If you’re aching for an authentic Italian meal, make your way over to Machiavelli’s in the Upper West Side. That’s what my girlfriend and I did a few weeks ago to celebrate her birthday.
Owned by veteran restaurateurNathalie De La Fontaine who ran the highly popular West Village restaurant La Focaccia for nearly 20 years, you won’t be disappointed by either the food or the decor of her beautiful establishment. Since 2011, Fontaine and Executive Chef Gian Pietro Ferro have been offering up a truly authentic Northern Italian experience.
We started with two cocktails called the Paolo Uccello. Named after the famous Italian painter of the same name, they were made with Hornitos Reposado Tequila, Solerno blood orange liqueur and fresh rosemary and thyme, a delicious way to begin the evening.
To follow we ordered the Schiacciata al Rosmarino, oven-roasted flat bread with fresh rosemary and sea salt evoo, along with the Fritto Misto di Pesce e Vegetali, fried calamari, shrimp, bay scallops, carrots, onions and zucchini with tartar sauce and the Polenta al Gorgonzola Dolce, creamy polenta with sweet gorgonzola cheese. All were excellent, but the true winner was the Polenta.
For our main courses my lady chose the Bistecca di Manzo al Pepe Rosa, the sautéed Rib-Eye steak pink peppercorn in brandy cream sauce, and I the Filetto di Tonno con Cipolle Dolci, sautéed filet of tuna with vidalia onions in white wine sauce. Both the steak and tuna were sautéed to perfection. The tuna dish contained a lot of vidalia onions, but even with that is was delicious. The portions were also big, unlike at some NYC restaurants.
Did I mention that Machiavelli’s has an all-Italian wine list with an amazing assortment that will please even the snootiest wine connoisseur? After our feast we relaxed with glasses of Livia Felluga Sauvignon Blanc from Friuli Venezia Giulia and Nebbiolo d’Alba Ochetti by Renato Ratti from Piemont. We ended our evening with a Bongo Bongo, which our server highly recommended, which is a decadent whipped cream (or gelato-filled) cream puff covered with warm Belgian chocolate. The perfect finish to our excellent evening!
To add to the Italian experience, Machiavelli features live music nightly from the nearby Juilliard and Mannes College of Music students and seasoned musical professionals, all in a space lavishly decorated with artisan-crafted décor elements, from wrought-iron candelabras to the impressive painted rendering of “The Battle of San Romano” that spans three of the restaurant’s walls. During the holidays they also had one of the biggest Christmas trees I’ve ever seen!
– Michael Riegelman
519 Columbus Avenue
btw. 85th & 86th Streets
New York, NY 10024
Brunch: Saturday & Sunday from 9:00am – 4:00pm
Italian Aperitivo Hour: Monday – Friday 4:00pm – 6:00pm
Live Music performed during brunch, and also Sunday – Thursday 7:30pm – 9:30pm, Friday & Saturday 8:00pm – Midnight
Photos via Machiavelli and by Socially Superlative