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Dinner in Little Italy

Meeting 3 friends in Little Italy for dinner over the Christmas holiday. Haven't been to this part of NYC for ages. We're all 50-something and appreciate great food and wine, no matter the setting. Any suggestions?

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  1. Great food and wine? Little Italy is not the place for it. Sadly, it has not been really good for quite a long time.

    I recommend you search this board for suggestions from the poster kathryn. She is quite knowledgable, and her recs will steer you in the right direction.


    1. Torrisi is just off of SoHo and the cooking is really good, I was very impressed. Every single dish was tasty. Prix fixe for $70. Just glancing at yelp there are several other familiar-sounding Italian restaurants too, so there should be lots of choices.

      1. Walk through Little Italy but dine in Nolita, where you'll find excellent restaurants like Public, Peasant, Rubirosa, and more.

        4 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          I'm thinking Rubirosa is too young a crowd for 50 something people. And maybe they'd be happy going to SPQR, Il Cortile, Grotto Azurra etc Although Osteria Morini isn't far and is almost Little Italy. I heard the place where Little Charlie's Clam Bar , used to be isn't bad, but I googled it and can't find the name of the restaurant that replaced them. On Kenmare St.

          1. re: foodwhisperer

            As someone who is well past 50, I can attest that Rubirosa is not "too young".

            1. re: rrems

              I have been to Rubirosa many times. I am over 50 but I don't mind a younger crowd. The crowd at Rubirosa is pretty much the same crowd as Frankie's, 90% under 35. I also don't think the food at Rubisrosa will remind the original poster of the food in Little Italy that they remember from years ago.
              If they order the pizza they will be disappointed that the crust is more like a cracker. If they want Gluten free they will be happy there. I agree with other posters in their Benito II rec and the Emilio Ballato rec. Pellegrino sounds good too, maybe because the owner of Rao's last name is Pellegrino .

        2. I'l be the dissenting voice: I love Little Italy, especially when it's decked out for Christmas. I know Chowhounders are dismissive of it, and it's not haute Italian, but great fun and it is possible to get a very good meal. I don't care if it's touristy. Foodwhisperer offers some good recommendations, although I'm not sure why Rubirosa may be "too young" for 50-somethings. I've also heard Pellegrino's on Mulberry is very good. Meeting in Little Italy for dinner with friends and having dessert and cappuccino afterward at a cafe can be a terrific seasonal experience if you choose carefully.

          1 Reply
          1. I haven't been in a while, but you might consider Benito II on Mulberry.
            Spedini Romana.
            Fried Peppers.
            Chicken Scarpariello.

            1. Emilio's Ballato, in Nolita on Houston, might be a good call for this dinner.

              1. The only place I'll eat there is called Florios. But I recommend going to Nolita also. Public is an excellent choice. There's also Balaboosta near Torrisi. Torrisi is wonderful if you can get a reservation.

                1 Reply
                1. re: yaochow

                  Emilio's Ballato is perfect but they don't take reservations. Rubirosa, Torrisi, or Osteria Morini are also great choices. Balaboosta is mediterranean so that suggestion seems a bit out of left field.

                2. Rubirosa would be my recommendation as well.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: RebelWithaCause

                    I love Rubirosa. The staff are awesome and the food is great!. Had the ricotta pancakes and the breakfast pizza. Both were delicious.

                  2. I was in rubirosa saturday for lunch. There were 3 of us, each in our mid 50's. We did not feel out of place at all. It is a small place so get reservations if they accept them. (we walked in about 11:45am) and it filled up quickly. Try the house made limoncello. We had the breakfast pizza. We had a good time and will definitely go back.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Klocke

                      Rubirosa does take ressies and do NOT put their prime times on Opentable so always call to check. I've always gotten in between 7 and 8pm when OT only showed 5 or 5:30.