Italian Restaurants Midtown West, NYC
The delicious menus at these Italian Restaurants in Midtown West, Manhattan, NY, incorporate different regional dishes and offer plenty of options for vegetarians.
IL Melograno - Midtown West
Alberto Tartari, the charming and personable chef-owner of lL Melograno likes to say that his restaurant serves "Italian food the way it should be."
The emphasis in Alberto's kitchen is on fresh ingredients and traditional recipes that he grew up eating, along with a touch of contemporary flair.
Unlike many chefs and owners, who send a sous chef or server to shop for ingredients, Alberto hand picks every ingredient he uses from local purveyors and farmer's markets.
Alberto's name is on the menu and the buck stops right there. The chef trusts only his senses when selecting the various fruits, veggies, fish and meat that will form his dishes. Through texture, color and smell, chef Alberto decide which ingredients are worthy of the IL Melograno seal of approval.
Growing up in the Valle Camonica region of Lombardy, Alberto lived in a small town near Lake Iseo. All kinds of fruits, veggies, herbs and spices thrive here, amidst the natural beauty, clean air and fertile soil.
IL Melograno is based on Alberto's memories of his youth in Italy. As an adult, Alberto spent what little free time he had enjoyed good food and wine at the local baretto or cafe. Here, Alberto exchanged conversation with friends, family as well as other young chefs who worked in his town.
The baretto is a laid-back home away from home where all can feel welcome. In Italy, customers have a very personal connection to their local baretto. This is the feeling that Alberto wanted to create when he opened IL Melograno.
Chef Alberto brings a wealth of culinary experience to the table, having opened his first restaurant in Lombardy, back in the early 90's.
After achieving undreamed of success in his hometown, Alberto decided that he wanted to take on a new challenge; seeing if he could make his mark on the New York restaurant scene. As Frank Sinatra sang in his legendary "New York, New York" anthem; if you can make it here, then you can make it anywhere.
Confident in his skills, Alberto put in the hard work that was needed and in a matter of time, word spread through the neighborhood about the tantalizing tastes and flavors that were emanating out of IL Melograno's kitchen.
The ambiance is cozy and rustic with dark wood and exposed brick. You can watch the chef work in an open kitchen while waiting for your meal to be prepared.
And what a meal it will be!
One of the chef's (many) signature dishes is the scrumptious penne al bronzo, which consists of extra virgin olive oil, shallots, fresh tomatoes, asparagus and shaved ricotta.
A very light and refreshing dish is the cavatelli pasta with mussels, arugula and marinated grape tomatoes.
If you're into seafood, you'll want to check out the salmon with cauliflower puree' and baked endive. The salmon is fork tender and perfectly cooked. Another noteworthy dish is the veal ravioli in a delicious butter and sage sauce. It makes for an interesting change from the usual tomato gravy.
There are a lot of changes going down in the surrounding neighborhood, with old brownstones being renovated and luxury condo buildings sprouting up everywhere. Not to mention quite a few trend-setting bars and cafes. The cool factor is off the charts and it's restaurants like IL Melograno that have helped to transform this once gritty neighborhood.
After your meal, you can stroll along the brand new Hudson River Walk which is only a few blocks away from the restaurant.
Location and Hours
501 West 51st Street
New York, NY 10019
Monday to Thursday 3:30 PM to 9:45 PM
Friday and Saturday 3:30 PM to 10:45 PM
Sunday 4:30 PM to 9:45 PM
Ora Di Pasta - Midtown West
This trendy Italian pasta cafe is located in a most unexpected venue, the venerable Plaza Hotel, right off Central Park. Located in the downstairs hall, alongside a bevy of interesting artisanal cafes, coffee bars and food purveyors, Ora Di Pasta delivers on both taste and the quality of ingredients.
All of the pasta is made by hand, fresh daily. The majority of the ingredients that are used in the delightful pasta dishes are organic and natural. One of the secrets to the resounding success of Ora Di pasta is in the thinness of their pasta. The texture allows for more flavor, a shorter cooking time and a much lighter meal. The sauce sticks to the pasta, a little better, as well.
The chef here fervently believes that recipes don't need to be fancy in order to taste fantastic. Marco 's cooking is inspired by his grandfather's tasty dishes. Nonno always believed that less was more. Too many ingredients can complicate a dish and confuse the customer's palate. Ora Di Pasta is not large, by any means. But space is very comfortable. The set-up and atmosphere make you feel as though you are eating in the open-concept kitchen in an Italian country home.
Most pasta dishes come in at a healthy 400 calories or less combined with their accompanying sauce. They also have a surprisingly large selection of both imported and domestic beer and wine. Of course, the wine list won't rival what can be found in an Enoteca or Italian wine bar, but, you are sure to find something that you'll like. They've got some intriguing antipasto options such as a plate of fresh burrata cheese with cherry tomatoes, dressed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. One of their most popular selections, though, is the mixed char-grilled veggies with fresh mozzarella and prosciutto.
Some of the pasta dishes are seasonal, depending on whatever ingredients happen to be available. There are, however, a few core menu items that are available year round such as their savory meat lasagna, spinach and ricotta filled ravioli and the best spaghetti and meatballs ever. When you dine here, it will be hard for you to decide between the Linguine Boscaiolla with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes. mushrooms and zucchini or the gnocchi in cream sauce and truffle oil. Honorable mention goes to the squid ink pasta with fried garlic, olive oil, a touch of parsley and jumbo shrimp.
Location and Hours
1 West 59th Street
New York, NY 10019
Monday to Saturday 11 AM to 9 PM
Sunday 11 AM to 7 PM
Mama Mia 44 SW - Midtown West
Who hasn't been to an Italian restaurant, anywhere in the city, where the chef proudly boasts that his food is just like your Italian Nonna used to make? We're certain that it's far too many times to count.
However, when you dine at Mama Mia 44, you will be treated to authentic family recipes created by a real Italian grandmother who still keeps her hand in the kitchen. Mama Mia is none other than Anna Schiattarella, the matriarch of the family who, together with her husband Guido, turned a one window pizza shop into one of the most popular restaurants in Hell's Kitchen. Young immigrants, newly arrived from Naples, Anna and Guido purchased a tiny, hole in the wall pizzeria from an acquaintance back in 1971. Way before Times Square and the surrounding area was transformed into a clean, family-friendly tourist spot, the Schiattarella's new neighborhood was rife with gangs, and hoodlums. Rolling up their sleeves, Anna and Guido won over the community with their delicious pizza and a handful of pasta dishes. Generous portions and affordable prices were their keys to success.
Soon, the family expanded their small shop and were able to open a full-blown restaurant. Anna and Guido were joined in this enterprise by their children who helped out. The Schiattarellas were well on their way to realizing the American Dream. Local residents, who swore by Mama Mia's Italian dishes, were joined by the influx of artists and actors who were moving into Hell's Kitchen. Now, thanks to the internet, tourists from all over the world flock to Mama Mia's when they are hungry for delicious pasta and superb pizza. Every day you will find, at least, one member of the family on the premises, greeting customers at the door, working away in the kitchen and making sure that standards are kept up. Connie and her daughter, Jennifer, represent the second and third generation at Mama Mia 44. They are not only warm and wonderful hosts but fabulous cooks in their own right, although there is still only one Mama Mia!
The atmosphere is as warm and friendly as you could want. The ladies of Mama Mia are proud to welcome you to their restaurant. The decor may be slightly dated, but it does have character. And the place is spotless.
Over the past couple of years, Mama Mia has become increasingly popular for its' brunch. The $19.99-weekend brunch includes a choice of entree, a basket of assorted, home-made mini-muffins, coffee or tea and either a freshly squeezed juice, soda or adult beverage (Bloody Mary, Mimosa, Screw Driver, Bellini or a glass of Champagne).
The brunch menu contains a few pretty nifty Italian themed entrees like smoked salmon Florentine, a skillet frittata with sausages, onions, roasted red peppers and cheese and a mascarpone stuffed French Toast.
It doesn't matter whether you do brunch, lunch or dinner here. You will leave with a huge smile on your face. Appetizers and shareable include fresh garlic bread with mozzarella for the table, lightly battered zucchini fritters, string beans in a spicy marinara sauce and eggplant rollatini.
The pizza is just as good as it was back when Guido was behind the counter with Anna. The seasonal vegetarian pie seems to be the people's choice, at least for now.
The Mama Recommends section of the menu has one tempting entree after another. The fettuccine champignon is their signature dish and it is well worthy of its' marquee status. Homemade tri-color pasta ribbons are paired up with mushrooms and a succulent cream sauce. Always a big hit with the customers is the baked penne Siciliano the chicken Marsala and Spaghetti Bolognese. You have never had such thick and meaty sauce in your life.
They also do an authentic, fresh from the sea baby clams over linguine in a white wine sauce.
Location and Hours
621 Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10036
Sunday to Thursday 11:30 AM to 11 PM
Friday and Saturday 11:30 AM to 12 AM
Masseria Dei Vini - Midtown West
In the beautiful Southern Italian region of Puglia, Masserias are fortified farmhouses, many of which date back centuries. It's been a long time, though, since the inhabitants of these homes had to repel soldiers from other Italian city-states or foreign invaders. Over the last decade or so, the aristocratic and farming families that own these properties have transformed them into trendy boutique hotels and restaurants. Here, with fields containing all manner of fruits and vegetables, just a few yards away, the phrase farm to table takes on a whole new meaning.
The team at Masseria Dei Vini have done a fantastic job of bringing a delightful rustic ambiance and traditional farmhouse cooking to Midtown Manhattan.
The decor has that wow factor that you're looking for, without being over the top. The dining room is large and airy, combining traditional Masseria elements with contemporary notes. Without a doubt, the centerpiece of the room has to be a long spectacular wall that runs the length of the restaurant. Illuminated by soft lighting, this wall holds row upon row of artistically displayed wine bottles. It is a real sight to behold.
At Masseria Dei Vini, they have a knack for making new customers feel very welcome and returning customers feel as though they're old friends. As soon as you are seated, one of the waiters will bring you a complimentary basket filled with focaccia, French bread and crispy breadsticks. Then it's time to sip a glass of wine, kick back and relax from the cares of your day and peruse the menu. Start your meal off with one of their mouth-watering antipasto selections such as the eggplant cakes in tomato sauce or the shrimp and clams on a bed of Apulia grain. Entree options are plentiful with a wide range of pasta, poultry, beef and fish dishes.
Indulge your senses with the chefs' tender pork chop with truffle sauce or the boneless chicken with mushrooms and shallots in a delightful sauce of red wine. Every day there is a new and different risotto to savor. Ask your server what the chef has whipped up in time for your visit.
Who doesn't love stuffed pasta? Especially when the pasta is ravioli stuffed with shrimp and artichokes. One of the kitchen's best dishes (and that's saying a mouthful) is the orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta) with broccoli rabe and sausages. This is a favorite dish of families going all the way back to the medieval era in Puglia.
Even if you're a little stuffed, you won't want to miss out on dessert here. The desserts are sweet enough to satisfy but you won't be in for any kind of sugary overload. The torta di mamma Paola consists of flourless chocolate almond cake and is topped by a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The pastry chef's lemon-glazed custard sponge cake goes great with a cup of either American coffee or espresso. The blend of flavors, especially the tart hint of lemon with the coffee, is molto bene.
Strawberry and vanilla custard make the Panna Cotta Masseria style the hit that it is with New York foodies.
Location and Hours
887 Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10019
Monday 12 PM to 11 PM
Tuesday to Saturday 12 PM to 12 AM
Sunday 12 PM to 10:30 PM
Val Bella - Midtown East
Very sexy with a touch of class, Val Bella is all about fine dining in an exquisite atmosphere. Not only is the decor Instagram-worthy, but the food is, as well. Every plate is beautifully presented and tastes just as good as it looks. Got those first date jitters? Take your new friend here and you won't have a care in the world. Your date will be more than impressed. The restaurant has a hip, modern aesthetic. Your experience starts as you enter the small front dining area, which contains a sleek, curved bar and a handful of tables.
A few steps down is the large main dining room which is infused with very cool glow in the dark LED purple and blue lighting. Overlooking the bar and main dining room is the glass-enclosed second floor which is home to a couple of small spaces that are reserved for parties and private dining. Keep this option in mind when it's time for Valentine's Day or your sweethearts' birthday.
During the Summer, the management opens up the restaurant's outdoor patio, which is as glamorous as is the rest of the establishment. Thick, tall shrubbery surrounds white linen-draped tables. String lights that dangle from tree branches provide a romantic ambiance. The pears, prosciutto and truffle honey appetizer are perfect any time of the year, but it makes for a very light Summertime snack.
You don't need an excuse to enjoy lobster. everybody loves this succulent dish. But lobster is taken to another level entirely when it is served with mascarpone cream.
Slices of zucchini add another dimension to a delicious plate of fried calamari.
A dish to remember is the Fettuccine Bella Donna. Worthy of its' name, this picturesque dish is made with house-crafted pasta, capers, fresh tomatoes, arugula, scallops and chunks of lobster in a brandy and garlic sauce.
Take a break from beef and explore the tasty world of veal. You'll absolutely relish what you'll discover when you try the chef's veal medallions. These luscious, tender morsels of veal are accompanied by French Brie, and julienned vegetables in a black truffle and port wine sauce. You might also wish to look into the Fusilli Calabrese, which blends onions and porcini mushrooms with a chunky plum tomato sauce over a slow-roasted filet mignon.
The ambiance, old-world service and classic Italian food with a zesty, innovative twist is your escape from the everyday. Make the most of what little me-time you have by visiting Val Bella. it is so very beautiful in every sense of the word.
Location and Hours
11 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022
Monday to Thursday 12 PM to 10 PM
Friday 12 PM to 11 PM
Saturday 5 PM to 11 PM
Amata - Mid Town East
With a vibrant yet cozy atmosphere and an authentic menu of old-school Italian favorites, Amata's is creating a great deal of buzz throughout the highly competitive Mid Town Manhattan restaurant scene.
Executive chef Enzo Di Rende has a wealth of experience and brings a certain flair to the kitchen at Amata's. That comes as no surprise since Chef Enzo learned his craft at several legendary restaurants in the Bronx's version of Little Italy, Arthur Avenue.
Not too far at all from Carnegie Hall and City Center, Amata's is the perfect location for a pre-show dinner. Elegant without being stuffy, the ambiance is cozy enough for a romantic date night or eminently suitable as the venue for a high-powered business meeting. The professional wait staff performs their duties with cheerful aplomb.
Nothing says comfort on a cold winter's night than a soothing bowl of minestrone soup. Ah! Those delectable veggies and tomato filled broth! Chef Enzo's got one of the best minestrone soups in the city, coming out of his kitchen. Just add a chunk of warm Italian bread, to sop up the juices and you're in foodie heaven. At Amata, the chef isn't just content to serve his delicious veal and beef meatballs with a side of Marinara sauce, as do most places. No, his juicy meatballs are accompanied by sauteed onions and Italian hot peppers.
Other appetizer choices include clams oreganata with house-made, herbal seasoned bread crumbs and an on-point Panzanella salad. Consisting of heirloom tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, red onion, fresh mozzarella and olive oil that seeps right into some of the largest croutons on the planet, this salad is a meal in itself.
They do a marvelous spaghetti carbonara, with generous slices of pancetta as well as Pappardelle pasta with crab meat, peas and cherry tomatoes in a lobster broth. The signature plate here is chicken Martini, a dish made with Parmesan-crusted chicken medallions in a sauce of lemon, butter and wine. Right up there in terms of buzz and popularity is chef's out of bounds Madiera braised short ribs over risotto.
The standout sweet ending has to be the homemade ricotta cheesecake. Tak home an extra slice for those midnight snack cravings!
Location and Hours
209 East 56th Street
New York, NY 10022
Monday to Friday 12 PM to 10 PM
Saturday and Sunday 4 PM to 10 PM
Allora - Midtown East
This intimate, fashionably decorated restaurant has many great things going for it. But it has achieved fame, all over the world, for one menu item, in particular, their 30-foot spaghetti dish. Yes, you heard that right. Your plate is filled with a strand of pasta that, when all is said and done, measures 30 feet in length. If you're a foodie or fan of Italian cuisine, you've probably seen the videos on the internet where a duo of waiters demonstrate how to serve and eat this totally unique pasta dish.
Just twirl the spaghetti with your fork and, when you've reached the desired amount, simply cut the strand with a pair of kitchen shears. Sure, it's an attention-getting gimmick. But dining here at Allora makes for a fun night out and the 30-foot pasta meal actually tastes good.
The thick, hollow tubes of spaghetti are cooked perfectly al dente. The sauce is not too sweet and is packed with tomatoey goodness. And, did we mention that your mound of spaghetti is surrounded by a dozen meatballs? This meal is more than enough for a couple on date night.
As enticing as the 30-foot spaghetti dinner is; Allora offers so much more than that.
Every meal starts off with a complimentary dish of charred Italian peppers, salami and imported cheese along with fresh bread.
Elio, the restaurant's owner and genial host, has recently instituted a program called the art of Allora. New artists are invited to exhibit their paintings, drawings and designs in the dining room and other parts of the restaurant. The exhibits change every few weeks, so there is always something new to look forward to.
Many of the dishes that you see on the menu are prepared table-side by Allora's expert staff of waiters, who are versed in old-school ways.
With a theatrical flourish, your waiter will whip up dishes like pan-fried steak Diane, lamb chops d'agnello or a flambee'd dessert right before your eyes.
How many restaurants provide this kind of service anymore? Sure, you might see table-side service on shows like Hell's Kitchen. But, this sort of old-school approach doesn't exist in the real world anymore. And, it's a shame.
In the Spring of 2017, Elio and his team opened Allora Alto, an open-air rooftop lounge that is located in the same building where the restaurant is. Allora Alto offers its' very own cocktail bar, small bites provided by Allora's kitchen as well as spectacular views of the city at night.
One of the kitchen's signature dishes is the Pollo Mt. Etna, which consists of a succulent breast of chicken with both cherry and sweet peppers in a balsamic vinegar reduction.
The veal scaloppine marsala and the rigatoni with meat sauce are a couple of other noteworthy dishes. The whole branzino is also an excellent choice.
Whatever entree you order, be sure to ask for a side of their sauteed mushrooms and artichokes which makes for a welcome change from the usual Italian restaurant offerings of broccoli rabe and escarole.
If you're a business traveler or a tourist you may be interested to know that Allora is now serving breakfast. Located near some of the city's finest boutique hotels, Allora's kitchen is open early in order to provide you with a fresh selection of juices, smoothies, breakfast skillets, omelets, pancakes and French toast.
When Billy Joel wrote his hit song Scenes From an Italian Restaurant, you have got to think that he had places like Allora in mind. Romance, together with the art of Italian cooking, is still alive and well at Allora.
Location and Hours
145 East 47th Street
New York, NY 10017
Monday to Sunday 7 AM to 11 PM
La Pecora Bianca - Midtown East
At La Pecora Bianca executive chef Cruz Goler takes a lot of pride in bringing Italian comfort food back to its' roots. A former sous-chef for Mario Batali, Cruz certainly knows his way around a kitchen. His culinary techniques are second to none, but it is the ingredients that take center stage here. All produce and meats are sourced from trusted farms and purveyors in the Hudson Valley. In Italian, La Pecora Bianca means the white sheep. It doesn't get any more rustic than that.
While Chef Cruz's veggies, meats and cheeses are local, the restaurants' wine list is not. An all Italian wine list features La Pecora Bianca's very own private label organic rose', as well as a great selection of reds and whites.
The bar's spritzes and Negronis are made with premium Amari, which is imported from Italy.
As you would expect, the decor is on the rustic side, but with a totally cool edge. There's nothing old-fashioned about La Pecora Bianca. Cookware hangs on the wall near the private dining space which is situated inside of a hidden alcove. The private room contains a comfortable couch as well as various black and white photos that depict scenes from the Italian countryside.
They've got a great brunch going on here. Just $20 gets you an hour of unlimited Bellinis or Bloody Marys. The bar also offers Spritz Carafes that are beyond delicious. The Il Maestro, a blend of Aperol, Limoncello, Prosecco, grappa, cucumber juice and mint, will most certainly get your weekend off to a rousing start.
You will also love the Lambrusco Spritz with Lambrusco Rosso, Contratto bitters, beet simple syrup and a splash of lemon juice. All Frittate are served with mixed greens. There's quite a variety to choose from including the Contadino (pasta, tomatoes and Parmigiano cheese) and the Funghi, which consists of wild mushrooms and goat cheese.
Their signature brunch dish is a delicious strapazzate. Perfectly cooked soft scrambled eggs are folded together with smoked salmon and roasted tomatoes. The dish comes with a side of grilled country toast.
As far as dinner is concerned, the sky's the limit when it comes to variety. No matter what your taste in food happens to be, the kitchen has a dish just for you. The chefs' Arancini rice balls are prepared with seasonal ingredients. Currently, you'll find butternut squash, fresh mozzarella and Calabrian honey are added to the standard Arancini recipe.
Regulars here can never get enough of the dinner Bomboloni which is filled with prosciutto, Pomodoro tomatoes and Pecorino cheese. Another popular appetizer is the roasted cauliflower and Mascarpone cheese.
Entree selections include a 28 day, aged NY strip Bistecca that is served with trumpet mushrooms and polenta. Swordfish can be hit or miss at most restaurants. But here, this underrated fish is seasoned just right and is never overcooked. It comes with broccolini, pepperoncini and romesco, which is the key ingredient that really elevates this dish.
Pork usually needs a lot of extras on it to give this rather bland but healthy meat some taste. At La Pecora Bianca, their braised heritage pork shoulder is chock full of flavor. But the delicious side of grilled cabbage and dried apricots definitely don't hurt this dishes overall wow factor. The kitchen also does a wonderful Gnudi pasta with herbed ricotta and swiss chard.
Location and Hours
950 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Monday to Wednesday 11:30 AM to 11 PM
Thursday and Friday 11:30 AM to 12 AM
Saturday 5 PM to 12 AM
Sunday 5 PM to 11 PM
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