Last week, I visited NYC for a few days and explored a bunch of fun eateries with my favorite foodie, Robert. Although we mostly sampled NYC’s offerings of casual dining (thank you college student budget), we stumbled upon an unassuming gem on MacDougal Street – La Laterna di Vittorio. The restaurant’s exterior doesn’t do justice to its unique, romantic exterior. Lighting is minimal while the furniture is reminiscent of that which would be in a European garden. There are three parts of the restaurant — the immediate seating, downstairs seating with jazz and then an indoor patio (shown above). Our experience of sitting in the indoor patio was marvelous: paper lights hanging at different heights coupled with subtle wall lighting made La Laterna an ideal Friday night date spot.
Robert and I ordered the following dishes:
Appetizer: Pomodoro e Basilico Bruschetta ($6.99) — 3 generous slices of crisp but airy peasant bread topped with finely chopped tomato, onion, and basil. This was a great starter because the bread was light while the toppings were fresh. It revved up our appetites for the upcoming entrees without stealing too much valuable stomach real estate.
Entree 1: Lasagna Quattro Formaggi ($12.99) — this dish was the classic four cheese pasta dish: satisfying cheesy creaminess, silky pasta, the top baked crisp to perfection. As almost every four cheese pasta usually tends to be, this dish was definitely very heavy (many will argue that this is what gives this classic comfort food its charm.) If you choose to try this dish, I would recommend ordering it as a dish to be shared among your party instead of a personal entree. If you’re in the mood to try something risky or new – I’d go for something else on the menu.
Entree 2: Pizza con Salmone Affumicato e Cipolla ($13.99) — this pizza was the star entree of the night! Every component of the dish seems to come together perfectly: thin and delicate slices of smoked salmon coupled with creamy mascarpone cheese, slightly tart capers, and mildly sweet onions. Moreover, the pizza is incredibly thin crust which allows the smoked salmon and cheese to take the front stage (it also means that this entree disappears especially quickly…). If these flavors seem even mildly appealing to you, I would urge you to try this dish — it’s the reason that I am sure I will be making my way back to La Laterna next time I am in NYC.
All in all, I would definitely recommend La Laterna for an enjoyable affordable dining experience. If you’re going with more than four people, consider calling ahead of time to make a reservation — most likely, that will save you the average 10-30 minutes of wait on a busy weekend night. Enjoy!