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By : Adrianne Hutto
Before I share with you some of my favorite restaurants in this city, I must give a fair warning that most of these places are on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, as that is where my boyfriend grew up and he took me to over half of these places. I actually wasn’t the kind of person who ate out a lot until we started seeing each other, so these are vetted for people who enjoy welcoming atmosphere, minimal crowds and food worth leaving your house for. Fair warning, it’s a lot of Italian restaurants.
1. IL VIOLINO
While these restaurants are listed in no particular order, Il Violino is my favorite of the bunch. It’s a beautiful restaurant for a date night or a group dinner. Every time I’ve eaten here I’ve sat at the corner table, to the left of the hostess, next to the floor to ceiling windows (the specificity is important) and I refuse to sit anywhere else. The first thing you should order is an aperol spritz because they’re huge. However, if that’s not your drink they have a great cocktail and wine list. Next you have to get the Antipasto Misto All’Italiana, which is basically a meat and cheese board and is the reason for my love of blue cheese. Lastly, arguably the best thing on the menu and the reason why I come to Il Violino, you have to order the Penne Alla Vodka. I’m very picky about my pasta, so you can trust that this is one you’ll definitely enjoy. This meal in total, shared between two people will cost you around $150 with tip (depending on the amount of drinks you order).
2. HAVE & MEYER
Have & Meyer is a great Williamsburg Italian restaurant tucked into a beautiful street at the crossroads of Have Street and Meyer Street (hence the name). The atmosphere both inside and outside are enough to make you sit and have a drink, then realize you should stay for dinner. I’ve been to Have & Meyer twice now, sitting both inside, with the dimly lit Parisian bar vibes, and in the second-hand store-made outdoor street seating area listening to live music. For a drink, I recommend the Pantani “Spritz,” Hemingway Daiquiri or Bitter Paloma. This is another restaurant with a great meat and cheese board, allowing you to select your cheeses and meats for yourself. I recommend the Bismark and Black Diamond cheese. Finally, for dinner any of the Gnocchi dishes are good or more specifically, the Mafalde Lamb Ragù. *Note : there are gluten free options.* Like the previous restaurant, Have & Meyer will put you back around $150 – $200.
3. SUPREMA PROVISIONS
Located in Greenwich Village in Manhattan, this is, yet another, really good Italian Restaurant. While I do prefer outdoor seating, this is one place I really enjoy sitting inside because the walls are lined with boxes of food and its an atmosphere that doesn’t disappoint. The reason I like Suprema Provisions is because of their Carbonara. It comes with a large piece of burrata on top and has really thick noodles and cuts of bacon. If you’re like me you love both Italian food and a frozen drink, Suprema Provisions has both. Flavors include Grapefruit and Passionfruit. However, no matter what you get you won’t be disappointed. This meal will have you spending around $100 with tip.
While Fred’s is open for dinner, I’ve always seen it as a brunch spot. Located on the Upper West Side, this dog-themed has been around forever. I recommend sitting outside as their inside it’s an ideal brunch setting.
I have a lot of love for this place because I have been going since I was little and have been getting the same thing since and it is their Mac & Cheese. This dish is baked to perfection and never gets old.
One thing that has changed about what I order is the drinks. The reason why I say Fred’s is a good brunch spot is their two for one drinks, whether you prefer mimosas or bellinis, it will cut down the price of your meal for sure. Depending on the number of drinks you order this meal will cost you under $100.
Another Upper West Side restaurant that’s worth the trip, Momoya, will require a reservation on the weekend because it’s usually packed. Despite this, there is still a great atmosphere with the restaurant having a sleek look. Drink wise, I recommend the Momotini or Bumblebee, both very unique and flavorful drinks. This is one restaurant on the list where I will not be recommending food because I believe sushi has to do more with the individual. This is a more expensive meal, putting you back over $150 with tip.
7. SPECIAL MENTION : MARINARA PIZZA If you ever find yourself on the Upper West side near 86th street, go to Marinara Pizza. This summer I ordered it at least once a week and ate over half the pizza every time. You walk inside to an old fashioned looking, order at the counter pizza parlor and will be tempted to order one of the slices in the display case. DON’T. Instead, splurge on a $30 large pie and get their Vodka Pizza. There is dining available, however, this is not a “dine-in restaurant.” Instead, take it to the park and enjoy the sunset with the best pizza on the Upper West Side.
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