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“Old school italian”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Il Tesoro - CLOSED

Il Tesoro
Price range: $15 - $50
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Private Dining, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: Upper East Side
Cross street: 82nd East Street
Transit: 4,5, 6 trains @ 86th Street & Lexington
Description: Il Tesoro There are nearly twenty thousand restaurants serving food in New York City. But at IL Tesoro Ristorante & Bar at 1578 First Avenue on Manhattan’s upper east side, owner and chef AJ Black isn’t just serving food... he’s creating art. You might even say Black was born with a culinary flair in his blood. Born in Italy, Black got his first taste of the restaurant business on his grandfather’s hip at the tender age of seven years old. Even then, AJ recalls, “I loved it. I saw things he was doing and I was always thinking of ways to do it better.”That passion lead him to the Italian Culinary Institute. From there Black went on to work as a sous chef at the Grand Hotel in Rome before spending time in France learning from some of the great chefs of the era. The results of that unique background have been evident in every undertaking of Black’s impressive career. IL Tesoro on Florida’s Sanibel Island, IL Tesoro at the Terrace on Martha’s Vineyard, and Villa Pazzo in the West Village, on Bleeker Street.But IL Tesoro on the corner of 82nd street and First Avenue is truly this imaginative chef’s crowning achievement. With the help of his wife Jolie, a multi media artist and designer, the couple have joined forces to renovate the 3,500 square foot restaurant. A more airy, etherial feel greets you when you walk inside with mirrors and ambient lighting creating the perfect feel for the experience. Outdoor seating has been added for dining al fresco. But we digress... IL Tesoro is, after all, about the food. And this is where AJ Black has hit his stride. Italian staples are always available along with meats and organic and gluten free pastas. Add an extensive wine list to pair with your meal and you have the perfect fusion of atmosphere and culinary delight. The culmination of a life long quest for AJ Black. The quest for the perfect dining experience. “When you come to my restaurant, I’m not just serving a meal. I’m inviting you to my kitchen. Whatever kind of day you had, I want you to forget it and get lost in the pleasure of a special meal I cook just for you.” Il Tesoro. Treat yourself. Because everyone deserves to get lost, if only for one evening, in sheer pleasure.
Brooklyn, New York, Usa
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Old school italian”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 13, 2013 credit card Amex Card Member Review

I've been here a few times since it's close by. The service has been good each time. There's a nice selection of wines. The short rib gnocchi was excellent as was the profiteroles for dessert.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Andrew W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

53 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    30
    14
    6
    1
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Oak Beach, New York
Level Contributor
93 reviews
62 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Great food”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 26, 2013

Went for a pre-theatre dinner and was pleasantly suprised. The place itself is very charming and old world(except for the music) John Mayer while eating italian is not my favorite. The service was fine(waiter a bit quirky but ok). Everyone in our party enjoyed their meals, so no complaints from anyone. Worth the trip uptown and will visit again.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank THECURCIOS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Great food, questionable service”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 12, 2013

This old fashioned italian in the upper east side is charming but it can get a little dark in the summer time. The atmosphere is pleasant.

I wanted to order the Frito Misto (fried calamari, zucchini and fish) but I wanted the dish without the fish, right away the waiter gave us attitude. I asked: "Can you do it without the fish?" His answer: "Yes, just calamari" ...WHAT? We went back and forth for a couple minutes (not kidding) until I finally told the waiter to say "no, we can't do it" if he couldn't make the change. I would have gladly selected something else from the ample menu. His service improved through out the evening and we enjoyed a great meal until we got the check, which we had to send back three times because they added extra glasses of wine and they didn't apply the "Savored" discount, etc.

The food quality was excellent but the portions of the entrees were VERY small.

To start, we had the Frito Misto (sans fish), and artichokes. As a main course the halibut over a bed of risotto was truly remarkable and the swordfish livornese my boyfriend ordered was equally good.

I recommend the place, my only advice, read your check carefully before paying.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank TheBigApple1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
iltesoro, Manager at Il Tesoro, responded to this review, August 2, 2013
Thank you so much and we look forward to serving you again! We are committed to your exceptional experience with us.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wynnewood, PA
Level Contributor
75 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Beautiful restaurant, inconsistent food”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 8, 2013

This neighborhood restaurant is really beautiful inside and the service is very good. However, I thought that the food was uneven - my eggplant appetizer (filed with cheese and fried) was only ok and lacked taste; my fish special was also just ok ( as well as a small piece for the price) and the best thing about it were the sauteed artichokes served with it. My husband, who had ordered differently, felt the same. The outstanding food item was the unusual cheesecake for dessert - absolutely terrific and special. On the other hand, the pear tart was dry and the lemoncello was bland, rather than tart.
With one bottle of expensive wine and a few drinks, the tab for 4 was $ 400. Pricey!

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank ChooseyTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
iltesoro, Manager at Il Tesoro, responded to this review, August 2, 2013
Thank you so much and we look forward to serving you the very best with continued excellence of our cuisine. We wish to please you, and we are sure that you will be pleased with many of the changing selections that we offer with changing daily menu.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Gem on the upper east side”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 13, 2013

Il Tesoro is a family-style Italian restaurant with gourmet, absolutely delicious food and first-class service. I say this after booking a private dinner in their wine celler downstairs for 13 people to celebrate my father's 80th birthday. My family can be a picky crowd and there were absolutely no complaints. We started with antipasta served at the table -- my 12-year-old daughter gobbled up the artichokes, followed with a choice of soup, salad or bruschetta -- rave reviews for each of these, even from the kids -- and then a choice of main dish, which included lamb chops that my father adored to halibut smothered with with vegetables. The restaurant offered to make any cake we wanted and we ordered a tiramasu cake to die for. The wine selection is complete and varied and the service truly was first class. This private dining room is really a find in NYC -- we were able to play our own IPOD and the kids were able to play the piano that is in the dining room as well, our own private entertainment. The owner AJ is a seasoned restauranteur and is willing to work with you to make your occasion the way you want it.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank 123Lau123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
iltesoro, Manager at Il Tesoro, responded to this review, August 2, 2013
What a pleasure to know that we made your dinner special, Thank you so much and we look forward to serving you again
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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