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Great Italian near 54th and Lexington?

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We are coming to NYC this weekend to run the marathon and would love to pasta load the night before within walking distance of our hotel at 54th and Lexington Ave.
Our taste were recently fine tuned on a trip to Tuscany last month so authentic delicious italian food is key.
So far we are thinking of Il Corso or Casa Lever. Any thoughts on our choices?

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Il Corso
54 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

Casa Lever
390 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022

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  1. I love il Corso but don't think it appropriate for a pre race meal (the short rib is a thing of beauty and a great post race meal)

    Luna Piena - 243 E 53rd St between 2nd - 3rd is great

    La Giocanda 226 E 53rd st is also a good choice.

    And don't feel stuck in your area. You can get a 5:30 or 6:00 dinner on the upper west side at Arte Pasta or La Vela or Bello Giardino and head to the park for the fireworks at 7:30 before heading to bed.

    Good luck, I'll be out there too.

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    La Gioconda
    226 E 53rd St, New York, NY 10022

    Luna Piena
    243 E 53rd St, New York, NY 10022

    Bello Giardino
    71 W 71st St, New York, NY 10023

    La Vela
    373 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

    Il Corso
    54 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

    3 Replies
    1. re: dyrewolf

      For a pre-race pasta load, I second Luna Piena. While it's not the city's BEST Italian restaurant, the food is good and many of the pastas are made in-house.

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      Luna Piena
      243 E 53rd St, New York, NY 10022

      1. re: LeahBaila

        Thanks for your input! It looks like we will be pasta loading at Luna Piena the night before the marathon. I looked at the menu on their website and it looks like exactly the place we want to try!

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        Luna Piena
        243 E 53rd St, New York, NY 10022

        1. re: Jelly Belly

          Enjoy, good luck, and let us know how everything turns out!

    2. And if you want to go wild you can have some ramen (Japanese noodles) for lunch at Hide-chan at 248 E 52nd

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      Hide-chan
      248 E 52nd St, New York, NY 10022

      1. Il Gattopardo at 33 W54 between Fifth and Sixth Aves has terrific Neapolitan food in a stylish setting.

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

        1 Reply
        1. re: bob96

          il Gattopardo is GREAT, but not really a pre race carb load place

        2. We ended up at Luna Piena one night and on another night went to Montebello's
          Luna Piena was good but we really liked Montebello's as our waiter was so friendly and charming.
          We also tried to get into Il Gattopardo but there were no tables earlier enough for us.
          All in all, thanks for some solid reccomendations for pasta loading before the big NYC Marathon run.
          We both finished the marathon and enjoyed the amazing energy of all the crowds along the route. No one does it like NYC!

          We'll have to come back and try some of the other places next year!

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

          Luna Piena
          243 E 53rd St, New York, NY 10022

          Montebello
          120 E. 56th St., New York, NY 10022