A cute, casual, Italian-Sardinian cafe in Upper West Side. They have nice, high ceiling, red brick wall, and outdoor seating, serving housemade pasta and other delicious dishes at affordable price. The staff there is very friendly, and provide good service most of the time.
We went there on Sunday night with rather large group (with reservation, of course), and they accommodated us with warm greeting and nice big table. We ordered several different pasta dish, which they were all very delicious, the pasta had that nice, homemade pasta texture and firmness, and great flavor.
Pasta #1: Special Seafood Pasta of the day ($19) came with clams, scallops, and tomatoes. It was a bit smaller amount that expected, but the flavor itself was pretty good. Pasta #2: Maloreddos alla Campidanese ($15.50) – traditional Sardinian Maloreddos with sausage in spicy tomato sauce. It was not really spicy, had just a nice little kick to it, and very good sausage flavor. Pasta #3: Fettuccine alla Bolognese ($16.50) comes with traditional ground beef ragout. Nice, firm pasta with very tasty ragout, no complaints. And, of course, adding cheese on top make everything even better.
Pasta #4: Cavatelli Broccoli Rabe e Salsiccia ($15.50) – ricotta vacatelli with broccoli rabe and sweet Italian sausage. This item is one of my favorite pasta dish, but here, they use the “real” broccoli which is a bit bitter, which I did not expect… It was still good, but I would say it is more suited for adults. The sweet sausage complimented the bitter broccoli rabe, and pasta was nice and firm, almost chewy in a good way. Pasta #5: Tagliolini ai Frutti di Mare ($19.50) with calamari, salmon, and mussels in light tomato sauce. It came with lots of mussels and calamari, but didn’t really get the salmon flavor much. It was still delicious, with calamari giving extra firm texture and the tomato sauce pretty tasty. All the pasta dishes had great pasta texture, cooked just right. The seasoning was also nicely done, nothing was too salty, too spicy, or too sweet. Other than the pasta special, they were nice portion, not too big or small, but just the right amount to get you full without being too stuffed.
Since we were not overly stuffed, we moved on to their delicious desserts. Torta all’ Olio d Oliva ($7) – homemade olive oil cake topped with lemon cream, strawberry sauce. The cake was a bit dry, I like more of a moist cake. It did have a really nice flavor though. The lemon cream didn’t have a strong lemon flavor, but instead complimented the olive cake flavor. Dolce della Casa ($9) was the dessert of the day, and this night was a cheesecake. It was very rich, creamy, and tasty. Tortino al Ciccolato ($7.50) is a molten dark chocolate cake with vanilla sauce. The moment you put your knife or fork through that cake, the melting chocolate seeps out of it, and was really tasty! Didn’t really need that vanilla sauce since it was great on its own, but I feel like they like to pour sauce on or around most of their desserts, if not all.
Semifreddo all’ Amaretto ($7.50) – semi frozen Amaretto cookies artesian mousse with strawberry sauce. This once was my favorite of the night. The sweet, cold, creamy mousse was really special, super delicious! I could’ve had another one (or two) of this dish… We also ordered cappuccino ($3.50) and it was ok. Not the best cappuccino, but it was tasty and complimented the nice desserts we had on our table.
At the end, everyone was full, satisfied, and happy. That is what I call a great dinner! We had nice service, and didn’t feel rushed at any moment. Everyone enjoyed all the dish, and is a great place to have a nice lunch and/or dinner, with the people you love. Casual, cozy, and warm atmosphere, you will be able to relax over a nice meal. Next time you are in the area, give this place a try!
Arco Cafe – 886 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10025