Piccola Cucina Estiatorio is a good place to have some excellent Sicilian food whenever you catch yourself taking things too seriously, or if you want to embarrass someone on their birthday. The staff at this cramped little Italian restaurant in Soho flicker the lights, bang pots and pans, and sing for about three consecutive minutes whenever they feel like it (and especially if it’s someone’s birthday). Mostly everyone in the dark room shares big plates of fried or grilled seafood before moving onto personal pans of pasta. And at only $26, the lobster pasta is something to celebrate. It comes with spicy red sauce, huge chunks of meat, and it never seems to end.
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Emporio is an Italian place in Soho, but it isn’t trendy. It’s just a solid place to get pasta with a group.
Omen Azen is an affordable neighborhood Japanese spot in Soho where you can eat something kind-of-healthy and maybe see a famous person.
St Tropez Soho
The Soho location of St Tropez, a French spot with a bunch of small plates and wines by the glass, works for drinks and a light bite with a date.
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If you want some pasta or a piece of fish on the UWS, Tessa is a decent option. It’s a big, dimly-lit space, and the food is solid.
Quality Italian is a neo-classic Italian restaurant in Midtown melded with a steakhouse. We like it for the variety on the menu and the massive space.
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This West Village Italian spot is starting to feel just a tad dated - but the food is as good as ever. Try it for a special dinner, and order pasta.
Carbone is red sauce Italian restaurant theater, and it’s a show you shouldn’t miss. This is one of New York City’s absolute best restaurants.
The only thing that is keeping Rubriosa from being one of NYC’s classic Italian restaurants is time. Let’s eat vodka sauce pizza while we wait.
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