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Crispo or Da Andrea?

Looking for a good moderately priced Italian restaurant in the West Village/Chelsea area. Good food is main criterion. Which of these or any other recommendations? Thanks.

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  1. I love Crispo, esp if you can snag a table in the back enclosed garden. Not a fan of Da Andrea though I know people like it.

    1. I like both. Crispo's food is slightly better but prices are somewhat higher. Da Andrea is great if budget is a consideration.

      1. I haven't been to Da Andrea. Crispo is a good choice, if you don't mind a loud environment, particularly on weekends. Malatesta is another possibility, but I prefer the rooms at Crispo, and they have good wines and grappas (though I don't have enough experience with either at Malatesta to do a straight comparison).

        1. Food slightly better at Crispo but I will never go there on a Saturday night again fer shur. They were defaulting people with reservations to tables that were in spots where, frankly, no good restaurant should have tables (inches from a swinging kitchen door? within the crowded bar waiting area? and yes, it was being done to numerous people, and couple after couple shouldn't have to go through a complaint process to get a real table if you have a reservation).

          1. Further downtown in the WV on Jane and Hudson is DelAnima. The food can be sublime. A wee bit more expensive, but at its best it can blow these two contenders out of the water.

            1 Reply
            1. re: NYJewboy

              Thanks NY Jewboy, I will have to try DelAnima, I need a place to regularly go to. I like Da Andrea but the menu bores me after awhile. It amazes me that everyone loves Crispo, besides being a loud , crowded annoying place to eat, I find the food merely OK. I sometimes like Po, but they are inconsistent and can get loud and crowded. When It's busy the service isn't too good. Gaetano, also in the WV has a few good dishes but overall, the place isn't too good. Bar Pitti has good food but they rush you and are not cordial.
              So again, thanks for the DelAnima rec, I will report back.

            2. My group of 3 diverse-taste friends loved the food at Crispo, but the noise in the garden room was too much. I'd eat at their bar the next time.

              1. I had dinner at da'andrea sunday night. There were 6 in our party. There was nothing anyone ordered that was exceptional in any way. It was ok but i will not go back..

                1. tried Da' Andrea for the first time last night. i've had it in my mind for some time, due to often being mentioned on chowhound. totally disappointing meal, start to finish. my wife and i shared two pastas and an entree, none of which we'd have again. the pastas - a spaghetti bolognese and an artichoke ravioli - were so under-seasoned. both dishes were just without flavor. the entree, a stuffed chicken with mozzarella, prosciutto, and spinach, was just the same. we both added salt to the dish, which we never do. the side of vegetables reminded me why i hated them as a kid - bland and limp.

                  i realize the original post is quite old and that it's maybe wrong to look for comparisons between Da Andrea, which we didn't enjoy, and Crispo, which we frequent often. However, the room, the service, and the food at Crispo are leagues better than what we had last night.

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: coasts

                    I'm surprised you didn't enjoy your meal at all at Da Andrea. The food is usually on a gourmet level. The pork chops are a great dish, the pastas are usually really good. The atmosphere cozy, the service great.
                    Crispo is a totally different atmosphere. Loud, bustling, service usually good. The food is good. The fish is good. But not gourmet dining. Just consistently good food. I especially like the branzino there.
                    I suggest Peppolino in Tribeca, for Northern Italian food.

                    1. re: foodwhisperer

                      I've had bad dishes at Crispo, but the good ones are so good that i don't resist ordering my favorites. the stuffed cherry peppers and mozzarella arancini to start, followed by the lightly breaded fried calamari, and then the trofie al prosciutto or truffle raviolis and the shrimp scampi...any day.

                      also, every bottle of wine that i've had at Crispo i've later seeked out to buy for home.

                      1. re: coasts

                        I've had good red wine at Crispo. I also had good friend calamari. I haven't had any of the other dishes you mentioned.
                        Spaghetti and meatballs are good too.

                      2. re: foodwhisperer

                        I think you're sticking way too much up for Da Andrea by saying the food is "on a gourmet level". It's just OK, just as Crispo's is. But none of them are on a gourmet level.

                        Btw,I haven't been back to any of these 2 restaurants since about 3-4 years ago. We've gone t other Italian at same price level that we think are better.

                        1. re: RCC

                          Would you be willing to share what other places you've been visiting?

                          1. re: coasts

                            Of course, but since I post my reviews here, you should be able to search on my posts.

                            1. re: RCC

                              are you paying per keystroke?

                              1. re: coasts

                                OK, quite unfair of me for not following through with my suggestions. Note that none of these will ever be refered to as gourmet-level, but here they are anyway:

                                We like Da Marcella and Malatesta and both in the area that the OP inquired about. I believe that they cost slightly lower than either Crispo or Da Andrea. Da Marcella offers simple-preparations with that home-cooking feel to their dishes.

                                More often than not, and for similar price points, we like to go to Rubirosa and Peasant, and note that both are outside of the OP’s requirement. Peasant’s crispy roast pork dish is a staple when I visit. If they have orochiette on their specials menu, it’s also a must for me. Nobody talks much about their pizza margherita, but it is delicious.

                      3. re: coasts

                        Sorry to hear this. But just like you had bad dishes at Crispo and you have your favorites there, I also have my favorites in DA - The Tigelle and the Pappardelle. I can't order anything else as much as I try.
                        So I would say based on that, and the possibility of an off night overall than yes it's not a fair comparison. But it doesn't hurt to report

                        1. re: coasts

                          I totally agree with your assessment. On my last trip to the city, we followed someone's suggestion on this board to go to da Andrea instead of Crispo. Having been to Crispo a couple times before, we felt like trying something new, and the online menu looked intriguing.

                          It was one of the most underwhelming meals I've had in the city (and I've been to any number of Italian places), and regretted not having gone back to Crispo.

                          That said, the bill was cheap. Oh well, lesson learned.

                          1. re: linguafood

                            da andrea has been my solid neighborhood go-to for years...from hudson to 13th street.

                            its not mind blowing...its just expertly cooked, always solid, always well priced italian.

                            if you expect any more, you'll be disappointed.

                            1. re: sam1

                              Well, I read here about "gourmet level" food, and the poster who rec'd da Andrea over Crispo on the thread I was referring to was pretty adamant.

                              Even for a 'hood place, it wasn't a place I would return to, even if I lived on E. 13th.

                              Whereas to Crispo, I might.

                              1. re: sam1

                                the dishes i had were not expertly cooked, at all. i'm willing to believe it was an off night, but i won't be returning to confirm it.