If you grew up on the UES, it’s possible you came to Elio’s to celebrate your parents’ wedding anniversary when you were eight years old. Of the high-end, old-school Italian places in the neighborhood, this one is perhaps the most festive (it’s also where Gwenyth Paltrow hosted her 40th birthday). So you should expect loud parties crowded around circular tables, and plenty of martinis and plates of off-menu veal parm. Just be sure to make a reservation ahead of time - it gets packed in here (even on weeknights).
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After three years and a whole bunch of hype, how much you like Rucola still largely depends on how far you live from it.
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