
                          200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                          1. re: Duppie
                            x
                            XerxesAB RE: Duppie Nov 15, 2010 11:15 AM

                            I've only had the pizza and a sandwich so far at Eataly but from those two I can say the food was quite good.

                            I picked up a pizza from the to-go spot around the corner from the main entrance as Eataly is a zoo on the weekends but the to-go counter seems to be unknown. After getting my pizza I was planning on taking it home to eat, but I made the mistake of popping open the top and taking a quick peak. As a result, I found myself sitting in Madison square park in 40 degree temperature on a windy day stuffing my face with a very very delicious margharita pizza.

                            -----
                            Eataly
                            200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                            1. re: XerxesAB
                              Duppie RE: XerxesAB Nov 15, 2010 11:20 AM

                              I haven't had the pizza yet but if it's as good as the bread and the meals I've had there, it will be next on my list. We drive in on Sunday's, find street parking on 22'nd , shop and still have a leisurely lunch before the busloads arrive.

                            2. re: Duppie
                              squid kun RE: Duppie Nov 16, 2010 12:23 AM

                              We were in the nabe a couple weeks ago on a Saturday around an hour before closing time. Fearing it might be a zoo, we wandered in anyway and took a couple of seats at the nearly empty wine bar near Manzo. The bartender was friendly and well informed, and we enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine and an amaro.

                              On the way in and out we caught a glimpse of the cheeses, oils, salumi, etc. As avid cooks, we were intrigued and resolved to return. Maybe hitting the place at an off-hour is the key.

                              -----
                              Manzo
                              200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                              1. re: squid kun
                                Duppie RE: squid kun Nov 16, 2010 03:15 AM

                                We're there usually by 9.30/10.00 am and by 11am the only lines are at Lavazza and the bakery.

                            3. re: Glinda
                              Motosport RE: Glinda Nov 15, 2010 11:46 AM

                              "Tourist trap" and high quality are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
                              We haven't been to Eataly but will give it a try based on the "buzz."
                              We tend to avoid tourist centric places but then again most of Manhattan is a draw for tourists from all over the world.
                              Half of the people on the Tenement Museum tour are from out of town. Half of them are not from the USA.
                              Is Katz's a tourist trap? Yes, no, maybe but I love it and keep going back.

                              -----
                              Eataly
                              200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                              1. re: Motosport
                                Duppie RE: Motosport Nov 15, 2010 11:51 AM

                                Well said.

                                1. re: Motosport
                                  r
                                  rrems RE: Motosport Nov 15, 2010 04:54 PM

                                  "Tourist trap" and high quality ARE mutually exclusive. A place of high quality is not a trap, even if it attracts tourists. The trap is a trap because it attracts unsuspecting or ignorant tourists, and takes advantage of their lack of knowledge to get away with overcharging for low quality.

                                  1. re: rrems
                                    k
                                    kathryn RE: rrems Nov 15, 2010 07:49 PM

                                    I'm with rrems -- a place can be touristy without being a tourist trap.

                                    1. re: rrems
                                      Motosport RE: rrems Nov 16, 2010 06:25 AM

                                      Perhaps we need a clearer definition of "Tourist Trap"
                                      I.M.H.O.:
                                      ESPN Zone is a tourist trap
                                      You will find a lot of "tourists" at Ruby Foos, Katz's, Carnegie Deli are not tourist traps. They may not have the "best" of the best food but you'll get a decnt meal and a little "slice" of Manhattan nostalgia. Not a bad thing.
                                      They all can't be at the level of DelPosto, EMP, Per Se etc..
                                      Then again those places certainly attract "tourists".
                                      Define "Tourist"!! A couple from Mill Basin, Brooklyn? 20 something from Liverpool?

                                      1. re: Motosport
                                        h
                                        Hinterlander RE: Motosport Nov 17, 2010 01:07 AM

                                        Excellent point! The vague term "tourist trap" has been an all-purpose putdown of so many places, some of them very unfairly.

                                        1. re: Motosport
                                          j
                                          J.T. RE: Motosport Apr 11, 2011 11:58 AM

                                          The Oyster Bar is filled with tourists yet is one of the best seafood restaurants in New York. The food sucks at the Waverly Inn, but if you're not Charlie Sheen or Lindsay Lohan, forget about eating there.

                                          -----
                                          Waverly Inn
                                          16 Bank St, New York, NY 10014

                                          1. re: J.T.
                                            g
                                            gutsofsteel RE: J.T. Apr 11, 2011 01:30 PM

                                            The Oyster Bar is a bad restaurant - the vast majority of food is not good, and certainly it's not a good idea to eat cooked food there. Stick with oysters and clams and shad roe when they have it. Maybe shrimp cocktail. That's about it.

                                            1. re: gutsofsteel
                                              j
                                              J.T. RE: gutsofsteel Apr 11, 2011 02:39 PM

                                              We're disagreeing on this. It sounds like you had a bad meal. Why not write a review?

                                              1. re: J.T.
                                                g
                                                gutsofsteel RE: J.T. Apr 11, 2011 02:47 PM

                                                I have written plenty of posts on the GCOB. I've eaten there dozens of times over many years. I was there for shad roe (which was very good) quite recently.

                                                What have you eaten there lately, aside from raw stuff, that's actually good compared with other good seafood restaurants in town?

                                                1. re: J.T.
                                                  s
                                                  Simon RE: J.T. Apr 11, 2011 11:14 PM

                                                  GCOB is one of my fav places in the world -- but only for raw oysters and fried oysters at the counter...the cooked food is exactly a tourist trap: overpriced, legendarily mediocre, eaten by people who are led there by a guidebook (i.e. tourists trapped by lack of imagination and lack of research)

                                                  1. re: Simon
                                                    Motosport RE: Simon Apr 12, 2011 07:17 AM

                                                    Last Saturday we wanted a light meal before heading out on the town with plans for a late dinner.
                                                    We hit GCOB, sat at the Oyster bar, shared a dozen succulent oysters and a bowl of chowder. It was perfect!!

                                                    1. re: Motosport
                                                      g
                                                      gutsofsteel RE: Motosport Apr 12, 2011 07:26 AM

                                                      I love, love sitting at the oyster bar there and eating oysters and clams. But the cooked food - not good at all. When I had shad roe recently, everything on the plate other than the actual roe was poor quality. The vegetables were like steamed diner vegetables, for example.

                                      2. re: Glinda
                                        g
                                        gutsofsteel RE: Glinda Nov 15, 2010 01:23 PM

                                        Eataly is not a tourist trap. It is almost identical to the Eataly in Italy.....

                                        -----
                                        Eataly
                                        200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                                        1. re: gutsofsteel
                                          k
                                          kathryn RE: gutsofsteel Nov 15, 2010 07:51 PM

                                          gutsofsteel -- I'm curious now as I find the signage & layout of Eataly NYC to be very poor (standing tables in the center by the meat/cheese/etc. counters are a bottleneck, it's difficult to pass people in the dry goods aisles, people block traffic due the randomly placed hostess stands). Is the Italian one the same?

                                          -----
                                          Eataly
                                          200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                                          1. re: kathryn
                                            erica RE: kathryn Nov 16, 2010 06:39 AM

                                            The one in Turin is not too dissimilar but it is two stories and seemed larger and less confusing to me....many more items on offer.....I thought it was fabulous!

                                    2. g
                                      gateway girl RE: gateway girl Nov 12, 2010 09:54 PM

                                      Thank you to everyone for responding to my post. I have such great memories of spending time in Little Italy when I lived in New York in the "70s (especially the old Grotto Azurra for which we stood in line). It looks like we will probably just go there for Cappucino and dessert.
                                      Now - where should we go for Italian food considering that we can't get in Babbo and the lines at Eataly are supposed to be really long? We are staying in Chelsea but can travel anywhere.

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

                                      Eataly
                                      200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: gateway girl
                                        p
                                        Pan RE: gateway girl Nov 12, 2010 10:03 PM

                                        Well, Scarpetta is right in Chelsea (though, at 14th St., only just) and makes some great things.

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

                                        1. re: gateway girl
                                          k
                                          kathryn RE: gateway girl Nov 12, 2010 10:16 PM

                                          It depends how many people you are, if you're talking Saturday night (like today, the 13th), how you define a "reasonable" hour (is 7 too early? 6pm?), and how long you might be willing to wait.

                                          BTW, I see that OpenTable has an opening for 4 people Saturday night at Apizz at 7pm right now so they might be able to accommodate you.

                                          For a place like Otto, Lupa, or Babbo, they all hold some walk in tables. Babbo is very popular and has the fewest. People start lining up for the walk in tables before they open. The bar at Babbo opens at 5:00pm, Monday through Saturday and on Sunday at 4:30pm, and the kitchen opens 1/2 hr after that. Lupa is open continuously throughout the day so if you stopped in earlier, you'd have a shorter wait for one of the walk-in tables. Otto is also open continuously and really big and you can dine at the bar itself, a standing table at the bar, or in one of the dining rooms. Po was Batali's first restaurant and is very good but also small -- I'd call ASAP to ask about reservations if you are interested. On weekends, they do start turning away walk-ins later on in the night.

                                          Nearer to Chelsea is Crispo or Scarpetta, Scarpetta has walk in tables in the front and it much more spacious than any of the Batali joints.

                                          Closer to Little Italy is Bianca (no reservations, cash only though), Peasant (I think you can eat in the bar area though it's set up more like a lounge), Aroma Kitchen & Winebar (not to be confused with the coffee shop), Frankie's 17 (no reservations). Not sure what availability would be at Peasant and Aroma.

                                          -----
                                          Lupa
                                          170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

                                          Babbo
                                          110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

                                          Apizz
                                          217 Eldridge St., New York, NY 10002

                                          Crispo
                                          240 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011

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

                                          1. re: gateway girl
                                            t
                                            TooLooseLaTrek RE: gateway girl Nov 15, 2010 10:27 AM

                                            I assume that you were coming into NYC this past weekend but if that's not correct there are several Italian restaurants that have very good food ,a nice casual atmosphere and relatively reasonable prices:
                                            Pepolino ( Tribeca); Aurora ( Soho); Cacio e Pepe ( East Village); Il Gattopardo (West 50s) and Crispo ( West Village).

                                            -----
                                            Crispo
                                            240 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011

                                            Il Gattopardo
                                            33 W 54th St, New York, NY 10019

                                            Pepolino
                                            281 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                                            Cacio e Pepe
                                            182 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003

                                            1. re: TooLooseLaTrek
                                              MandalayVA RE: TooLooseLaTrek Nov 15, 2010 11:40 AM

                                              Concur on Pepolino--we were staying right across the street from it. Good food, reasonable prices.

                                            2. re: gateway girl
                                              x
                                              XerxesAB RE: gateway girl Nov 15, 2010 11:03 AM

                                              Maletesta is a cute little Italian place in the west village. It isn't in Chelsea but its close by. Nice warm ambiance, good food, very reasonable prices. Its on Christopher and Washington I believe.

                                              1. re: gateway girl
                                                b
                                                billyeats RE: gateway girl Nov 17, 2010 07:31 AM

                                                You can do very well at:
                                                Lupa
                                                Malatesta
                                                Da Andrea
                                                Pepolino
                                                Frank
                                                Frankies Spuntino
                                                And even La Carbonara

                                                -----
                                                Lupa
                                                170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

                                                Malatesta
                                                649 Washington St, New York, NY 10014

                                                Da Andrea
                                                35 W 13th St, New York, NY 10011

                                                Pepolino
                                                281 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                                                La Carbonara
                                                202 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10011

                                                1. re: billyeats
                                                  g
                                                  gutsofsteel RE: billyeats Nov 17, 2010 07:58 AM

                                                  For Lupa you have to have a reservation, or expect to wait a long time...

                                                  -----
                                                  Lupa
                                                  170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

                                              2. f
                                                fourunder RE: gateway girl Nov 13, 2010 12:33 AM

                                                I would recommend Angelo's ......or Peasant in (Nolita)

                                                1. f
                                                  fm1963 RE: gateway girl Nov 17, 2010 10:07 AM

                                                  Any feedback on Balaboosta? Sifton gave it one star, but it doesn't seem to get much attention on CH. Any faves/avoids on the menu?

                                                  -----
                                                  Balaboosta
                                                  214 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

                                                  1. a
                                                    Avalondaughter RE: gateway girl Apr 12, 2011 07:34 AM

                                                    The real Little Italy is Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. Try Dominick's restaurant.

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