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Italian in the city

I know there are 100s of Italian restaurants in Manhattan. I have had the good fortunate to have tried some. For my daughter's upcoming 21st birthday she asked if we could go to an upscale / well received Italian restaurant.

Any suggestions are appreciated. Open to any part of the City.

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  1. What's your budget, per person, before tax, tip, wine/drinks (will she be drinking?)?

    What Italian dishes does your daughter like? Any favorite ingredients or pastas? How adventurous is she?

    When is her birthday? Does she want or need to dress up for the occasion? Are you looking for a more homey atmosphere or modern/sleek or opulent?

    What have you tried previously and what have you liked or disliked?

    8 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Daughter likes traditional Italian, both northern and southern - she has been to Italy. Likes marsala, pasta, etc. Not too adventurous (that;s me) Her B'day is Jan - no need to dress up, but more than jeans, Probably leaning more toward modern/sleek, but open to homey as well. Not opulent.

      Like Becco, Carmine's was ok and as a family we like Tony DiNapoli, Been to a few in Little Italy but open to any you can suggest.

      Im the picky one, not too into vegetables. Like pasta, like veal,chicken,

      It is her 21st so drinks would be included as she is "legal" and Im willing to splurge as we had done Peter Luger when we did this for my son (he loves steak). - I guess I'd like to keep the total bill for the four of us under 400.

      1. re: belferdad

        Are you looking for something in the Theater district? Everything you've mentioned are very, how do you say, "touristy" restaurants that don't exactly offer exceptional food.

        Honestly, I'd venture downtown for something more special and much tastier. If your budget is around $100/pp, you're not exactly able to splurge either... so Del Posto and Marea may be out (based on what thegforceny suggested).

        I'd suggest Babbo (if you plan very carefully and well in advance - when is her bday?), Maialino, Osteria Morini, Perla, L'Apicio, Dell'Anima. Perhaps even Torrisi if you're looking for a special Italian American experience.

        1. re: zeeEats

          Yes, this is spot on. I don't consider the places you've been to "upscale/well-received." They are Italian American tourist stops. I tend to dislike that type of food and establishment. You might try Crispo.

          Your daughter might prefer L'artusi though - more stylish and great pastas. (same owner as L'Apicio and dell'anima) She also might like Morandi. I do like both of these.

          1. re: kathryn

            Yes, Scarpetta sounds like what you may be looking for. Babbo is a great choice too, if you can get in.

          2. re: belferdad

            Given your preferences you might enjoy Carbone.

            1. re: MrGrumpy

              I'm afraid Carbone could easily exceed OP's preferred budget.

            2. re: belferdad

              belferdad, I hope your daughter's birthday dinner went well.

              Where did you end up? How was it?

          3. Top tier: Babbo, del Posto, Marea

              1. Hi belferdad - I see you have this post and another about the theater district. If you can give kathryn the info she was asking about she can be a fount of knowledge.

                1. Lunch at Del Posto or dinner at Lincoln.. Babbio if you manage to get a reservation..

                  1. I recently had dinner at Ecco downtown. Doesn't get any love here, but the food was quite good. It isn't Del Posto, but it really hit the spot. Hadn't been there in a long time and I have to remind myself to go more often. Price is definitely right.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Bkeats

                      Did a search of this Board and not much on Ecco. I've heard stories about when they first opened. I've been once.

                      I'm in restaurant search mode again. SO nixed Scalini Felini, Locande Verde (scene/trendy), The Harrison, North End Grill, City Hall, Maialino.

                      I'm thinking Ecco might work . . .anyone been recently?

                    2. We like "neighborhood" Italian restaurants. Some of our favorites:
                      I Trulli
                      All have excellent food and fresh pasta. Reasonable too!
                      Del Posto is amazing but $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

                      1. Il Buco? I like the meat and fish dishes (not really the pasta...)
                        the ambiance is very nice..

                        1. In my opinion, Scarpetta or Maiailino seem to be exactly what you are looking for. Enjoy!

                          1. We really love I Trulli. It's on East 27th Street. Southern Italian but definitely not touristy, not a "red sauce" place. The owner's mother makes the pasta. The room is comfy and charming, so is the service.

                            Babbo has wonderful food but is very noisy.

                            Locanda Verde is also a wonderful choice.

                            We also like Becco. they make very good pasta there, but it's too "busy" for my taste. We dislike Carmine's.

                            1. Don't go to Scarpetta - the service is just horrible and it is filled with tourists.

                              We like both of the Il Buco's but they're more Italy-Italian than American-Italian. A wonderful choice for service is Circo which has excellent food and value.