The Citiblog

La Voglia Is Destination Dining
June 14, 2024, 7:39.05 pm ET

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Photos: La Voglia

By Brian Scott Lipton

Once jokingly referred to as a food desert, the farther reaches of the Upper East Side have become a culinary destination, attracting top-name chefs like Julian Medina and acclaimed restaurants such as Greek eatery Korali, a favorite spot of President Joe Biden and his wife Jill.

One of its newest oases is the fabulous La Voglia (1645 Third Avenue), which has begun to attract crowds from near and far. The spacious restaurant's capacity includes luxurious seating for 150 guests indoors, with an additional 80 seats available in the welcoming outdoor patio. Further, the interiors are designed with retractable windows that welcome abundant natural light, allowing all diners to have their own version of the “al fresco” experience.

Even more importantly, the food is even better than the atmosphere (if, admittedly, rather on the expensive side). Chef Alessandro Pendinelli takes customers on a gastronomic journey through Italy with his assortment of seafood and meat dishes, handmade pastas and pizzas. Brunch, lunch and dinner are available, along with an enticing Happy Hour.

On my recent visit for dinner, I delighted in fried calamari so light that they seemed to have no calories, a fabulous grilled peach and arugula salad topped with creamy burrata that practically screamed “summer,” the finest linguini alle vongole (with clams) I have ever tasted, juicy scallops capesante (wrapped in prosciutto), and a perfectly preferred veal chop Milanese. Other recommended dishes include Gnocchi Cacio e Pepe, Tortellini Burrata e Tartufo Nero, and Anatra e Foie Gras.

Do make sure to leave room for dessert. The menu is limited, but you probably can’t go wrong with any of the choices. We certainly didn’t with the most decadent chocolate mousse cake made with Valrhona chocolate and a precisely crafted and utterly delicious version of tiramisu, accompanied (for good measure) by coffee gelato!

La Voglia isn’t just a feast for the taste buds but a sanctuary for wine and cocktail
enthusiasts alike, with a selection of over 400 wines from around the world, along with a comprehensive selection of European cocktails, spirits, and an impressive assortment of Italian amaro, perfect for sipping as an aperitif or a digestive.

I know for some people, the East 90s seems like quite the haul. It really isn’t! And even so, to quote the great lyricist Alan Jay Lerner, hurry, it’s lovely up here!



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