Ovest Pizzoteca (Chelsea): Mangia Monday

ovest

  •  Why it’s worth it: Ovest Pizzoteca (pizzeria, paninoteca, and enoteca all in one), located right by the High Line, boasts a wood-and-gas burning oven for its signature thin crust pies and is perfect for a date or dinner with friends.
  • Vibe: This cozy and dimly lit establishment is hip and casual.
  • Layout: Immediately upon entering the open front ‘straunt, there is a small bar area where you can sit with friends while enjoying a drink. Past the bar is the eating area, where you can watch a chef make your pizza and then place it in the …wait for it…wood-and-gas burning oven in the wall!
  • Ideal meal: Pizza. Duh! Any of the following: Arugola ($12/$20), Bufala ($10/$17),  Caprese ($11/$19)
  • People behind Ovest: Michele Iuliano is the man behind the ovens at Luzzo’s Group – a family of southern Italian ‘straunts, including Luzzo’s (E. Vill), Ovest Pizzoteca (Chelsea), Da Mikele (Tribeca) and Luzzo’s BK (Brooklyn Heights). Trained in Naples, Italy, Iuliano has created an ever-expanding empire of southern Italian ‘straunts that lean heavily on sincere Neapolitan techniques.
  • Address: Chelsea, 513 W. 27th St. (near 10th Ave.)
  • Prices: $9-$30

Ovest Pizzoteca on Urbanspoon

The Smith (East Village, Lincoln Center, Midtown)

If you have a large, loud and fun group of people who are looking for a delicious American ‘straunt, look no further than The Smith!

The Smith

  • Why it’s worth it: The Smith is perfect for large groups or birthday parties; this ‘straunt serves classic American food in a relaxed, yet trendy setting.
  • Vibe: The decor is awesome, black-and-white with vintage twists. White subway tiles and black-and-white photos of Victorian nudes line the walls.
  • Layout: There’s a spacious and lively bar to hang at while you wait for your table or to grab a drink. Beyond the bar is a big and full open dining room with an assortment of tables (circular, rectangular, booths).
  • Ideal meal: Mac + cheese ($14), ricotta gnocchi ($18) or salmon ($23)
  • F.Y.I.: In 2007, the first outpost of The Smith in the  East Village opened and after immediate success, two more locations of The Smith were opened, in Midtown (2011) and Lincoln Center (2012). A fourth location of The Smith is planned to open in 2014 in NoMad.
  • People behind: Glenn Harris and Jeffrey Lefcourt, owners of The Smith, also own the Jane.
  • Address: East Village, 55 Third Ave. (between 10th and 11th St)
  • Other locations: Lincoln Center, 1900 Broadway (63rd St) and Midtown, 956 Second Ave. (51st St)
  • Price: $6-$33

The Smith on Urbanspoon

Jones Wood Foundry (UES)

Never had a wine cocktail… or looking for the perfect British gastropub? Jones Wood Foundry is your answer.

Jones Wood Foundry

  • Why it’s worth it: Jones Wood Foundry is a bit of London on the Upper East Side, with the best wine cocktails around!
  • Vibe: If you make it past its unassuming exterior, JWF is a meticulously decorated British gastropub that is perfect for grabbing a drink or catching a meal on the patio. JWF has a rustic decor with a touch of rock and roll that is comfortable and inviting, with its dark wood walls and antler-adorned mirrors hanging alongside a Sex Pistols poster.
  • Layout: From street level it looks like just another poorly located pub, but it’s actually much more than that. Past the full, narrow, dimly lit bar, you descend into a garden, followed by a sunroom with a communal dining table and full dining room.
  • Ideal meal: Go for the delicious wine cocktails, First Bloom (Sauvignon Blanc, Elderflower, Lemon Juice, Club Soda, $10) and St. Chamond (Lillet, Moet & Chandon Rose, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup, $12), and split the grilled hangar steak ($26)
  • F.Y.I.: JWF does not serve hard liquor, but does serve craft beers and British standards on tap and by the bottle. Of note, the wine cocktails are the works of Meaghan Dorman, the mixologist behind the speakeasy, Raines Law Room
  • The name/location: Before it was the UES, Yorkville or Lennox Hill, the area between 66th and 77th streets, framed by what are now 3rd Ave and the East River, was known as Jones Wood. Jones Wood was the most densely forested land on Manhattan and was named after John Jones, who had purchased more than half of its 150 acres.
  • Address: UES, 401 East 76th Street (between 1st and York)
  • Prices: $7-$27

Jones Wood Foundry on Urbanspoon

Osteria Morini (Soho): Mangia Monday

Want fresh pasta and want it now? We’ve got you covered at Osteria Morini!

morini

  • Why it’s worth it: Osteria Morini serves cuisine from the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy, which is the birthplace of prosciutto, mortadella, parmigiano and balsamic vinegar… so how can this place be anything but the best?
  • Vibe/ F.Y.I.: Urban Italian farmhouse chic. The ‘straunt is named after Michael White’s mentor, Gianluigi Morino, who owns a ‘straunt near Bologna, where White worked for 7 years. The photos on the wall are from ‘straunts around Bologna and the blocky, farm-style tables and chairs were built for the ‘straunt in Emilia-Romagna itself. Even the wooden rafters in the ceiling were imported from an actual Italian farmhouse.
  • Layout: The entrance of the ‘straunt contains a long prep bar (great for a drink or for grabbing lunch) and the back is filled with a mix of round and square tables
  • Ideal meal: Garganelli (pasta quills, cream, peas, truffle butter, prosciutto) ($22), tagliatelle (ragù antica, parmigiano) ($20)
  • People behind Morini: Michael White is the executive chef of no fewer than 7 ‘straunts in NJ and NY, including the more formal Alto, Convivio and Marea, all in Midtown, and Ai Fiori in the Setai hotel on Fifth Avenue
  • Address: Soho, 218 Lafayette St (between Spring and Broome)
  • Prices: $6-$32

Osteria Morini on Urbanspoon

Le Grainne Cafe (Chelsea)

Capture

  • Why it’s worth it: Le Grainne Cafe is the perfect spot for a relaxed French meal… especially if you want to intricately design your own crepe!
  • Vibe: With its large corner windows, tin ceilings and tin walls, Le Grainne Cafe will transport you to a quaint European cafe. The food is fresh and the atmosphere is warm, simple, friendly and relaxed!
  • Layout: The small dining room is always packed, with the open kitchen serving as the heart of the ‘straunt. The best seats are definitely those by the window, which are ideal for people-watching!
  • Ideal meal: Salade de chevre (warm goat cheese croutons, tomatoes, walnuts and grapes on a mesclun salad) ($12) and nutella crepe ($7)
  • F.Y.I.: This ‘straunt is located in one of the oldest buildings in Chelsea.
  • People behind Le Grainne Cafe: The owner, Grainne O’Flynn, is a native of Ireland and is now living in Weston, CT with her daughter Isis. Grainne’s other daughter Danielle helps manage the cafe.
  • Address: Chelsea, 183 9th Ave (between 21st and 22nd)
  • Prices: $7-$22

Le Grainne Cafe on Urbanspoon

L’Artusi (West Village): Mangia Monday

L'Artusi_Interior2

  • Why it’s worth it: L’Artusi has mastered the gnocchi dish! Italian cuisine that’s not afraid to go heavy on big flavors like garlic, lemon, olives and fat to win your favor.
  • Vibe/ Layout: The service is fantastic and the music get’s an A+. The downstairs is loud with a cheese bar and a long, polished, white chef’s counter overlooking the open kitchen. The upstairs dining room is quieter, but definitely doesn’t lack personality.
  • Ideal meal: Roasted mushrooms ($17) (roasted mushrooms with pancetta, a fried egg, and ricotta salata) and Potato Gnocchi ($20) (lamb shank, tomato, pecorino)
  • F.Y.I.: 
    • L’Artusi is the sister restaurant to Dell’anima, and it’s the larger, louder sister for sure.
    • Cheese snobs speak highly of the cheese bar.
    • Make a reservation very far in advance.
  • People behind L’Artusi: Gabe Thompson and Joe Campanale run L’Artusi, which is named after Pellegrino Artusi, the author of the classic Italian cookbook, “La Scienza in Cucina e L’Arte di Mangiar Bene” (The Science of Cookery and the Art of Eating Well).
  • Address: West Village, 228 W. 10th St. (Between Bleecker and Hudson)
  • Prices: $14-$30

L'Artusi on Urbanspoon