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Apr 23, 2011 04:53 PM

Seeking "old school" Italian-American in Manhattan.

It might not be trendy but I really enjoy the classic Italian-American sauce, meatballs, gobs of mozzarella and the dreaded (but my favorite) eggplant parmigiana with a side of pasta. In other words....carb heaven! Can someone please direct me to what they feel is the best in the city? Neighborhood, price and decor aren't as important as the food. Some of the menus that appeal to me are John’s of 12th Street or Angelo of Mulberry Street. I just have the one dinner so I want to make the best, most informed decision. Thanks in advance for any help you provide me!

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

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

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  1. I highly recommend Campanile, on 29th St., b/t Park Av. S. and Madison. Delicious traditional Italian-American food, including a first-rate eggplant parmigiana -- which just happens to be my favorite thing to order there. The staff couldn't be more friendly and attentive, and the old-fashioned decor has an endearing quality.

    30 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016

    2 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      We went there Saturday and things must have changed since you were last there. We were the only people in the restaurant at 7 pm. The waiters looked lost. We started with a caesar salad and a glass of wine which were fine. Then our main courses arrived. My husband's veal parmesan was inedible, dry and burned. My chicken marsala with mushrooms was an amateur attempt- floury sauce with no marsala that I could taste over flabby chicken. When the waiter cleared our plates he asked my husband why he had left most of his meal and then the manager insisted on taking it off our bill but the evening was spoiled and I want to report that things have changed at Campanile. We wish we had stuck with the Tratoria Alba where we had a wonderful old school Italian dinner on a Saturday night last year.

      233 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

      1. re: Berheenia

        Sorry to hear about your disappointing meal. Since I've never had either of the main course dishes you and your husband ordered, I can't say if this was a seriously off night, or the quality of the food has deteriorated since we were last there, which was (iirc) more than two years ago.

        It's been ages since we've eaten at Trattoria Alba. Whenever we went there, the food was fine though I can't say it was better than what we've experienced at Campanile.

        Nowadays, we tend to veer away from old-style Italian-American spots, preferring instead the Italian cuisine at places like Ai Fiori, Ciano, Manzo, and Lincoln.

    2. What about Patsy's? I think it is unchanged for a zillion years! It used to be Frank Sinatra's favorite, and I once saw the owner or chef on Martha Stewart making lasagna.

      236 West 56th Street

      Patsy's Italian Restaurant
      236 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

      2 Replies
      1. re: roxlet

        Patsy's has been on my short list of places to go for years but I've always gone somewhere else. Anyone else care to chime in with their thoughts on the place? Sometimes I shy away from nostalgic places because I fear they have become touristy and no longer focused on putting out a fabulous meal. Would love to hear the thoughts of others! Thank you!

        1. I really like Arturo's Restaurant on York Avenue in the Upper East Side. It's pretty out of the way, but it really fits the bill on "old school." It's like time forgot this place. The food is fantastic, if you're looking for all the classics. My favorites are the bolognese sauce and the carbonara. Delish!

          1617 York Ave, New York, NY 10028

          1 Reply
          1. re: nuni

            I think Arturo's on York & 85th is a mediocre place, not worth going to unless it's in your neighborhood and convenient.

            However, their pizzeria across the street serves some of the best slices in NYC.

            1617 York Ave, New York, NY 10028

            Arturo's Pizza
            1610 York Ave, New York, NY 10028

          2. My husband asked me for something similar for his birthday lunch. Specifically red checkered tableclothes, old fashioned red sauce with Sinatra playing. I refuse to eat in Little Italy unless someone can point me to somewhere edible. The food is important to me so I'm picking Il Mulino for dinner. We would like somewhere between Midtown and Battery Park. Maybe Carmine's or Tony DiNapoli's? My go to place is Trattatoria TreClori but the decor is too modern.

            Il Mulino
            86 W 3rd St, New York, NY 10012

            1. Rossini's on 38th bet Lex & Park is perfect for what you want. They even have opera one night.

              108 E 38th St, New York, NY 10016