There are a few reasons you might end up at Portale. It’s from the chef who ran the kitchen at Gotham Bar & Grill for 34 years, it’s in an attractive space near Union Square, and the menu has crowd-pleasing options like burrata, housemade pastas, and dry-aged steak. But you shouldn’t go to this big Italian spot in Chelsea if you’re looking for excellent food. Besides some very good blowfish tails that were available on one of our visits, and the rich short rib lumache, everything here is forgettable, and considering the high prices, there are plenty of other Italian places near Union Square that you should prioritize instead.
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The Meatball Shop Chelsea
Reliable, delicious, and full of balls. If there’s not at Meatball Shop near you already, there will be soon. This thing is about to go full Shake Shack.
Chama Mama is a Georgian restaurant in Chelsea where you can get a good stew and some excellent khachapuri. Bring a group, and order a lot.
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The Wheelhouse is a casual neighborhood spot where Bushwick people drink beer and eat variations of grilled cheese sandwiches.
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The Tribeca restaurant is less of the celebrity scene it once was, but still makes very good Italian food.
Loring Place is an upscale Greenwich Village spot that should please just about everybody.
Marea is about as good as upscale eating gets in Midtown, and there’s a lot of that around. Don’t miss the bone marrow and octopus fusilli.
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