If you haven’t been following the blog very long, you might not know about dinner club. Let me do a quick refresher. (And for those of you who come here often feel free to skip ahead.) Basically I have a group of girlfriends and we all get together for dinner club once a month. Seeing as though this is Manhattan, having one of us host and cook each month is a bit out of the question. So instead, the “host” picks a new restaurant. Most of the time it’s a new restaurant for many of us, and it’s so much fun getting together with the girls and exploring a restaurant we might not have known of previously. This was the case with this month’s restaurant – Malatesta Trattoria.
Malatesta is a delicious Italian place that has this great homey feel to it, which went right along with the fact that it’s a bit off the beaten path. It’s in the West Village, but really far west and extremely close to the Hudson River. The ambiance was adorable – teeny tiny, itty bitty bar (literally one chair to sit in), and uber cozy. I loved that the menus were all hand-written copies, and the specials were literally just written down on a paper bag (by someone with very good hand writing).
The wine was perfect, cheap, and the waiter kept it flowing. And the food – oooh the food! I’m usually kind of meh on Italian food, it’s never been something I’ve really gotten excited about, and now that I’m vegan Italian can be hit or miss on having options I can actually eat, so I don’t often frequent Italian places. But Malatesta, I definitely have to make an exception for.
We started with bruschetta, which was delicious. The tomatoes were super fresh and the basil was wonderful. The other girls also shared a caprese salad, which I tried sans mozzarella and it was also top notch. There’s really no better way to get to my heart than fresh, delicious produce.
For the main course, I had the penne all arrabbiata which was insanely delicious. The sauce had a great kick to it – so much so that I asked the waiter to bring over some extra bread so I could make sure to get all of the sauce in my belly even after I ate all the pasta. The pasta was fresh, and cooked to the perfect consistency – not too hard but not too mushy either.
Some of the other girls went with spaghetti and an out-of-this-world looking spinach gnocchi. No matter what we ordered, everyone raved.
The only downside to Malatesta is that it is cash-only. But that’s not a huge downside if you’re aware of this ahead of time and come prepared. It was perfect for our larger group, but would also be a great go-to for a date spot. I definitely plan to come back again soon the next time I’m looking for a pasta fix.