Formerly an antique store on the edge of SoHo, “Ciccio Bar & Alimentari” gutted this tiny basement and redecorated it to open a brand spanking new Italian food & wine bar. SoHo is already full of amazing places to eat, let alone an abundance of Italian restaurants. Moving into this turf is risky business (pun intended), but it seems that “Ciccio” is up for the challenge.
A very small restaurant tucked away on a busy street, it’s a surprising retreat from the very noisy city traffic above-ground. You would barely know there was a subway and a major roadway if not for the view of them from the large windows by the front-end. This is chef Giacomo Romano’s first solo-venture, but all signs point to what could be a good beginning to having a new home in SoHo.
“Pizza Mezzaluna” has just celebrated its fourth anniversary of being in business on Houston Street in New York City. Located conveniently next to an Italian butcher shop, this quaint Neopolitan restaurant features a brick-oven in the front of the store for the most authentic pizzeria experience possible. Augmented by a selection of fresh pastas, owners (and husband and wife) Francesco Vitale and Lili Chu have created an experience that feels equally as authentic as their food.
With a marble-top bar by the ovens and a small but cozy seating arrangements, highlighted by actual “mezza luna” cutters hanging all over the walls, “Pizza Mezzaluna” has been reviewed by others as flying under the radar. I can attest to this, as I have come back many times after this review (spoiler alert) and have never seen the place too crowded. This is a tragedy, as you will read, since this might be one of the area’s best kept secrets in such a busy restaurant area.
If I did my math correctly, which I typically don’t thanks to my public school education, Soho’s “Mezzo Giornio” is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, a momentous hallmark for a restaurant in NYC. Passing by the place on the corner of Spring St., I glanced over their menu and found some intriguing items that I had to try – specifically their pasta with wild boar (seen above). Thankfully, the restaurant has a great prix-fixe menu for $20 (not including tip) that offers up a healthy taste of their soup and pasta. With a price like that, who could say no? Well, I guess people who can’t eat gluten, but aside from them, who could say no (and much like a hipster, they are barely human anyway, so what do they matter)?
“Mezzo Giornio” wastes no time, bringing out a curtain opener of briny, meaty-tasting olives in different sizes and colors, along with some crusty bread and crunchy breadsticks. It was hard not to resist the lure of carbs, but I was on good behavior and held off, instead tearing through the earthen-colored olives like a lawnmower cuts through grass. Besides, I had a date with a bowl of pasta, and I wanted to give her my undivided attention.