3 Fleur
Average check per person $5-$15
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchLunch SundayLunch MondayLunch TuesdayLunch WednesdayLunch ThursdayLunch FridayLunch Saturday
DinnerDinner SundayDinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday

Cafe Nino

Uptown 4: Riverbend, Carrollton & Broadmoor: 1519 S Carrollton Ave. 504-865-9200. Map.
Very Casual
AE MC V

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
It’s only in very recent years that New Orleans has been blessed with more than a few first-class, made-from-scratch pizzas. For decades, any pizzeria that could bake pies consistently well was worthy of note. Cafe Nino is from that era, and it’s still one of the best–even in competition with the hip new ppizzerias with their wood-fired ovens. Nino makes his pizza in the New York style–thin crust, a little burned around the edges. Also here are Philly cheese steak sandwiches made better than any other locally. And some surprisingly fine, unexpected daily specials.

WHAT’S GOOD
Nino’s pizza is reason enough to come here and to put up with the minimal surroundings. But that’s just the start of his efforts on your behalf. He cooks everything Italian, and many things that aren’t. Mussels, for example, have become a house specialty. Other specials appear from what seems like nowhere. The fact that a dish seems too fancy for the place shouldn’t prevent you from ordering it.

BACKSTORY
Nino Bongiorno, native of Sicily, moved to New York in his early adulthood, and started cooking. He moved to Philadelphia for a time, then wound up here, duplicating the kind of neighborhood Italian restaurant he found in the Northeast. He’s there almost all the time.

DINING ROOM
The converted Steak ‘n’ Egg Kitchen is, to be charitable, low on creature comforts. Everything’s pretty beat up. But there’s a certain charm in this. The service style is unique: the food comes, and comes, but no check. Ask Nino how much you owe on the way out, and he’ll make up a figure that will be a bargain.

ESSENTIAL DISHES
Pizza
Calzone
Sausage rolls
Philly cheese steak
Basic pasta dishes
Lasagna
Arancini
Daily specials (particularly the mussels on Friday and the osso buco)

FOR BEST RESULTS
Get ready for a very off-the-cuff, loose operation. You not only order at the counter but most of the time pick up your own food.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The premises are about thirty years overdue for renovation. The clean-up crew could be a little more efficient, too.

FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment -2
  • Consistency +3
  • Service-2
  • Value +3
  • Attitude +1
  • Wine & Bar
  • Hipness
  • Local Color +1

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

  • Open Sunday lunch and dinner
  • Open Monday lunch and dinner
  • Open all afternoon
  • Unusually large servings
  • Quick, good meal
  • Good for children
  • Easy, nearby parking
  • No reservations

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