It’s not often that you can eat and drink in a registered landmark on a night out. A Negroni with a sourdough flatbread topped with sardine, romesco, red onion, feta, and black olive, and a side of history? Don’t mind if we do. Around since 1915, Dante Caffe – now simply Dante – is a Greenwich Village institution, in addition to a New York City landmark. Today, the popular bar and restaurant serves a largely Italian menu, with some devilishly tasty international influences.
The fresh house-made pasta is a surefire winner, with the spaghetti chitarra with hand-picked blue crab, herb butter, and almond pangrattato being a particular highlight. But there’s so much to choose from: striped bass fillet, seasonal asparagus, sumac, pistachio and saffron yoghurt; burrata, crushed spring peas, basil oil, garden cress, and toasted rye; and shishito peppers, bagna cauda, and smoky paprika, to name but a few.
Looking around at Dante, you’ll notice that they’ve been sympathetic to the restaurant’s history – nay, celebratory. A light cream in colour, the walls are tiled and gleam in the bright New York city light, with stools spread out along the bar, and bistro-style chairs pulled up at the tables. And there are pictures of the various leading lights of literature and screen who’ve visited hanging on the walls. When everyone from Bob Dylan and Ernest Hemingway to Al Pacino and Alec Baldwin has trod the tiled floor here, it’s kind of hard to be humble about it. But for all its celebrity appeal, Dante has remained a community meeting place for over a hundred years. A place of warmth, and welcome, and wickedly strong espresso.