TravelNoise: Capri Ristorante, New York
If you’re a New York local, going down to Little Italy isn’t necessarily your first choice for a top Italian restaurant, mostly because the never-ending menus look the same, and the row of guys waving you in don’t exactly scream exclusive. But Capri is not just some random Italian restaurant among other random Italian restaurants—this is the restaurant you’re absolutely lucky to stumble upon.
In the summer, the large floor-to-ceiling windows open to a golden terrace, but in the cooler months, the 1960s-decorated blue and white tile is warmed by bright candles and mahogany accents. Photos of Jackie Onassis and Valentino adorn the walls and bottles of wine are delicately carried from one end of the restaurant to the other. And, more importantly, you pick up just a few words of Italian and know you must be in the right place.
After savouring some of their house wine and gaping at the seafood-heavy menu, my dining partner and I decided to put our fate into our charming waiter’s hands. Soon after devouring the entire basket of their warm, fresh bread and olive oil (hey, don’t judge us), we were presented with a Caprese stack of thick-cut, seasoned tomato and buffalo mozzarella, finished with fresh basil and a red pepper vinaigrette ($14), which was, in a word (or three), to die for. There was so much cheese, I (metaphorically) almost died.
Just a few moments later, our second starter, the Fusilli Al Pesto E Gamberi ($22) arrived, the pesto a vivid green and tender shrimp placed throughout. The dish was large enough to be a full entree, but in true Sami fashion, that didn’t stop me from shamelessly eating every bite (while allowing my dining partner to sneak in a forkful or two). And maybe that was a mistake, but if gorging yourself on carbs in Little Italy is wrong…do I even have to finish that sentence?
Finally, the mains arrived, and we were eager. First, the Pollo Marsala ($24), which was juicy and fragrant of Marsala wine and mushrooms and accompanied by roasted potatoes and broccoli. My dining partner’s entree, the Fileto Orata ($31), was well-seasoned with fennel, artichokes, sliced potatoes and leeks. Despite having eaten the majority of the mains, we had only one regret—that we didn’t save any for later.
Every dish up until dessert was everything I had hoped in an authentic Italian restaurant, but if I’m being honest, I came down to Little Italy for one thing and one thing only, really—the cannoli. Our stomachs really didn’t have the room, but we at least had to give it a good fight. The cannoli came out larger than expected (of course), traditional with a rich mascarpone filling and a perfect end to a truly great Italian meal.
I walked to the back of the restaurant to say one last goodbye to the waitstaff, and I walked out to the street (or I guess I slowly sort of waddled, which was what I could muster). I looked back at the laughing dinner guests, clinking glasses and the smell of fresh sauce and said ciao, and that was that.
Address: 145 Mulberry St, New York, New York, 10013
Telephone Number: 212.625.2626