For a down-low rendezvous, Andrew Stone, food writer and author of the Hedonist’s Guide to New York, says this cozy Italian trattoria is his ultimate pick when he doesn’t want to be interrupted before he’s even forked into his insalata. “Malatesta on Christopher and Washington over by the West Side Highway. It’s this totally fun, sexy, candlelit hang out with well-priced classics from the Boot, and I’ve never had a run-in there. There are, however, nightly groups of hot Italians whooping it up.”
Sit beneath the blue awning at a little sidewalk café table or burrow in deep into the comfy dining room with its polenta-colored walls dotted with Italian posters, for clams sautéed with white wine, piadine – round, pizza-like dough piles with mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, arugula, ham or a combination thereof, and satisfying (and inexpensive) pastas like the four-cheese ravioli or house-made gnocchi with rich gorgonzola sauce.