Lil Frankie’s review image

Lil Frankies


19 1st Ave, New York
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A while back, we invented a game. This game is called “Can Lil Frankie’s Fix Your Dining Dilemma?” The best thing about this game is that you almost always win.

Lil Frankie’s is not a restaurant you’ll see on a lot of “best of” lists on sites other than this one. But it is possibly the restaurant we recommend wholeheartedly most often - be it for a big, loud birthday or a quiet dinner for two. Pretty much whatever your situation, Lil Frankie’s pulls through.

Someone’s vegetarian? No problem. Someone’s just a generally picky eater? All good. Someone doesn’t want to spend much? Fine. It’s a big group and you want to make a reservation but you don’t want to put down a credit card because the number in your group may change, and putting down a credit card just generally seems annoying? It’s handled. Have to plan your friend’s birthday two days in advance? Shouldn’t be an issue. Brunch? Yes. Open until 2am? Yes. Need to impress some out of towners with a “great neighborhood spot”? It’ll do. Just feeling a little sh*tty about your week so far and want to fill your body with carbs and wine? Go to Lil Frankie’s. Are you tired of reading this yet? That’s the point. In an almost unbelievable number of situations, Lil Frankie’s has your back. And the more we realized that, the more we realized that the rating on this classic deserved a few more decimal points.

Lil Frankie’s review image

But Lil Frankie’s is also more than just useful. The food - Neapolitan pizzas, nice salads, simple pastas, well-executed vegetables, and a few entrees - is consistently tasty, great for sharing, and always highly satisfying. The brick-walled space always has the right energy, and it’s highly versatile, too, whether you’re a small group in the front or a big party at a round table in the back. This is a key part of why we like Lil Frankie’s more than its sister restaurants Frank, Supper, and Sauce. The others also don’t serve pizza, which docks them a few more points.

Can Lil Frankie’s do it? The answer is probably yes.

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Food Rundown

Lil Frankie’s review image

Whole Roasted Eggplant

They cook this thing in the pizza oven, and a server will slice it up in front of you before drizzling it in olive oil (regular or spicy options). It’s piping hot and pretty much perfect - it’s essential you make your table order this to start.

Lil Frankie’s review image


The pizza here isn’t necessarily the best in the city, but it’s plenty good. The margherita is a crowd-pleaser (obviously), and we can also recommend the Salame Picante pie.

Lil Frankie’s review image

Spaghetti Limone

Spaghetti + lemon + butter + cheese. It’s as simple as it sounds, but also incredibly satisfying. You’ll try to recreate this at home, and it won’t be as good.

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The gnocchi is handmade daily and is another sure bet. Just look at it.

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Wood Roasted Chicken

While a group dinner at Lil Frankie’s often means a lot of carbs and vegetables, proteins - particularly the crispy whole chicken - are also endorsed.

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A legendary East Village Italian restaurant that we have decided we can now only visit when nobody else will be eating there. Like at 3pm on a Tuesday.

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Even though it might not be the coolest of the East Village Italian restaurants, Lavagna is right up there with the best.

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Instead of waiting outside of it for brunch, hit Prune for dinner.

Supper review image

A cash only, no reservations, popular East Village Italian establishment.

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