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Italian Restaurant???

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Small town girl coming to the big city wants to have authentic Italian feast (and good wine!). Hotel is close to Little Italy, but will travel all over the city for the perfect setting/wine list/meal. No tourist traps or chain restaurants. Do I need reservations?
Suggestions?

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  1. When are you coming (dates?) to NYC? I always recommend reservations, especially during the holiday season.

    How large is your party?

    How much are you willing to spend for your perfect setting/wine list/meal? It's best to give a per person dollar figure for food only. So $75 per person for food? $100 per person? $125pp before wine/tax/tip?

    4 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Party of 2, maybe just me. Which means I'll need good friendly service if it's just me.
      Would be ok with spending around $100-$150pp Nothing too fancy. Wanting more dark light, red and white tablecloths, etc. You know, like in the movies ;)

      1. re: sarahplumley

        Red and white tablecloths = Italian American, less "authentic Italian" IMO.

        Is that what you're looking for?

        1. re: kathryn

          Just want some good pasta and wine and a nice atmosphere. Doesn't matter if it's "American" or not.

      2. re: kathryn

        Dates are next weekend

      3. FWIW, the places in Little Italy are by and large tourist traps with undistinguished food.

        These are currently the best and may or may not have the tablecloth's you're after

        Del Posto
        Babbo (eat at the bar)
        Torrisi's dinner
        Ai Fiori
        Barbone
        Dell'Anima
        Felidia
        il Mulino
        Locanda Verde
        Scarpetta

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

        Del Posto
        85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

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

        Felidia
        243 E 58th St, New York, NY 10022

        Barbone
        186 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

        Dell'Anima
        38 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10003

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

        Locanda Verde
        377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

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

        Ai Fiori
        400 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

        3 Replies
        1. re: dyrewolf

          Adding Marea, if only for the fusilli with octopus and bone marrow. Heaven on a plate! :)

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          Marea
          240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

          1. re: dyrewolf

            Thank you dyrewolf!

            1. re: dyrewolf

              Many of the above would stretch the OP's budget, I think - Del Posto for sure would be $150 after tax/tip, before they'd even ordered a sip of wine. Ai Fiori, Marea, Scarpetta would all break $115 for a standard "true Italian" four-courser (antipasti, pasta, secondi, dolci) - and Il Mulino, fuggedaboudit. A staggeringly overpriced tourist trap if there ever was one. Is their food better than, say, the average Little Italy "red-sauce" joint? Sure. But it's vastly inferior to any of the other above listed places, all of which would be cheaper - many of them half the price. There's a reason Il Mulino doesn't list prices on their website. They're one of those "we charge what we do because we can" places that rely on diners who last read reviews 30 years ago.

              I'd avoid places with set prix fixes, as well - the OP might want to do two pasta courses instead of pasta/secondi.

              Locanda Verde could be a good call. Also in the same price range, and maybe a better option (though I personally prefer LV) would be Osteria Morini. The flavors are BIG & hearty, the scene boisterous and bustling. Both are at a decent enough price point (apps around $15, pastas all under $20, most entrees mid-to-high 20s) that they'd have significantly more wiggle room for wine. With tax & tip it's unlikely they'd spend more than $85 on the food portion of their evening, leaving a good $65 for wine if they're to push their $150 limit.

              -----
              Del Posto
              85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

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

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

              Marea
              240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

              Locanda Verde
              377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

              Osteria Morini
              218 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

              Ai Fiori
              400 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

            2. If it's just you, you could eat at the bar at Scarpetta. If you love Italian food, which I do too, it's great to try something fresh and exciting.

              That said, I also really like Pepolino. The homemade pastas are quite good, the boar entree is excellent... Just downright good food.

              http://pepolino.com/

              http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...

              -----
              Pepolino
              281 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

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

              1. My sense is that sarah is looking for old school italian american rather than the best authentic italian meal the city has to offer. I have not been in a long time and it doesn't seem to get any love here, but I suggest Ecco on Chambers St. Dark wood, big antipasti spread on display. No red checked tablecloths or candles in empty wicker chianti bottles but lots of atmosphere and the food is old standbys competently prepared. I know that doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement, but I've had some fun meals there. Should fit the budget.

                -----
                Ecco
                124 Chambers St, New York, NY 10007

                10 Replies
                1. re: Bkeats

                  I agree with Bkeats - and in that case, I'm recommending Emilio's Ballato - as old school as they come. It might not have a "fun atmosphere" but everything else is "like the movies"

                  -----
                  Emilio's Ballato
                  55 E Houston St, New York, NY 10012

                  1. re: Barcelonian

                    I'm picturing something like the place that Michael Corleone goes to dinner with Sollozzo and McCluskey before the shooting starts is what sarah would like to find.

                    1. re: Bkeats

                      That was on Arthur Ave in the Bronx and they closed...

                    2. re: Barcelonian

                      Just tried Emilio's Ballato. Was looking for basic Italian-American because some of my family are not adventurous. Took some Chowhound suggestions and Emilio's was much better than I expected! The interior is really... peculiar, but everyone was friendly and service was excellent. All the food was a step above what I anticipated--great foccacia, fresh salads, al dente pastas, really well-made food--like someone actually cares. And the bartender knows what a Negroni is. A little pricey for the style of food, but a cut above the usual "red-sauce" place. Even my relatives liked it!

                      1. re: jazzdude

                        Totally agree! I always recommend it. Glad you enjoyed!

                    3. re: Bkeats

                      Thank you all so much for your suggestions. You've led me to a few choices and I really appreciate your help! BTW, what's OP?
                      I will more than likely be dining alone. Just don't want to look like a complete loser who got stood up.

                      1. re: sarahplumley

                        And the winner is....
                        Locanda Verde! Menu looks amazing. Love the atmosphere. Half mile from my hotel.
                        Thanks again!

                        1. re: sarahplumley

                          Call as soon as possible for a reservation at Locanda Verde (they may have only 5pm and 11pm or similar available), or be prepared to wait a while when you go.

                        2. re: sarahplumley

                          OP = "original poster"

                          1. re: sarahplumley

                            I think BKeats has got it right - don't think Marea or Babbo are the kind of place she's after.

                            BTW people eat by themselves all the time here - no worries, you won't stand out or look like a loser at all.

                        3. Authentic Italian food and good wine would be had at I Sodi on Christopher Street, which would easily fit your budget. If you are alone you might enjoy eating at the bar. Small, friendly, unique place with excellent food, not red-sauce or checked tablecloths.

                          -----
                          I Sodi
                          105 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014

                          1. Being Italian I feel the need to reply. Is it too late?

                            Anyway, me and all of my italian friends agree that the best real italian food is either Del Posto and Cipriani Downtown.

                            A little more "rustic" italian feeling and good (but not excellent) food could be found at Quinto Quarto on Bedford street. Wood table, dark, nice and cozy italian ambient.

                            Aurora and Trattoria Cinque are solid everyday spots for many of us too (better food than Quinto Quarto, less of an authentic italian ambience)

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: alepenazzi

                              If you like Cinque, I recommend you try D'Andrea, Bar Pitti, Da Silvano and Osteria Morini

                              1. re: foodwhisperer

                                I found Bar Pitti way overpriced for the quality of the food... Went there once or twice, nice vibe, but I'm not going back... Da Silvano was actually pretty good a few years ago, I found it went downhill recently...

                                I really enjoyed Osteria Morini, I forgot to put it on the list...

                            2. These are not Little Italy, but nearby...

                              Emilio's Ballata in Nolita - great ambience (small size, romantic), great food, excellent wine, feels like you're in Italy

                              Piccola Cucina in SOHO - excellent Sicilian food, chef and waiter are from Sicily, best cannolis we've ever had, great grilled octopus, fresh handmade pasta cooked perfectly, good wine selection