I'm new to the board, so I do apologize if I'm doing something, or posting somewhere I shouldn't be. That being said, I was born and raised in New Jersey (that strange place across the river), but have been living in Italy (In the north: Trieste and Alba) for a little while now.
I'll be moving back to New York City in March (well kinda, I'll be in Hoboken, New Jersey), and I know I'm going to miss many many aspects of the Italian culinary lifestyle. But I also know that if there's anywhere I can go to keep that spirit alive, its New York.
I'm a short path ride away from the lower, west end of manhattan (in particular the West Village) and I want to find less than expensive places in this area to go to to eat and drink that keep an Italian feel to it.
1. Small (small being quite vague) restaurants with simple, traditional menus. Adding some New York flair to things obviously won't offend me, its just that in general, I like it when menus have a rustic, old world feel to them, and the restaurant doesn't have a super trendy feel to it. I loved loved Lupa before I left, but am dying to try some new places. The places also don't have to be strictly Italian, I really really enjoyed the Spotted Pig the last time I was in Manhattan.
2. Wine bars. Places to hop in to grab a glass of Italian and and some snacks either after work or late night. My heart is deeply devoted to Italian wine, and places that focus on such will interest me the most. Again, I tend to steer away from trendy, and more towards rustic and old world feeling. I loved 'ino and 'inoteca, but again, am hoping to try somewhere new.
3. Coffee. Living in Trieste, the coffee capital of Northern Italy (home of Illy) has really spoiled me. Even in other Northern Italian cities, I have a hard time enjoying the espresso anywhere else I go. Anyone know of any good places to sit and linger over a good cup of coffee?
4. Pastries. Another side effect of living in Trieste. The Austrian influence lingers here in many ways, including the amazing pastry shops. What are your favorite places to go in New York satisfy your cravings?
Again, I'm looking for places more on the lower west side, as that is what I'll have the most access too. Sorry if this is a lot, but though there are many wonderful places to go in Trieste and the Alba area, they are both small towns. I grew up in the NYC area, and would like to think I know New York rather well, but I feel like I'm going to be so so lost when I get back home.
Any help is greatly appreciated!