by Julie Besonen, 06/08/2011
Photo: Shane Nelson
168 First Ave., 212-674-7014, East Village, Manhattan
In Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993), Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Alan Alda and Anjelica Huston gather for a late-night debate over murder theories at Vincent's, a "mafia joint" in New Jersey. However, the neon sign in the windowed background reveals the true location, spelling out "Lanza's" (albeit backwards). This East Village landmark, open since 1904, is certainly cinematic: think ornate tin ceilings, antique lamps, walls covered in painted canvas and faded frescoes of pastoral landscapes. The throwback menu features spaghetti and meatballs, linguine with clams and chicken parmigiana, all well prepared, generously portioned and fairly priced. The wine list also holds deals, such as $26 for a carafe of Montepulciano or $30 for a nice bottle of dolcetto. Service is unfailingly attentive, another reason this place has survived.