This city is full of charming restaurants with great atmospheres, good food, and excellent service that have a devoted following and Malatesta Trattoria in the West Village is the epitome of that statement having lines out the door, consistently delicious food, and a dining room bursting with energy and excitement.
I’ve been to Malatesta a half-dozen times but with months and even years between visits. No more….monthly visits need to happen! The meal I had at Malatesta with some friends a few weeks back was simply unbelievable. Ya we had to wait a bit (45 minutes) but we went to a bar around the corner and were called when our table was ready to seat us. Soon after our much awaited call, we were sat in one of the best tables in the front corner flanked by their street view windows and a prime view of the entire dining room.
The place was packed and just a few steps out of the front door groups of people stood huddled awaiting the good news that their tables were ready. You have food envy from every table in your vicinity as it all just looks soo good. My friends and I have all been to Malatesta before and knew that we couldn’t go and NOT get the spinach gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce, and then we also ordered grilled lamb chops, and a skate special with cabbage and fennel to share.
Let me start off by saying that I could eat only the gnocchi here every time and be perfectly content. Don’t go here and not indulge in their homemade gnocchi. It literally melts in your mouth and the gorgonzola sauce is creamy and not overbearing. The grilled lamb chops were served on a wood platter and held up by a huge mound of sautéed spinach and roasted potatoes. Perfectly cooked and salted just right, we ate them to the bone.
Now what would you think our bill would be for three large entrees, a dessert, and a carafe of wine where we all got 1 1/2 half glasses of wine? At many Italian restaurants in the city you couldn’t get that for under $150-$200 but at Malatesta our bill came to just under $100!!! Who says you can’t get delicious food at affordable prices anymore??
Malatesta is a rare find in this city…. and I don’t mind waiting to experience a meal here time and time again. The place is cash only but that only adds to its charm (and makes it easier when dining out with a big group). The only drawback to this place I can think of is that the dining room is so packed that you’re basically seated in your neighbor’s laps but who doesn’t like making new friends? 😉
649 Washington Street (at Christopher Street)