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Address: 1167 Madison Ave (85th & 86th Sts)
City: New York, NY
Zip: 10028
Phone: (212) 734-7711
Fax: (212) 794-5001
Hours: Monday-Saturday 12n-3pm and 5:30-10:30pm Sunday 11:30am-3pm and 5-9pm
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Map: Map
Chef: Pino Luongo
Cuisine: Italian
2nd Cuisine:
Area: East 80s
Entree Price: $20-25
Payment: Amex Visa Mastercard


New York is often celebrated for its down-home Italian restaurants, the ones with small tables covered in checked tablecloths and wine in carafes. While Centolire doesn't offer anything like this stereotypical ambiance, the Tuscan-born chef and restaurateur Pino Luongo offers diners the same classic Italian fare, albeit from slightly further north than these typically Sicilian locales.

Opened in 2001, Centolire offers something for everyone: two spaces that offer different atmospheres (cozier and homier downstairs, fun and bright upstairs), a three-course prix fixe or à la carte menu for lunch, seasonal specialties and classic favorites.

The prix fixe menu (27.50) offers several choices, laid out in typical Italian fashion, with a first course of pasta, a main of meat and of course sorbet, gelato or the dessert of the day. To accommodate American diners, pastas are also available as main courses. The Strozzapreti, literally translated as “strangled priests” are served in a chicken ragout and are excellent, in spite of their strange name. The fettuccine alla Bolognese is also exellent, albeit quite rich and much better as a main. Meat dishes include Tuscan style brisket, or Stracotto di Manzo, which is tender and succulent and served with the typical Tuscan side of spinach. The fresh fish of the day is always delicious as well, with fresh local fish prepared in a traditional and distinct way every day, and the Cacciucco—traditional Italian fish soup—is flavorful and savory.

Centolire also offers a “Café and Panini,” where cheaper and quicker options are available, like baked homemade meat lasagna (10.50), the chef's special panini of gouda, onions and balsamic vinegar on homemade focaccia (8.00) or a warm Nutella and ricotta sandwich for dessert (6.00).

Whether it's for dinner, dessert or a snack, this Madison Avenue restaurant is sure to please even the most discerning palates with its classic Italian cuisine. If you like what you taste, Luongo's books are also available for sale, with recipes and stories about Italy and Italian cuisine.

Review By: Emily Monaco