177 Mulberry St, New York, NY | Directions 1001340.720423 -73.996862
Neighborhoods: NoLita, Little Italy, Downtown
Deeeelishhhh!!!!! – Food was great! Good location and friendly people. Good portion size (you won't leave hungry!) every thing was delish!!!
Gorgeous Man summoned my friend from California, her two daughters, myself and my daughter into this delightful restaurant. Our waiter was very friendly and helped us out with entree selections. Kids can be picky eaters! Our dinners were excellent and we had an extremely enjoyable, relaxing experience for which we can't wait to return. I want to bring my Italian Mother -in-law and my husband to sample one of Little Italy's finest establishments!
Best food in little Italy – Food is fresh & great. Drinks are strong. Place feels like home. A must visit!
best NY restuarant – My family and I were visiting the NY area and were unsure where to eat. We knew we wanted to eat in Little Italy so we looked around, Grotta Azzura really caught our eye with the old fashioned building and great atmosphere. The food was delish! My children really enjoyed it and the portions are large!
Nice Atmosphere, Spotty Food Quality – I had friends come in from Los Angeles to visit New York City for the first time. Part of their adventure here with their 3 children included Chinatown and Little Italy for the sights, sounds, smells and tastes that each section has to offer.
We passed by Grotta Azzurra and were beckoned in by the restaurant's "street hawker", an all too common and annoying feature in Little Italy. "This was Sinatra's favorite restaurant!" he informed us, an exclamation totally lost on the 3 school-aged children. A quick check on the Urbanspoon app showed that it had a high approval rating. Tired and hungry we decided to give it a try. After all, it was Sinatra's favorite restaurant.
The interior is nice - the use of muted colors and good lighting inside the restaurant gives it a pleasant atmosphere. White paper tablecloths did take away a bit from that though. The restaurant wasn't crowded that evening (midweek) it hovered around 50% of capacity the entire time we were there. And therein lies my issue with Grotta Azzurra, the fact that I had too much time there to notice the crowd levels for at least 2 seatings during their dinner service.
The family was on a budget so our order was fairly modest: 2 appetizers, 2 single pizzas for the youngest, and 4 main entrees for the eldest child and adults, no liquor. Apparently this was the death knell for us - a no frills, no extras tab. While the waiter was extremely attentive and brought out the 2 appetizers quickly no amount of attentiveness could compensate for the ensuing wait we endured for our meal. Tables seated much later after us were half-way through their meals (one table of 4, who was seated after us, finished their meal, with dessert, and left) before our entrees came out from the kitchen. Numerous inquiries regarding the status of our meal were met with the same response - they would be out momentarily. It got to the point that the waiter avoided our table because he even knew the delay was exceedingly long. We weren't even offered additional bread to satiate the increasingly agitated children (and adults) during this time.
The entrees, when they did arrive, were both good and bad. The Seafood Manicotti consisted of 2 cannoli-sized manicotti shells that were overcooked (no doubt sitting under a heat lamp for at least 30 minutes) in a sea of what was by now a very thickened cream sauce. It was quite a disappointment. The pizzas seemed to be fine (the children liked them) and the Chicken Marsala and Rigatoni seemed fine as well. My Chicken Cacciatore portion was huge, I was pleasantly surprised by my serving especially in light of the tiny Manicotti portion (my entree came out last among the 6 at the table) but I must note that the chicken consisted of thighs and legs alone; there was no white meat to be found whatsoever. And it was just the chicken, it wasn't accompanied by any pasta or rice, it was just a large plate of chicken. Perhaps I am spoiled but most every other Italian restaurant that I have been to for this dish served it over or with a side of pasta as part of the meal.
At the end of the meal the waiter asked if we wanted dessert but knew that he was asking a rhetorical question, everyone was tired of sitting in that restaurant and just wanted to leave.
Myy assessment of this experience wouldn't have been that bad were it not for the wait, a wait that was brought about, in my opinion, by our modest tab. I believe our order was secondary to those tables who had numerous appetizers, who ordered wine, etc. I am a local and regularly take visiting friends and family to Little Italy when showing off this great city. However, Grotta Azzurra will NOT be on the itinerary any time soon.
food and price okay, but keep on walking – i've lived in the neighborhood for over 20 years and while i don't frequent italian restaurants often, the times i do have been quite disappointing.
i chose grotta azzurra because their chalkboard advertised a dinner special of pasta & entree for $19.95. i ended up not choosing from this special. i ordered the trout which was pretty good, but i'm pretty sure it was frozen. i understand that it must be hard to keep fresh fish on hand every day, so they did a good job with it.
my companion ordered the rigatoni vodka and asked if it was creamy/thick since that dish tends not to be. he would have been fine ordering something else but they assured him it would be.
the pasta dish came out without any signs of thick sauce. it had flavor, but he was hoping it would be semi-covered in sauce.
we also had an uneventful appetizer and the wine pour on our glasses were minimal even for $7.
i'm still looking for that great italian restaurant in a place called 'little italy' and i guess the next time i'm flush with money, i'll try one of those places where the pasta is $20. but for our $12 rigatoni vodka, i guess i can't complain too much. won't go back here though, especially since they automatically add a 20% gratuity service to your bill.
A romantic Italian restuarant – Times are tough, especially in the restaurant business. Saturday night in Little Italy and there were many empty tables. Grotta Azzurra was doing only slightly better than some other restaurants on Mulberry Street. And the reason is SERVICE.
The most frustrating thing is to try to contact your waiter when the restaurant is empty and your waiter is talking to other waiters, but not at Grotta Azzurra. Our waiter was attentive and when he didnt know the answer, he got back to us immediately. The plates came out on time and in good order and in a romantic restaurant that is important.
The décor of Grotta Azzurra is simple and classic, dark wood and white tiles, you are immediately transported a classic Italian restaurant, large displays of famous Italian sculptures dominate the dining room.
The menu is large at Grotta Azzurra and the portions are even larger. The Calamari was tender and not greasy, the salad had plenty of Radicchio, and the Filletto di Pompadori, homemade parpadelle with tomato sauce, cheese, pancetta and onions was immense and superb.
Grilled Vegetables were nicely done and the Shrimp Oreganata was just so. Alas, the Veal in my Saltimbocca was tough; the sauce was the same as the di Pompadori and while good this is a big no, no.
The decaf cappuccino and the decaf espresso to die for. Dessert was a blueberry cake with real blueberries and ice cream, Yum!
If you want good food, this is the place to go! – I love Grotta Azzurra!! I had my birthday party there last year and have been going back for more ever since. The food is absolutely amazing. If you want good Italian food this is the place to go. The waiters are always very nice and attentive. The inside of the resturant is really big, very cozy and romantic.
Disappointing Food and Overpriced – We were looking for an italian restaurant so headed towards Little Italy. With so many restaurants on the street, we just decided to try Grotta Azzurra. The minestrone soup was pretty good, and a fairly sized portion. Unfortunately the gnocchi was very disappointing - clearly manufactured instead of home made. The only interesting aspect of the dish was the mix of marinara and pesto sauces, but otherwise the dish was plain and uninspired. The tiramisu was ok, but also a disappointment - I've had better. The waiter was friendly and the service was ok. The bill was the worst part - for a party of two, a 20% gratuity was already added to the bill! For the soup, gnocchi, tiramisu, plus tax and gratuity, my bill was $40 - clearly overpriced considering the lack of quality.
What an experience, what a meal – I had come into the city with my wife to have dinner. Having been there before i knew i was in for a treat. For my main dish i had the seafood manicotti which was hand made there, it had chunks of lobster meat, crab, and white filet held together with ricotta. My wife ate the chicken rollitini and all she could say was WOW. The manicotti was home made and the rollitini was tasty. as far as the service, he was on point and very attentive to my table. we also stayed for dessert all of which are made in house. I truly do not care what you have heard this is a place not to be missed.
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