Need a Manhattan Italian Restaurant
December 24, 2013 1:47 PM   Subscribe

Need Epic Italian restaurant in Manhattan. This may have been asked before but restaurants change and close all the time. Relatives are coming into Manhattan this Friday from Texas (originally from Long Island) and seek "epic pizza and Italian food". I know places in Brooklyn etc so please only Manhattan. They have a family of 4 and subways to Bensonhurst would be prohibitive. Special "Awesome Points" for "hole in wall" tiny places. Mifi-ites don't let me down!
posted by donaken to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Il Mulino:
posted by dfriedman at 1:51 PM on December 24, 2013

I enjoy Fresco by Scotto, 52nd and Madison.
posted by Tanizaki at 1:52 PM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also, Otto:
posted by dfriedman at 1:53 PM on December 24, 2013

Piccolo Angolo is my personal favorite - definitely more of a hole-in-the-wall, and does standard, but very tasty, homestyle Italian cooking. Good house red wine, brusque but fun service, always crowded with a good energy. Note that they take reservations and it's important to have one, though it's no guarantee that you'll be seated remotely near the time of your reservation.
posted by traveltheworld at 1:57 PM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Patsy's, at various locations--you can get epic proportions of food to share.
Or Nick's, on the Upper East Side, also family-style and delicious.
posted by mlle valentine at 2:02 PM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

I love Italian food in NYC, so I guess I'll keep going. Il Mulino can be epic, though I find it hit or miss, and it's quite expensive. It's always an experience though - I haven't been in a few years, but it used to be quite difficult to get a reservation, maybe that's changed. Otto is a great place, but has more of a (trendy) college hangout feel and is a huge restaurant - still one of my standbys for visitors. Easy to get reservations online for smaller groups. The best pasta in my opinion is at Osteria Morini, which is more expensive than Otto and Piccolo Angolo, but less than Il Mulino. More of an Otto vibe, though less collegey. I really like the pizza at Emporio in Nolita; it has a walk-in policy during prime hours and has a hipsterish vibe. I stick with my original recommendation overall given your criteria though. Lot of great options - I'm sure they'll find something they love.
posted by traveltheworld at 2:04 PM on December 24, 2013

I'm confused. If you want a hole in the wall and subway fare is prohibitive, than I think John's (278 Bleeker Street) is cheaply and cheerfully what you want, no? It's an oldie but a goodie (we used to make a pilgrimage from the Upper West Side to go there when we were kids, and I'm 41 now), with a 90% rating on Urban Spoon.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:08 PM on December 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Italianissimo on the Upper East Side is a tiny hole in the wall, an example of Epic Italian, and delicious. Also, very romantic.

If you want a place more downtown, you absolutely will not find anything better than Pepolino in TriBeCa. It is a best kept secret, miles above the celebrity Italian restaurants. This place knocks the socks off of everyone I've ever taken there. It is intimate and gets crazy great reviews.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 2:15 PM on December 24, 2013

Otto's pizzas are more like crackers with stuff on them.

Have you seen Big Night? Is their mindset more red sauce Italian or gourmet?

John's if it's the former, one of the Batali places or Il Mulino if it's the latter.
posted by brujita at 2:32 PM on December 24, 2013

Parm doesn't have pizza but it is a hole in the wall with wonderful Italian-American style food. If the pizza part is negotiable I would definitely bring them there.
posted by telegraph at 2:49 PM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

I worked for Francesco Antonucci so I know his food is good. He doesn't own Le Zie anymore but I can reccomend it, and it is downtown and less pricey. Chef Roberto Passon mentored at both places, and now owns Aria, tho it can be a bit of a scene.
posted by vrakatar at 3:32 PM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

I like Frank, but be prepared to wait.
posted by nanhey at 7:33 PM on December 24, 2013

As people have mentioned, "Italian restaurant" can mean different things to different people. Otto can be fun, but it will probably be rather distant from the classic Italian food I'm guessing your family has in mind. Il Mulino is ridiculously expensive. John's has pizza but nothing else.

I think everybody would like Rubirosa on Mulberry St., a newish place that feels like it's been there forever. Really excellent pizza and really good non-pizza as well. Here, read this.
posted by neroli at 5:25 AM on December 25, 2013

Sapori — Murray Hill small, intimate gem.
Not well known, easily one of the best for pizza and Italian food, if not the best in the area.

The opposite type of place ... true hole in the wall ... 2 Bros Pizza on 8th Ave / 38th street. Delicious but no place to sit, you order, pay, stand or lean, and eat.
posted by Kruger5 at 9:57 AM on December 25, 2013

I don't suggest it for a family meal, but for an outing / edible circus spectacle / shopping trip Mario Battali's sprawling food market / mall Eataly would make a good place for a stroll in midtown Manhattan. Pricey, usually crowded, and not exactly like being in an Italian market, if they are serious Italian foodies it is definitely cheaper than taking a flight to Milan for the weekend. You can also just stroll around in it and not eat or buy anything.
posted by zaelic at 1:38 PM on December 25, 2013

I'm enthusiastically seconding the rec for piccolo Angolo. I hope Renato is still there, encouraging you to try the tiramisu!
posted by waterisfinite at 6:11 PM on December 25, 2013

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