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Max - 94 Reviews - 51 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009-7441, New York, NY - People Watching Reviews - Phone (212) 539-0111


51 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009-7441
New York, NY 10009
(212) 539-0111
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Max - New York, NY


( 25 )
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This little hole in the wall Italian restaurant is fantastic. A rustic, down-to-earth, no reservation needed home cooked place that serves phenomenal pasta. You need to come hun...


I've been hearing about this place for a while, but I don't know why. From start to finnish, every thing was OK, just OK. The service left a lot to be desired, to much ""beautiful...

Good Food Can't Make Up for Bad Service 3/21/2011

I took my brothers and my girlfriend here last weekend looking for a good meal on a Saturday night. I had been to Max before, a little while ago and enjoyed it. I could not have been more surprised with the experience we had. We were sat quickly, and the Sangria we had was very good. We got no bread on the table, though all of the other tables in the room did. We ordered quickly and then the wait started. Our appetizers were a little slow, but certainly manageable with a pitcher of sangria and the food was very good. After that, it was 20 minutes before the first time we heard ""your food should be right out."" We said that's fine, no problem. 20 minutes later, most of the tables in the room were being turned. Guests who arrived after us were being served. For a second time we heard ""Your food is just about done, can I get you another round of drinks?"" We said sure, and ordered another pitcher of Sangria (which was still tasty). 20 minutes later, the sangria was finished. Our water glasses were empty. The waiter made his third round saying the food was coming out. It came 10 minutes after that, but by then our appetites had been soured somewhat. I want to say upfront that the food was delicious and I have no complaints about it, but we waited over an hour for it with three promises it was just about out. So we left a small tip and left, thinking the discomfort for the night was over. Instead, the waiter chased out after us in a huff asking why we left a small tip. We said the service was poor and it would have been nice to know there was a problem with the order. His reply was just ""the problem was having a full house."" If having a full house is a problem, then maybe he's in the wrong business. A comped pitcher of Sangria would have set the night right or an actual apology would have even softened the blow. No dice. It's a shame, because the food is very good, but we won't be going back. more

Best Italian in NYC 9/16/2009

This little hole in the wall Italian restaurant is fantastic. A rustic, down-to-earth, no reservation needed home cooked place that serves phenomenal pasta. You need to come hungry because they serve large bowls. Pros: Great spaghetti and meat sauce Cons: Only takes cash more

Good food, rude waiter! 2/2/2009

Four of us had dinner at Max Restaurant on Saturday night, and while the food was pretty good, our waiter was incredibly and unnecessarily rude. we were seated under a speaker and asked VERY NICELY to turn down the music a little bit, the waiter said ""no. we play loud music"" \r \r a little later, when the music had become even louder, the hostess responded to my plea and turned it down, only to have the same waiter turn it up even louder than before! we left soon after, and took our business (dessert and more wine) elsewhere. \r \r also, there were candles sitting on a sideboard, and we use one to read the menu then left it on our table. the waiter came over and told us we had just created a fire hazard!! how this was any more dangerous than having a flame inches from a wooden shelf made no sense, but it was the way we were treated, like children who had to be slapped on the hand, which was offensive.\r \r this had been my first time at Max and nearly every interaction with the personnel (with the exception of the gentleman refilling our water glasses!) was unnecessarily contentious. needless to say, i'm not going back.\r Pros: food is simple and straight-forward Cons: very loud music, rude waiters more

NEVER AGAIN! 1/13/2009

We walked into a fairly empty restaurant on a Monday evening. The hostess tried to seat the 3 of us in the back by the bar & next to the bathroom. When we asked if we could sit in the front room instead (which was empty!), she shot us a dirty look & squeezed the 3 of us into a tiny table for 2. The steamed asparagus w/proscuitto appetizer consisted of 4 measly sprigs of cold asparagus wrapped in bland, dry proscuitto. Pasta entrees were way too salty, I probably drank 8 glasses of water while I was there. My friend's steak was tough to chew & dry. We thought maybe the dessert would be their redeeming dish for the night..but no way! The tiramisu was horrible. It was obvious it was prepared days ago & was just sitting there with a goopy consistency. The ladyfingers were hard & stale. Waiters were rude. This place was a good standby in years past, but after this recent visit, NEVER AGAIN!!! Cons: No longer cheap, food gone downhill, rude service, awful kitschy decor. more

What? this place is OVERRATED. 1/13/2009

Ordered delivery from the famous ""Max"" tonight. I am not kidding -- it was UN-EDIBLE. The rigatoni with meatballs and sausage had sort of a brown sugar taste. The meatballs were dry and crusty. The bread came cold and stale. The salad -- bland and boring. I am so grossed out. I will never order from Max again. With places like Perbacco, Lavagna, Il Posto and Supper within blocks, do not bother. This must be an old school Alphabet City restaurant that will not stand the test of time. Seriously... I am so bummed out by my dinner. I feel sick. Pros: Can't think of one. Cons: Bad food. more

Great 12/13/2008

I found the experience very enjoyable - highly recommend it. more

best meat sauce 10/18/2008

I have to admit that Max has great pasta at affordable prices. Service is good and the atmosphere that the employees create makes it a fun place to go. No reservations which I do not like but ok.. the wait is worth it.. However please tell Hostesses to be more kind with customers since I felt it was not polite with us...Overall I have to say that highly recommend this place for diner. more

must say is really good 10/7/2008

I was at max last Thursday night and had a really good experience. I had heard a lot from Max before so I had to give it a chance. I have to say that I had a really good time. My meatloaf was the best I ever tried ( and I love meatloaf so I know when is good). The service was friendly and polite, not Italian waiters though but friendly and handsome Southamerican...The athmosphere of the place is awesome, good music and great deco. .The only thing I would say is they should put tables little away from each other but I guess that's New York.. . Pros: great food , service and ambience Cons: only one toilet more

fabulous atmosphere 10/2/2008

Hi I'm from Italy, living in NY for some months, I was really missing my country till I found MAX!\r Ask to be seated outside even if it's cold, a bottle of red wine will help u to feel better.\r the hidden garden creates a friendly atmosphere. \r We enjoyed a delicious entree of bruschette and crostini with a whole bottle of sicilian wine!\r I definitely reccomend this Italian, I would say Tuscan, restaurant both to newyorkers and italian people!\r Ciao! more

Terrible service! Bad Gnocchi. 10/2/2008

I had dinner there last night with a friend. I arrived 10 mins early and sat at the bar. Two employees behind the bar totally ignored me. Not once in the 10 mins was I asked if I wanted a drink. After my friend and I were seated and handed menus by the hostess, we waited 10 mins and had to flag someone to take our order. We had a play at 7:30pm and we told our waiter. He never once checked on us and again we had to flag someone down to get the bill. My friend who had been here before raved about the gnocchi so she ordered it and I got the lasagna and we shared. I had to bites of gnocchi and couldn't eat the rest. It was no good. She didn't finish her portion either. The lasagna was excellent. She ended up feeling sick during the end of the play and had to leave early. I blame the gnocchi. The staff there don't seem to care much about their customers. Not a place I plan to eat at again. Pros: The place is really nice decor wise. Cons: Horrible service, you are basically ignored and bad gnocchi. more

NOT on the menu 8/25/2008

I've been to Max about 3-4 times in the past 3 years and always enjoyed my experience there. Yes, the waiters are a little lacking in the english department, the hostess is a bit rude and the service could always be quicker. None of this tended to bother me. After eating there last week, however, I will NOT be going back. I went with 2 other friends who also frequented Max. When my friend and I ordered the gnocchi and asked for the pink sauce instead of the marinara, we were told it was impossible. We have ordered this special request each time we had been there before and told the waiter this. He looked at us like we had 8 heads and we asked to speak to the manager. The manager reiterated that it was not possible as that dish was not on the menu. When we gently pointed out that both gnocchi and pink sauce were on the menu, he simply said it was not possible. How about just bringing us a bowl of pink sauce on the side? Not possible. It was my birthday and I was coming specifically for THIS dish so we decided to leave. My sister calmly informed the manager that we would need to cancel our appetizers as we were leaving and he completely freaked out. Lo and behold, somehow the kitchen staff was able to throw some gnocchi in a bowl with pink sauce. But we were told that they would NEVER do it again when we came back. I don't think they'll have to worry about that... I can understand that special requests are difficult for smaller kitchen but this was not a difficult request and we were treated so rudely that it is just not worth it. more

It's Okay... 8/12/2008

We were in a party of 8... I was running late, and they would not seat any of my friends until our entire party was there--for 8 people! Then we waited a very long time for our waiter, who didn't speak English very well, and therefore could not push any of the daily specials on us. The food was okay (but I have definitely had better Italian) and the prices were reasonable. Even beyond that, I just don't know if I'd go back there again.... Pros: Prices, Atmosphere (trendy) Cons: Wait, food, service (hostess!) more

Good food, but not good enough to make up for the horrendous service. 7/31/2008

My group arrived one person short and the snotty hostess refused to seat us, although the restaurant was entirely empty. When one of us (nicely) pointed this out, she said ""no we will not seat you until everyone in your party is here!"" in a tone of voice that I feel is never ok to use upon another human being (or animal, for that matter). We then went to wait in the crowded bar. When our friend arrived, they seated us at the front of the restaurant and we waited over 20 minutes for someone to come over to our table. Meanwhile, the hostess was leaning against the wall drinking a cup of coffee from the deli across the street and chatting with one of her co-workers. The food was good, I'll admit, but not so good that it's worth being treated this way. Pros: Food is decent and affordable Cons: Horrific service more

Great food, great atmosphere 5/21/2008

This is a great place to eat if you're not a stuck up preppy or tourist who expects the hostess and wait staff to fawn all over you just because you're dropping $10 on a plate of meatballs.\r \r If you're a down to earth person who doesn't mind no-frills service then I suggest you give it a try. It's my favourite Italian place in the city.\r Pros: Food, wine, atmosphere, pretty hostess! Cons: Tight squeeze and always busy more

THE WORST!!!!!! Spent one hour and 20 minutes waiting for our food!!!!!!!! 4/18/2008

Group of 4 went last night to Max seeking some decent pasta. We didn't have to wait for table inside although the outdoor garden had a 20 mintue wait. It being one of the first nicer evenings of the spring we kinda figured it would be a little busy. We waited for our main course an hour and 20 minutes after we ordered, no joke. Best of the all our waiter (who apparently was the manager) checked on us a grand total of 0 times during this span. We got up twice to speak with him and the hostess after 45 minutes and 1/2 hour later. They apologized saying it was so busy and they were understaffed. He initially offered to give us free desert, which was a ridiculous offer considering we had all gotten up to leave after we finished our 2ND bottle of wine and no food came out. He ended up comping one bottle of wine and brought out our food. This manager was so unapologetic and unfamiliar with the english language, it was really insulting. ON TOP OF ALL THIS, the food here is HORRIBLE. The rigatoni sauce tasted burnt, the meatballs were dry. The Osso Bucco was not TENDER!!!! If all people want in a restaurant is some outdoor garden to eat, I would strongly advise staying away from this place. I really hope this place gets its act together because this was THE WORST DINING EXPERIENCE I've ever had in NYC in 15 years. Cons: PLEASE READ MY COMMENTS more

Sardines in food good, sardines in dining room bad... 4/8/2008

Oh Max. Hadn't been for 2 or 3 years, but used to go quite often. I hate to be a broken record with many other reviews here, but I brought a lanky 6"" 2' friend midweek to a half empty restaraunt, and was seated in literally the smallest, most cramped table in a dark corner next to a couple who looked ready to propose. So we reseated ourselves to an equally small table with a bit more room. We were told that it was a three person table because a chair was stuck surreally into a already tight walking space. Now listen, if a resteraunt needs to squeeze every dime out of its busy nights, then that's a choice they make, and I'll deal. But the concept of actually having happy return customers is also something to consider, I'm a sicilian-american whose been to sicily as well as eaten at many cramped hipster dives in my life. And although joints in Italy can be disorganized, unpredictable and at times frustrating, it is NOT an Italian tradition to be inflexible, and not value comfort and conversation. Max is trying to squeeze (literally) every dime possible out of its space, and in the process squeezing out two people who were prepared to drop $100 on food and wine out of a half empty dining room. Molto Stupido. Remember the meat ragu being tasty though... Pros: If the stars align, a good bowl of pasta Cons: More Mussolini than Michelangelo more

try the fettuccine 2/18/2008

I've been doing Max for ages now. Granted, the imperfections exist, they're nothing to get worked up over. Max has great food, low prices, easy and comfortable atmosphere. The foods comes out hot and mouth-watering. The Garden is fantastic spot in the summer, fantastically private and charming. The space inside the restaurant is a little tight, but it's always packed for a reason. The service isn't overly attentive, which can be an issue for some, but anyone who doesn't need a mother holding their hand throughout dinner should find service more than acceptable. Max is a restaurant for the people; kind, simple and genuine. more

Avoid at All Costs 12/18/2007

With all of the Italian restaurants in the City, you would think a place would encourage its staff to be pleasant. The attitude began at the door, with two hostesses. When my party of 3 was finally seated (they would not seat 2 of 3), I had to get my own menus. When I ordered a bottle of wine, the waiter said nothing; when I asked if he agreed with our selection, he said that they didn't have that wine and he was just going to bring us something comparable. Without even informing us! When I asked for bread, I was informed that they bring bread after we order. I actually had to insist that he bring bread while we were drinking our wine!! Then, in the middle of our apps, our entrees arrived. I asked for them to be removed and come back when we were ready. I then told the waiter to make sure that we weren't stuck with entrees that were sitting under heat lamps waiting for us; he said he would. When they brought back the entrees, they were obviously the same plates, since my shrimp had become little rubber bits. The waiter never checked back with us once. Terrible service, nasty waiters, so-so food...find any other place for dinner!!!! more

Incredible value 12/15/2007

I've noticed that most of the reviews claiming ""bad service"" have been moved up by someone flagging them as helpful. A competitor, perhaps? Anyway, I dined here for lunch on Saturday and the place was pretty empty, so there was nothing wrong with the service. The pasta is fantastic (I had something with a lamb ragu), with unique sauces, large portions, and cheap prices (under $10 for a pasta entree). Definitely worth it for lunch. more

My favorite Italian! 11/2/2007

nycfoodeater Provided by Partner
Charming place, great outdoor patio outside with clothes hanging from clothes pins. You can even smoke on the patio. Great selection of wines and... more
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  • Young, thickly-accented waiters work a narrow room of fewer than 30 seats. Occasionally, Italian hip-hop that sounds suspiciously similar to Public Enemy circa ""Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos""...

  • 10/6/2005 Provided by Citysearch

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    Downtown, Alphabet City, East Village