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Jun 17, 2012 05:17 PM

Visitor from Italy - where to eat?

Our Italian cousin (23 year old medical student) is visiting us in DC and we have 24 hours in NYC planned for late July. I'm looking at L'Artusi, Osteria Morini, and Lupa, and would love feedback from people who have possibly been to all 3. Also open to other suggestions. Grazie mille for any advice you can provide!

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  1. I've not been to L'Artusi, and would choose Lupa over Morini, but why Italian food? Wouldn't your Italian visitor like to take this opportunity to try something other than what he would eat at home?

    5 Replies
    1. re: rrems

      good point, although she'll be here for 2 weeks and we'll be exploring lots of options in DC, Philly and Rehoboth Beach which are not Italian... and we'll be doing a lunch in NYC at a non-Italian restaurant. So I'd like to expose her to the best that NYC has to offer in terms of Italian... and I'm certainly open to other suggestions other than the ones listed above.

      1. re: ljulian

        In that case, I would highly recommend Ciano or Maialino. They are more expensive than Lupa, not much different from Morini, but much better in terms of food, and if noise is a consideration at all, I would avoid Morini, as it is deafening.

        1. re: ljulian

          If she does want to try New York's take on Italian, I agree about Maialino (which has lovely service, in any case). I'd also be curious what she might think of Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, though it's not as comprehensive a restaurant as Maialino (and the service can be indifferent).

          1. re: ljulian

            But, really, the sort of places she ought to be trying would be American (and maybe Asian), no? I highly recommend you look at some of Kathryn's recommendations for tourists, particularly the establishments that exemplify the New York dining scene, whether old or new.

        2. Of the 3 you listed I recommend Osteria Morini. They have a bigger selection than Lupa, and IMHO more Italian. I do understand that your cousin might want Italian, as this will be the food he or she misses. My friend from Italy, who moved here and whose family owned a restaurant in Bari, for whatever reason loves Rubirosa, Frankies, and Inotecca ( Ludlow St.) Your cousin is 23, I don't think noise will be an issue, and I think your cousin would prefer a younger crowd. I also think Katz's is a NYC experience that will be good for lunch. Possibly a steak at Peter Luger would be a good idea too.

          1. Which part of Italy is your cousin from?

            7 Replies
            1. re: Pan

              Exactly -- and even which region.

              And in general, based on my experience, the best Italian food in the United States is notably different than Italy. So they may like the food, but not think that it's authentic.

              1. re: von_levi

                My cousin is from Campobasso.

                Thanks for all the advice to avoid Italian, which I certainly intend to do for the entire 2 weeks... NO visits to Baltimore's 'Little Italy', no spaghetti factories. But I did want to show her the best of what the US has to offer, and where better to do it than in NYC?

                1. re: ljulian

                  As other people said, i would think for tourist (whether American or non-American) it's not just the best, but also foods that are unique to NYC. Katz's may not be Michelin rated, but it's so often recommended in threads like these because there are few places outside New York that serve pastrami, let alone such excellent pastrami.

                  1. re: von_levi

                    Not sure why you guys are acting like I'm opposing this concept. She'll be here for 42 meals, including 3 in NYC. I have lots of great ideas for my local area (BTW we're Italian by heritage but are partners in a highly-rated Malaysian restaurant which was rated among the top 100 in the DC area by Washingtonian Mag, so I'm not opposed to other cuisines). I've eaten at Babbo, Del Posto, Esca and several other Italian restaurants in NYC. I'd like to try one that I haven't visited already. We will be trying one Italian restaurant, so if anyone would like to recommend one I'd be grateful.

                    1. re: ljulian

                      "We will be trying one Italian restaurant, so if anyone would like to recommend one I'd be grateful."

                      I'd suggest something modern rather than traditional:

                      Torrisi Italian Specialties

                      1. re: ljulian

                        Sorry if it's coming across that way. I guess I'm just reflecting on my own experience. When I used to live in the central Alabama and visited everyone from vendors to friends on the east and west coast, they'd all make it a point to take me to a soul food restaurant or BBQ place.

                        If it helps, my Italian co-worker swears by L'Arte Del Gelato -- says it's the real deal.

                    2. re: ljulian

                      Interestingly Michael White's Fiamma had food from Molise. Osteria Morini and Al Fiori are foods from Emilio-Romagna. Il Mulino features Abruzzo cooking, This is the same Abruzzo-Molise food of Campobasso. I think someone from Italy, if going to eat Italian food would like food from their own region. Il Mulino would be a very good choice, but expensive and a little cramped.

                2. I'd say Babbo. I'd recommend it as being the best NYC example of a serious American version of Italian cuisine -- rather than a recreation of regional Italian cooking. I think it's better in that regard than Marea, with Lincoln (which I love) being a not-quite-close second.

                  I'm curious why no one else has recommended it.

                  Has it fallen that far out of favor?

                  Or do people just figure that, since you probably can't get a reservation, it isn't worth recommending?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Sneakeater

                    The OP said: "I've eaten at Babbo, Del Posto, Esca and several other Italian restaurants in NYC. I'd like to try one that I haven't visited already."

                    1. re: H Manning



                      (Or, as Emily Litella would have said, "Never mind.")