696 Madison Ave., New York, NY, 10021
nr. 62nd St.
By matchman on 6/5/2007
It is 4:30 on a hot Saturday afternoon and the street side tables at Nello's look inviting and a terrific place for a glass of Prosecco. The Prosecco was average but nicely chilled and the waiter suggested a plate of nibbles. We were dining later so he suggested something light, a few slices of prosciuto and some cheese. It was of reasonable quality and the bread basket was good. The bill was outrageous...a few slices of prosciuto, 2 ounce-sized portions of parmegian and a couple of small balls of mozzarello was $68.00...the $25.00 per glass charge for prosecco and $14.00 for a mid-sized bottle of flat water seemed a bargain in comparison. We had a full meal at Union Square Cafe later that evening for almost the same price. The place is a rip-off.
By mountart on 6/22/2008
... pretentious ambience, lousy service and over-priced average food. With a small army of wait and support staff they managed to completely ignore every normal expectation of an average restaurant, like bringing menus before you finish your aperitif, providing water and a bread basket, refilling empty water glasses, asking if you need another drink, cheese or fresh pepper for your entree and not bringing a dessert tray the second you finish your entree. Not to mention the exorbitant pricing for average fare. If you are a pompous buffoon you will no doubt enjoy this restaurant and fit in nicely.
By StevieZ on 7/22/2008
I should have suspected something when I noticed (after the fact) that there was no menu shown in the front window visible from the street. I guess the restaurant is too embarrassed. The food and service at Nello are OK, but the pricing is obscene. If you go here unaware, be prepared to pay something like $25 for a small salad -- greens and nothing else; $25 for a mixed drink; $50-60 for entrees... you get the picture. I was so disgusted by the prices, that I left no tip -- I figured the waiter could ask the restaurant to make it up to him off of their profits. I go to a lot of restaurants, many on expense account, and this one is so out of line, I wouldn't even go here to take out a client on expense account. Why do they stay busy? It's a mystery.
By kmt211 on 9/19/2008
I recently went to Nello simply because it was the closest place at hand to have a few drinks and dessert with a friend. Five Cosmopolitans and one marginal creme brulee (which incidentally had some sort of bean in it that certainly wasn't meant to be there), we were presented with a bill for $169. I am all for expensive cocktails when there's a certain level of craftsmanship involved but these were about as common as a rat in the subway. AVOID this place!
By ttanic01 on 11/19/2008
I agree that the prices at Nello are exorbitant. You can certainly find excellent pasta in New York City at half the price. BUT, I have to say that you should not be surprised to pay these prices once you decide to sit down at the restaurant. You are on Madison Avenue - know where you are and what type of environment you are in before you choose a restuarant. The prices for regular menu items are clearly listed on the menu, so there is absolutely NO excuse to not leave a tip for the waiters because of the prices. If you do that, you are clearly out of your league and should have chosen another restaurant and passed Nello right on by. That is rude and just unacceptable. Where do you think you are?
By chelseav on 12/30/2008
The first time that I went to Nello's the food and service was excellent -- so much so that I wanted to go back. Big mistake. My mom and I had been out shopping and decided to stop by. As soon as the waiter saw us he seemed to make the decision that we weren't worth his time since we had left our rolex watches and small dogs at home. The meal just went down from there. The funny thing was that at the same time he was treating us like crap, an Italian bigwig was treating him like crap. So unless you want to show off your rolex and small dog and/or enjoy either being treated like crap or watching others being treated like crap, stay away.
By grafvonb on 12/31/2008
I am among those who value fine food and wine and are willing to pay for it. New York offers many choices for a truly memorable meal at exorbitant prices, but it is simply foolish to pay so dearly for side street pasta and jug wine. I have been to Nello many times over the years. After my last visit a few years ago I swore never to return. That time the wine and service were appalling and the waiter actually argued about the tip! For reasons of convenience, I tried again last week, but found it even worse than before. The food was unremarkable, the portions small, the wine barely drinkable, and the atmosphere absurdly pretentious. My guest agreed. There are so many truly good places within easy walking distance. Leave Nello to people who don't know the difference and are content to be cheated and patronized.
By Jwinehouse on 1/12/2009
Lavish flower arrangements and chic wall dÃ©cor are the only characteristics of a gourmet restaurant you will find at Nello, one of New York CityÂ’s greatest parodies of a fine dining experience. Two glasses of house wine cost as much as an above average bottle at other nearby restaurants. The ordinary selection of pasta costs nearly four times what you might pay elsewhere. The only attention we received from our server was a choreographed greeting in an exaggerated Italian accent, but the display of hospitality quickly diminished when he realized we werenÂ’t ordering starters. We rarely saw him the rest of the evening. The maitre d had to bring our check, which we asked for more than once. In my opinion, any restaurant that has the nerve to charge $130 for a bottle of Kendall-Jackson chardonnay and $50 for gnocchi with marinara sauce should bring far more to the table than run of the mill cuisine, shoddy service and prices that are as inflated as the staffÂ’s egos. For those who believe a Madison Avenue address merits unreasonable prices for an unremarkable experience, Nello is your spot.
By sonicyouth1280 on 1/25/2009
Nello is quite possibly the worst restaurant on the upper east side. The service is comparable to a sub-par Denny's, the food is disgusting (a $30 Ceasar salad consisted of a single romaine leaf and a small shaving of poor-quality parmesean, the $40 beef carpaccio was skimpy and sickening, our entrees completely inedible). A $35 vodka cranberry was perhaps the worst I've ever had, and our $20 bottle of Voss was lukewarm. An attractive floral arrangement (the only compliment I can give) barely masked the stench of rotting excrement emitted from the bathrooms - downstairs, but noticeable on the main floor by a completely open entrance. One suspects that the multitude of mega-stars whose photos are shamelessly displayed, high-school locker style, next to the bar were lured in not by the quality of the cuisine, but by the proximity to Hermes. It does give me great pleasure knowing that Paris Hilton had to endure this torture. The final bill for this culinary concentration camp? $250 plus tip for 2 people. Strictly for the masochists.
By NewYorkFoodie on 3/12/2009
The days of Nello are numbered. Overpriced and treating the customer rudely don't work any more. We ordered 2 pasta dishes and dover sole ($75) none of which were special or good at all. The fish was terrible and almost looked like a cook made it rather than a chef. The food is so bad we assume it is bad on purpose to support the "we don't need to care" attitude. The waiter was rude and very inattentive. I asked for a scotch and was served a $35 glass of Dewers. This is insulting and believe during these tough economic times Nello's days are numbered. Nello is probably one of the worst restaurants in the city and nothing special at all. Do yourself a favor and avoid the insult.