I Trulli - 212 481 7372 - 122 E 27th St (between Lexington and Park)

I Trulli is a charming Italian restaurant with two large dining rooms and a garden for dining outdoors in season. They also have a big fireplace with a big wood fire for the colder season. The food here is wonderful with creations from their grill, their brick oven and the sea.

They have the usual classics, like pumpkin ravioli with sage and a changing array of wonderful pasta dishes including maloredus in tomato sauce, dumplings with brocoli rabe and orrechiete with rabbit ragu. Every pasta is fresh and perfectly cooked and every sauce is rich and redolent.

They also have some of the best grilled octopus in town. In fact, you will not go wrong ordering anything with octopus, cuttlefish or squid in it. This includes a mixed grill of all three and the stuffed squid appetizer, which we fight over.

For the main course, you can go with fish, for example, the delicious sea bass and fennel - one of the best renditions we have had in this country, or you can go with the meats. The veal shanks are tender, the wild boar chops meaty, and they have smoky grilled lamb chops. But, it is the fish at which they excel. We have never heard of orata before, but we loved it. The octopus in tomato sauce with farro and sauteed greens was fantastic.

The service is attentive and well informed here, and they can keep up with our chaotic table.

Be warned, that it is a good idea to save room (and wine) for the cheese tray. They always have a great selection of Italian cheeses, hard and soft, young and old. It is sometimes possible to resist, but not always. What a great way to end a great meal.

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