98 Rivington St, New York, NY | Directions 1000240.720199 -73.988441
Neighborhoods: Lower East Side, Downtown
Its Packed For A Reason – The best of the Lower East Side wine bars, this perpetually packed wine and food bar is built for those who can endure tight seating, eternal wait times, and a noisy, chaotic atmosphere for the sake of great tasting, perfectly portioned food that pairs nicely with an extensive and well composed wine list. I wait here because I just can't seem to force myself to eat elsewhere.
Hour and half wait for a panini – Over the phone we were told that this restaurant does not take reservations so we were prepared for a wait since it was so highly recommended. Upon arrival we were told an hour for a table on the upper level so we wandered through shops and came back in 30 minutes to check in again. For the second time it was suggested we have a drink at the bar. They tried to squeeze us in at a servers corner and we were very much in the way with food runners. After my friends foot was stepped on we decided to go across the street to a bar and wait the remainder 30 minutes. We still wonder if by doing this we that we had somehow insulted the restaurant. At the hour mark we came back to check in and were told we could sit downstairs or continue to wait. It was a beautiful night and since they said we were next we said we would wait. A table that had 2 chairs was cleared and since we were a party of 3 we were told there was a seat limit outside and we could not have that table. There was plenty of room to pull up a chair and we watched a party of 4 already seated pull up 2 more chairs for friends who arrived 20 minutes into their meal. A table for 4 was cleared and we were told that table was "reserved" and we could not sit there and another party was sat. Odd since they did not take reservations. Finally after over 90 minutes we were sat downstairs in the dark cellar next to a large loud party. Yes, we debated leaving and before we were sat I began calling around to restaurants to see where we could get in right away since we were starving. Being that it was a Friday night at 9:30 on the LES, everything was a 45 minute wait. At this point we were happy to be shown a menu. The waiter had a huge attitude and was impatient when we asked him to explain the Italian dishes we were unfamiliar with. We had waited over 90 minutes to have a panini and bruscetta. Although good food, I know in NY we can find better food without the attitude and treatment.
Horrible experience! Poor service! Expensive for Average Food! – We were a party of five and after waiting for an hour we were sited at a table of four!
Waiters kept bumping into our chairs since we were siting in such odd formation. [the chairs were sticking out!]
The food is average at best and the service not very helpful!
When I pointed out what our situation was they told me they will talk to the hostess and never heard back.
I do not recommend this place at all, to paid a high price to sit uncomfortable.
They should be ashame to be called a restaurant!
You will never see me go there again!
PS: They also don't take reservations unless you are a party of six, so you would be at the mercy of someone
who doesn't care about you or how you will be sitting while you are having your dinner!
Friendly, Helpful Staff, Great Service, Great Food for Group! – A group of five of my friends ended up at 'inoteca by mistake last weekend when we couldn't get into the restaurant that we planned to go to, and although the restaurant was packed they were super friendly, helpful and corteous. They were honest about the long wait time and told us to sit at the bar and order appetizers. The bartender helped us with the menu and selected cheese for us. He was super friendly and helpful! A friend in our party had a large bag and they took it to the back office along with our coats. The food and wine were both amazing!! They were very gracious and I really appreciated their warm friendly service!
I am so into this place right now – Love 'inoteca. What a great neighborhood staple, and definitely worth going out of your way for if you don't live nearby. I have been here for lunch at least a dozen times over the past few months, never been disappointed. The wine list (all Italian) is really special - not your usual selections, someone definitely goes out of their way to find unique grapes and wineries, there's always something new to try (check out their lambrusco selection). Beet and orange salad with hazelnuts is a favorite, perfectly crunchy, just enough shaved cheese and awesome olive oil. I've had almost every panino (which are huge, with perfect bread-to-filling ratio) and they're always good. The lasagnette di melanzane is the best take on eggplant parmesan in the world. It gets really busy and loud at night, so I prefer sunny, mellow lunch hour.
Daring & Excellent! – The rustic setting of Inoteca would hardly suggest the inventive and daring menu that it holds. I had quail toast and a smattering of other little plates that I cannot remember but that were fantastic. If you are in the dessert mood, the ice cream that comes with espresso is a mix of a gelatoy/milkshake heaven that I highly, highly recommend. The only bad thing I have to say is that this place does not take reservations and waiting might be a pain if you don't live in the neighborhood.
Great small plates – My sister and a friend and I went for a late lunch on a Sunday while on vacation in the city for the weekend - we were walking around in the neighborhood and thought it looked like a nice place to try. We weren't very hungry, so we just ordered some bruschetta (walnut, chickpea, and roasted tomato - all very good) and one of the daily specials, a goat cheese torta salata (savory flan). It was delicious, and came with a salad of roasted heirloom cherry tomatoes, beans, and fresh corn. We also split the cheese plate (all selections chosen by our waitress, who was very friendly as well as knowledgable about the menu). The accompaniments don't come with the cheese, but we ordered them and were glad we did - thyme honey, spiced almonds, and peach compote all went well with the cheeses. The weather was nice so we sat outside, and it was very charming and fun for people watching. My only complaint is that we were there during shift change, and the new waiter who took over our table was a bit slow - although he was able to answer our questions, it was hard to get his attention. I will definitely come back the next time I'm in New York - I'd love to have some wine and try more of the menu.
Very good – Let's get the bad stuff out of the way: It's always extremely crowded and service can be slow, but their prices and small plates are absolutely delicious, not to mention they have a great cheese and wine selection AND unlike a lot of other waiters in the city, these people know what's on the menu and can answer any questions. Try asking if you can sit downstairs, it tends to be less crowded and the service is wonderful
great paninis, love the cellar room, great service in the cellar – I'm shocked to see negative reviews of the service or food here because my fiance and i had a wonderful experience here. Maybe partly because we were the first party downstairs and we had one waiter all to ourselves part of our meal. The waiter was incredibly helpful and kind though, explaining the menu and making jokes and conversation with us. We both got paninis, both of which were incredible and very authentic. We want to come back but keep forgetting about the place, then everytime we remember, we can't remember the name.
best small plates, killer all italian wine list – I know that inoteca has been open for a few years now and one would assume that it would or should start going down hill by now... based on my meal last friday, it definitly has not.
My wife and I arrived on a friday at 9pm, not too smart, the hostess told us it would be anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour. We waited at the bar with a bottle of Rosato for no more than 40 minutes and were seated at a very nice table by the windows.
We were hungry by this point and started rattling off a large order to the waitress. She was about to walk away from the table but stopped, she thought we had over ordered and suggested to maybe cut a sandwich and then see if we still wanted it afterwards. You dont find that kind of honest friendly service anymore in NYC, but the Denton's seem to instill this quality into their staff and I for one totally appreciate it!!!
The food was fantastic, everything perfectly seasoned, warm and delicious. We continued with a half carafe of Rosato after polishing off our bottle, it was just enough.
I will continue to make inoteca my go to for perfect Italian small plates and vino because of the service and the super friendly staff.
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