Design guru Milton Glaser finds his mojo no more than eight blocks from home...
"...We’ve spent a lot of time looking for unusual and distinctive food. But one of the attributes of growing old is going to the same place over and over again and eating the same thing. The restaurant Le Zie on Seventh Avenue is run by an elegant Venetian man named Claudio. I have beef carpaccio when I want to have a light dinner. He has a spicy penne dish, which is terrific. It’s a local place where you just want to have a pleasant evening — you don’t want to make a celebrity event out of it, you just want to feel at home. This place is that nice modest New York restaurant that everyone is looking for, and I think I’ve just ruined it..." Read Article>>
The New York Post
Michelin Guide Recommended
That austere profile of an elderly woman gracing the awning and menu has no bearing on the atmosphere of this tiny, warm, and welcoming Italian dining room–perhaps thanks to the provocatively stenciled nudes they juxtapose in the snug front room? Beyond this, an undulating ceiling and carnival-like canopy set a very pleasant mood.
The menu is simple and pleasing, though it does break from tradition: cicchetti from the wonderfully ambient bar are Venetian in name only. A generous antipasto might include plump, baked sardines stuffed with raisins, onion, pine nuts, and potatoes. Cannelloni filled with white veal ragú showcase an exceptional béchamel. Peruse the ever-changing daily specials for equally satisfying and more progressive options.
The New York Times
Again this year, Le Zie was our favorite affordable Italian in the lower neighborhoods. Bright and friendly, it's bustling most evenings and packed on weekends (though pretty calm for weekday lunch, if you can).
The addition of the small back room has helped alleviate the crush a bit on Friday and Saturday nights.
(NB: It's a smoking room.) We still wish they'd take plastic, but like everyone else we put up with the cash-only policy because the atmosphere is so inviting and the meals so satisfying.
Le Zie's regional specialty, Venetian, doesn't always go over with us, even in Venice, and in New York "Venetian" can sometimes mean just "bad Italian seafood." Not at Le Zie. Though it's a largish menu for a smallish kitchen, and there's always a long list of additional specials, we've ranged all over their offerings in the last two years with very rare disappointments. Lately, we recommend the lobster risotto, the spaghetti bottarga, the giant salt-baked whole red snapper and the best macaroni and cheese in town.
And we're loving the squid ink taglialini. We first had squid ink pasta not in Venice but in Sicily. It was as black as printer's ink and very pungent, almost gamy, if you can say that of a seafood. Lots of Americans, even New Yorkers, would probably be scared of it. Le Zie wisely offers a lighter, more laidback squid ink sauce, with taglialini slipping around in it like pasta eels, and a few mussels and baby shrimp tossed in, more or less as garnish to the main event, the sauce itself. With a glass of the house Salice Salentino, it's a dish that fills both your stomach and your senses. Waiter, un po di piu, per favore!
Eric Asimov, New York Times
Chelseans craving a dose of "auntie's cooking" with a "touch of Venice" tout this "unassuming" Northern Italian, now slightly larger than a "gondola" following an expansion; its "tasty, fresh, no-nonsense" classics, "warm" service and "inexpensive" tabs ensure a loyal following.
The New York Times
This modest little trattoria offers some terrific Venetian dishes,like an inspired salad that features pliant octopus and soft potatoes acting in precise textural counterpoint. The chef has a sure hand with pastas like rigatoni with rosemary, served al dente in a perfectly proportioned sauce of ground veal, rosemary and maybe a splash oflemon. Risotto with squid is also superbly cooked. Striped bass fillet withfennel and white beans is moist and wonderfully flavorful, while a wholestriped bass, grilled and then filleted at the table, shows that thesimplest preparation - it's sprinkled with olive oil, lemon and herbs - can do wonders in showing off the fish.
The New York Times
The Best Italian Restaurants
Splendid example of authentic Venetian trattoria. I have the best memories of : "chicchetti" Venetian style; frico with polenta; octopus with potatoes; Venitian style bean soup; rigatoni with rosemary ragout; linguine with clams; salmon with parsley sauce; calf's liver Venitian style; tartufo; flourless chocolate cake.
The food and wine cellar received a rating of "superior" and the desserts are rated as "excellent".
Luigi Veronelli's. "The Best Italian Restaurants"