Before I went to visit Bella Luna 2.0 in the Upper West Side. It turns out that the original version of the restaurant had been on the Upper West Side for 30+ years and had now re-vamped the restaurant across the street from the original location.
They went ahead with updating the look of the restaurant so it would be more current and comfortable. They did a marvelous job updating the décor of the restaurant. It is an open space but lighting is fabulous and gives it that cozy and homey kind of feel to it. They are not lying when they say “Comfortable Italian Dining” on their website.
Before I went, I took a sneak peak of the menu. You will want to go here even if you do not live in the neighborhood, you will want to make the journey to the Upper West Side. With the reasonable prices and the great location on Columbus Avenue, this is the perfect neighborhood restaurant, the sort of restaurant that is affordable on a week day when you are not in the mood for cooking dinner. The sort of place where you always know you can find something great on the menu. The sort of place where you feel like you do not have to dress up but still feel like you are getting pampered by their excellent team.
In my eyes, this is the PERFECT restaurant, and I have a sneaky suspicion that I am not the only one who thinks so. From the moment we arrived at 6:15PM to the moment we left 2.5 hours later, the restaurant was packed. They definitely found their place again after their re-vamp and I am certainly coming back to this place.
Now to the most important topic: the food! The food was great classic Italian food that you wish for when going out to eat Italian. You can have your own dish or you can share, which ever fits your needs. And you can’t beat their prices: a 3-course prix fix menu before 6PM is only $20. Yes, you read that right. If you want to just have a main because you are not in the mood to cook, you can have an amazing pasta dish for no more than $12. I can only recommend stopping by their bar and drink a glass of wine with your pasta and talk with the staff. I promise this will be your local go-to spot!
We went a little overboard with the food, but there were simply too many great choices. For our starters we had the mussels and the beef carpaccio. Our pasta choices were the lamb pappardelle, which was great and had enough for me to have leftovers the next day, as well as the linguini Bella Luna, which was recommended to us by the waiter.
We did want to try their pizza and wanted something out of the ordinary, so we went with the pesto and dried tomatoes pizza. The crust was perfect, but this place was too good to order only pizza.
Our mains consisted of the Masala Veal and the Grilled Lamp Chops. Both were great and the veal was just divine.
For dessert (aka the most important meal of the day), we could not make up our minds so we went with their cheese cake, the tiramisu, and also the pistachio gelato. I have not had that great pistachio gelato since we were in Italy, so do not miss out. If you want an out of this world experience, choose the tiramisu. It is made in house and the original recipe is from 30 years ago. As the manager said: If it ain’t broke…
574 Columbus Avenue
at 88th Street
New York, NY 10024
Photos via Benvenuti PR