Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Jul 15, 2011 06:58 AM

Looking for amazing but cheap Italian place for casual birthday dinner

Hey Everyone:

I'm looking to take my boyfriend out for his birthday this Tuesday evening and looking for suggestions. The thing is . . . I'm pretty . . . broke . . . He's broke, too, and knows I am so he's not expecting much but I was hoping to find some place that we've never been that has amazing food with an inexpensive price tag.

Unlike me, he likes very simple food and prefers Italian. Doesn't need to be fancy or romantic and we definitely don't want to dress up.

Basically "foodwise" a place like John's would be perfect . . . but I don't want that "old school" atmosphere.

He lives in Williamsburg and I live in Astoria, so any place in Manhanttan, Brooklyn or Queens is great.

Right now, the best choice I've come up with is Veloce Pizzeria. Fairly cheap, great food and a fun atmosphere.

Can you suggest anything else along those lines?


Veloce Pizzeria
103 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10003

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Motorino, or Frankie's 17.

    Frankies 17 Spuntino
    17 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

    349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

    1 Reply
    1. re: small h

      I agree - Motorino will be about the same price point as Veloce and is a little more inventive and fun. They have locations in both Williamsburg and East Village.

      If cost is the dominating factor, I do think you should try to stick to the outer boroughs, and there is a separate forum where they can probably give you more specific suggestions than I would be able to.

      349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

    2. What about Trattoria L'Incontro in Astoria? I haven't been there in ages but the prices used to be reasonable and the food is very good. But you should post on the other board for suggestions for Brooklyn and Queens.

      1. Is the prix fixe at Torrisi too pricey for you?

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

        5 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          I don't think the prices in Little Italy are very high. Il Cortile is very nice.

          Il Cortile
          125 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013

          1. re: kathryn

            How is Torrisi for dinner? I've only been for a sandwich lunch.

              1. re: kathryn

                Thanks. I don't think I'll be going anytime soon. The lack of wine options, including by the glass, is a turnoff.

                I don't get the raves. My one visit for lunch (turkey sandwich) was underwhelming. My recollection of the sandwich's taste and composition actually resembled what I might expect to get at the house of a friend with a mother who's a really good cook, to your point.

                1. re: uwsgrazer

                  I don't get it either. My only visit was lunch, too, and the mixed Italian meat sandwich that I had was OK, but nowhere near worth lining up for.
                  Didn't have wine, but with sucky option that you mention, this doesn't bode well for me, too.

          2. 'inoteca - I prefer the LES location.


            217 Eldridge St., New York, NY 10002

            98 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

            1. How about Rubirosa, followed by gelato at La Cremeria?

              235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

              La Cremeria
              178 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10012

              1 Reply
              1. re: peter j

                Another vote for Rubirosa. You might also check out Da Andrea.

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

                235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012