Frankies Spuntino, Lower East Side, NYC, NY ***** NOW CLOSED

Q: What was it? A: This was a fantastic place on Manhattan’s Lower East Side that has a reportedly equally amazing sister restaurant in Brooklyn (still open!). The menu was leaning towards the Italian, to put it mildly.

Small empire.

You’re looking at the entire restaurant (minus kitchen). Twenty-four seats. That’s it.

Painted window. Quiet street.

If you don’t know it’s there, you may miss it. 17 Clinton Street is a very quiet part of the street and Frankies Spuntino isn’t exactly loud about its existence.

It’s a tiny place but what a place!
It’s so tiny that they don’t even accept reservations. 24 seats. That’s it. The owners have already had a lot of success with another restaurant, with an identical menu, on Court Street, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, so you should expect a full seating during both lunch and dinner. Correct, that is just another way to say ‘Arrive early!’

It doesn’t try to be fancy.
It does a successful job looking old-fashioned but opened as late as 2006. Golden letters painted on the front window, tin-ceiling, classic interior and no hints of the 21st century until they bring the thing you swipe your credit card through. I am gladly vouching for the crostini, the roasted vegetables, a gnocchi that will have songs written about it and the cavatelli with Fiacco’s hot sausage. 12 of the wines are served by the glass which is a true blessing if you don’t want to return from lunch plastered.

It’s not even expensive.
The service is casual, as you could expect on the LES. Plus, this is not a place you go to flash your platinum. In fact, you can’t, as the price tag is very humane. Frankies was featured as a four star restaurant in New York Magazine’s ‘Best Cheap Eats of 2006’. Cheap? Sure, but be certain that it’s not the value-for-money factor that made Frankies Spuntino famous. It’s the simple but brilliant, no-nonsense Italian cooking. And this writer is just happy to join the cheering crowd, as Frankies is qualified to fill the gap after Petrosino, which closed its doors a couple of years ago. In my book it’s not four but five stars, no question!

A reminder: The good folks at Frankie’s Spuntino are not accepting reservations.

Opening hours;
Sundays–Thursdays 11 AM to midnight
Fridays–Saturdays 11 AM to 1 AM

Saturdays—Sundays 11 AM to 4 PM

Frankies Spuntino
17 Clinton Street (between Stanton St. and Houston St.)
New York, NY 10022
United States
+1-212-253 23 03

THIS RESTAURANT IS NOW CLOSED. On March 23, 2012, the two Franks – Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo – turned Frankies Spuntino into Francesca, a place where pintxos and tapas rule. So now it’s Basque instead of Italian. The Brooklyn franchise, as well as the 570 Hudson Street location, are staying true to the original Italian concept.

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