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Malatesta versus Barbone

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Which of these two is better for a casual birthday dinner with a group of 8 friends? for ambience and for food?

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  1. Of the two I've only been to Malatesta. It was for a birthday dinner with several people. The food was OK, not great, but what spoiled the celebratory mood was the fact that we were asked to leave after less than an hour and a half to make room for another reservation. I guess they count on rapid turnover but I found that off-putting and reason to not return.

    1 Reply
    1. re: City Kid

      Brought up a good point about which restaurant will allow lingering by a large birthday party group dinner.
      I've not been in a large group dinner at Malaesta, but I get the impression that they won't allow lingerers. Don't know if Barbone will allow, either.

    2. ive been to both. id say barbone has the better food and malatesta has the better environment...more lively and convivial.

      for a birthday, id probably choose malatesta. i dont *love* either place but they are fine enough for a solid, inexpensive italian meal.

      1. Barbone with better food. Malatesta one up on the ambiance.

        1. Would you consider another place like Inoteca on the Lower East Side? I will say that of the two places you mention, I've been to Barbone only once and was quite underwhelmed but I've liked Malatesta. Given the remarks people are making about Malatesta wanting to turn tables fast, though, I think you should consider places that are accustomed to putting groups of your size in private rooms. I don't think I ever can remember being treated impatiently at Inoteca. Supper is another place that is accustomed to dealing with groups, and while in general, I find the food a bit more delicious at Inoteca, I like both places, and they're both casual, fun, and in a prime barhopping neighborhood if you haven't already had all the wine you want with the meal.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Pan

            I agree that Inoteca, would be a better choice than Malatesta. I have never heard of Barbone. Inoteca is a more lively atmosphere than Malatesta, more variety of dishes. Definitely a more fun place and better for a larger group. Also, note that Malatesta only takes cash.
            Da Andrea,,,, I love the place, it is a more quiet , more refined type of meal than Malatesta or Inoteca. and more expensive too. Pepolino (tribeca) is a good place along the lines of Da Andrea, with great food. Bar Pitti will rush you out. Da Silvano would be a good choice too. Po always has birthday parties, and also Morandi is a solid choice.

          2. I thought Barbone was ok, if not mediocre. The food just didn't seem to come together. Noble efforts thwarted by lack of depth and insight into ingredients and flavor harmonies. I would not go back.

            2 Replies
            1. re: NYJewboy

              would you suggest any other place that can accommodate groups? Last year I went to Da Andrea so I'm looking for something along those lines with equal or slightly better food

              1. re: shap89

                I haven't been to Da Andrea.