When we walked into L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele (81 Greenwich Ave, NYC) we were expecting a rustic spot with a wood burning oven. What we found was a luscious space suitable for a night out on the town, dimly lit and quite elegant with the wine flowing.
It was five o’clock on a Sunday. We thought it would be easy to get a table without a reservation, but we were mistaken. There was already a line already forming out the door. Our hostess was nice enough to give us a table that was reserved with the promise we would give up when the guests arrived. That was a good hour and a half away and we enjoyed every moment of it.
The front of the space is lovelly with lights that give it a reddish hue. There are wooden floor, exposed brick and large structural beams from floor to ceiling. A separate dining area features an open table kitchen and imported stone oven where the pizzas are made. The crowd ranged from couples to groups of friends and families with kids in tow.
Pizzas here come with a story of their own. In fact, you would have to back to 1870 in Naples, Italy where the original L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele was born. Head Pizzaiolo Michele Rubini Is connected to the original family, while owner Francesco Zimone is a fan who forged a partnership and is now spreading the pizza joy from coast to coast with two locations in California and now one in New York City.
The pizzas here do not disappoint. Made with a light and airy dough, the crust offers more of a chew than a crunch. We counted eight different pies on the menu including the Margherita with tomato, fior di latte, pecorino, and fresh basil; Pesto with pesto (Basil, Garlic, Walnuts, Parmigiano, Olive Oil), fior di latte, cherry tomatoes, truffle burrata; Bianca with double fior di latte, pecorino, and basil; and Truffle with double fior di latte, pecorino, basil, shaved black truffle, and truffle oil. The latter is the most expensive at $65, while the Margherita will see you back just 20 bucks.
It doesn’t stop with pizza. There are arancini (rice balls) made with acquerello risotto, Aspen Ridge beef & pork, fior di latte, green peas, and bread crumbs; Meatballs with tomato sauce, pParmigiano, and crostino; and Calamari Fritti, deep fried calamari with lemon, and parsley. Also on the menu, ricotta-stuffed deep-fried Zucchini Flowers, which were sold out by the time we arrived.
Pastas are also worth exploring like the perfectly al dente Spaghetti Pomodoro with house-made spaghetti, tomato sauce, basil and garlic; and Fettucine Bolognese with parmigiano and beef and pork ragù. For a sweet finish, there is tiramisu and panna cotta.
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele is a welcome addition to the fabric of New York and worth waiting on line for!
For more information, visit damicheleusa.com/nyc
- Thomas Rafael