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Best of New York Italian

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I'd recommend going to Aldila while they're still serving some of their wonderful winter braises.I had some wonderful rabbit,and braised beef cheeks there last week.It's not an old time N.Y. place,but it is my personal favorite-low key and relaxed,with really well cooked,consistent food.

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I don't think of Lavagna as serving old-style New York Italian food at all. It seems to me to be Tuscan-based creative cuisine.

Michael aka "Pan"


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More places to consider and debate:

Gigino (Greenwich Street, Tribeca) yeah, that's where "Dinner Rush" was filmed, but dare you not trust a place Phil Suarez has an interest in?

Noodle Pudding (Henry Street, Brooklyn Heights) Possibly my favorite Italian restaurant: warm, comfy, and homemade.

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I would not call Lavagna an Italian restaurant, but a pan-Mediterranean restaurant with Italian influences, just like its sister restaurant down the block, Le Tableau, is pan-Mediterranean with French influence. Le Tableau is actually the better restaurant.

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If Tableau is better, it may be off the list.  I've been to Tableau.  :shock:

You disliked Le Tableau, apparently? I've never been there but like Lavagna, despite my objection that I'd rather their food were less salty.

Michael aka "Pan"


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Le Zie, no. Tableau - just wasn't very good cooking; here are my comments from the one dinner I ate there:

"I liked the food at Le Tableau less than that, although I can't remember if I reported on it here (search didn't turn anything obvious). The details escape me, but I recall the first course was a fairly ambitious attempt on snails - a cassolette of snails and spinach, maybe? - which seems a bit beyond the kitchen. The dessert hadn't quite thawed out properly. I am stuck on the main. But the corkage tip is useful. Perhaps I was unlucky."

On the same thread, Charles Smith liked it much better (clicking).

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Le Tableau is perhaps the most ambitious restaurant that I know of in NYC at its price point. There are hits and misses. Overall I find it to be an interesting restaurant, better on weekdays when they're not too crowded.

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Le Zie presents itself as Venetian. Whether or not thats authentically true is open for discussion but there are interesting things coming out of the kitchen. Their mixed antipasti is not run of the mill and their pastas are quite accomplished in their preparation. For your research, I'd definitely recommend trying it. I particularly liked the braised lamb shanks with roasted potatoes (venetian style?) and the octopus appetizer.

Edited by Dynaround (log)
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you didn't like novita on 22nd?

Edited by lissome (log)

Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons: That is all there is to distinguish us from the other Animals.


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A couple of years ago I tried it. There was nothing special about the food, the decor was fairly bland, and service was erratic. Knife and fork to eat the spaghetti with, kind of thing. I only went once, and maybe was unlucky, but that's life - a restaurant needs to give a customer a reason to go back.

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If Tableau is better, it may be off the list.  I've been to Tableau.  :shock:

lavagna is middle of the road.. better than 90% of the italian nyc has to offer, and at it's price, it's hard not to love.. i eat dinner there almost every friday night, as everything seems to come together between the room, food, and service.. that said, i've eaten the same pasta dish there every time i've gone, without fail.. my girlfriend similarly has the kitchen make their version of her favorite pasta dish 9 times out of 10..

it's good.. not earth shattering, nor would it rank amongst the best italian in nyc, in my opinion..

i'd include il mulino, ideally at lunch, as others have mentioned.. lupa is my current favorite (no big suprise).. for a bowl of pasta, hit the little italian pepe rosso joint just south of houston on thompson or sullivan, i happen to love their vodka sauce..

i've had an awful experience at gigino.. so much so that even though it's in my neighborhood, i trek to the east village for dinner over hitting it again..

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So far Lavagna is my fave Italian under $20 a dish I'll agree it isn't pure Italiana. But the creative cooking keeps me coming when I bring in out of town friends. Problem with most NY Italian restaurant is that their menu items is too common or uninspiring to justify their prices. So far I find E.Village Italian more ideal w. my wallet and taste buds. The ahi tuna and panna cotta dish is fantastic! I usually reserve pasta at home since the thought of paying $18 of complex carbohydrates isn't very appealing. Based on this forum recommendation I am curious about Arqua especially their $30 prix fixe.

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