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Need a good Italian place in the village to call back to a time gone by

So we are trying to dial back the outrageous Christmas meals and reconnect with something simpler we did for several years many years ago. Unfortunately the place we went to is long gone so we are trying to find something like it.

Can anyone recommend a good, simple, little Italian place in the village? We aren't looking for the Perlas or the Minetta Taverns but some place that just feels like it would be nice to be sitting in having dinner on a cold December night after walking around doing some looking/shopping.

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    1. re: carolinadawg

      yeah...nothing says 'simpler times' quite like a $54 veal parmigiana.

      1. re: carolinadawg

        Are you being sarcastic or perhaps meant another Carbone (I think there is one in Hell's Kitchen)? Though not as bad as ZZ's Clam bar, Carbone is one of the hardest restaurants to get a table, is very expensive for what it is and a total scene. Complete opposite of what OP wants.


          1. re: AubWah

            I'm 100% certain they were joking. They'll recommend Del Posto next.

          1. Trattoria Spaghetto on Carmine St.

              1. re: small h

                without a doubt Villa Mosconi relates to times gone by, with old fashioned service and old school style food.

                1. Trattoria Toscana on Carmine.

                  1. I highly recommend Emilio Ballato's on Houston. I love it there.

                    1. Volare definitely hearkens to times gone by.

                      1 Reply
                      1. Trust me on this…I'm Italian and a life long Villager.
                        Here are a few recommendations:
                        Rafele on 7th Ave South and Morton St, trattoria like, excellent cuisine.
                        Villa Mosconi on MacDougal St off Houston St (very old world, great food, a place to take your parents)
                        Abbottega, Bedford St off 6th Ave (very small, actually from Milan)
                        Grano Trattoria on Greenwich Ave and 10th St (rustic)
                        Gradisca on 13th St between 6th & 7th Ave (also rustic)

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: Mazzo

                          Thanks Mazzo, I've never been to a bunch of those places. In the past I frequented Joe's ( 2doors down for Mosconi and the Gun Club) and later Ennio and Michael's, both closed. I've been trying to find a good restaurant in that style. Bar Pitti has good food but lacks the personal touch. They want to move you in and out and in warm weather they line up. Gene's doesn't have great food. Da Andrea is just different. Gaetano is not good. Cantinori is good but a little high priced. Crispo is good but lacks something. So I will try Abbotega, Rafele, Gradisca. Maybe i'll find a new regular spot.

                          1. re: foodwhisperer

                            I remember Joe's before it got "fancy". Their menu used to call Sweetbreads simply "Brains". Based on the past restaurants you mentioned I think you'll find Abbottega in the same ballpark as Joe's. Just don't go too early as it can be very quiet. Another one you may want to try is Malaparte, 753 Washington St at Bethune St way over in the West Vil. Run by young Italians, very reasonable, rustic, with just the right amount of background buzz. Nice in winter but great in summer if you score a outside table next to the nice cobblestone Bethune street and watch the sunset over the Hudson. One more recommend although its not Italian is The Place on West 4th St at West 12th St. Feels like you're dining at a quaint restaurant down some side street in Vienna or Paris. Nice little bar in front room adjacent to 2 small dining rooms, with gas fireplaces. Great food & service, reasonably priced, drinks and wine too that won't break the bank. I walked by this place a million times before finally trying it out with several friends, all foodies, 2 years ago. We've returned many times since. Lastly, I agree with you about Crispo but if you're dining with 6-8 friends and reserve the little "private" alcove on the right side just past the bar it can be whole different experience.

                            1. re: Mazzo

                              I'm enjoying your posts but I've got to strongly disagree with your Malaparte rec.

                              I wrote it up on another food board awhile back and I just cut and pasted my review here. The place is mediocre verging on bad.


                              1. re: Bob Martinez

                                Thanks for the link Bob. I do like Al Di La, As Mazzo mentioned earlier. I used to go to Da Andrea when it was on Hudson St. reminded me of Al di la in a way. Its different now. Po was good last time I was there. Convivium Osteria I also like ( but now we are drifting to outer boroughs)

                                1. re: foodwhisperer

                                  I've been to the old Da Andrea location and I see what you mean about a resemblance to Al Di La.

                                  I've got to check some of these other places out.

                              2. re: Mazzo

                                Thanks Mazzo. I think i may have been to Malaparte, if that's the one that Malatesta owns. I'm no fan of Malatesta btw. Ive been liking Peppolino in Tribeca a bit, but not exactly great. Da Silvano is a sometimes place for me. Abbotega sounds interesting. I was going to Joe's since the 80's, their ossobuco and their roast veal were great. The ravioli they got from Raffeto's was really good too. Many of the waiters from joe's opened their own places. i.e. Ennio and Michael, Il Mulino, Bocconcino, Pirandello, Arco di san Calista, Ennio;s son's place on Hudson st. i forget the name,,, anyway. i'm getting hungry here. Maybe abbotega tonite. Had japanese food last nite.

                                1. re: Mazzo

                                  <Their menu used to call Sweetbreads simply "Brains". >

                                  Really?!! Sweetbreads are the pancreas and/or thymus, not brains. I seriously doubt they would have made such a mistake. Maybe the "brains" on the menu were actually brains?.

                                  1. re: rrems

                                    Many people mistake sweetbreads for brains. Perhaps because of the consistency. I always thought sweetbreads were thymus glands. There are some "scientists" who think thymus glands or extract makes you younger, since thymus glands disappear in humans by the time we are in mid teens. I never knew pancreas were also sweetbreads.
                                    You live and you learn. Thanks rrems.
                                    Bamonte's used to make excellent sweetbreads.

                                    1. re: foodwhisperer

                                      They're one of my favorite dishes, but I like brains even more. In restaurants, it's easier to find sweetbreads. Very rare to find brains (Chez Napoleon is the only place I know of in Manhattan that serves them).

                                      1. re: rrems

                                        Many places stopped serving sweetbreads for some reason, maybe because people think they are brains LOL. anyway, I prefer sweetbreads over brains, but enjoy eating brains also. I'll try to recall what restaurants I've had them in here.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                It's OK. Used to be better when it was on Hudson Street. Gets really loud so its not the best place to carry on a conversation. I'd choose Gradisca which is just down the same block only on the other side of 6th Ave. Grano Trattoria is pretty close to the same area too…only a few blocks further south.

                                1. It would be helpful to know what place is long gone from the Village. I could guess at Joe's, Ennio and Michael, Pirandello, Centani, Bocconcino, Emilio's, Siracusa, etc but give me the name and I'll give you a good recommendation

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: foodwhisperer

                                    Sorry fw, I didn't read your response before posting my comment about good suggestions.

                                    The place was Focacceria on Macdougal. The food was good (nothing life changing) and the service was freindly.

                                    1. re: Spiritchaser

                                      thanks for the reply. btw Villa Mosconi is a definite years gone by place , and quiet with good service.

                                  2. Thanks to all for the suggestions; there are several that seem to really fit the bill, it won't make the decision easy.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. I'll say Monte's on Macdougal just to remind folks that they're still there. I haven't been in years but people have always dismissed it too quickly. I always had a good time there.

                                      1. Anyone rememeber Il Baggatto on 2nd and A. Great food, terible service.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: princeofpork3

                                          It closed recently. It's sister restaurant, Il Posto Accanto, is still open. It's one of our favorites.

                                        2. Supper on 2nd Street. Very homey, open kitchen, nice service.

                                          1. I don't get it. No one is mentioning Arturo's.
                                            Live jazz every night and a great mix of regulars among the tourists. The pizza's great and so are all those classic Italian-American dishes you expect to see on an old-school menu.
                                            It's still family-run and very reasonably priced. Wines by the glass are very good, by the bottle are even better.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Lamericano

                                              Love the pizza here, some of the best in the city. Very traditional red sauce italian. The atmosphere is a bit rushed and similar to a pizza place. The live jazz is OK but only if you are seated in the front room. I wouldnt put it on the same list as many of the other options above.

                                              1. re: Lamericano

                                                I love Arturo's. It's a bit more lively than the other options mentioned. The pizza there is really good.

                                                1. re: iluvcookies

                                                  I also like Arturo's, I've been going there for many years, but not frequently. Maybe once a year.