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Very Casual Italian Restaurant Suggestions for Sunday Evening

Hello, Two of us are staying near Grand Central this weekend and would like some recommendations on restaurants that serve decent Italian/American food. My son is a college student and more than likely will wear shorts and loafers. Would prefer to keep the food and bar bill with gratuity to < $150 for our meal. We enjoy pasta,red sauces, calamari, veal, salads,and pretty much eat anything with our beverages of choice being beer in this steamy weather. We have plans to sample some pizza slice places for lunch. Traveling on public transportation is fine for us and enjoyable. Being able to snag a reservation would also be a plus near 7 PM along with a lower noise level restaurant. Thank you.

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  1. Casual Italian - Da Andrea always comes to mind

    9 Replies
    1. re: Ziggy41

      Crispo , Bar Pitti, Becco, Il Cantinori, Villa Mosconi. Frankie's on Hudson St. ,
      Da Andrea is not really a red sauce place.

      1. re: foodwhisperer

        Da Andrea is not really a red sauce but their top dish pappardelle with sausage and truffle oil is. Add the Tigelle with prosciutto and you got yourself a nice meal. I like taking out of town visitors there. Always a success

        1. re: Ziggy41

          Is the truffle oil what makes it downscale? Or is the truffle oil in a red sauce?

          1. re: barberinibee

            Truffle oil in red sauce. I know, I know truffle oil is not true Italian and frowned upon, but this dish tastes good to me.

            1. re: Ziggy41

              wow. I have never heard of truffle oil in red sauce before.

              1. re: barberinibee

                Il Melograno (chef/owner form Brescia) in midtown serves a similar dish but I prefer Da Andreas version. Fresh Pappardelle with sausages tomato sauce and truffle oil. They add peas sometimes for good luck.

                Perhaps try it Barber? I'll treat you for one in exchange for Piedmont tips. Looking to go in the fall of next year

                1. re: Ziggy41

                  That's okay. You can have my Piemonte tips for free!

                  Actually, I don't get up to Piemonte all that often, so you should check the many threads on the Italy board. The recommendations don't change all that often, and of course you should also read the Osterie d'Italia. But be aware of when truffle season is if that is why you are going. (And keep it to yourself that you're ok with truffle oil).

              2. re: Ziggy41

                I agree. I normally would not expect it but it is delicious in this dish. Everyone I know who has tried it loved it.

                1. re: rrems

                  I'll take everybody's word for it!

                  (Edited to add: I did find a recipe online in Italian for bacala with tomatoes and fresh truffles, but even leaving aside that it is truffle oil, it just is hard to imagine truffles in tomato sauce, although now that I think if it, I have seen jarred sauce like that, but not in Italy -- but I don't see everything.)

      2. Crispo might be it. I am not big on Da Andrea.

          1. Rubirosa. Maybe skip the pizza for lunch and have it as part of your dinner instead. Their other dishes are all great, especially pastas, but pizza is the star. It can be noisy, but early on a Sunday night may not be bad.

            2 Replies
              1. re: rrems

                LOVE Rubirosa. Great pizza (get half vodka no matter what) and the meatballs are awesome. Never had a bad dish there: arugula salad, octopus, all pizzas/pastas.

                Call if you don't see anything on OT and if not, go at 6:30, put your names down, and grab a drink nearby. They generally over-estimate the wait by a lot.

              2. I just have to mention Dell'Anima cuz I like it so much.