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Best of Little Italy

Old Oct 25th, 2011, 01:19 PM
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Best of Little Italy

Thinking about dinner in Little Italy while in NYC

suggestions..........
Michelle_Berglund is offline  
Old Oct 25th, 2011, 01:36 PM
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Think about elsewhere.
SueNYC is offline  
Old Oct 25th, 2011, 01:55 PM
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why?
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Old Oct 25th, 2011, 02:16 PM
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The food in Little Italy is pretty awful. Sue is 100% right. Almost anywhere else would be better.
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Old Oct 25th, 2011, 02:34 PM
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how about suggesting a fun tasty Italian restaurant experience - not high end over priced (yes, I know it's NYC)
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Old Oct 25th, 2011, 03:36 PM
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We have a family tradition of the first night we're in New York we head to La Mela on Mulberry Street in Little Italy. Yes the food is not great, and the service can be abrupt but the portions are generous and its great fun, especially when the singing starts. Which is welcome after 24 hours on a plane!

I guess it depends on what you're going to Little Italy for, if you're after really good italian, then SueNYC and DebitNM are spot on, Little Italy is not the place to find it, but from my perspective as a tourist I find it fun!

If you get no luck on this forum with alternate restaurants try having a look at the Chowhound Forums, this question has been asked there before.
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Old Oct 25th, 2011, 03:54 PM
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The infamous restaurant review "Well, the food wasn't very good, but there was a lot of it!"
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Old Oct 25th, 2011, 03:57 PM
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Italian food in Little Italy is mostly mediocre, basic red sauce and not work the money.'

If you give a budget and what type of food/atmosphere you want (traditional, trendy, loud and fun) people can make much better recos.
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Old Oct 25th, 2011, 04:15 PM
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Okay, there are two issues here.

A tourist is asking for recommendations for a restaurant in Little Italy. <gasp> A TOURIST is asking for a recommendation for a TOURIST DESTINATION! (the gall of her).

She adds additional information. She's looking for " a fun tasty Italian restaurant experience - not high end over priced"

She's not asking for the best Italian food in NYC.
She's coming to NYC as a tourist.
She wants to eat in Little Italy.
Seriously, what's wrong with that?

Yeah, we know. Locals don't like Little Italy. "There are better restaurants in the city". If I had a dime for everytime I heard that I'd be eating dinner in NYC tonight - maybe even in Little Italy.

Some people WANT to eat a meal in a place they've heard of for years. Italian in Little Italy. Chinese in Chinatown. Visit Times Square. Darn those clueless tourists!!!

Michelle, four they you may enjoy are Il Cortile, La Mela, Sophia's and Puglia. Here's the link to Opentable where you can read more information and make reservations if you like -
http://www.opentable.com/manhattan/l...ly-restaurants

Of those four, Puglia is the one the locals would probably like the least. The food and service are fine. Their claim to fame is the entertainment. Years after our very large group went there - and danced the handkerchief dance, among other dances - people are still talking (with big smiles on their faces) about that night. "Remember that dinner in Little Italy?!". I doubt many remember much about the food but they remember the fun and atmosphere of that night.

Some people like that. Some people think that's an awful, horrible way to spend an evening - and dinner - in NYC.

If you want to eat dinner in Little Italy, pick from one of the four restaurants listed above and enjoy!
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Old Oct 25th, 2011, 06:10 PM
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Here is a realtively new restaurant down in Little Italy that has gotten some good reviews. We have not eaten there.

http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant...lian-specialt/

To Starrs defense of tourists:

If someone spends the time and money to come to NYC, then we would hope they would have the best time possible. If they have an over-priced mediocre meal and are forewarned then maybe they would have had a decent to excellent meal and would have a better impression of the City.

If we were going to your hometown and said we wanted to go to Joe's Slophouse and you knew it was awful you would offer a warning. (Well maybe to others not me.) If someone else made the argument that it is their constitutional right as a tourist to go where they want, it would not be a sterling restaurant recommendation.

Once you are in the restaurant it does not matter if you are in Little Italy or the Upper West Side.

I will not belabor this issue but end it as I have others, if people want to eat in bad restaurants, sobeit, it leaves more tables free in the better places.
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Old Oct 25th, 2011, 06:19 PM
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Well, at least we got something other than "go somewhere else". It took 4 responses, but finally a local made a suggestion that matched the OP's request. On many threads, that never happens.

If you have a better recommendation elsewhere, nothing wrong with providing that information. I maintain that it's more helpful to add that to a helpful response to an OP's question - but I realize (from years of experience) that many NYC locals don't agree with that approach. Telling someone to go elsewhere seems to be the favored response.
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Old Oct 25th, 2011, 06:34 PM
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Thank you EVERYONE! I appreciate all responses!

Starrs... thanks for the defense of the TOURIST! I loved your post because you got exactly what I was asking for and even got my reply post "fun tasty Italian restaurant experience".
I know asking questions is opening a can of worms of answers - I'm ok with that. I appreciate all responses and I will weed through to get out of each one what I can. I want to do the napkin dance... sounds like fun!!!

I know different people have different views of things - I'm from Minneapolis - if you came here you might want to see the Mall of America that most people have heard about - if you go to the Minnesota board here you would read "don't go there, it's nothing special" but if you told me you want to go to the Mall of America I would say Fun! I'll take you there! I've been there a hundred times, I like going there once in awhile, it's become just a big mall to me, but I still get that it's unique when you haven't experienced it and that you would want to.

So thanks for all the responses - I'm going to check out the links provided.
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Old Oct 25th, 2011, 06:35 PM
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Not looking like a tourist, acting like a tourist, or going to tourist places is something of a holy grail for New Yorkers. There is an underlying assumption that any place that caters to tourists must be terrible. This is really not true, even in NY, although they may be expensive. I don't have any concrete suggestions for Little Italy, since I haven't eaten there in 20 years, but that meal was perfectly fine. Enjoy Little Italy.

BTW, chain restaurants in NY really are terrible. Do not eat in them.
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Old Oct 25th, 2011, 06:48 PM
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You are welcome, Michelle.

I've flown through Minneapolis - on Christmas Day. I was shocked that there was no snow on the ground. I was on my way from Atlanta to Alb, NM for a trip to Durango. (that was the routing for a super-saver ticket) I was shocked that there was more snow in Durango then Minneapolis. I don't care much for malls, even the Biggest Ones Ever. So, if I come back I'll ask for your suggestion of something else to do. I'm happy to be a tourist. Even in NYC
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Old Oct 25th, 2011, 07:07 PM
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In the early 1990's I ate at the restaurant owned by the guy who played Grandpa on the Monsters tv show - it was on Bleeker street I think. I don't remember the food at all - I remember Grandpa! He was there, smoking his cigar and barking orders. It was fun to watch!

persimmondeb - thanks for the tip - eating at a chain restaurant on vacation should be avoided! I like new things, new experiences!
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Old Oct 25th, 2011, 07:11 PM
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Starrs... I've never had a Christmas without snow in Minnesota - maybe the airport had plowed it all away!
Trust me, it was here somewhere! I love snow at Christmas and then it can go away!

If you some to MN I'll give you non-mall suggestions!
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Old Oct 25th, 2011, 07:16 PM
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In New York's Little Italy, there are still good places to eat. There's Lombardi's which is crazy busy, not cheap pizza, but good thin-crust pizza:

http://www.firstpizza.com/

There's Rice to Riches, with an incredible variety of rice puddings that's somewhat like having gelato:

http://www.ricetoriches.com/puddy.aspx

Another place for your sweet tooth is Eileen's Cheesecake:

http://www.eileenscheesecake.com/

There's also a place where they sell gelato outside and also some great cannelloni's inside. Can't remember the name: Ferrari's? Ferrante's?

There are all kinds of great neighborhood places to eat in New York.

easytraveler
Just another tourist in New York
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Old Oct 25th, 2011, 07:17 PM
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I usually avoid them on vacation myself, but occasionally the familiar or the predictable will appeal, and there are chains I like that we don't have locally, so I might give them a whirl.

Just not in NYC, where the only thing that is predictable is that it will be the worst version of that chain's food you have ever encountered.
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Old Oct 25th, 2011, 07:22 PM
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In the early 1990's I ate at the restaurant owned by the guy who played Grandpa on the Monsters tv show - it was on Bleeker street I think. I don't remember the food at all - I remember Grandpa! He was there, smoking his cigar and barking orders. It was fun to watch!
________
Grandpa and his restaurant are gone. Al Lewis was also a basketball scout for colleges, had a PhD in child psychology from Columbia, and was one nasty SOB.
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Old Oct 25th, 2011, 07:35 PM
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No, it was a snow-less landscape as we came in. It was around 1998ish. If I thought hard enough I could figure out the year. I was shocked. Then after we got to Durango, there was a heat wave there and we watched the snow melt from the hotel roof. I got busy on the phone and we moved on to Santa Fe earlier than expected. It was weird weather.

I love your Grampa's story. I googled and found that the restaurant was at Bleeker and Leroy. One of my kitschy favorites in that area is/was the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. I looked for the webpage and it's called Cowgirl now. Basic Texan/Midwestern food but good reviews - and the decor just made me smile. Reminded me of the El Paso picante commercial - "New York Ci-TY?!"
reviews - http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/3/25340/...-Fame-New-York
menu - http://www.cowgirlnyc.com/menu_dinner.html

A small local chain that I LOVE is Pio-Pio. It's a friend's favorite delivery option and I ordered it TWICE during one visit a year ago. The Matador combo is a great value - serves several for $30 -
http://www.piopio.com/

I like fine dining, but honestly in NYC I'm more about the experiences and the shows. My idea of heaven would be 9 shows in a week. I know that others would prefer other choices. That's good too.

The last time we were there on Thanksgiving we ate the prix fixe option at
http://www.westbankcafe.com/menu.html
Here's last year's Thanksgiving menu -
http://www.westbankcafe.com/menus/thanks2010.html
They also offered a wine flight we added to the meal.

We had breakfast at the hotel restaurant, went out and watched the parade for a while, came back in to finish watching the parade on TV and then went for our Thanksgiving dinner at 4pm at the West Bank Cafe. It was a wonderful day. We were staying at The Muse in Times Square so the parade was a 1/2 block away and the restaurant was just a few blocks away. Loved everything about the day. Enjoy your trip!
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