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Old-School Italian restaurant suggestions

I'm looking for a great old-school italian place in NYC.

I'd prefer something in little Italy, but understand that maybe there's something better outside of there.
It has to be the whole package, though. Professional waiters, nice decor, and of course, the best American Italian food.

Thanks for your help!

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  1. What immediately comes to mind is John's on 12th Street in the East Village. It's an old school red sauce type restaurant. I was there a few years ago and it seems to fit the bill. I remember the food being good, but nothing really sticks out in my mind as being off the charts.

    But I can only imagine the food and service is better there than any place you'll find in Little Italy, which is no longer a food destination, I'm afraid.

    Hope that helps.

    -www.eatthisny.com

    2 Replies
    1. re: eatthisny

      John's of 12th Street is a good choice if you're looking for authentic old school. They've got the 100 year history and the Prohibition-era candle, plus I think the food is pretty good and not overly expensive.

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

      1. re: eatthisny

        Yes, yes, and yes...John's of 12th Street is definitely the way to go.

        The only spot in Little Italy worth trying, in my view, is Vincent's...one of Manhattan's high-churches of red sauce and scungili.

      2. Check out Il Vagabondo!

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        Il Vagabondo
        351 E 62nd St, New York, NY 10065

        1 Reply
        1. re: southernitalian

          Il Vagabondo is a great suggestion. Just what the OP is looking for.

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          Il Vagabondo
          351 E 62nd St, New York, NY 10065

        2. Angelo's on Mulberry......for Little Italy, but I like Peasant in Nolita.

          2 Replies
          1. re: fourunder

            Peasant is not Italian American cuisine -- there's no baked ziti, chicken parm, etc. on the menu.

            1. re: kathryn

              Sorry.....missed that part of the request.

            1. re: small h

              Second Mosconi. Been there forever, still family owned and run (I believe).

            2. Rossini's on E 38th bet Lex and Park sounds like it will be perfect for your request. Classic Italian restaurant decor, great service and fabulous food. Some nights they even have an opera singer!!!

              1. Volare on W 4th. Solid food and great service.

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                Volare
                147 W 4th St, New York, NY 10012

                1. No contest. You want to go to Scaletta on W. 77 between Columbus and CPW. It's just like an elegant old-fashioned restaurant you'd find in Rome or even Bologna. It's not inexpensive, but everything is delicious. There are at least as many nightly specials as menu items. I've often seen celebrities dining their with their families because the food and service are fantastic, and it's off the radar.

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                  Scaletta
                  50 West 77th St., New York, NY 10024

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mahler5

                    Does Scaletta serve Italian-American "red sauce" food? That's what the OP is looking for, not Roman or Bolognese cuisine.

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                    Scaletta
                    50 West 77th St., New York, NY 10024

                  2. Thanks all for your suggestions! I haven't decided which to go to yet, but I value your opinions and appreciate your time. Thanks again.

                      1. I've not been there, but Patsy's on W56th must be on any list. It was Sinatra's hangout for yeras, and serves a large, classic Neapolitan-Italian-American-menu. Have a look.
                        http://www.patsys.com/ourstory.php