Birreria, Eataly’s rooftop beer garden is now open. In the evening lines to get in are long, but at lunch time things are calmer. The general ambiance is pleasant. Beer is brewed right on the roof, the fried shiitake mushrooms are excellent, as are the many sausages sampled. As with the rest of Eataly, quality is high along with the prices.
San Matteo Pizza and Espresso Bar is a great place to go for a taste of Italy, specifically of Neapolitan-style pizza from Salerno. It’s tiny, located on Second Avenue at 90th Street, but extremely welcoming. The pizza dough is appropriately chewy and all the toppings tasted have been delicious. They also offer panuozzi, a specialty of the Salerno area, which are a cross between a large panino and a calzone. The owners are fun, there’s soccer on the TV and the coffee made all the Italians present happy.
This small restaurant on Christopher Street is fabulous. The food is great: the meat lasagna wasn’t remotely heavy, the spezzatino was delicious, the Cornish game hen perfectly marinated and cooked, the salads and sides creative and excellent. The owner’s olive oil from near Florence was wonderful – and we’re picky about olive oil. There’s also an interesting wine list and the service is efficient and friendly. A great find.
Tiella, on First Avenue and 61st Street, is a welcoming and intimate Neapolitan restaurant – run by Neapolitans. The food is a creative twist on typical fare from Naples. The orata baked in a potato crust is delicious as is the home-made pasta, especially the red-wine fettuccine. There’s a good selection of Italian wines too. The coffee is strong and appropriately bitter, just like in Naples. Tiella is a great addition to the neighborhood.