I have walked by this spot many times, but never actually dined here. Their lovely outdoor seating and exterior is very noticeable, and yes, I was curious. After several years, I finally got the opportunity to dine here. The ambiance of the exterior (to me) was some sort of old European café, with red bricks and green vines. The inside looked even better! It was much larger than I thought, with elegant, king of victorian decor. It had a nice size bar to the left, and skylight in the middle.
Clean white walls and ceiling with dark wood beams and retro wooden furniture and wall decorations. Really setting the mood…cozy, elegant, not mentioning very romantic!
We wend for weekend dinner, and since it was a lovely day, we sat outside. It was still kind of early, but the outdoor seating was almost full. We were greeted by our server, Victoria with a lovely smile. The table for two was really small, and the seating space was kind of tight. There was someone sitting right behind me, to the point it was not easy to get in or out of my chair. But, that is New York City… I loved all the greenery in the outdoor seating, it provided nice, relaxing atmosphere.
We started off with couple of cocktails. The first one was Italian Sangria ($15), made with Aperol, Triple Sec, Red Sweet Wine, Orange Juice, and Lemon Juice. I liked how it came in a jar mug. It made it feel more cozy and homey. It was strong without being too overpowering, quite fruity, and very tasty! It didn’t have any cut fruits pieces, other than the lemon wedge. But, it still had nice, deep flavors. I really liked this drink!
And another one, Capri Rinha ($15), made with Cachaça, Lime Juice, Simple Syrup, and Mixed Berries. It was a bit different from what I expected. It was nice and strong, and had lots of mixed berries that were muddled, and therefore more of berry shreds. The flavor was really great, but the berry pieces and small ice cubes made it rather difficult to drink…
For appetizer, we ordered Antipasto Misto ($26) and Fritto Misto ($20). With those choices, our server asked if we wanted to have focaccia instead of regular bread so that it goes better with our appetizer. I so like focaccia bread, so I said yes. They brought plateful of foccacia along with olive oil. It was very different from what I imagined, it was more like a flatbread instead of regular foccacia bread that I am used to. Thin and crispy, very tasty. And I loved the anitque-looking plates, vivid colors and makes the food looks extra appetizing.
Antipasto Misto ($26) is essentially a cheese and cold cuts plate. It comes with Prosciutto, Mortadella, Sopressata, Burrata, Gorgonzola, Taleggio, and Provolone. When it was brought to the table, it was not any simple “plate” but it was a huge wooden board! Each item was really high quality, and yes, went great with foccacia. The meat was sliced thin but not too thin, deep flavor with just the right amount of salt or spice. Cheese was really great, especially the Burrata! It was fluffy, cloud-like soft, airy, and creamy.
Fritto Misto ($20) comes with Squid, Shrimp, Artichoke Hearts, and Tomato Sauce. It was a really nice plate, and oh yes, plate full of goodness! The only thing was, our table was really, VERY small, the two drinks and foccacia, olive oil and extra plates took all the table top space already, there really was no more space… We asked them to take away the two extra plates, and we somehow managed to put everything on there. After we got our table setting all figured out, we really enjoyed this dish. Everything was crispy on the outside, lightly fried, and still moist and juicy in the inside. They were seasoned just right, and loved the plump shrimps…so good!!!
For main, we had Pollo Arrosto ($31) and Bistecca alla Griglia ($36). When these dishes were brought to the table, needless to say, there was no space on the table. So, we had to say goodbye to the rest of the foccacia… They were really nice portion, and looked amazing.
Let me start with Pollo Arrosto. It comes with Organic Chicken, Fingerling Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables, and Lemon Sugo. Look at the size of the chickens! Beautifully plated, on another colorful plate.
The meat was so tender, easily coming off the bones. It was packed with flavor, great seasoning. The lemon sugo sauce was delicious, went great with the meat. If you are not familiar with sugo, it is a traditional Italian sauce based on cured pork cheek, pecorino cheese, tomato, and onion. Their version of the sauce is made with lemon infused in it. The hint of citrus enhanced the tender chicken flavor. The veggies that soaked up all these sauce and seasoning were amazing too. They had mainly asparagus and potatoes, all cooked perfectly.
Bistecca alla Griglia ($36) came with a recommendation of our server, and darn she was right! It is a NY Strip Steak comes with Rosemary Potatoes, Black Plums, Arugula, Walnuts, and Gremolata. First of all, it was a really nice portion, just like all the other dishes that they served us so far. It came on another large wooden board.
The meat was cooked to my liking, very tender and juicy. It was very high quality, meaty, packed with flavor. Gremolata on the steak, which is a chopped herb condiment usually made of lemon zest, garlic, parsley and anchovy was excellent. It was just the right amount of seasoning, great garlic that didn’t mask the steak, but brought out its natural flavor.
The potatoes had simple and minimum seasoning, soft and potato-y. I say in this case, simple is the best. Also, it didn’t fight for attention on the wooden board, but played the perfect side kick. The arugula was super fresh, with walnut and most surprisingly, sweet black plum. It was a super delicious salad!
We also had second round of cocktails. Montenegro Cooler ($15), made with Amaro Montenegro, Grapefruit Juice, Prosecco, and splash of Soda. It had pretty gradation of orange, and was very refreshing. I like cocktails with prosecco for its bubbly texture. It was nice and strong, not watered-down in any way. Nothing but quality drinks here!
The last drink was Olio Mule ($15), made with Vodka, Elderflower Liquor, Lemon Juice, Ginger, and Prosecco. It came in a nice silver tin cup, with a fresh mint on the top. Again, it was very strong, great ginger flavor. Sweet without being too sweet, and super refreshing.
We ended the night with desserts. The first choice was Tiramisu ($12). I love tiramisu, but not everyone can do tiramisu well. I like to test them at Italian restaurant to see how good (or not-so-good) they are. Here, the tiramisu was big (you can imagine a huge smile on my face), and came with lady finger sticking out on top. It is not your typical, square tiramisu.
I so enjoyed dipping the lady finger into the sweet layers of goodness. It is made with lady fingers soaked in espresso, layered with mascarpone cream and dusted with cocoa powder. It was sooooo good, creamy and velvety, sweet and decadent. Great tiramisu!
Last but not least, Lemon Ricotta Panna Cotta ($11), made with Raspberry Compote, Chocolate Shavings, and Cannoli Crumbs. This one had a great rating, so we decided to try it out. It was rather small, but at this point, we could only do small dessert… It was very nicely plated, droplets of raspberry compote dancing around the panna cotta. The cannoli crumbs was placed on top like an elaborate British hat or a crown.
It was very creamy and melt in your mouth. Sweet, hint of vanilla and loved the milky flavor. Simple but yet sophisticated. Great ending to the delightful dinner.
We enjoyed every bite. They all tasted as good as they looked. Tender meat, juicy, packed with flavor. The veggies that came with the meats were really nice too. We enjoyed every bite, but since we were already getting full after appetizers, we couldn’t finish the main dishes… Yes, we took the rest of them home to enjoy them again later.
Our server, Victoria was great, she took a really care of us, always with a beautiful smile on her face. The restaurant was beautiful both inside and outside dining areas. I am glad I finally got to dine here, great food, great service, warm and relaxing atmosphere…we had a really nice dinner. Will definitely go back for more!
Olio e Piú – 3 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10014