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Restaurants in Little Italy - NYC

Old Dec 16th, 2011, 04:47 PM
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Restaurants in Little Italy - NYC

My family will be in NYC the week after Christmas and we'd like to try a really good restaurant in Little Italy. Any recommendations?
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Old Dec 16th, 2011, 04:53 PM
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Many Manhattanites would say that "really good restaurant" and "Little Italy" cannot be used in the same sentence. There are far better italian restaurants in other parts of the city. However, if you must eat in Little Italy, I find Da Nico on Mulberry Street to be a reasonable and reasonably good option.
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Old Dec 16th, 2011, 06:10 PM
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My friend's family owns Casa Bella. It's good and it's been there a long time.
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Old Dec 16th, 2011, 06:51 PM
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We have always liked Puglia's on Hester Street. They have a wide menu with good antipasto choices, salads, lots of pasta dishes and although I'm not a vegetarian I usually go for the eggplant rollatini. They have pitchers of beer and soda and also have home made wine.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 11:59 AM
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If you'd like to dine in Little Italy, Lombardi's is the place.

http://www.firstpizza.com/

Da Nico would be my 2nd suggestion.

Enjoy NYC!
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 02:16 PM
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Check out some of the great Italian restaurants in Greenwich Village - which with their tree lined streets - is a great place to also walk around/explore. Suggest you review the Zagat recommendations - and we were there a couple of months ago and enjoyed a couple of them (close to 8th and Jane st), plus they have many good places to get a pizza pie.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 02:23 PM
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Here's a little pizza review for another blog - and I will also dig out the Italian restaurant review. You could not find a better Margherita pizza than at Motrino's - toward the East Villaqe.

I went by John's of Bleecker Street - and it looked very good - (he was even nice enough to email me back when I was doing some pre-trip checking) - but you couldn't get just a slice - so I went a couple of blocks down to another Greenwich Village "establishment" - Joe's on Carmine (just along 6th ave - and it was packed- with people also sitting at the outdoor tables) - and had a piece there and it was quite good. I also checked out Keste, whose patron's seemed very pleased.

Good reviews - and actually - I saw several very good pizza places along Bleeker St (as well as Murray's Cheese), and I even talked to a young gal who was proudly carrying a piece of Artichoke pizza, that she had purchased on Mcdougal St. And there was even a Patsy's pizza on University?

The good pizza choices seem almost endless, but I would still make another pilgrimage over to the East Side and to Motorino's next time I am in the Apple.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 02:26 PM
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Here's another post from my review of a classic French Bistro restaurant in NYC - Tout Va Bien. That post really morphed into some NYC foodies comments.

BTW - joined my sister and her friend at a good Italian restaurant in the West Village - Dell'anima (8th and Jane) - and had a wonderful pasta dish (Zagat gives them a 25 for food) . The manager told me their new place, L'Artusti (228 W. 10th - between Bleeker and Hudson) - had already passed them in the food ratings.

And later that week - my sister and her friend (the friend had flown in from Italy to see her first grand-daughter) had another good Italian meal at another cute West Village place - Piccola Angelo (621 Hudson @ Jane) which is also rated at 25 (food) by Zagats.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 03:23 PM
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And this is a good review/"Pizza Wars" by NYC's Amy Zovatto - who has blogged many places. Note - when I was there 2 months ago - the Pizza was fabulous - and BIG - but the $12 lunch special - while still including a good salad, no longer includes a soft ice cream cone for desert.

Motorino (349 East 12th Street; www.motorinopizza.com). I’m going to say this right up front, gloves off: Motorino wins. It is Valedictorian of the new pizza class. The crust -- charred, salty, a little peppery -- is toothsome and tugging, but not so much that you feel like you’re engaging in a wrestling match with cooked dough. It’s just enough to tease you with its perfect texture. On the basic margherita ($14), the pretty, fresh aroma of basil hits your nostrils before the pie even lands on your table.

The marinara made from San Marzano tomatoes is delicate and sweet (not sugar-sweet -- a thousand plagues on the person who adds sugar to sauce!), but perfectly-cooked tomato-sweet. The smattering of fresh mozzarella is just enough to give you some for every bite, but not overwhelm the pie in a blanket of too much of a gooey good thing. At night, this Manhattan branch (there’s also an outpost in Williamsburg, Brooklyn) is packed, but show up at lunch and not only will you get yourself a nice little Carrera-marble table to sit at, but access to the $12 lunch special -- salad, a pie, and a generous serving of soft-serve ice cream (vanilla or chocolate or both swirled together) that comes from a dairy upstate. There's also a great by-the-glass, all-Italian wine list, too. The simplicity of Motorino just lets the pizza do all the show-stopping -- and I heart them for it.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 03:28 PM
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I have not eaten a meal in Little Italy in 25 years. Old prejudices.

One that is bit more expensive is Peasant.

Here are some Italian places in the East Village:

Cacio e Pepe-Romano cooking with the addictive siganture dish caio e pepe

I Coppi-Tuscan style, so much so they do not put salt in the store made bread

Supper-a stupid name with great Northern Italy cooking

Pizza-besides Motorino-Lombardi's, Luzzo's, Gruppo. Have not been to Co or Keste but have heard good things about them.

For dessert go to Veniero's, many, many times better than Ferraro's.

We live near the first Artichoke pizza and do not understand the charm. The lines are long because they staff is confused by the order of a slice of pizza and drink, although that is all they serve. And the cater to partially drunk to the fully besotted since they are opened until 4 AM.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 04:13 PM
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I don't understand how a question about a really good restaurant turns into a thread about pizza - which is a snack or quick lunch at most.

Are you looking for an actual restaurant (and agree little Italy is not the place for one) or a pizzeria?

If a restaurant - what is your budget?
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 04:23 PM
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Any recommendations for Christmas day lunch in Little Italy?
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 06:55 PM
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Any recommendations for Christmas day lunch in Little Italy?

Yes the Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 07:12 PM
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I was hoping a Fodorite would see this but I think she's still on her trip. She posted pictures earlier this week of their dinner here -
http://www.dagennarorestaurant.com/

A family member who lives in the city recommended it.
I have no idea if this restaurant is connected with Gennaro in the UWS, but it's my friend's (born and raised there) favorite.
Hopefully, the Fodorite who ate there this week will be back online soon and can give a first hand report.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 09:46 PM
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Little Italy has been disappearing for years. With the influx of Hong Kong Chinese from the south during the late 1990's and the encroachment of the tragically hip from the north there is little left. Even Gotti's old "social club" is a hip boutique.

Our favorite places are not restuarants but Di Palo's which has sells some of the finest cheeses and prosciutto in the city. And Despana which makes the best chorizos I have had in the United States.
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Old Dec 18th, 2011, 04:06 AM
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Most Italian restaurants will probably not be open on Christmas Day.

Take Adu's advice and head for Chinatown, but go early as the area is a mob scene (not that kind of Mob) as it is the preferred Christmas Day dining destination for hordes of New Yorkers.

I've never been to Da Gennaro, but that is one of the places that employs a barker (for lack of a better word) to get passersby in the door.

Although based on the comments on this forum over the years, many people like Little Italy but I doubt if you will find many food-savvy New Yorkers among them. Just commenting. Yes, I do know that Little Italy restaurants (as Adu said above, there really IS no Little Italy in Manhattan anymore, apart from those restaurants, the wondrous DiPalo and one or two other food shops) there have fans among some visitors. You might find actual New Yorkers at Forlini's, an old Italian place a couple of blocks south in Chinatown, on Baxter Street, which has been a hangout for some of the legal/court crowd for as long as I've noticed these things.

If you want to see a real "Little Italy, head for the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx, around Arthur Avenue/187th Street. Restaurants are better and there are many great food shops.
You will actually hear people speaking Italian!
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Old Dec 18th, 2011, 04:16 AM
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Sometimes it's almost comical
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Old Dec 18th, 2011, 10:39 AM
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Thank you all for all of your comments. I actually posted this for a friend that doesn't do Fodors. I don't think they want just pizza necessarily, but a real meal. Sounds like Little Italy is nice to pass through as a tourist, but Italian dining would be better elsewhere. Thanks all!!
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Old Dec 18th, 2011, 11:28 AM
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There are probably more stores and restaurants closed on Christmas Day than any other day. But because NYC is a city of immigrants and different religions there is always something opened. Last Christmas Day we went to an Ethopian restaurant.

And a quick but limited test shows there are either no Italian retaurants or few opened on Christmas Day in Little Italy.
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Old Dec 18th, 2011, 04:39 PM
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For Christmas Day people should go to opentable.com to see what places are open on Christmas and which still have availability. Not sure how many will be Italian.

As for "passing through" little Italy - it will take about 5 minutes - since there is really nothing left. Arthur Ave in the Bronx has a much more Little italy atmosphere than a couple of blocks in Manhattan rapidly being sucked into China town.
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