Roberta’s (Bushwick): Mangia Monday

margherita

  • Why it’s worth it: The rough warehouse exterior of Roberta’s offers no clues as to the delights inside. Buzzing with swarms of hipsters and foodies, Roberta’s is trek-worthy and offers the best pizza in town.
  • Vibe/layout: Housed in a former garage, this ‘straunt manages to take an industrial-rustic space and turn it into an inviting hipster-vibing hotspot, featuring a large outdoor patio/garden dining area and a backyard studio (for Heritage Radio Network broadcasting). The exposed rafters, wood-paneled walls and rough wooden community tables, dressed with mismatched chairs and paper napkins, set the casual and fun tone of our favorite Bushwick eatery.
  • Ideal meal: The soft, puffy crust and house-made fresh mozzarella on the famous original (tomato, mozzarella, caciocavallo, oregano, chili, $14) put this Neapolitan-inspired pizza in the record books.
  • ‘Straunt tip: Roberta’s does not accept reservations, and when your pizza is this good, there will be a wait, so grab a drink at The Narrows bar to pass the time!
  • Address: Bushwick, 261 Moore St (between White & Bogart)
  • Price: $5-$29 (pizzas are $10-$18)

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Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria (Noho/Greenwich Village): Mangia Monday

Photos by Cara Garcia-Bou

Photos by Cara Garcia-Bou

  • Why it’s worth it: Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria masters the mash-up of restaurant and market; one pops in to browse, and one sticks around for a meal. Known for its in house-cured meats and home baked bread, Il Buco AV, Il Buco‘s casual spin-off, is perfect for grabbing Aperitivo with friends, co-workers and/or family. Plain and simple, the drinks and salumi della casa are top notch.
  • Vibe/layout: This casual, bright and simple Italian spot serves rustic Italian fare in a perfectly complimentary setting: terra-cotta floor tiles, handblown wine bottles, rickety chairs. Separated from the dimly lit dining room by a wall of Modena vinegar barrels, the front Alimentari grocery section offers curated dry goods and loaves of Italian bread baked in-house and features high-end sauces and condiments arrayed on antique wooden shelves.
  • Ideal meal: To drink, order either the refreshing Negroni Sbagliato (prosecco, campari, sweet vermouth) ($14) or the crisp Italiano Fresco (dry vermouth, soda, cucumber lime, basil) ($15). To eat, we cannot rave enough about the salumi della casa: the bits of peppery salami were superb and the fat on the prosciutto was tender and dissolved in a rush of salty, porky flavor. Each meat was unique and delicious.
  • F.Y.I.: Donna Lennard’s ‘straunt is located at the original site of the Great Jones Lumber Supply and recuperated joists from the original structure were incorporated into the design: bar paneling, banquette benches, tables and cutting boards. In addition, traces of the original lumber yard graffiti are still visible on the brick walls.
  • ‘Straunt tip: Artist Warren Muller’s studio used to be located in the Il Buco space; today, one can see his giant sculptural lamp hanging from the second floor dining room in Il Buco AV.
  • Address: Noho/Greenwich Village, 53 Great Jones St. (Between Lafayette & Bowery)
  • Prices: $8-$34

A little something extra:

  • A few weeks ago, we were fortunate enough to attend the launch party for this ‘straunt’s Aperitivo. The menu was fabulous and the dishes were wholesomely delicious. The spontaneous spirit of this ‘straunt and the open kitchen’s wood-burning aromas left us sniffing and begging for more. Bravo Chef Joel Hough and team!

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Trattoria Il Mulino (Flatiron/Gramercy): Mangia Monday

TrattoriaIlMulino (1)

  • Why it’s worth it: Trattoria Il Mulino is the twelfth addition to Il Mulino New York’s global network of elite dining venues. This ‘straunt is the more casual, affordable and louder sister to Il Mulino New York, and is therefore an ideal intimate Italian ‘straunt for your next small or large dining party, date night or girls night out.
  • Vibe/layout: This spacious 140-seat ‘straunt baits a young demographic, and is unique in boasting an industrial chic atmosphere. Decked out with industrial accents, including concrete walls, exposed piping and light bulbs and a large NYC-themed mural by Vancouver artist, Tim Barnard, this ‘straunt offers an intimate dining setting for both small and large parties. The front section features tables for two, while the back section presents a sleek and sexy bar, which offers wood-fired pizzas as part of its late-night bar menu, and circular and rectangular dining tables for larger parties.
  • Ideal meal: Ricotta meatballs ($17) to start and ravioli ($26)
  • ‘Straunt tip: Grab dinner at Trattoria Il Mulino and then check out nearby speakeasy, Dear Irving.
  • Address: Flatiron/Gramercy, 36 East 20th St (between Park S & Broadway)
  • Prices: $10-$38

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Il Buco (Noho): Mangia Monday

Il Buco Noho Italian

  • Why it’s worth it: Il Buco has it right; it’s slinky and seductive while still maintaining a charming accessibility and air. The seasonal food is extremely fresh and executed with skill and perfection. In short, Il Buco is perfect for a date night, ladies night out, after-work drink or family gathering.
  • Vibe/layout: This charming rustic Italian ‘straunt comprised mostly of wood and brick throbs with energy. The dimly lit main dining room has pottery-laden shelves, scattered with wine bottles, and copper pots hanging from hooks or stuffed in the corners. The eclectic wall art and light fixtures transform the rather cramped room with low ceilings into a fabulous authentic Italian ‘straunt. The wine cellar is more relaxed and private, and reminiscent of a room that you would expect to find in the basement of an old Italian estate.
  • Ideal meal: Cannolicchi (artisan dried pasta, brussels sprouts, pancetta, pecorino romano) ($22)
  • People behind Il Buco: The owners, Donna Lennard and Alberto Avalle, first opened the hole-in-the-wall (Il Buco literally means the hole in Italian) as an antique shop in 1994 and gradually transformed it into a full-fledged restaurant.
  • ‘Straunt tip: Enjoy a delicious, romantic and relaxed dinner at Il Buco and then check out the Invader’s graffiti on the side of The Wren, where you should grab a drink.
  • F.Y.I.: Reservations are a must, especially on the weekends.
  • Address: Noho/Greenwich Village, 47 Bond St (between Bowery & Lafayette)
  • Prices: $10-$38

Il Buco on Urbanspoon

Uva (UES): Mangia Monday

Uva UES Italian

  • Why it’s worth it: As you walk into Uva you are transported to a rustic style Italian villa that is perfect for a romantic rendezvous, late-night dinner or after work drink. The food is fresh and rich in flavor and texture and will not disappoint.
  • Vibe/layout: The vibe is rustic and relaxed, with seating spread between the main room, the private wine cellar and the year-round backyard patio. This ‘straunt is intimate and homey, but also a bit swanky and trendy. The decor is reminiscent of a home or dining room in Tuscany with old photographs of Italy and antique mirrors lining the walls.
  • Ideal meal: Gnocchi di ricotta ($19)
  • F.Y.I.: Uva is the direct offspring of Lusardi’s, an UES Italian ‘straunt right up the street, such that Massimo Lusardi, the owner of Uva, is the son of Mauro Lusardi, a Parma native and owner of Lusardi’s!
  • Address: UES, 1486 2nd Ave (between 77th & 78th St)
  • Prices: $6.50 – $23

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Marta (Gramercy/Flatiron): Mangia Monday

Marta

  • Why it’s worth it: Marta, Danny Meyer’s new trendy rustic Roman pizzeria inside the Martha Washington Hotel, serves Italian appetizers in a way that can’t even be imagined. Marta is a hot spot for grabbing drinks with friends or a celebratory dinner with friends or family.
  • Vibe/layout: This two-leveled ‘straunt has a mezzanine with a bird’s-eye views of the main dining room below, which is anchored by an energetic open kitchen featuring two wood-burning ovens and an open-fire grill and surrounded by a big marble bar. Marta exudes warmth and communal energy,  and boasts soaring ceiling and wooden tables.
  • Ideal meal: Polpettine di tagliatelle (fried pasta “meatballs,” tomato, pecorino – think fried mac and cheese balls) ($9) & Suppli alla terrazza (green risotto, mozzarella – think risotto mozzarella sticks) ($6) to start; Capricciosa pizza (mozzarella, artichokes, prosciutto, olives, egg) ($15)
  • F.Y.I.: Danny Meyer, the restaurateur behind Union Square Cafe, Maialino, Shake Shack, etc, has teamed up with his Maialino chef, Nick Anderer to enter into the pizza game.
  • Address: Gramercy/Flatiron, 29 East 29th St (between Park & Madison)
  • Prices: $6-$29

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Pappardella (UWS): Mangia Monday

Pappardella

  • Why it’s worth it: If you’re craving Italian on the UWS, Pappardella is a great, consistent, classy, family spot. I’m not usually an eggplant gal, but Pappardella’s eggplant was melt-in-your-mouth delicious!
  • Vibe/Layout: This open and charming ‘straunt features twenty-foot ceilings, French doors and a beautiful mural of Florence. White table cloths and wooden chairs are only background details to the fresh homemade pasta that will blind side you.
  • Ideal meal: Melanzane parmigiano (eggplant parm, $13) to start & gnocchi pesto ($19)
  • ‘Straunt tip: Pappardella is a great dinner option after taking a stroll in Central Park or checking out the Natural History Museum. They also have great GF options!
  • Address: Upper West Side, 316 Columbus Ave (75th St)
  • Prices: $7-$26

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