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Jul 23, 2013 05:37 PM

UES Italian lunch?

Please recommend Italian restaurants for lunch in the UES, preferably the 80s or lower 90s. Food is important, cost less so, would like a somewhat more casual atmosphere. We like Sfoglia and Luna Rossa, while finding the atmosphere at Paola's too stiff.

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  1. I like Tre Otto on Madison and 97th.

    1. When was the last time you went to Paola's? I think they've redone the menu and interiors not too long ago, I had a really amazing meal there just a few weeks ago.

      3 Replies
      1. re: JulesTei

        Also a Paola's fan, which I think of as somewhat comparable to Sfoglia. Tre Otto's food isn't bad but the service is awful and the seating cheek-by-jowel.

        1. re: City Kid

          I have always had very good service at Tre Otto and awful service at Sfoglia. Last time I went to Sfoglia the hostess was so rude to us that I never returned. That was more than 3 years ago though, so perhaps things have improved over there.

          1. re: Toot

            totally agree with OP. Paola's is very stiff - feels like what pple think about the UES. But I don't love Tre Otto either - food is at best average, also of course not in the lower 90's. I haven't had lunch there, but I love Spigolo.

      2. Antonucci on east 81st Street-this place hits all the marks-great food with an extensive menu,well priced and a buzzy atmosphere.

        3 Replies
        1. re: pammi

          Second this. Lunch options for Italian on this end of the UES are limited: Tre Otto is just awful, Paola's way overpriced for how ordinary it is, as are Vico and Sfoglia, the sources of whose popularity have always eluded me.

          1. re: bob96

            I guess we've had vastly different experiences, but I would certainly not put Paola's or Sfoglia in the same category as Vico. But one person's "ordinary" is another's elegant and extraordinary.

            1. re: City Kid

              Happy you seem to have had good experiences at Paola's and Sfoglia: I've not. Paola's is forgettable middle of the road Italian, aggressively priced; Sfoglia charges "elegant and extraordinary" prices for a laughably limited menu of mind boggling plainness and amateurish service. I realize others have had better times, but so it goes.

        2. Ristorante Rosi on Madison and 72nd in a few blocks below your preferred area but well worth a visit.