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Southside Café

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Southside Café

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Address: 252 West 47th Street
City: New York, NY
Zip: 10036
Phone: (212) 354-0566
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Map: Map
Cuisine: Italian
Area: West 40s
Entree Price: $15-20


New York can be a funny town; you can walk the same block hundreds – maybe thousands of times – before noticing something that’s been there all along. Such was the case the day I spotted Southside Café on West 47th Street, a frequent destination. And imagine my shock when I discovered the restaurant had been there for 14 years. Now, imagine my disappointment when I discovered how many good meals I’ve missed before my many nights at the theater. Southside is an unabashedly old-fashioned, old-school Italian restaurant – emphasizing fresh ingredients, enormous portions, and plenty of garlic, all of which are big plusses in my book. (If you truly like garlic, don’t miss the bruschetta!) Of the many appetizers my party of three hearty gourmands sampled, the standouts were the superb tender-as-can-be grilled calamari, the extraordinarily flavorful eggplant rolatini (a small section of which can also be found on the hot antipasti platter) and a delicious grilled Portobello mushroom and arugula salad with an excellent balsamic dressing. The house offers numerous pasta selections, and you can’t go wrong with its signature dish, Rigatoni Southside, which mingles the tubular macaroni with luscious chunks of sweet sausage. The kitchen does nicely as well with linguine alla vongole, studded with plenty of fresh clams and lots more of that lovely garlic. (We hear the lasagna is also a favorite of many longtime customers.) Mains tend toward hearty, flavorful preparations, such as a yummy Chicken Valdostana, in which the poultry breast is stuffed with prosciutto and mozzarella, or a truly lemony Veal Francese that frankly exceeded my expectations. If the shrimp scampi we sampled as part of the antipasti was any indication, an entrée-sized portion of the crustaceans would be another winner. Not surprisingly, the house also takes equal care with everything from a well-chosen wine list to a reasonably extensively dessert selection, headed by a first-rate homemade tiramisu. So next time you’re walking down your favorite street, pay extra-close attention. You never know what you might be missing.

Review By: Brian Scott Lipton