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“Great Upper East Side Italian”
Review of Il Tesoro - CLOSED

Il Tesoro
Price range: $15 - $50
Cuisines: Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Private Dining, Reservations
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.
Biloxi, Mississippi
Level Contributor
219 reviews
116 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 126 helpful votes
“Great Upper East Side Italian”
Reviewed July 27, 2014

Went with a Groupon coupon that cost $17 for $40 worth of food & drinks. Wasn't expecting much. I was WRONG.

This is a very, very good Italian restaurant on 1st Avenue. Easy to get to by Metro bus and a short easy walk. Excellent service. Strong generous cocktails. Good wines. The sweetbreads app. was perfectly prepared. Fair prices by Upper East Side standards.

Will return with or without coupons.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank martinibill7777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

53 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Croton on Hudson, New York
Level Contributor
205 reviews
172 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“There are better Italian restaurants”
Reviewed May 20, 2014

Can't believe all the good reviews I'm reading about this restaurant. Was not impressed by the service or the food. Maybe it was because of the discount coupon from Living Social? I paid $40.00 for $80.00 worth of food. The coupon had to be presented as soon as I sat down. Right from the start, my friend and I were treated like second class citizens. I have used coupons before in other establishments and never felt slighted. We both had the chicken milanese and both of us agreed it was far from good. The chicken was very chewy. When it was time for dessert, we waited and waited till I said something to the boss that we'd like some coffee. All in all, not an outstanding evening. Don't they realize that if I were pleased, I'd be back without a coupon. Will not go back.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank ListWestchester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Skokie, Illinois
Level Contributor
313 reviews
210 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
“overcame problems”
Reviewed May 6, 2014

Long wait for table was helped by being comped on drinks. Food was very good when we got to a table. Service was fine. A bit pricey, but not outrageous.

Visited May 2014
Thank dfutransky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Molto Bene Grazie!!”
Reviewed March 9, 2014 via mobile

Food and service all were exceptional. My wife and I very happy that we found this restaurant. Highly recommend.

5 Thank Roberto C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
281 reviews
216 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“What a find! Great food and great wait staff”
Reviewed January 11, 2014

Went here on a Sunday night with friends and one child. The wait staff were very accommodating as they wanted to make sure even the child enjoyed their meal. Nice cozy place, tables are kind of close together, but all in all, it was a lovely meal.

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
4 Thank amasnyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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