"You want a bottle of red wine or white tonight? Or maybe rosé for the weather?" our waitress asked shortly after wedging us into a four-top no bigger than a couple of folded newspapers. Her delivery was spectacularly close to the Billy Joel song lyrics, which may have subconsciously influenced me into spending the rest of the meal thinking to myself, this has got to be the most neighborhood-Italian-y of neighborhood Italian restaurants in the city. I have a couple of friends who got married two weeks ago and used to live on 84th and Amsterdam. I asked them if they'd ever been. "It's where we had our first date!" said the newlywed wife. It's that kind of a place—one that engenders equal parts pride and nostalgia.
When it comes to eating with family, you want a place that's reliable, reasonably affordable, and low on hassle. There's plenty to worry about before a big holiday. Where to eat dinner on the nights before or after shouldn't be one of them. To that end, here are some solid restaurant options good for eating out with the folks.
In frosty times like these, few things are as satisfying as digging into a hearty plate of pasta. This isn't the season for light olive oil and tomato dishes—we're craving cream and butter sauces, meaty ragus, and lots of lasagna. To that end, here are some of our favorite pastas for fighting back the cold.