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Best of New York Italian


Wilfrid
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Okay, I'm cutting.

I have re-read Fat Bloke's reviews on the Fat Guy site; Manducati's sounds like a pain unless your a regular. I put a question-mark by it. Also, looking at earlier comments, support for Gnocco seemed highly qualified, and there doesn't seem to be any reason to choose La Parma over Don Pepe's. Minetta's I went to years ago, and it didn't thrill me (it's telling how few of these places I have been to).

What about Il Mulino? Worth the hassle? Also, there are a number of little Lower East Side places on the list. I've walked past them all, and not been drawn in. Do any really stand out as essential?

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especially living in a city where it has played such an important role in gastronomic history.

As you'll be performing oral archaeology some notes on the significance within the gastronomic history would be great for virtual tourists.

And surely food can't be the sole requirement for significance within this context.

Wilma squawks no more

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You have a good point, Gavin. I wouldn't want to miss out on some fantastic piece of New York Italian culinary history just because a new place round the corner has fresher mozzarella. I hope everyone is taking that into account.

Liza - Il Giglio?

Nina - or anyone - is it a realistic proposition to cut the Brooklyn list by half?

Update:

Manhattan

Arqua

Centolire

Da Andrea

East Post

Lavagna

Le Madri

Max

Patsy's (but which one?)

Petrosino

Scalini Fedeli

Brooklyn

Al Di La

Areo

Bamonte's

Cono O'Pescatore

Da Tomasso

Queen

Bronx

Roberto's

Queens

Don Pepe's

Lenore's

Manducati's (???)

Piccolo Venezia

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I am shocked at how little attention the outer boroughs receive on this board. In Queens, Parkside is a great option. The owner is a zealot who keeps the quality and cooking top notch. Especially recommended is Parkside veal, shrimp and Thursday night osso bucco special. I am friends with the chef, Fabio who is a warm guy as well as master of Italian cooking.

In Brooklyn I reccomend:

Al Di La

Areo

Bacci

Cono & Son's Pescatore

Di Fara's

Manhattan

Babbo

Lupa

Esca

Beppe

Acquario

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Will we see periodic Daily eGullet reports come out of this?

By the way, is adding the "Outer Burroughs" to the "Best of New York" on par with adding Chez Panisse and French Laundry to the best of San Francisco?

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I am adding I Trulli, having been reminded that I like the Enoteca next door. I gather Il Giglio is a sibling of Il Mulino and perhaps less hassle.

What about this Fiamma place in SoHo? Just a scene? I have the impression that it's not part of the New York Italian experience I'm looking for.

(I'll also correct some spellings next time I post the list).

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Pizzas. We've discussed the subject elsewhere and I don't mean to re-hash it. Fat Bloke's pizza reviews don't seem to be available on his web-site currently, but from what I can glean from earlier discussions the serious best pizza contenders are:

DiFara

Sally's

Patsy's (East Harlem)

Grimaldi's

Lombardi's

Totonno's

in roughly that order. How does that look?

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DiFara

Sally's

Patsy's (East Harlem)

Grimaldi's

Lombardi's

Totonno's

I'd also add in La Pizza Fresca (31 East 20th Street) for an authentic Neapolitan pie (or so they claim - I've never been to Naples myself). Otto might be worth checking out when it opens.

Edited PS:

Oh, and avoid the pizza in the Arthur Ave. area like the plague. Generally flat-out mediocre stuff.

Edited by rstarobi (log)

"Long live democracy, free speech and the '69 Mets; all improbable, glorious miracles that I have always believed in."

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Pizzas.  We've discussed the subject elsewhere and I don't mean to re-hash it.  Fat Bloke's pizza reviews don't seem to be available on his web-site currently, but from what I can glean from earlier discussions the serious best pizza contenders are:

DiFara

Sally's

Patsy's (East Harlem)

Grimaldi's

Lombardi's

Totonno's

in roughly that order.  How does that look?

That's a good pizza list. I'd add L&B Spumoni gardens for the Sicilian pie. Note that Sally's is in New Haven, not in New York. I'd try Pepe's and The Spot too, maybe Modern Pizza also, if you're going to make the trek to Connecticut. I hereby volunteer to chaperone you (it being the land of my birth and upbringing, besides my pizza cred).

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Thanks for the warning, rstarobi.

Liza, I may just have trouble eating anywhere called "Gonzo".

Found Fat Bloke's pizza write-ups, with a little help. Looks like he would strike Grimaldi's, Lombardi's and Tottono's from my list. He speaks well of Dennino. But looks like Patsy's and DiFara are the serious options.

Edited by Wilfrid (log)
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Nina - or anyone - is it a realistic proposition to cut the Brooklyn list by half?

Update:

Manhattan

Arqua

Centolire

Da Andrea

East Post

Lavagna

Le Madri

Max

Patsy's (but which one?)

Petrosino

Scalini Fedeli

Brooklyn

Al Di La

Areo

Bamonte's

Cono O'Pescatore

Da Tomasso

Queen

Bronx

Roberto's

Queens

Don Pepe's

Lenore's

Manducati's (???)

Piccolo Venezia

A question - are you interested in sit down restaurants only? Because if you want some amazing Italian food, I'd add the Corona Heights Pork Store, Leo's Latticini, and Dafonte's for truly mindboggling heroes of various varieties. Life-altering stuff, no kidding.

I'd dump Max off the Manhattan list. Il Mulino is worth adding. But be prepared to wait and be annoyed, unless you go at an off time.

Patsy's is the one on 117th & 1st Ave. Go and have a pizza there sitting down, as in a fresh pie - no slices. Don't just get slices anywhere except DiFara's (and even there you should get a fresh pie, but get a Sicilian slice too) - at L&B a Sicilian slice is fine too actually. Patsy's up there has other food now, but I haven't tried it yet. Jury's still out, I think - they just started non-pizza food fairly recently.

I'm having a hard time paring down the Brooklyn list. If I had to eliminate one, I'd kill Cono O'Pescatore, I suppose. Areo is quite upscale.

I haven't been to Manducatis, but I think you should go, if for no other reason than it has an insanely good wine list, and it's an experience not to be missed.

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That's immensely helpful, Nina, thanks. I wouldn't discount the hero suggestions, although there's always the question of practicality - not having the time to go midday, but not wanting to base an evening round a hero either. But let's keep track of them.

Da Tommaso - in Brooklyn? There's one by that name in the theater district which I don't like. The list is getting more manageable. I will do some research to see if there's a good balance of regional styles and types of restaurant.

Pizza

DiFara;Patsy's.

Heroes

Corona Heights Pork Store; Leo's Latticini; Dafonte's.

Restaurants

Manhattan:Arqua;Centolire;Da Andrea;East Post;I Trulli; Il Giglio (or Il Mulino - same owners);Lavagna;Le Madri;Petrosino. Brooklyn: Al Di La; Areo; Bamonte's;Da Tommaso;Queen. The Bronx: Roberto's. Queens:Don Peppe;Lenore's;Manducatis;Piccola Venezia.

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Dafonte's is in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Corona Heights Pork Store and Leo's are both in Corona Heights, Queens. You could do those two in one visit by sharing heroes (one hero is huge - would be hard to eat more than one).

Yes, Da Tomasso is in Brooklyn. It was spotlighted in the new Saveur, FYI.

Leo's Latticini was spotlighted recently too - in Food & Wine I think?

Edited by La Niña (log)
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Cono is by far a much better choice than Bamonte's and Tomasso. They also make amazing heroes in a take out stand by the restaurant. Tomasso, while having a sensational Italian wine list, has lousy food. Bamontes is inconsistent and doest not compare to Parkside.

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I agree the heroes are great at Cono's - but not nearly close to Dafonte's, Corona Heights, or Leo's. And he's trying pare down the list. I do really like Cono's restaurant, though.

Tomasso can be very good when it's "on." I've had two excellent meals there.

Lots of people have mixed feelings about Parkside - what can I tell you? Bamonte's is so "real" somehow - that's one reason to go. I think Parkside is a little pretentious (in the true sense of the word), a little full of itself. And the fact that they show off this bound big wine list yet don't have any vintages listed is not a great sign. It's like they're trying to be something they're not and they miss the mark. If it were cheaper, or a little homier, I'd feel differently. Bamonte's is the real deal - what you see is what you get.

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Yes, but the food at Park Side is far superior to that of Bamontes. Nina, if you have not been to the restaurant you can not really offer a fair judgement. All I can say is go to Park Side on a Thursday night and order the Osso Bucco special and you will forever be a fan. My friend, Fabio the head chef is a wonderful Italian chef.

I think the shrimp parmigiana and other sea food based heroes at Cono's are the best in the city.

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As for pizza, you'd be remiss to, uh, miss Totonno's in Coney Island. It really is my favorite pizza in all of NYC, even if the midde gets a little soggy.

I'd also like to put a vote in for the Miss Williamsburg Diner, in the WB. Italian Italian (as opposed to old-school Brooklyn Italian), pretty much everything is great there. Also Locanda Vini & Olii in Clinton Hill is a one-of-a-kind place, Tuscan, really good too.

"If it's me and your granny on bongos, then it's a Fall gig'' -- Mark E. Smith

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