[All photos by Conor Rose]
In New York City, finding an Italian restaurant that has stuck it out through rent increases and the constantly changing food trends can unfortunately be hard-pressed. As one of the few restaurants holding on and going strong, Bella Luna is still thriving in the Upper West Side. Around since 1988 and recently re-opened in a new location, the updated spot on West 88th Street and Columbus Ave is a tastefully rustic space with modern touches, boasting a menu filled with Tuscan classics. After being holed up in a tiny New York City apartment during last week’s mini-blizzard, we were craving to head there for a cozy, stick-to-your ribs meal.
To start, we ordered the Mezzo platter for two. Piled with small heaps of marinated mozzarella, mushrooms, eggplant caponata, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, Tuscan bean salad, roasted peppers, grilled zucchini, and beets, the plate gave a little sampling of everything while not being too heavy for the entrees ahead.
Pasta is the star of the menu here. The Rigatoni Alla Norcina was a classic homestyle dish, perfect for the dreary weather, with sweet Italian sausage and tomato sauce. We also tried the Capellini Alla Campagnola (subbing in gluten-free penne) with sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, garlic, and olive oil, and topped with a dollop of warm, creamy goat cheese.
We ended the meal with a Tartufo that can only be described as glorious in both taste and presentation – a ball of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, presented like a sliced apple, covered in a chocolate hard shell, with a juicy and crunchy cherry-almond center. All of that was generously dressed with whipped cream. Washed down with glasses of Montepulciano (at only $7 each!) the three course meal was fairly affordable, incredibly filling, and the cozy and comforting end to a slushy, frigid day.
For more photos, click here. This meal was provided by Bella Luna. All opinions are our own.