The Cozy Restaurants Readers Love4 min read
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By Nikita Richardson
In anticipation of a frigid winter that never quite panned out, I wrote about cozy dining in late December. You know those restaurants, the ones that make you feel as if you’ve been spirited away to a quieter part of New York City reserved just for you and yours.
In the same dispatch, I asked for your own recommendations and, let me say, in nearly a year of writing this newsletter I’ve never received such an enthusiastic response. With this week shaping up to be a little cooler, if not downright cold, I thought I’d provide a grand survey of what cozy means to you all, my incredible readers.
Greenwich Village Was Built for This
No particular neighborhood seems to have a corner on the homey market, but one area kept popping up: Greenwich Village. As one of Manhattan’s oldest landmark historic districts, it has always had a head start on Old World charm.
Joe D. shared that his family has been dining at Piccolo Angolo, at the corner of Hudson and Jane Streets, for 25 years. “My brother came upon this little place soon after it opened and it has become — for us and its devotees — like a family dining room,” he wrote, adding that it’s “intimate and never loud.” It mixes the old and the new: Wild boar ragù sits right next to vegan asparagus ravioli on the menu. Bruno M. asked me to consider Oscar’s Place, a British-Belgian restaurant, also on Hudson Street, that he called his “idea of cozy.” It’s beloved for its fish and chips and full English breakfast.
Another reader, Donna A., flagged the French restaurant La Sirène, on Broome Street. Her order: French onion soup and a glass of red wine. It “screams — OK, whispers — cozy when temperatures drop,” she wrote.
You could be convinced that the French invented cozy from the many, many emails pointing me toward restaurants of that ilk: Le Fond in Greenpoint; La Bonne Soupe and Deux Amis in Midtown; Le Gigot in the West Village; Le Parisien in Kips Bay; the Odeon in TriBeCa; and two votes for Chez Napoléon in Hell’s Kitchen. (“Small, quiet and wonderful old-fashioned French cuisine,” Jane D. wrote.)
For New Yorkers, Comfort Means Pasta
As I’ve reported before, we know that New Yorkers are obsessed with French food. The only close second? Italian. Adam S. recommended Mario’s, a 104-year-old red sauce restaurant on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, where his family celebrates “all occasions, birthdays and anniversaries, and lots in between” in a “homey and warm” environment.
Farther south, in the shadow of Carmine’s, on the Upper West Side, is the newish, bookshelf-lined Italian restaurant Osteria Accademia, on Amsterdam Avenue. Vicki W. wrote, “The overall effect is of a library, but not too dark and it keeps the noise of this small room under nice control.” Her favorites include the fennel salad with oranges and pistachios, the tabliolini neri and all the fish dishes. At Trattoria Dell’Arte, near Carnegie Hall, you’ll find Tom P. He said that the upstairs dining room, with its portraits of famous noses, is good for “whispered conversations away from the boisterous space below” and “secret assignations.” You do you, Tom P.!
I’d travel far and wide for a good meal in a lovely space, but I always come home to roost in Brooklyn. So, I think I’ll spend my next late-winter evening in Brooklyn Heights per a recommendation from Steve M., who would rather go out to eat than “mess up a perfectly clean kitchen,” which is so, so real. He usually goes for the Italian restaurant Noodle Pudding, on Henry Street.
“The food is fresh and well prepared and the overall feel is ‘Cheers’-friendly and welcoming,” he wrote. And with nary a website or Resy page and no signage, it’s truly hidden away. All that, and the lamb Bolognese, sound like just my cup of tea.
In Other News …
This week, Pete Wells reviewed Torrisi Bar & Restaurant, the latest New York City restaurant from Major Food Group. The décor, Wells writes, leans into a “more is more” aesthetic, but the chef Rich Torrisi is doing “the most subtle and evocative cooking of his career.”
Openings: Brooklyn Winery in Williamsburg has moved to a bigger space and opened Rosette at Brooklyn Winery, a full-service restaurant; Bar Bastion, an elegant new bar above Le Jardinier in Midtown, opens on Thursday; and Sushi Nikko, an omakase-style counter, is now open on the mezzanine level of the food hall JACX&CO in Long Island City.
These are boom times for sake in America, Eric Asimov reported in his latest Pour column, with imports of the rice wine more than doubling over the last decade.
More than a decade after it was canceled, the cater-waiter comedy “Party Down” is back. It’s a show that doesn’t “fetishize food or cooking at all,” Tejal Rao writes, but “feels sharper, more perceptive and possibly more honest about food service as a whole.”
Julie Creswell reported on the shrinking benefits for participants enrolled in loyalty programs at Starbucks, Dunkin’ and other restaurant chains. The companies’ excuse? Inflation.
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