Il Postino is a throwback to the days of elegant excess, when an army of waiters in white coats manned dining rooms full cigar smoking tuxedos and bejeweled silk gowns. Those days echo through the dining room in the guise of loyal crowds not light on cash who keep the small, bi-level dining room hopping.
From the street, enter though a discreet white door and into another world. A small bar clings to the wall while a display of portabello mushrooms, roma tomatoes and other fresh ingredients greets those headed for the elevated dining area. Once you are seated, a waiter lights the single taper candle on your table, and then regales you with a basket of bread, a dish of olive oil and rosemary sprigs, a plate of marinated zucchini and a plate of chopped endive and scallop salad. Think of this moment as the orchestra tuning their instruments.
Soon, an avuncular gentleman with a voice as big as Magna Graeca arrives at your table to recite the menu. Listen and watch carefully. When sheer joy wafts across his face, you know which dish to order. Prices are not important, although if the dish is extraordinarily expensive, like the ravioli with shaved truffles, he will discreetly let the guest know ($75 in this case). If so inspired, he may sing.
Service is old world attentive, the staff right there to meet your every need, without sticking their noses into your business, or telling you their names, or interrupting you when your mouth is full. It is difficult for even the crankiest New Yorker to complain that something was or wasn’t there, or to feel that they are not the number one guest in the dining room. In fact, it is hard to be cranky here. The lively voices of the waiters and the fiercely loyal crowd make the evening an event, leaning always towards the jubilant.
The food is Italian, with the occasional Americanized item that no one seems to notice. There are no menus (there are, but no one asks for them), and if you don’t like the sound of verbal list, the kitchen “will make whatever you want”. It’s hard to complain that something isn’t to order when you can order whatever you like, however you want it.
The pasta dishes are well done, as are the seafood and fish selections. The best items to order are the scallops, the octopus carpaccio, the branzino and the red snapper. Less impressive are the grilled steaks. Best to stick with lamb or veal if you do not want fish. Desserts are nicely portioned – enough to satisfy and perhaps share, but not overwhelming. The tiramisu and tartuffo are signature choices, but try the lemon sorbet, which will bring back memories of those heady, Mediterranean nights, when you did not heave to worry about mortgages and retirement accounts but could spend your time wandering beaches and enjoying views and perhaps a little romance. Yes, it is amazing what a fine lemon sorbet can do.
Great place to bring out-of-town family or boisterous friends who are looking for a different kind of experience. While there are plenty of romantic elements packed into this small space, the frenetic dining room makes romantic conversation difficult. Best to go for the purpose of sharing stories, and be prepared to spend $100 per person.
Il Postino is located in the Midtown neighborhood of Manhattan. Midtown West From the hustle of the Port Authority Bus Terminal to the bustle of Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street, much of New York's dazzling vibrancy and energy emanates from this area stretching from Times Square to Central Park South. Packed with theaters, tourist attractions and tall office buildings, the buzz and glow of the city are most obvious amid the huge neon signs, giant wraparound news tickers (ABC News has a studio location here) and Broadway marquees. After braving the crowds of pop-obsessed teeny boppers gathered around MTV Studios visit the Hershey’s Time Square Store to satisfy your sweet tooth. Or grab a bite to eat at typical tourist meccas like TGI Friday's or the Dave & Buster's. A stroll up Broadway, whether in the early morning or late at night, passes by some of America's most cherished institutions, and the number of glowing lights are rivaled only by the Las Vegas Strip. Little wonder that Mondrian's inspiration for "Broadway Boogie-Woogie" came from this amazing array of places and colors; some of the facades literally scream out at the visitor as though ready to burst out from the grid of Midtown's streets and fly into orbit! If you need a respite from the sensory overstimulation of Times Square, visit the New York Public Library. The majestic Beaux-Arts building, flanked by the two famous marble lions, Patience and Fortitude, has been the heart and soul of the New York library system for nearly a century. It’s great for a little peace and quiet, and of course a great read. The library is to adjacent Bryant Park, which is a lovely patch of green in the middle of skyscraper territory. Among the amenities available to visitors are a French-style carousel, a boule board, chess tables, free summer movie screening, over 25,000 varieties of flowers, the Bryant Park Grill, and free wireless access, as well as 2,000 moveable chairs. Midtown West is also home to Radio City Music Hall (home to world-famous dancers, the Rockettes), Museum of Television and Radio, Museum of Modern Art, Carnegie Hall and the newly renovated Museum of Arts & Design. These extraordinary cultural institutions play host year-round to natives and tourists alike, so catch an eye-catching exhibit or enjoy a symphony and bask in some of New York’s greatest artistic offerings. There's also no shortage of restaurants in the area. For some excellent French fare try La Bergamote, which is known for its vast menu, with nearly 30 types of luxurious French pastries, six sorts of croissants, over a dozen types of breads as well as diverse handmade chocolates. For dinner try Aquavit, the country's preeminent Scandinavian restaurant. There really are too many dining options to list, but click here to check out entire listings of restaurant in the Midtown area. If you're looking to spend your stay in New York right in the heart of Midtown, there are plenty of hotel options. The DoubleTree by Hilton is located right in Times Square, as is the sophisticated Park Central New York. And for the more budget conscious traveler there's the Comfort Inn Midtown and the Portland Square Hotel. Midtown East Midtown East stretches from 42nd Street north to 59th, and East of Fifth Avenue to the East River. The area is populated with some of New York’s most iconic landmarks. While walking along 42nd Street and Park Avenue a visit to Grand Central Station is certainly in order, for Grand Central is one of the most stunning railroad stations in America. Walk in to admire its stunning brass clock, the exquisite staircases, and the unique celestial ceiling, its light bluish-green background filled with well-known constellations dotted with tiny lights. Restored in recent years, the cavernous main hall is bathed in natural light during the day, and pulsates with activity at night, thanks not least to its three busy restaurants: Michael Jordan's Steakhouse, Metrazur, and the famous Oyster Bar. Another superb restaurant in the area includes the Benjamin Steakhouse, housed inside the ornate 1903 Beaux-Arts Dylan Hotel. There's also Sparks Steak House which is known for not only its massive steaks, but its massive wine list as well. The gorgeous Chrysler Building (which turned 75 in 2005) is also nearby. In the bright sunlight, the upper floors gleam, reflect, and even seem to pulsate light, directing the eye upwards towards the spire. Its gorgeous Art Deco lobby, with murals celebrating transportation themes, is definitely one of New York’s finest. Examine the ornamental details, the typical Deco motifs, the lush marble, and the charming light fixtures, all restored in recent years. You’ll also definitely want to visit Rockefeller Center. The plaza, adorned with Paul Manship’s massive golden 1934 statue of Prometheus contains the world-famous ice skating rink and of course is home to the giant Christmas tree every December, making it a must-see holiday destination. While you’re in the neighborhood take a tour of the United Nations and get a behind-the scenes look at the diplomacy in action at the global meeting place of the General Assembly and Security Council. Midtown East is also home to some of the world's most well known department stores, including Lord & Taylor, <a href=”/yellow_pages/bergdorf_goodman.112561/">Bergdorf Goodman and of course the original Saks Fifth Avenue. All those retailers have an extraordinary selection of upscale goods and are considered classic, can’t-go-wrong stops for any shopaholic. So take your time strolling through this quintessential region of Manhattan - explore those famous landmarks, have a stop for lunch, and then proceed to do a little upscale shopping. Midtown East is an ideal neighborhood to spend your stay in New York, as the area is full of attractions and iconic landmarks. The beautiful, Art Deco styled Roosevelt Hotel is just four blocks from the Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall and within walking distance of Times Square and Museum of Modern Art. There's also the Grand Hyatt, which is located right near the United Nations and St. Patrick's Cathedral. The spacious and elegant Dylan Hotel, as well as the W New York – The Tuscany are other exceptional options. Click here for a complete list of hotels in close proximity to Midtown East.
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