It’s my first Saturday evening in New York City, our new home, and i couldn’t have been introduced to a more perfect dinner setting for the occasion. Right in the heart of the West Village lies Morandi, a beautifully rustic Italian restaurant. And this isn’t just any old Italian restaurant – Morandi brilliantly oozes Italian charm combined with just a perfect little touch of ‘New York’.
We arrive for our late dinner reservation, and the restaurant is packed with diners (as i’m told it pretty much is ALL the time) and happily buzzing away – the atmosphere is fantastic.
As well as indoor seating, Morandi offers al fresco dining on its terrace, which makes for a great spot in the summer, from where you can sit back and soak in the West Village vibes. We were offered a table right by the open patio doors, allowing us the best of both worlds.
I immediately loved the homely decor in Morandi – wooden beams and exposed brickwork throughout, along with cute little lamps and dim lighting – it almost felt as if we were sat in an underground wine cellar. It’s unflashy and really very charming in there.
Whoever designed the restaurant has managed to create a quaint & cosy environment, yet one that is also trendy & stylish. There’s something a little European about it too, reminding me of a day when i was sat in one of the classic trattorias of Italy.
Morandi boasts an appealing, authentic menu & i’m pleased to report that everything we ordered was pretty outstanding. Dishes were delicate, simple, fresh & flavoursome – just how good Italian cooking ought to be.
The burrata is out of this world. It was ridiculously soft & creamy, and unlike any other I’ve eaten. Served alongside roasted cherry tomatoes on the vine, olive oil & a light drizzle of of balsamic vinegar, this dish is a superb starter.
This was my first time eating fried artichoke and i was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting the artichoke to be greasy, but i was wrong – in fact it was delightfully crisp on the outside and tender & soft inside.
A stunning risotto followed for the main course, the textures & flavours outstanding.
The freshness of the pasta was wonderful, with a tasty, well seasoned bolognese sauce to match.
P.S. I shall be trying the meatballs with pine nuts & raisins on my next visit, as i’ve heard they’re very good.
Our waiters were welcoming and service was very good throughout. In terms of value for money, even though prices are high, they’re not extortionate, and worthwhile given the quality of food & setting in my opinion. Wines were on the pricier side though, our bottle of Chianti costing $68 (although i’m quickly starting to wonder whether this is a New York-wide thing).
Despite plenty of space, due to popularity, Morandi is known to get jam packed and therefore it can be noisy in there. That, along with the tables being pretty close together, are really the only 2 negatives i have to report. So, bear in mind it’s probably not the ideal venue if you’re looking for a quiet meal.
On that note, make sure to reserve a table ahead, or else be prepared for a wait at the bar (which isn’t such a bad thing if you have to).
Dips Bites: Morandi provides wonderful Italian food, great service & an ambience which i suspect is hard to rival. I love the rustic charm & style along with the lack of pretentiousness – it’s a relaxed & unfussy affair. This restaurant makes a perfect choice for a leisurely Italian brunch, lunch or dinner, & is also fun spot to meet up with friends. My dinner at Morandi was pretty much faultless, offering everything i’d want from a real Italian restaurant & i’d return in a heartbeat. For great cooking in a great setting, don’t miss it!