restaurants
Felice
1166 First Avenue
212 593 2223

To the corner of 64th comes this Tuscan restaurant and wine bar from the Sant Ambroeus folks. A 9 foot communal table, two- tops and a few highly desirable window tables sit inside a room of exposed brick, below a makeshift chandelier of wine jugs allowing about 50- or- so diners to sample owner Jacopo Giustiniani and chef Simone Parisotto's menu of crostone, pastas, salads, risotto and a few select filet mignon and fish dishes. With a vegetarian friendly menu (soups are vegetable stock), highlights include the crostone con guanciale, honey and rosemary; an insalata di carciofi (thinly sliced crisp raw artichokes) with arugula, fresh parmesan and hearts of palm; and on the day we were there, a beautifully made puree of celery root soup done with potato instead of cream. Special touches such as crema gelato and dessert wines such as brachetta d'acqui will appeal to those who've been to Italia for the real deal. With most pastas coming in around $14-18, such as the cavatelli al pomodoro or lasagna al ragu di agnello, this spot is not too painful on one's wallet while being friendly on service. More casual diners can also do plates of salumi or formaggi misto to pair with wines. Lastly but not leastly, we love that this place is open seven days a week including brunch.

$$$

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