‘Lil Frankie’s is the spot you always think of right off the bat when it comes to good, reasonably priced Italian food in the city. It has the people, the vibes, and the love that you’re looking for when you need a good meal and a fun atmosphere. Not only is this a very popular spot in the East Village, but also one that is near and dear to my heart. Whether you’re going on a first date, a roommate outing, or showing your parents some of your favorite spots in the city, this place has it all From the fabulous wine selection, appealing appetizers, and phenomenal entrees, there is something for everyone at ‘Lil Frankies. Here’s a breakdown of the likes and (minimal) dislikes of the restaurant, as it is important to get the 411 before you go making any rash decisions here.
My favorite drink has always been a dirty martini, that said, they aren’t always a favorite amongst others but if you are a fan, I would recommend ordering. They aren’t too strong and quite tasty. I like my martini’s extra dirty, only because the vodka sometimes defeats the taste, but at ‘Lil Frankies I can order normally and have no complaints. The house wine is also something to go for. It changes depending on the bottles they decide on for the evening, but its good and easy on the wallet if that is something you are looking for. In regards to the bottles- me being on the more budget-side of things, I tend to stray away from the pricey ones. So the only thing I can say about that is there is a wide variety of price points to choose from when it comes to the perfect bottle.
ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS order the burrata! It is like nothing you have had before (or maybe not but still it’s amazing!). It’s creamy, it’s delicious, and it’s very easy on the eyes. Sometimes it comes inside of a halved tomato and sometimes it comes with slices on the side. Depending on what you get, it will always be great. I am not a big salad person, but every once in a while I feel like feeding my body the proper nutrition that it needs. That said, you can’t go wrong with any of their options and homemade dressings.
I have this thing where if I go to an Italian restaurant I just have to get a pasta or a pizza. So to be honest, I have not dabbled in the chicken and other crowd favorites that are on their menu unless it includes pasta or pizza. For pasta’s- they are known for their lemon spaghetti and it is super delish. I get it almost every time, it’s a good divider between the red sauce and other options on the menu. Another thing to note about it is that, yes, it may be a “lemon” pasta but I would describe it more as a butter and cheese sauce with a twist of lemon in it. Not too acidic and tangy, yet not to buttery or cheesy either- the perfect amount of each. For a red sauce pasta, I always recommend the rigatoni. Why do you ask? Well, for starters, it is the perfect mix of everything you would want in a pasta dish. You can add ricotta cheese AND meatballs on it (and I highly suggest you do!) and because it is the greatest example of the tastiness that ‘Lil Frankie’s is. Now- PIZZA TIME! Whenever I have come to this restaurant, I have been very strategic in my ordering. I get a glass of wine or a martini (depending on my level of diva-ness for the night), the burrata and/or something else to start, and then 2 kinds of pasta and a pizza. I always order 2 pastas because I can never pass up the rigatoni but feel like I should try something new as well, so I just plan to take some leftovers for lunch the next day. The pizzas are pretty great though. I love thick crust, and theirs is the perfect amount of doughy and crunchy that you are looking for. Another thing I learned from my many experiences here is that I enjoy the red sauce pizzas a lot more than the white. They have a lot more flavor and really tend to that Italian taste. For pizzas, I wouldn’t recommend a specific, but I would recommend ordering a red sauce one if debating on the two (or honestly, just get both).
I am the kind of person that will ALWAYS order dessert, yet I have not ordered dessert at this restaurant and I am not too sure as to why honestly? Maybe it’s because I have already eaten so much that I am stuffed to the gills. Or because it simply doesn’t appeal to me at the time but regardless, in my next excursion to the restaurant I should give it a shot because it is probably as good as everything else on the menu.
Overall, the aesthetic, food, and price point hit the nail on the head when it comes to New York restaurants. I would recommend this place 100 times over again, as it is always a crowd favorite and perfect for any occasion, situation, or day.