The best summer party that doesn't take place on the beach is Sapore di Sale, the summer aperitivo at Da Mikele by Luzzo's. Sapore di Sale, meaning a taste of salt, is a classic Italian tune, perfect for a party.
Don't be fooled by the name, Paprika, located in the East Village, stems from Valtellina, a region in Northern Italy bordering Switzerland where the food is more Alpine and Austro-Hungarian empire than sun-drenched Italian. Chef and owner Egidio Donagrandi has been serving up non-regional Italian food for over ten years at his resto, but has now decided to shift his focus to his home and its unique cuisine.
The new menu focuses on the flavors and traditions of Valtellina, which is heavily influenced by neighbors Switzerland and Austria. Unique regional specialties and ingredients include buckwheat polenta, cheeses like bitto, crescenza, and casera --all of which are rare in New York. Another preparation Paprika uses is pickling, which is a technique used in Valtellina. Egidio pickles everything from red onions, beets and radishes to oyster mushrooms. Included on the menu are delicious appetizers like Dandelion Salad with pickled red radishes, soft crescenza, and spring onions and Bresaola Carpaccio with pickled oyster mushrooms and red radishes. Delicious pastas include Pizzoccheri Valtellinesi with buckwheat tagliatelle, savoy cabbage, casera cheese, potatoes and garlic, unbelievable Homemade Spaetzle with brussels sprouts and fava beans, and Buckwheat Lasagna with braised leeks and casera cheese fonduta.
The golden mosaic tiles of the pizza oven of Donatella Arpaia’s namesake restaurant, Donatella, acts as a beacon calling to diners, “come inside, you look hungry. I’ll cook something for you” just as countless Neapolitan mothers have done for centuries. Once you’re off the busy streets of Chelsea, sit down at one of Donatella’s marble topped tables, drink a glass of the finest Italian Campanian wines, and snack on a plate of crostinis while you painstakingly decide which of the pizzas you plan to try. Keep in mind though; Donatella’s is not your typical New York City Neapolitan pizza-focused restaurant. Donatella Arpaia, who is a recurring guest judge on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef” series, a contributor to NBC’s “Today Show,” as well as being behind a number of successful restaurants, such as Kefi and Dona, feels that Donatella is her most personal endeavor to date. Her goal for Donatella was to capture the traditional foods she enjoyed while summering in Naples during her childhood and bring them to New York. By using authentic and fresh ingredients (We mean fresh as in picked up from customs that very morning.) Donatella celebrates not only the famed pizza of the region but the pastas, desserts, and wines as well.
You may have walked past it a thousand times and never noticed this little gem in the heart of East Village. Cucina Italiana Paprika, serving up Northern Italian stables for 11 years, checks a lot of boxes. Unique brunch menu? Check. Casual mid-week dinner? Check. Intimate date spot? Check. Something unexpected on the menu? Check.
Paprika's menu is thoughtfully split into salads, starters, pasta and grains, and entrées, with enough choices in each group but nothing to overwhelm the indecisive eater. The clear standout is the lamb meatballs in a thick tomato based sauce served with green lentils and butter-like red bliss potatoes. The meat is tender and the delicate meatballs are perfectly cooked.
As our good old friends from Cheers would say, sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. At Luca Bella, a newly-opened Italian restaurant in Aventura, if they don’t know your name, they sure will get to know it.
As any family owned restaurant worth its salt would, the folks at Luca Bella do an incredible job of making you feel like part of the family. With more than 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry, owner Michael Maltese is brining Aventura some of the most delicious and authentic Italian food in South Florida. You can find Maltese front and center greeting patrons, engaging in conversation, serving food and speaking passionately about what they do. The restaurant, named after his son, Marcelo Luca and his daughter, Isabella, just recently opened in February, but it’s clear that these people are no noobs in the kitchen, as was evident the moment I walked in.
The 27th annual Gala Italia was celebrated this past Thursday on February 23rd at the Marriot Marquis under the patronage of the Ambassador of Italy, Claudio Bisogniero. The event was hosted by the Italian Wine & Food Institute to promote and celebrate all things Italian and “perpetuate the great vitality of Made in Italy within the local market despite the current economic crisis” faced by Italy. Vineyards from all over Italy were showcased, proudly pouring samples of their award winning wines. Guests who are new to Italian wines or wanted a “cheat sheet” for sampling the best wines offered could use their Gala Italia catalog to try wines awarded the prestigious first place certificate by an Independent American Jury of wine specialists.
Known for its glamour and exclusivity, the Delano Hotel in South Beach is not really familiar with the phrase “low key”. With that said, it’s no wonder that the grand opening of its new Italian restaurant, Bianca called for a party filled with celebrities, artists and some of Miami’s most beautiful people.
Party goers noshed on savory hors d’oeuvre such as tender meatballs, crab cake BLT, yellow fin tuna crisp and grilled octopus alongside celebrities like Kevin Connoly and Michelle Rodriguez. But it didn’t end there, as world renowned jazz trumpeter, Chris Botti enchanted the crowd with a live performance in the middle of the pool patio amidst the whimsical décor that we all know and love from the outdoor space at the Delano. Attendees were also able to sample some of the cocktails to be featured on the Bianca cocktail list such as a mixture of Jack Daniels, blood orange puree, lemon juice and ginger beer known as the Tuscan Sunset. Just as beautiful as it is tasty, this drink had everyone in the party mood.
To what do we owe such an extravagant celebration, you wonder? Well, Bianca is not your typical Italian restaurant. Besides its prime location and beautiful décor, the chefs at Bianca have embraced the farm to table concept and are in participation with the Slow Food Movement, an international non-profit network that is committed to improving the way food is cultivated, distributed and even perceived. Brought to you by nightlife and hospitality company, The Light Group, Bianca’s Chef Brian Massie is bringing South Florida diners simple yet savory cuisine, which will include signature dishes like wood-grilled langoustines and handmade pasta with seasonal truffles and a hint of cream. Choose from a selection of entrees like salt roasted Branzino with roasted potatoes and all natural sirloin bistecca with black truffle potatoes. Guests can also pair their meal with Bianca’s carefully selected wine list and cocktail menu. As for the décor, The Delano definitely did not fall short (as if it ever has). The egg shell-toned seats, drapes, walls and napkins create a surreal yet comforting ambiance that contrasts particularly well with the dark wooden tables and crystal clear glassware. Choose to sit inside the hotel or venture out on the patio near the pool deck. Either way, you will be able to soak up the Delano atmosphere in all its modern glory.
Bianca is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations are suggested.
1685 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139
I've been wondering how Davanti Enoteca has improved since my first experience during its earlier days. Reminiscing on my first time, I recall the dessert being some of the best, but unimpressive food. Considering there aren’t enough great restaurants in the Little Italy neighborhood, I gave it another chance.
On Saint Patty's Day, everyone gets to be Irish for a day. On Valentine's Day, we all get to pretend that we have a loving, stable relationship for 24 soul-crushing hours. And every fall, New Yorkers are encouraged to eat pasta, take the cannolis, and talk with their hands at the San Gennaro festival.
The best part? It's over a week long.
Today the Feast of San Gennaro takes over Mulberry Street for its 85th year. While officially a religious festival celebrating the patron Saint of Naples, the festival is always more reminiscent of a block party. But from September 15-25, this block party will feature pastries, gelato, and veal parmigiana that will put your neighbors to shame.
Right in the heart of South Beach, on Collins Avenue, is a restaurant that holds the freshest pasta you can find in the state of Florida. Spiga- Ristorante Italiano is a dimly lit, extremely romantic restaurant that you almost walk right past when in search of a place to eat. However, the pleasant aroma from the kitchen makes it all the way to the outdoor patio seating, where passerbys have no choice but to be drawn in and eat. When you walk in you are immediately greeted by the friendly and authentically Italian waiting staff that ushers you to your candlelit table.