Italian between Penn Station and Grand Central

Hi HOs- my sister in law is coming to
NY from Placentia, CA, where apparently there is not a decent Italian place. They are staying on LI and coming in on the LIRR and we are coming in to GCS. Can anyone recommend a good Italian place where we can meet for dinner somewhere in between? Thanks!

Sam’s Place
I Trulli

I highly recommend Ai Fiori, a Michael White restaurant which has 3 NY Times stars as well as a Michelin. We’ve had many wonderful dinners there. Delicious food (White’s pastas are always fabulous), excellent service, and pleasant ambiance, i.e., conversation-friendly. Located on Fifth, between 36th & 37th Sts.

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I’ve heard the name Sam’s place quite a bit but I can’t seem to get to a menu besides breakfast from my phone. I’ll have to try from the desktop. Went to Marconi twice. Loved it the first time, the second was more expensive somehow and not very good. Not sure I want a third! Thanks!

Thanks! I do want to try Ai Fiore but it might be too pricey for this crowd!

That’s too bad. But do try it sometime on your own.

I don’t think I Trulli is really conveniently located for you and your sister-in-law (27th St., between Lex & 3rd). However, if you do go there, stick with the pastas which are quite good. Years ago, the mains were excellent but, imo, not so much anymore. The semi-enclosed back garden is lovely.

Frankly, if you’re willing to eat in that area, I highly recommend Marta, on 29th, between Park Av. S. & Madison, one of Danny Meyer’s restaurants. We’ve been many, many times. Always excellent. When you look at the prices, keep in mind that it’s tip included.

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That looks great too! Not sure about the location but my husband and I will definitely check it out.


I love Maialino, in gramercy park, and if you can make it for the happy hour (at the bar only) they offer some great deals on wines by the glass and tasty appetizers to start. No tipping, it’s included in menu prices

Otherwise closer to penn than GC is Mercato which is in an odd location yet a charming place with reasonable for ny prices and delicious food. I love the pasta with mushrooms but their specials are usually noteworthy.

Are you looking for high-end Italian or more of an American-Italian, red sauce kind of place?

I should have said - not high end. I think she is missing down home Italian.

In that case, what about Trattoria Trecolori? I haven’t been in quite some time, but it used to be a very reliable choice for tasty red sauce Italian, at very reasonable prices.

I used to recommend Trecolori regularly on CH. However, it’s been probably at least 15 years since we last ate there, so I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending it now.

While Italian-American red sauce restaurants may be, as the expression goes, a dime a dozen, finding a really good one is not always so easy. We’ve eaten at Paul & Jimmy’s, in Gramercy Park, a couple of times though not recently. But based on our experiences there, I’d say it’s one of the better ones. It’s been family-owned and operated (third generation) for nearly 70 years.

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Paul and Jimmy;s was a favorite of mine back in the 70s! They have since moved from the Irving Place location they had back then to 18th street. We loved that place!

Yes, I think I first heard about Trattoria Trecolori from you, in fact! I have passed along that recommendation several times and never heard any complaints, but I also haven’t been there in a long time, so I don’t know if things have changed. Their online reviews are still fairly strong.

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Funny, same thing for me, and I was trying to remember the name of the place when you posted it. I went to TT years ago and afterwards recommended it to others looking for a not-so-touristy meal in the area and everyone i know who went enjoyed it. I haven’t been myself in years but based on what others have told me they must be pretty consistent there.

I think TT is still solid. We eat their food 2 or 3 times a year, and it’s been pretty steady.

We ended up at Rossini’s and the atmosphere was exactly right for this group. Service was good with some missteps due to communication errors. Food was hit and miss. The fried calamari was excellent - light and crisp and fresh. Salads were also good. But mains were hit and miss - lots of salt in varying degrees from tolerable to send it back. Tiramisu was excellent. In all, it was fine because of location and atmosphere and seating is at a round table,made for good conversation. We were going to,be togethr so,the place was fine. Thanks everyone for your help!

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