“I get way too much happiness from good food.” ~ Elizabeth Olsen
When people come to the city to visit, their are several restaurants I have to take them too; Maison Kayser, Cascabel Taqueria, and Pazza Notte. Each eatery is so very, very different, yet equally scrumptious in its’ unique foodie way.
Pazza Notte is the “Let’s be classy yet still get our drink on till we are sauced” restaurant. It is perfect for the wine or martini lover. I take my friends here for the pure fact that they have two for one. EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Which is unheard of in the city. Usually the two for ones disappear as soon as the weekend rolls in, the crowds get unbearable and you can only get a reservation by selling your kidneys.
They also have an extensive wine and beer menu, that includes a wide variety of spirits ranging from the classics to more unique flavors. They also have happy hour (three to six) which is essentially two for the price of one.
While they do not take reservations, I have never had to wait, even when I have come with a large group of people. The restaurant is huge, especially by New York standards and they even have the “Picasso” Room where you can hold larger gatherings if you so please. (And I recommend it!)
The decor takes you back not just to the old country, but the country side of Tuscany. During the summer is when this restaurant really flourishes with floor to ceiling windows that open right into the busy street creating a unique sitting experience if you are lucky enough to snag a window seat.
The wait-staff is not only incredibly attentive, but they are ridiculously sweet. Shooting the wind with you but also letting you sit there until closing. There is no rush. A true European restaurant experience right here in Midtown. To clarify when you go to Europe, you have to be a bit aggressive about getting the check, otherwise you will sit there with an onslaught of refilled water glasses and booze continuously handed to you until you are ready to float away. I think they would even let you sleep there!
Now the food. Oh the food.
Okay honesty time. I was actually introduced to Pazza Notte five years ago, on a date. While the date caused me to seriously rethink my judgement, as well as express my gratitude for the only thing that saved my sanity that night (the white chocolate martinis) it did create an ever lasting love affair. (so bright side?) The Lobster Risotto. In the five years I have been coming here, dragging my friends here, flirting with the waitstaff, and getting a bit sauced, and probably have had some embarrassing moments (let’s not talk about what happened last week) I have only ever had THAT entree here. IT IS JUST THAT GOOD!
Creamy and delicious. Plentiful and flavorful. Smooth and rich. Oh their are so many adjectives I could use to describe this mouth watering dish. It isn’t ridiculously priced either, like lobster can be. It is just a pure party in your mouth! Even if you don’t drink, I recommend going just for this dish!
From the various friends who I have taken there, I have not ever heard a complaint about their food. From pasta to pizza, to the aforementioned Lobster Risotto it is all scrumptiously, one more bite, good.
I admit I also have a hankering for their desert which they change much more frequently then their menu. The creme brûlée is to die for! Consistent every time, the sugar is melted perfectly even. It isn’t overly sweet, with that creamy vanilla bean in every bite.
You can not go wrong here.
Now a side note about their martinis. When you order a flavor they bring two out of the same one. You can either share with your friend. OR you can be daring and order a strawberry lemonade AND a dirty vodka and split them with your friends. It depends how sauced you want to become. But be warned, while they go down smoothly, you may not be talking coherently after a few sips. They are as delicious as they are a sinister concoction.
Having opened in 2000, and located on prime expensive real estate in Midtown, Pazza Notte’s staying power is a true testament to how amazing they are. Many times I have been there with friends and run into other people I know, while there.
In fact awhile back, I was home visiting family and ended up talking to performers of RWS which is a New York based company. At the time they were working with my brother at Storyland! And one of the girls mentioned a two for one martini place near the park in Midtown. I knew immediately what she was talking about.
If I had one complaint about Pazza Notte, it would be the lack of bathrooms. With a large seating area and bar, they only have two restrooms, and while generally clean and spacious, there is usually a line. For the record they are located in the way back of the restaurant, near the Picasso room, in fact if you blink you might miss them!
Pizza Notte is a true New York staple, and I can guarantee someone will have heard about it. So stop in, be put into a food coma, but be warned those martinis are potent!